Bottom-of-Funnel Gaming Marketing Explained

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Hilton Hotels recently launched what it claims is the first rewards program in Roblox.

The activation rewards players of Slivingland, Paris Hilton’s Roblox world, with 12 million points in the Hilton Honors loyalty program – in addition to giving away 50,000 wearable items for Roblox avatars.

Hilton Hotels worked with content studio Sawhorse Productions and used Flaunt’s Roblox Rewards to generate real-life loyalty reward points for gameplay.

The Roblox execution is proof that brands can indeed tie sales and conversion to gaming – instead of focusing solely on upper funnel metrics like engagement and attention.

To demonstrate this isn’t limited to in-game activations, let’s explore gaming marketing use cases that also drive lower funnel actions on channels beyond gameplay.

Heineken’s Beer Matchmaking

Campaign: “Not All Nights Out Are Out”

Channels: Digital, Product packaging

Intended funnel action(s): Conversion

In March 2023, Heineken launched a global 360-degree campaign created with agency LePub Brazil and creative studio Muva House – called “Not All Nights Out Are Out.

The campaign theme championed gaming as a viable social experience. Where the intended action was to convert gaming audiences of drinking age, by weaving Heineken into the celebration of social gaming occasions.

To inspire conversion, Heineken released collectible editions of its beer packaging inspired by different video game genres in supermarkets across Brazil.

Customers who purchased the special editions were stewarded to Heineken’s Beer Matchmaking platform – a free-of-charge digital service that connects gamers with others based on skill level, availability and favorite games.

The collectible editions of the bottles proved highly effective – selling out in a week.

Meanwhile, the matchmaking platform matched over 35,000 gamers.

However, these metrics were not accidental. Instead, they resulted from tapping into recognizable parts of how gaming audiences experience video games.

For instance, a video game’s genre is a key feature of its playable experience. To the point that research indicates preference for game genres based on personality and gender.

Said differently, game genre is an in-game touchpoint.

That’s also why, as Heineken’s conversion metrics proved, constructing packaging based on different game genres is an effective tactic for inspiring positive customer actions.

Likewise, a matchmaking platform is a third-party game system that works around the playable experience, which means it is an around-game touchpoint.

Most importantly, the campaign was authentic to its stated theme of celebrating gaming as a social experience because these two touchpoints are themselves relevant to the emotions, moments and systems that characterize game experiences.

The same authenticity is also what, ultimately, inspired bottom-of-funnel actions from gaming audiences.

Pockets 4 Bits

Campaign: Pockets 4 Bits

Channels: Interactive media, Influencers

Intended funnel action(s): Conversion and loyalty

Nestlé Hot Pockets, a 40-year-old snack brand with wide recognition, sought to translate awareness into sales among Gen-Z demographics with the Pocket 4 Bits campaign in late 2020.

So, Hot Pockets and Reach Agency tied a national couponing program to Twitch “Bits,” virtual tips that viewers gift to creators on the Amazon-owned streaming platform to support their content.

The campaign enabled consumers to add a Pockets for Bits card to their mobile wallet. Upon purchasing Hot Pockets and scanning their receipt, participants were rewarded with a unique code linked to their Twitch account carrying varying levels of Bits.

Paid media on Twitch, such as pre-rolls and homepage takeovers, alongside partnerships with popular gaming influencers like Shroud, led to thousands of redemptions within 48 hours of launch.

Overall, the gaming program sold nearly 12 million Bits and featured a conversion rate of 36% — six times higher than past couponing initiatives.

To be clear, the reason Bits were so effective at driving lower funnel actions was their relevance to the around-game experience.
Since, when it comes to video game live streams on Twitch, Bits are much more than just digital currency. Instead, they are part of Twitch’s around game experience.

One which expands the notion of a video game systems’ objects, features, relationships and environments, into the realm of interactive media.

In other words, Bits are an around-game touchpoint.

That’s why when viewers donate Bits as “cheers,” that action is as much a part of the Twitch experience as the streamer’s in-game actions.

Tapping into Bits, likewise, organically tied Hot Pockets to a gaming behavior that is already relevant to sizable audiences.

As a result, the campaign was shuttered halfway through due to overwhelming demand that was bigger than expected.

Even though streams sponsored by Hot Pockets, which racked up over 1 million cumulative hours of watch time (the equivalent of 15 years), only occasionally featured messages explicitly about the product.

Plus, the campaign was recognized through numerous awards, including:

  • Winning a Reggie in Promotion Marketing
  • A Shorty Awards Finalist in the emerging platform, food & beverage, multi-platform campaign
  • 1st round shortlist at The One Show for Best Multiplatform Influencer Campaign

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