Blizzard esports' analytics team outline how they used global consumer data to land a major contract and drive growth across regions.
“GWI makes global growth possible for us.”
Blizzard Entertainment is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software - one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games.
For the company’s strategy and analytics team, with increasing demand for insight into the rapidly growing esports industry, things are busy.
One of their main focuses: commercialization. In everyday terms, that means helping their sales and media rights teams drive partnerships. They do this by crafting data-driven narratives that show the value of their esports audience.
So when an opportunity arose with a leading U.S.-based snack brand, the team was hard at work to prove they were worth the investment.
A lack of global insight.
When it comes to driving partnerships, arguably the most crucial part is the story you tell.
For sales teams looking to close a deal, they need a narrative that stands out, and is supported by hard data, proving beyond a shadow of doubt they’re the right fit.
At Blizzard, it’s the strategy and analytics team that help craft these stories. They do this by revealing the most unique insights into their audience they can find.
When it came to opportunities within the U.S., this wasn’t a problem, but shifting to global – they were missing crucial insight.
“We brought on GWI to get that global view,'' says Alan Lan, Strategy & Analytics Manager, AB Esports at Blizzard.
“When it comes to esports and our audience, the opportunity is global, but while we were well-versed in the U.S., we were data poor beyond that. We needed this insight to grow and take on new markets.”
So when a multinational food manufacturing company – and a former partner of theirs – came to their attention, the team was eager to get them back on board.
Getting a true view of market potential.
The goal was simple: to prove their audience shared a high affinity for the brand.
“We had to research how our fans across key markets really felt about the brand,'' says Alan.
As with all potential partners, Alan explains that having a trusted third-party name with a reliable methodology was crucial.
GWI's demographic and behavioral data was key in uncovering the answers to their questions; not only could they use this to get a percentage in terms of consumers of the brand, they could assess the market potential.
The team found the food manufacturing company was a favored brand among their gaming audience. The data also revealed their audience had a higher level of consumption versus the general public.
Signing a global partner.
Leveraging both core and brand data within GWI, the team got the quantifiable proof they needed that this was an ideal partnership.
“This was a top snack brand among our audience", says Alan.
"That finding was crucial to closing this deal."
Once the team had proved to the brand how valuable their audience was, they agreed to sponsor them through the latter half of their prominent Overwatch League.
The leading brand also signed a multi-year partnership with them, and Blizzard are looking forward to even further growth.
“Having this kind of data at hand makes my job a lot easier,'' says Alan. “The data on purchase intent and consideration is especially valuable. It proves we’re never making assumptions – our recommendations are based on fact.”
Following their success in closing the deal, the team have replicated this process for extracting insight and crafting narratives across projects.
As a burgeoning esports product, Blizzard maintains every brand partnership is unique to them and their audience. Now, looking at more global opportunities, they feel more confident in their data-first approach.
“GWI makes global growth possible for us,'' says Alan. “We need to make sure our partners and communities are happy with what we’re doing. Having this data allows us to align our needs and find a way to show our potential.”