The Attention Economy: Why Understanding UGC Games is Now a Must for Brands

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 21, 2024

It is no secret that today’s media is more saturated than ever before and it is likely to continue to be. Brands, content creators, politicians, and many others are all regularly fighting each other in the hopes of earning just a slight moment of attention from their audiences. This audience, on the other hand, does everything in its power to not pay said attention, creating an ecosystem in which everyone loses. UGC games could change this.

This negative feedback loop is the main reason behind the increasing popularity of ad blockers, which are estimated to be used by over 40% of the US population. Advertisers have fought back, with companies like YouTube, which cracked down on ad blockers by slowing down its websites for users who use them.

This fight for attention has resulted in the creation of a whole new economy, in which organizations and individuals are regularly looking to expand their presence to other channels to reach their desired audience. One of these channels is video games, which are now regularly played by over 40% of the world’s population.

Videogames are known for being one of the most, if not the most, interactive forms of digital entertainment of our time. Esports, speedrunning, modding, cosplay, and streaming also extend the reach of gaming much further than just the act of playing. This reach and sense of community make gaming highly engaging, becoming too much for marketers to resist.

Unfortunately, becoming more than a niche pastime is not enough for video games to become a good channel for advertising. Due to the nature of gaming, any sort of traditional advertising in an in-game world can highly disrupt the player’s experience, which would be against their very core idea. This, of course, is not received well by gamers, even when these ads are not for external brands.

While games like EA Sports FC (formerly known as Fifa) or Forza Motorsport can very easily promote certain brands, this is not the case for most games. The TV show “Silicon Valley” gave an example of what trying to implement traditional ads in most games would look like. The result is not pretty.

Fortunately for brands, a new way to grab their audience’s attention in a new way has become a growing trend in the gaming world. The rise of user-generated content (UGC) gaming platforms represents a unique opportunity not only to grab a player’s attention but also to sustain it in the long term.

While user-generated content (UGC) games like Roblox, Zepetto, and Fortnite may not be considered the most representative games by hardcore gamers, they are nonetheless quite popular. This popularity is growing by the day as the gatekeeping that characterized the gaming space continues to fade away.

Companies like GEEIQ have been helping brands like L’oreal, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, and even Elton John find their way into this digital realm early on. This makes it easier for these companies to craft compelling marketing strategies and translate them into the UGC games just as other players would for the whole community to enjoy all while offering real-life value to both parties.

The immersive nature of these digital worlds creates an environment where players are highly attuned to their surroundings and actively engage with relevant content they love. This is something that few mediums can achieve in such an efficient way. The relevance of the content also has the added benefit of building loyalty in the long term.

GEEIQ CEO Charles Hambro talked all about how UGC games represent the next generation of marketing in the attention economy during his presentation at The Lively & Grit Daily House during SXSW 2014.  During his time at Movidiam and BBC, Hambro got intimate knowledge of how the marketing industry works and the challenges that even brands like Tesla, Dell, and Facebook face when it comes to catching their audience’s attention.

To learn more about how branding in video games has evolved over the years and what companies are doing to capitalize on this new channel, watch the video below. For similar panels, visit Grit Daily’s YouTube channel.

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Juan Fajardo is a News Desk Editor at Grit Daily. He is a software developer, tech and blockchain enthusiast, and writer, areas in which he has contributed to several projects. A jack of all trades, he was born in Bogota, Colombia but currently lives in Argentina after having traveled extensively. Always with a new interest in mind and a passion for entrepreneurship, Juan is a news desk editor at Grit Daily where it covers everything related to the startup world.

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