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Word Of Mouth Sells The Most Video Games

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Video game publishers might rethink their marketing budgets when they see the results of the latest study from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, which indicate that friends are three times as likely to influence a game purchase than traditional advertising.

"Have you played (insert game here)?" It's a question most of us have asked when considering a video game purchase, and the answers given are often more influential than marketing campaigns that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A study released today by study released today by global integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, and Harris Interactive. Industry trade groups, surveyed 507 adult gamers between June 6th to July 27th of this year, finding that 33% of those who had purchased a game within the six months prior to the study cited word of mouth from family and friends as the biggest influence on their purchase.

More powerful than friends are a subset being called "Influence Multipliers," friends who are more connected to other gamers, therefor having a much larger say in what other players play. Of the 507 surveyed, 21% were identified as "Influence Multipliers"


"Compared to all video gamers, Influence Multipliers are a hyper influential subset of friends who are also far more connected to other gamers," said Dan Gallagher, senior vice president, Insight & Analytics at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. "As a result, Influence Multipliers have an outsized network influence effect on their gaming colleagues. By targeting the media channels that Influence Multipliers rely on, marketers can optimize their marketing spending."

Gallagher's advice here is something that politicians have been using for ages. You don't have to influence everyone - just the ones who influence everyone else. Words to market by.


The remainder of the chart shows that advertising and promotions accounted for a mere 11% of influenced purchases, beaten by game reviews, demos, and retail presence.

I'd say that actual advertising is most effective for non-gamers, with gamers being so connected these days that we don't need advertisements to know a game is coming out. We don't need to be made aware of a game's existence, just its quality, and for that, we turn to each other. Group hug, everybody!