Gaming + TikTok: How APAC became the center of actionable entertainment
- TikTok propels APAC’s US$70 billion gaming market; VNG’s launch exemplifies impact.
- Gaming on TikTok blends humor and community, urging marketers to innovate and connect.
Home to 1.5 billion gamers, APAC is the fastest-growing gaming region in the world with a US$70 billion gaming market, presenting endless opportunities for existing players to gain a more significant market share. With over 3 trillion views of gaming-related content in 2022 alone, TikTok has become the global destination for diverse audiences to tell new stories, discover new games, and influence cultural trends as part of a larger gaming community.
For TikTok, it’s all about leveraging three trend forces to connect with its audiences: actionable entertainment, making space for joy, and community-built ideals.
Gamers on TikTok actively engage with content, seeking more information about products and brands, and inspire each other through fan edits, animations, and cosplay. This dynamic allows marketers to creatively repurpose in-game footage using popular CapCut templates, engaging audiences in a manner native to the platform.
From engagement to conversion: Marketers harness the power of TikTok’s platform
According to TikTok’s “What’s Next: Gaming Trend Report“, 41% of its users are motivated by joy when making purchases, turning to TikTok for relaxation and entertainment. As TikTok provides a space for relatable content that highlights the fun of gaming, marketers can spark conversation with audiences and collaborate with relevant creators to bring new ideas to life using tools like Voting Stickers and TikTok Creator Marketplace.
77% of global users appreciate brands creating new challenges, trends, or memes for others to participate in, feeling a closer connection on TikTok compared to other sites and apps. With these three trend forces driving TikTok’s approach, the company collaborates closely with businesses to craft compelling gaming content that captures and sustains the audience’s interest.
Tech Wire Asia had the opportunity to speak with Maayan Kotler, Head of APAC Gaming at TikTok for Business, on how gaming is shaping the future of entertainment. By doing so, she shared some examples of gaming content that utilizes relatable voices and fresh storytelling formats – like VNG Corporation, one of Vietnam’s top mobile game publishers. The team was looking to launch a new multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Revelation, in February 2023.
According to Kotler, the team established a presence on TikTok to generate awareness and increase organic traffic before the launch. For the pre-registration phase, VNG strategically executed App Pre-Registration campaigns, initially focusing on a critical market before expanding to others. This approach helped identify potential players and build excitement around the game.
“During the launch stage, VNG employed an optimized app campaign setup,” said Kotler. “They utilized the App Profile Page for iOS-specific campaigns and Campaign Budget Optimization for both iOS and Android campaigns. These tactics were instrumental in achieving efficient conversion maximization and delivery volume.”
The creative aspect was equally compelling. VNG used vertical immersive storytelling by developing a range of TikTok-first creatives, showcasing game characters, gameplay clips, and local influencers in each targeted market. These captivating visuals were designed to drive installation conversions.
The results of this campaign were exceptional. She noted that in Vietnam, VNG exceeded expectations with a 54% lower-than-target cost per install (CPI) and an impressive 313% higher-than-target volume of installs. Similarly, in Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia, VNG achieved install volumes 1.8 times higher than their key performance indicator (KPI), solidifying the triumph of the game’s launch campaign in Southeast Asia.
Humor meets gaming: How TikTok levels the field for gamers and developers
TikTok is known for its platform, allowing users to express their personalities through dancing, humor and jumping on recent trends – or even shopping. But how do these factors even correlate with gaming? According to Kotler, on TikTok, gamers and developers are on a level playing field, connecting and sharing ideas quickly. Developers can establish a closer bond with their audience by engaging with the community and infusing humor.
“Globally, we found that TikTok users are 1.4 times more likely to credit humor in a creator’s sponsored video as a motivation for purchasing intent, gaming creators and brands are finding success with playful, humorous content that shows they do not take themselves too seriously,” she added.
Using humor in content creation, in general, can elevate campaigns into engaging pieces of entertainment that capture attention and leave a lasting impact on consumers and brands. There’s joy in discovering unique and entertaining content. Brands can tap into this by incorporating humor, leading to higher user engagement in likes, comments, and shares.
This organic interaction fosters a sense of community and extends the reach of content through social sharing, ultimately boosting its overall effectiveness.
It’s safe to say that gaming has become a broader dedicated lifestyle or aesthetic, rather than just an activity. Users are interested in going behind the screens to learn more about a creator’s unique gaming setups and personal stories. This is something that marketers can take advantage of to feel more “connected.”
Marketers can elevate their impact by crafting creative strategies that revolve around the expectations of relevant communities, resulting in authentic content that profoundly resonates with target audiences and leaves a lasting impression.
According to Kotler, an effective method is building trust among the target audience by actively engaging within their community. By immersing themselves in these spaces, brands can better understand their audience’s needs and preferences, enabling them to create more meaningful and relatable content.
“At the same time, marketers should also feel inspired to venture into new territory on TikTok,” she emphasized. “It is important to explore crossovers with other popular communities and subcultures to show new sides to the brand. This openness allows brands to establish cultural resonance, forging connections with untapped audiences and expanding their reach to potential customers they may not have reached before.”
How TikTok trends influence business outcomes through gaming
It used to be that once a player reached the end of the game’s storyline, the only way to get more enjoyment out of it was to wait for updates and paid expansion packs that would offer new levels or customization options. However, it’s different now with how TikTok works with gaming by providing limitless inspiration to keep the fun going on players’ own terms.
Gamers now turn to TikTok for community challenges and mods that showcase innovative ways to play, allowing for some excitement and creativity.
Hence, businesses should also consider jumping on the trend; it presents a valuable opportunity for businesses to tap into the thriving APAC gaming market. By strategically leveraging various curated solutions on the platform, publishers can enhance their reach and connect with the gaming community on a deeper level.
According to Kotler, TikTok’s in-feed ad tells a brand’s story in a true-to-TikTok way with a sound-on, vertical video ad that can be further enhanced with interactive add-ons. Top View impacts in-feed with the first ad a user sees when they open the app, building massive awareness in the gaming community. In addition, TikTok also offers a variety of tools for making TikTok-first creations.
Usually, the creativity, perspectives and trends on TikTok originate from the vibrant community of users and content creators who continuously push boundaries and experiment with new concepts. More often than not, these trends have a universal appeal and gain momentum as users participate and put their creative flair into the mix.
“In the context of businesses, this has allowed us to create an environment where they can tap into the creative energy and trendsetting potential of the TikTok community to forge meaningful and authentic connections with audiences, leading to sustainable growth and success in the dynamic gaming landscape. We offer valuable insights and analytics that allow them to stay ahead of trends, remaining competitive and relevant to audiences. In doing so, we hope to provide them with a powerful tool to connect with their audience, adapt to changing consumer preferences, and drive innovation for growth,” she explained.
When asked about the trends TikTok anticipates in the future of gaming, and how marketers can prepare for these changes, Kotler stated that the gaming landscape has been constantly evolving. This means exploring new avenues and experimenting with diverse approaches to market these innovative gaming experiences effectively.
“By being open to innovation and staying ahead of the curve, marketers can position themselves at the forefront of this exciting era, reaching users who are eager to explore and immerse themselves in these evolving virtual realms,” she added.
Marketers must be willing to test different strategies to deliver compelling and relevant campaigns. By understanding the changing dynamics of user behavior and preferences in this digital revolution, brands can forge authentic connections and drive meaningful engagement to capture the attention and loyalty of their target audience.
The speed of TikTok trends: Challenges and opportunities for marketers
Though it won’t be easy, there will be challenges and opportunities that marketers will face when trying to engage with the gaming community on TikTok. According to Kotler, one of the most significant challenges, which also presents an opportunity, is the speed at which trends evolve on TikTok.
As many trends are heavily influenced by user behavior, marketers must continuously observe the platform’s major cultural shifts and understand the evolving community. To navigate this dynamic landscape, marketers should leverage tools such as TikTok Creator Marketplace and TikTok Creative Center, which offer unique opportunities for brands to stand out and make a lasting impact on the platform.
Within TikTok’s diverse ecosystem, vibrant communities like #Gamer exemplify the potential for creativity and genuine connections. With 169.6 billion views accumulated, the #Gamer community offers an unparalleled opportunity for marketers to connect with a vast and passionate gaming audience. Moreover, the #Gamer community is one of many thriving subcultures within TikTok’s diverse ecosystem.
“Marketers have the freedom of exploring an array of other passionate communities to expand brand reach and tap into other communities with aligned interests. This diversity allows them to tailor their approach and engage with audiences on a more personal level, fostering stronger connections and greater success in the ever-evolving landscape,” she concluded.
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