How PlayStation, GameStop and Nintendo Perfect Personalized Gaming
By Mike O'Brien | March 16, 2020
There’s no question that Americans love video games; nearly 70% game on at least one device. And with thousands of games released every year, the choices for gamers are endless. But with all these choices comes increased competition, and video game brands have to work harder than ever to attract customers. This is doubly important now, with so many gamers homebound as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Video game revenues increased 52% in May, according to The NPD Group. Put all these together, and brands are increasingly setting themselves apart with personalized gaming.
The Rise of Personalized Gaming
Personalized gaming has been on the rise in recent years. This trend toward personalization is taking place within marketing as well as the games themselves.
In some ways, the gaming industry is ideally suited to personalization. Providing a personalized experience requires data, and video games provide tons of it. A player’s in-game actions, ad views, clicks, and purchases are stored in a database, which creates a picture of the player’s behavior over time. This data allows brands to create a personalized gaming experience tailored to each player.
Today’s most popular games offer many personalization features. For example, they can select their desired level of difficulty and choose their gaming persona’s appearance. But gaming brands are also realizing that there’s more to personalization than customizing a character’s eye color and hair style.
Going beyond that, Ubisoft, the French video game conglomerate behind the Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia franchises, incorporates personalization into its video game marketing. For example, Ubisoft emails customers surveys with the subject line, “The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey team values your opinion.” These emails communicate that the brand values its customers and wants their feedback to improve the gaming experience.
Another example is the birthday emails Nintendo sends its customers. The video game giant sends players well wishes and loyalty points, which they can apply to a future purchase. This rewards customers for their loyalty, cementing it down the line. At the same time, birthday emails are an effective way to engage people. Compared with other marketing emails, they drive 179% more clicks and 342% more revenue.
What Sets GameStop and PlayStation Apart?
GameStop and PlayStation are two brands making major strides in personalized gaming. At the end of the year, PlayStation sends gamers individualized Wrap-Ups, giving them the chance to review their entire gaming history. Players can see their most-played games over the previous year, in addition to how much time they spent playing specific games, their longest gaming streak, the number of trophies earned, and more. As an added bonus, PlayStation assigns players a free theme and a downloadable avatar that represents their gaming persona.
GameStop effectively deploys personalization with mobile messaging. The brand’s mobile app makes use of push notifications, a message center, and a mobile wallet to communicate with customers. In the mobile app’s push notification center, customers can select which messages they want to receive and opt out of those they don’t. For example, gamers can choose whether or not to receive messages about the latest promotions or the number of rewards points they have available.
In addition, the GameStop app often combines push notifications with message center content. So if the brand delivers a “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” promotion to their loyal customers with push notifications, that content will also be sent to their message centers. This marketing approach has been working extremely well for GameStop. In fact, when the gaming retailer use both push notifications and message center content, their read rates increase by an average of eight times.
The Pluses of Gaming Personalization
There’s no doubt that the gaming industry is extremely competitive, which highlights the need for brands to differentiate themselves. Delivering customers a highly personalized experience is crucial for gaming brands who want to set themselves apart.
In the highly competitive gaming industry, gamers are more likely to opt for brands that provide a personalized experience. This personalization is important both in the games themselves and in the ways brands communicate with their customers. Research has shown brands that use personalized email communications have more sales over time. In addition, email is also the channel where consumers most want to receive marketing messages. Offering more personalized options is crucial for standing out in the crowd and better serving customers’ needs.
2020 Holiday Marketing Playbook
With all that has happened this year, we expect to see a holiday season unlike any other. That said, the time to start testing and building out email and CRM strategies is now. Along with our Retail Advisor, former JustFab VP Monica Deretich, Sailthru has developed this playbook to help retailers crush Q4 and beyond.
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