Lin Pophal

We tend to think of gamers as being most represented among younger demographics, but that isn't necessarily the case. In fact, an AARP study indicates that the number of those over 50 playing video games in the U.S. is on the rise — growing 25%+ in just three years (and that was before the pandemic!).  

In fact, for those “grey gamers” mobile apps represent a practical benefit — keeping their minds sharp. According to The Drum: “Those aged 50+, an age range of gamers that has significantly increased, claim that gaming keeps them mentally sharp, reduces stress and in some cases allows them to stay socially connected.”

Marketers that aren’t attuned to these trends may be missing out on an easy-to-reach audience that skews older, more female, and with more disposable income than they might have expected.

Marketing 101: Know your audience

The potentially surprising demographics of who gamers actually are points to what really should be Marketing 101 advice: know your audience!

Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University, says, “If companies are trying to market to adult ‘gamers’ one key issue is to understand exactly what group we’re talking about.” The term “gamer” is used pretty loosely he says, but he points out there are different genres of games and different types of people drawn to those genres. 

“When marketing to people, it might help to know which of these groups you're thinking of,” Ferguson advises. “Casual gamers might be best reached via platforms that are popular with the overall demographic — older adults — or technology use more generally, whereas self-identified gamers may be better reached through specific gaming outlets, magazines, etc.”

Connecting across the gaming journey

It’s also important says George Deglin, CEO and co-founder of OneSignal, a customer engagement platform, to take a broader view of gamer engagement — a view that includes the users’ journey before, during, and after they play a game. “Effectively communicating why someone should download a mobile game is the first step, but communicating with players during and after their experience is equally important for long-term engagement and overall user-friendly experience,” Deglin says.

Effective onboarding is especially important for “novice mobile gamers,” Deglin says. One way to do this effectively, he says, is through a “deck of cards style tutorial immediately after a user opens your game.” Full-screen in-app messages can educate the player on game mechanics and app navigation while allowing them to go through the information at their own pace.

Another method, progressive onboarding, “helps players interact with the game interface and guides them through different actions when they reach milestones in the game,” he says. “It’s well-suited to games that have more complex or varied mechanics.”

Avid gamers can be your greatest advocates. Staying connected with them as you would with any group of influencers can boost recommendations and word-of-mouth.


Image courtesy of coffeebeanworks and Pixabay.