Want to market to male youth? Look to video games, not social media

YouGov
June 30, 2021, 3:50 PM UTC

Ads in video games are a powerful tool for marketers to reach America’s youth, according to a new YouGov data tool that takes a closer look at the consumer habits of young Americans aged 13 – 17. 

YouGov Teen Profiles also shows that social media should remain a key channel for marketers 39% of American youth overall say advertising on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram grabs their attention. However, boys are significantly less likely than girls to be captivated by social media advertising (28% vs. 51%) and more than three times as likely to be drawn to ads in video games (7% vs. 24%). These two channels top our list by a wide margin, ahead of online ads (7%), billboards (3%), cinema (3%) and others. Further, boys are twice as likely as girls to be drawn to ads on Twitch (2% vs. 4%). 

In-game ads can mean several things including periodic ad breaks on free-to-play mobile games, native in-game ads such as sponsorships in sports games, or on-screen banner ads that don’t stop gameplay. 

Minecraft remains the most popular game in America among this age group, with more than half of teen gamers indicating they’ve played in the last six months. The sandbox-style game is more popular with boys than girls (59% vs. 51%). Half of teen gamers (52%) have also played Among Us, the online social deduction game that found new life in the early days of the pandemic, though that title is more popular among girls (63% vs. 46%). 

In the case of Minecraft, in-game branding is largely prohibited, but brands can speak to this audience by partnering with online players streaming online. Our data also reveals that of those teens who use gaming streaming services, two-thirds (66%) have used YouTube Gaming in the last six months, 53% have used Twitch, and 42% have used Discord. 

Receive monthly topical insights about the gaming and esports industry, straight to your inbox. Sign up today. 

Discover more gaming and esports content here 

Start building a survey now with YouGov Direct 

Methodology: The data is based on an overall sample size sample size of 2,187 US teens aged 13 – 17 and 1,432 who are interested in gaming. All interviews were conducted online in June 2021 and panellists were recruited via YouGov Chat. Data is weighted by age and gender.