In esports, everything is digital. The game, the data, broadcasts, interactions and for the most part, the viewer experience. The industry sobered up from the presumption that just streaming matches will be enough to keep the audience interested, adapting to incorporate engaging features into broadcasts.
As a result, the success of an esports company is measured by engagement, or in other words, the company’s ability to keep its community interested, by delivering high-quality content across platforms. And to effectively engage with the audience in this digital world, some rather specific software solutions may be needed.
Because the substantial share of esports revenue comes from sponsorship and brand advertising, features such as in-stream banner management or game-data analytics and visualisation can directly impact the growth of esports businesses, according to esports-focused company 27 Nerds.
“Besides contributing to higher engagement, software solutions like these tackle various problems esports businesses might face. Even more, they can allow them to be more flexible,” explained Yevgen Vershynin, COO of 27 Nerds in an interview for Esports Insider.
Having delivered over 100 projects, including a caption system for Maincast’s Dota 2 broadcast or campaign management for Twitch, the firm noticed several pain points recurring in clients.
“Broadcasters in particular often need high-quality graphic captions with the data from an ongoing game, that is changing in real time. Moreover, they need to be able to show a full HD video in the background, together with several other video objects on the same screen,” Yevgen said.
To satisfy all of these requirements, 27 Nerds employs graphics and caption systems capable of visualising live game statistics. “Robust and smooth text animations, data tables and tournament brackets significantly contribute to the quality of viewer experience, which is why such features are usually included in marketing campaigns and interactions on streaming platforms,” noted Yevgen. “Some games do not provide an application programming interface (API), making it almost impossible to create a unique and rich viewer experience during tournaments.”
Because the Twitch banner appearances are counted manually, advertisers must often rely on rough reports from streamers. An easy solution to that can be the aforementioned in-stream banner management tool, which can manage banner campaigns in real time and collects rich statistical data from several channels.
On the question of which software solutions are a must for any esports business, Yevgen has a clear answer: “The most important solutions that any esports company should be using are banner management systems and customised interactive marketing campaigns.”
Esports is still a young industry with no stable legacy in technologies. Neither are there governing frameworks that everyone should comply with. On top of that, new industry players appear regularly, some with very sophisticated solutions.
“In such circumstances, integration with emerging platforms becomes business-critical,” said Yevgen. “Customised software solutions allow flexibility, which means that the owner is dependent neither on SaaS nor on the vendor and can be as agile as needed to quickly develop new interoperability.”
Needless to mention the fact that tailored solutions are created from scratch according to the company’s needs, requirements and to a certain extent, budget. Plus, it’s always easier to integrate customised software into the company workflow.
“The development is done solely with the client’s business in mind. Custom solutions have higher upfront costs for development and execution. However, they don’t require long-term recurring fees, which often makes them far less expensive,” Yevgen said.
“Each company delivers a unique experience for the audience and we help them to show their unique features,” he added.
Some of the latest, profoundly innovative features emerging on the market with customised software solutions, are audience-targeting tools and predictive analytics. Thanks to machine learning, companies can effectively target their content or advertising on certain groups based on past performance. Targeted content becomes more relevant and therefore more valuable for both sides, users and businesses, and the ROI potential of such solutions can rise drastically.
Despite the numerous emerging trends and fancy tech advances that have taken over the industry in recent years, one common goal prevails — increasing fan loyalty. According to Yevgen, it all comes back to engagement. “Naturally, a fan with a higher affinity for a team is more likely to engage inside and outside tournaments. The key to moving the audience up the ladder from casual fans to loyal community members is fan engagement solutions and fan collaborations with partners.”
While unique and high-quality content is undoubtedly the best way to succeed in the digital world, the efficiency of its distribution is equally important. Addressing these issues can sometimes be as easy as installing software, which can significantly impact business growth. To any aspiring esports company, Yevgen has one crucial piece of advice: “Focus on interactivity and the kind of audience engagement that helps to lower the churn rate and keep fan interest stable.”