The biggest event for gamers all over the world has come and gone, but the insights are here to stay. As publishers geared up for the largest gaming expo in the world, they released over 80 trailers of the most highly-anticipated game releases.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, is critical to game publishers because it’s the premiere gaming expo of the year and is known by many gamers and influencers in the gaming community attracting over 50,000 attendees each year (and growing). E3 provides a platform for publishers to increase the anticipation of their upcoming releases by releasing official game trailers, partnering with gaming influencers via sponsored content and giving fans a sneak peek of what’s on the horizon. This is also an opportunity to inform future distribution and marketing strategies by experimenting with different mediums, formats (including live content and sponsored content), and trailer releases.
E3 2017: Overall Content on YouTube
At Tubular, we took a look at overall E3 content on YouTube from 2016 to 2017, and found a few interesting insights. Total uploaded E3 content increased by +24% compared to 2016 during the same time period. This year’s official E3 YouTube content (85 videos) had a total of 80M views and 1.5M engagements from June 1st – June 17th. However, uploads referencing E3 content uploaded during the same time period (including UGC) had a total of 575M views (16.8M engagements) and had an audience that was 6.6x more engaged than the average YouTuber. This shows that there is a demand for this type of content especially among the different gameplay categories.
The top gameplay uploads revolved around action/action-adventure games (15% of YT uploads) followed by role-playing games (4%). For all action/action-adventure games content uploaded during this time period, we’d expect about each video to have ~87K views after 30 days. Even though this doesn’t seem substantial, this content’s audience is 4.4x as engaged as the average YouTuber compared to 2.2x for the official content.
We also saw that the sweet spot for video duration for action game content for both views and engagement hovered between 5 – 7 minutes. But, if you’re a publisher who prioritizes engagement above views, then you’d want to publish content between 10 – 12 minutes. Similarly, role-playing games had a similar 30-day viewership and engagement (86K and 4.2x respectively). However, for optimal views and engagement, the sweet spot for video duration for role-playing games is between 3 – 5 minutes.
E3 2017: Top Publisher Content on YouTube
From June 1st, 2017 – June 17th, 2017, Electronic Arts (EA) had the most views during this period (29M) and the highest average views per video (2.8M) across their released E3 content on YouTube compared to the other major publishers. The official gameplay trailer for Star Wars Battlefront 2 was EA’s #1 viewed trailer with 85% of total views gained in the first 7 days.
While Nintendo didn’t get the number one spot when it came to average views per video, Super Mario Odyssey did however have the highest engagement during this time period with 207K engagements (+19% more than Star Wars Battlefront 2).
Of the various gameplay categories, the top three viewed and engaging categories pertaining to official content includes Platform Adventure (12.5M), Car Racing (10.3M) and Action-Adventure (9.9M).
E3 2017: Live Video Content
It’s no surprise that most, if not all, of the top gaming publishers had some sort of skin in the game when it came to posting live content. I don’t blame them, If I knew that views of live content increased by +88% on YoutTube compared to 2016, I’d make live content too. One of the top viewed videos was XBox’s E3 2017 Briefing:
Xbox wasn’t the only publisher that had success in the live content arena; Nintendo, Gamespot, Playstation and Rooster Teeth also played along with over 15M views collectively. The number of live content uploads also increased (+256%) compared to 2016. Most of the uploads this year centered around video gaming culture, lifestyle and action games. On the other hand, the most uploaded E3 2017 live content was around action and RPG games.
This section wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention engagement. With over 1.6M engagements across live E3 content, it had a little more than the total engagements across all official YoutTube E3 content (1.5M). The top engaged video during E3 was, once again, Xbox’s 2017 briefing. Don’t despair, if you’re not #1 in live, perhaps you can be #1 in sponsored.
E3 2017: Sponsored Video Content
Live content made up ~13% of sponsored content uploaded on YT between June 1 and June 17th. Overall, interest in Sponsored Content has sky-rocketed over the past year. In 2017 alone, the gaming industry has published over 3K sponsored videos with the top sponsors including Best Fiends, EA, Last Empire – War Z, Ubisoft, Blizzard and more. Electronic Arts (EA) had the most sponsored videos uploaded on YouTube during this year’s E3 (45 videos). Ironically, EA’s non-sponsored content (trailers) had 3x as many views and 2x as many engagements as the sponsored content. Other players in the sponsored content game include Activision, Blizzard and Ubisoft.
Of all the gaming sponsored content uploaded on YT from June 1st to June 17th, E3 content consisted of 27%. Within the US, there were 14 sponsors who collaborated with 49 partners.
E3 2017: Insights into Video Strategy
So you’re probably wondering “What does this all mean?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. According to the data, as a publisher ramping up for an upcoming release or strategizing for E3 next year, consider your goals. Are you looking to increase eyeballs on your content, increase your audience engagement or grow your audience? Of course, your gut may lead you to say “all of the above”. But we have to be careful because striving for “all of the above” may result in being number #1 in “none of the above”. Pick one or two and be really good at it.
If you’re looking to increase eyeballs on your action-gaming or role-playing content, then release 5-7 minute clips and 7-10 minute clips respectively. If optimizing engagement is the objective for action content, 10 – 12 minute long videos could be the way to go. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, invest in creating live and sponsored content with calls to action. This type of content is growing along a number of metrics including views, engagements and uploads. Also, look to see what topics are trending among UGC content as it relates to your brand.
If you’re an influencer looking to partner with sponsors who are investing in this content, there are a few sponsors you should keep in mind including Best Fiends, EA, Astro Gaming, Playstation, Ubisoft and Blizzard to name a few. Best of luck as you prepare for upcoming releases and beyond. Game on!