Over the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in how video game publishers are marketing new games and bringing them to the market. One of the biggest shifts is the use of Influencer Marketing as a part of the overall video game marketing strategy. Let’s dive in and explore exactly what Influencer Marketing is and how to make it a part of your video game marketing strategy.
#Videogame publishers are turning more and more to #InfluencerMarketing as a part of their marketing strategy. Here’s why!
What started out as an obscure marketing strategy around five years ago, Influencer Marketing has quickly snowballed into a massive industry expected to be worth around $13.8 billion by the end of 2021. This would explain why so many companies, including video game publishers, dedicate a portion of their budget just to this marketing initiative as they look for influencers to advocate for their products.
Social media has become an integral part of everyday life and an effective way for brands to reach new audiences. One way to get in front of your target audience is by creating a relationship with a social media influencer. In fact, according to a 2019 survey by The Influencer marketing Hub, businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing!
But, what is an influencer? How do you get them to speak positively about your game? And if they do, will it be effective?
Let’s take a look at exactly what influencer marketing is and how you can use it to boost the promotion of your next video game.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
According to Wikipedia, “Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole.”
To better understand influencer marketing, think of the idea of celebrity endorsement. Influencer marketing takes that idea and puts it into a modern-day marketing campaign. The difference is that the results of influencer marketing campaigns are from collaborations between influencers and brands.
Brands partner with influencers to increase brand awareness or conversions among their target audience, such as gamers. With gaming influencer relations, publishers or developers can work with influencers to:
- Expand brand and/or product awareness
- Increase their sales
- Drive Steam wishlists
- Spread awareness about their title so more people play
As individuals join multiple platforms, many of them become content creators. They create their own content as they build up a loyal following. Developers and publishers can then tap into that content creators’ following by creating partnerships with them.
Who Are Influencers?
Influencers are people who have built a positive reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic and have built a large community following across their social platforms. Influencers are content creators and regularly post new content around their area of expertise, as their audience looks to them for recommendations to help guide their purchasing decisions.
It’s important for businesses to understand that most influencers have built enthusiastic audiences, which is why audiences typically follow them instead of a brand. Their audience usually cares about the opinion of the influencer, not the brand itself.
In addition to their knowledge, people also look to influencers for entertainment, like with content creators on YouTube or Twitch.
How Influencer Marketing Works
Influencer marketing can be accomplished through a paid sponsorship with an influencer, with the goal of brand endorsement. It can, however, also be achieved organically, meaning an influencer might promote your brand at no cost to you.
A typical influencer marketing campaign contains four steps:
- Developers or publishers connect with relevant influencers
- The influencer creates positive content about their game
- Their audience discovers their game
- Their audience purchases the game and recommends it to their friends
When we speak specifically to video game influencer marketing campaigns, there are a variety of activities that can be included in a campaign, including:
- Playing your game in a Let’s Play video or doing a Livestream
- Reviewing the game on their social media
- Product placements in their content
- Sharing new product launches
- Distributing a coupon code to their audience
There are countless ways to collaborate with an influencer. Being creative and tailoring your initiatives to their audience is a great way to make meaningful connections.
What Effective Influencer Marketing Can Do for Your Video Game
As we discussed, an effective influencer marketing campaign will get you in front of your target audience, increasing your brand’s awareness as you drive conversions. Another benefit of a video game influencer campaign is that there’s a lot of potential for growth in the industry.
There are millions of gamers out there and that number will continue to grow over the years. Getting in front of that ever-growing audience is vital to establishing long-lasting customers for your brand. And, the right audience will continue to interact with your brand and future titles.
Knowing where your target audience gets their information from is important. Many gamers head to their favorite influencer for their thoughts on video games. They trust their opinions and recommendations on what’s going on in the gaming industry and will respond favorably to a message that comes from a person they trust.
Consider that your target audience might not go to major news sites for video game reviews and information. So, even if you can get positive reviews from IGN and other major media outlets, if your target audience doesn’t visit those sites, they won’t see them. That’s the advantage of Influencer Marketing.
5 Things to Consider When Starting an Influencer Marketing Campaign
As the statistics show, an effective Influencer Marketing campaign can have a big payoff for promoting your video game. There are, however, a few things you need to consider before you jump into Influencer Marketing.
Ensure the Influencer Aligns With Your Brand
To ensure success with an influencer marketing campaign, you need to ensure that the influencer’s content aligns with your brand’s overall image. Your company and game might not get as much exposure, reach, or traffic if you and the influencer aren’t a good match.
Make Sure the Influence You Choose is Professional
You can’t control what an influencer does or says. Offensive content could have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. That’s why it’s crucial to work with influencers that continually illustrate maturity and professionalism throughout their content.
Ensure the Influencer’s Following is Organic
An influencer might have a big following, but you need to check that they’re not fake followers. Their followers should’ve been obtained organically and not with a bot. Also, an influencer’s engagement rate is a big giveaway as to whether or not their audience is legitimate, so ask for proof of engagement.
Make Sure You Reach Your Target Audience
Another thing you need to do before choosing an Influencer is research their target audience. The influencer might be a good fit, but if their audience isn’t, then you won’t achieve the results you want. For example, if the influencer’s target audience is 13+ but you’re wanting to target an older audience demographic, then a collaboration with that influencer won’t be fruitful.
Communicate with Your Influencer
Failing to communicate with the influencer you’re partnering with can result in adverse effects. It’s a collaboration between both parties, and the influencer might have some creative ideas that you didn’t think of. If you simply give the influencer a script to follow, their delivery may come across as forced or sometimes robotic. If you do provide talking points but the freedom to put them into their own words, it’ll be more authentic and creative. Influencers are full of creative ideas. You don’t need to have them stick verbatim to a script in order for them to spread awareness about your game.
Partner With UberStrategist for Video Game Influencer Marketing
Video game influencer marketing is a great way to get in front of your target audience by tapping into an influencer’s existing following. Doing your research and collaborating with a relevant influencer will help you accomplish the goals you’ve set out for your game. However, in that same 2019 survey we noted above, 61% of marketers found it difficult to find relevant influencers for their campaign.
At UberStrategist, we work with the top gaming influencers to help create successful Influencer Marketing campaigns for our clients. To learn more about how we can help boost the awareness of your company and game with influencer marketing campaigns, book a discovery call and see how we can help take your video game marketing to a new level!