New Research Explores Impact of Advertising on Esports Audiences

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New Research Explores Impact of Advertising on Esports Audiences

We’re happy to announce the results of new research we conducted with Activision Blizzard Media into how audiences in esports and traditional sports react to advertising. We compared data between the two groups that charted engagement, emotional impact, and performance metrics and found that during sponsorship ads, esports viewers stayed immersed in the content for longer than their counterparts vewing traditional sporting events. 

“Savvy marketers are learning that esports is a substantial conduit to a young, affluent, and valuable audience. To match this savvy, esports platforms need to recognize that the onus is on us to empirically demonstrate the power of this platform and these audiences,” said Jonathan Stringfield, VP, Global Business Marketing, Measurement, & Insights, Activision Blizzard Media. “The findings from our immersive biometric study with Alter Agents and Immersion show that ads during esports keep viewer attention, perform higher and boost positive brand perception.”


Key Findings

  • Esports is better at keeping viewer attention during sponsorships ads, resulting in higher performance on critical brand metrics.
  • Esports viewers are more accepting of advertisements than traditional sports fans, showing a higher immersion score.
  • Brand favorability and brand perception are higher for esports experiences compared to traditional sports.

Esports outperformed traditional sports on key immersion metrics, demonstrating its merit in delivering measurable impact for brands. The findings show that esports is a legitimate and effective advertising media channel, which can reach, engage and positively impact target audiences.


The Methodology

The research, which was conducted in late 2020, consisted of a quantitative survey of esports and traditional sports viewers from 16-40 years old. We also conducted a series of in-depth respondent interviews to provide context and color to the findings. Findings from the first two phases were coupled with a targeted agile neuroscience study using the Immersion platform to reveal advertising’s emotional impact at a physiological level. 

Immersion is measured by tracking variations in heart rate rhythm using smartwatch devices worn by the respondent. The variations are caused by changes in the brain’s oxytocin levels, which indicate whether the consumer’s brain is engaged and happy with an experience or not. This reveals unconscious reactions to stimuli, enabling us to see how the brain is reacting to content in real-time. The output is a second-by-second Immersion Score, which translates the variations in heart rate rhythm into an indexed numerical value between 0 and 100. The higher the score, the happier the brain is with the stimuli, and the more immersed the respondent is.


Our tri-modal research design helped Activision Blizzard Media leverage cutting-edge technology to prove its hypothesis for advertising purposes. We’d be happy to do the same for your business.


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