Amazing Facts Every Marketer Should Know About Fortnite


By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Even if you’re not familiar with the video game Fortnite, you’ve likely seen their dancing video game characters in media images, on children’s T-shirts, or on television. Netflix recently announced that its number one competitor is no longer HBO, it’s Fortnite!

Fortnite’s most significant achievement may be the role it has come to play in the lives of millions. For these players, Fortnite has become a daily social square – a digital mall or virtual after school meetup that spans neighborhoods, cities, countries and continents. This role is powered by Fortnite’s free availability, robust voice chat, cross-platform functionality, and collaborative gameplay.

As marketers, it’s important to keep abreast of trends, so here are the four most important things to know about this video game sensation:

Just what is Fortnite anyway?

Fortnite is a free video game that can be played on PCs, Macs, PlayStation, Xbox, Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. It has reached such popularity that it has become ubiquitous in youth culture, and is even a major source of new baby names in 2018.

First released in 2017, Wikipedia credits the game with having over 125 million players in its first year, though 200 million is the number most widely cited. Its creator, Epic Games, which was previously valued at $1 billion dollars, is now a $15 billion company.

Fortnite is a social network

The Verge calls Fortnite 2018’s most important social network. Going even further, this Axios post discusses many different ways in which the game is a social network, citing Common Sense Media statistics on teen use of the game, including the startling numbers that one out of two teens cites Fortnite as a way that they keep tabs on their friends, and that 39% even connect with their siblings through it.

It should also be noted that Fortnite has influenced dance culture. Players can purchase or unlock dance moves to show off in the virtual community. But these dance moves may have been taken from famous dancers.  Other people insist that the game has given back to the dancing community. It largely depends on who you ask.

Fortnite is making money. Lots of it.

Some numbers: more than 200 million registered users, and approaching a $96 average revenue per active user, which blows Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snapchat at a combined $57, out of the water.

(By my calculations League of Legends, another popular game, made around $26 per user, for a more like comparison.)

And in 2018 nearly 2/3 of Epic Game’s $3 billion revenue came from Fortnite. $2 billion isn’t exactly a small number.

Fortnite is changing international trade

In mid-January 2019 Bloomberg produced an analysis of how the trade of Fortnite in-game digital assets (“skins”) is changing global finance. These skins have become a near-instantly transferred form of currency.

Bloomberg goes so far as to suggest that governments will attempt to stifle this trade or that blue-collar workers could rise against these forces! That might be taking the whole idea a little too far. Still, there is no doubt that the game is changing the face of international monetary transfers.

Who needs Bitcoin when you have Fortnite?

How does this affect marketers?

Fortnite is a free game without advertising. While brands as large as Nike might be able to wrangle product placement with Epic Games, the average company’s marketing budget will likely not allow them to use Fortnite as an advertising medium.

But that isn’t to say that nothing can be learned from the popularity of this game. In fact, there are two main things we should glean from this viral phenomenon.

First, make it fun. People are drawn to Fortnite because they can interact with friends and have a good time. If you can make your app or product social or engaging, do it!

Second, advertising as we know it is dying. If you want to know more about this, Mark’s book Marketing Rebellion is 318 pages of hard proof, but Fornite is also an excellent example of how people are eschewing traditional marketing for a sense of belonging. The “skins” for sale within the game are forms of tribal identifiers and self-expression amongst peers.

But don’t just take my word for it — go pick up a controller! If your spouse asks why you’re playing video games instead of doing the dishes, blame me. You’re doing research!

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr sells and runs social media at Duncan Hyundai in Christiansburg, Virginia as well as consulting for small brands and startups. Kiki enjoys absorbing the tech scene and current trends. You can contact her easily through Twitter.


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