Marketing

A note on why YouPorn sucks at eSports, but blows my mind by using it as a marketing tool

A few weeks ago John Gaudiosi published an article in the Fortune Magazine which explains why YouPorn sponsors several eSports teams by letting them play under the banner of TeamYP.

In his article Gaudiosi introduces eSports as a growing market which has already attracted “big companies like Coca-Cola and Razer with its potential of money-making”. In addition to that he points out the latest statistics from Newzoo which forecast the revenue of the eSports market “to surpass $278 million and grow to over $765 million by 2018”.

TeamYP dota2
First players of TeamYP | Image source: teamyp.com

Gaudiosi continues by introducing the reader to the latest activities of YouPorn regarding eSports: “YouPorn […]has spent the past year sponsoring a pair of Dota 2 teams […] under the banner of TeamYP, as well as one of the top Super Smash Bros Melee players […]”.

This is where the article begins to falter. Or, let’s put it this way: Gaudiosi fell for it (and so did many readers of the original text as well, I guess). Here is why: Considering Jason Yoon (Bizzarro Flame) – that is the name of the Super Smash Bros Melee player – as one of the best players is highly questionable. In 2013 he placed 96th in the world ranking, 2014 he climbed up to rank no 94. This year he is not even in the rankings anymore. Top rank? I disagree. But I don’t want to blame Gaudiosi for evaluating the achievements of Yoon in a different way than I do because in the end – out of a global perspective – Super Smash Bros Melee barely impacts the eSports market. Keep that in mind and let‘s continue …

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YouPorns’ eSports-related announcements

  • YouPorn announces interest in eSports teams via twitter (July 11, 2014)
  • YouPorn reveals TeamYP (December 3, 2014)
  • AMA-Session on reddit (December 11, 2014)
  • YouPorn announces addition of Jason Yoon (June 8, 2015)
  • YouPorn announces addition of a North American Dota 2 team (September 11, 2015)
  • YouPorn announces interest in a CS:GO team via twitter (October 14, 2015)
  • YouPorn seek two CS:GO teams (October 27, 2015)

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The credibility of the article continues to falter when Gaudiosi quotes Brad Burns, the vice president of YouPorn. Burns states that the eSports industry is lacking promoting players and teams on a higher level and that YouPorn has “the resources to really help players that align with us get noticed; bring them into the mainstream, and do our part to help bring eSports into the collective consciousness.” Fair enough, I am sure YouPorn has the resources to help, but to be honest, this statement has no substance at all, since it is pure public relations work.

Moreover Burns adds: “But make no mistake, we’ve done our research, recruited an excellent group of players, and got into this to compete with some of the best teams in the world.” As someone who follows the eSports market for years now, this statement is quite nonsense and I want to point out to all of you, who are not familiar with eSports: All teams and players of TeamYP circulate in no-man’s-land. There is no success from a sports perspective. You have never heard of them prior to them joining the YPteam. To underline my statement I want to quote Samuel Linge, editor of TheDailyDot, who decribes the newest additon to TeamYP as follows: “YouPorn picks up another Dota 2 team you’ve never heard of”. So please don’t get fooled! Anyway …

You might think that this article’s purpose is to depict YouPorn as a bullshitter, but the exact opposite is the case. In consideration of the above-mentioned facts, YouPorn is doing an outstanding marketing job and the fact that TeamYP consists of teams and players which are unknown and unsuccessful makes their way of proceeding even smarter.

Here is why: Despite all irrelevance of TeamYP from a sports perspective (and that is what eSports – in its core – is all about: competitive gaming) YouPorn managed to get an impressive return on investment, especially if you consider that TeamYPs’ teams should not be all that expensive.

Bonus: Get a free copy of the whitepaper ‘TeamYP by the numbers’ that features stats of twitter, facebook, YouTube and twitch.tv.

Let’s look at the return on investement YouPorn got from its eSports engagements so far:

1. YouPorn managed to get a high level of attention

Almost every gaming- and eSports-related online magazine published a post about YouPorn’s plans to sponsor an eSports team. The coverage continued with almost every single update YouPorn released and it is not overstated to say that millions of people get in touch with YouPorn thanks to them being mentioned so often.

Check out this short list of high-level domains that featured TeamYP (just to name a few):

  • Polygon.com: “YouPorn is considering sponsoring a Dota 2 or League of Legends team”
  • Kotaku.com: “YouPorn Now Has An eSports Team”
  • Dailydot.com: “YouPorn’s esports team picks up a Smash player”
  • Gamezone.com: “YouPorn acquires North American Dota 2 eSports team”
  • Escapistmagazine.com: “YouPorn Gets a Firm Grip on eSports With Signing of DOTA 2 Team”

Even non-gaming-focussed online-magazines included TeamYP in there editorials:

  • Cnbc.com: “Porn company to be official sponsor of eSports team”
  • Fortune.com: “Why this porn company has its own eSports team”
  • Wired.co.uk: “Adult site YouPorn sponsors eSports team”
  • Complex.com: “YouPorn May Start Sponsoring eSports Teams”
  • Forbes.com: “YouPorn Is Putting Together Its Own eSports Team”

2. YouPorn managed to get a high level of engagement

As a consequence of this high level of attention and because of the topic itself the engagement of users from social networks like twitter or facebook was tremendous. The initial post from YouPorn in July 2014, for example, had 4.335 retweets and was favored 2.807 times.

3.YouPorn managed to get a high level of applications

While the first two points pretty much implicate a passive consumption of the content, there was an active part as well. Interested teams or players had the opportunity to apply for TeamYP. In this case, the level of engagement was even higher.

4. YouPorn managed to address a product-related target group

Additionally YouPorn succeeded in reaching out to a target group which perfectly fits its product. How is that? (You are invited to draw your own conclusion from the following stats!)

Nuff said.

Outstanding marketing strategy by YouPorn

In conclusion, YouPorn did an amazing job by using eSports as a marketing tool – especially if you consider YouPorn being a product “for adults only” and therefore you have to observe laws like youth protection. Assuming that the investments were quite reasonable, YouPorn managed to get an enormous return on investment while getting a high level of attention and engagement within a target group which implies a low divergence loss. Well done, YouPorn! Great job!

Bonus: Get a free copy of the whitepaper ‘TeamYP by the numbers’ that features stats of twitter, facebook, YouTube and twitch.tv.

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This blog is published by the ENPE Media GmbH, a German marketing and event agency located in Cologne, which focuses on conception, realization and supervision of events and marketing campaigns in eSports.

On this blog we cover marketing-relevant content within the eSports market. Additionally we introduce newcomers to the potentials, structures, risks and features of the eSports market.

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