eSports Influencer Marketing: launching with an eSports agency

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How can specialized eSports marketing agencies help you create a successful influencer marketing campaign?

As you may know, the eSports industry has successfully grown over the last years. And this expansion will not stop soon. According to Statista, the global eSports market was worth 655 million U.S. dollars in 2017. By 2021, this figure is said to reach 1.65 billion U.S. dollars.

eSports market revenue worldwide from 2012 to 2021

Twitch is the main actor of this growth and success. Today it is one of the leading live streaming platforms worldwide. On this social media; users can watch their favorite gamers broadcasting live game feed and interact with them through live chats. Twitch streamers are paid according to their number of viewer subscriptions. In 2017, more than 2 million eSports players streamed their live games and the platform attracted more than 100 million unique viewers monthly. Check out our post on mastering Twitch influencers to get a better view of the platform and its players. 

eSports industry is more than online competitions and live gaming; it triggers huge opportunities for brands and their marketing development. But how to invest in eSports?

Marketing agencies specialized in eSports have the answer. Thanks to their database and in-depth knowledge of the eSports market; eSports agencies facilitate influencer marketing activities and develop partnerships with top-notch Twitch streamers.

What marketing activities eSports agencies facilitate?

eSports marketing agencies work with video games brands (game developing companies); as well as with traditional brands that develop products and services that appeal to gamers.

Endemic activities

  • Cross-channel influencer marketing campaigns

To get the best out of a campaign, specialized marketing agencies make sure to use all channels of your chosen influencers. Twitch streamers also have important communities outside of gaming platforms. They are present on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. For example, Ninja; the biggest player on Twitch; has more than 10 million followers on Instagram.

eSports agencies manage cross-channel campaigns on every platform as well as on more traditional media; multi-channel management helps to reach more audience and develop a bigger interest for brands.

  • Game launchings

When it comes to game launchings; video game companies can get really creative. The launching of Grand Theft Auto V is a good example of how brands can become marketing masters when it comes to launching. A tweet with a link to a website for Grand Theft Auto V marked the beginning of the campaign. It was then followed by a trailer; street art and billboards in New York and all over the USA. The day of the release; which was one year after the first tweet, the game earned 800 million US dollars.

Combining creative marketing campaigns with eSports influencer marketing campaigns increases reach and interest.  Marketing agencies make the liaison between brands launching new games and influencers ready to test and recommend them to their audience. Twitch streamers have loyal followers who will likely show an interest in the product that their streaming superstar references.

On TBS, Conan O’Brien in his show “Clueless Gamer” invites famous people to try new games. It drives awareness and interest in video games; even for those who are new to the scene.  Using humor, these paid partnerships are an efficient and interesting marketing activity for video game brands.

eSports marketing agencies help find creative and innovative paid partnerships for game launches that promote and raise hype for their release.

  • Promoting game competitions

To increase awareness for smaller developer games and studios; brands can organize game competitions. These events gather streamers of all sizes; including gaming teams and spectators. With prizes and animations; competitions are highly attractive for players. eSports agencies provide help to promote these events through influencer marketing campaigns. Connecting brands and influencers willing to participate in the competition and to promote it; agencies help raise interest and create an audience for the event and the brand.

In 2018, Pokémon organized their World Championships in Nashville, in the US. Their invitation-only event gathered players from all around the world and was streamed on Twitch all weekend long. They live broadcasted 4 different division competitions; along with opening and closing ceremonies. To attract more spectators; all of them could play Pokémon games with friends and had exclusive access to their new game before it launched.

Epic Games; the creator and developer of Fortnite; also organize important competitions that take place throughout the year. Their 2018 Fall event will be held for 6 weeks. The brand offers a total prize of 10 million US dollars to different winners. The event will attract all Fortnite personalities and their fan base. For 6 weeks, streamers will compete in teams; in a duo or in solo mode in different divisions and events. Through this event; the game developer will gather thousands of spectators and raise even more interest for its game, Fortnite.

These events and competitions can be easily promoted by eSports marketing agencies through partnerships with Twitch streamers and creative influencer marketing campaigns.

  • Campaigns to refresh games

Video game companies know the struggle of having games declining in popularity. The story of Rainbow Six Siege can give them hope when confronting this issue.

In 2008; the franchise Rainbow Six was seen as the new entrant in the market and everybody forecasted its expansion. Defying all previsions; the game knew an 8-year gap and the release of an updated version in 2011 didn’t work. Ubisoft (the game developer); released its new version of the franchise in 2014 and this time everything was different. They added different features and focus on a multiplayer mode. Rainbow Six Siege has now one of the biggest Twitch followings.

eSports marketing agencies can help brands refresh games with influencer marketing campaigns. Agencies offer interested gamers to stream while they are testing games losing popularity. Their authentic feedback and interest from the game will drive their followers to try the game. By developing partnerships with relevant influencers; agencies can trigger a new interest in games lacking popularity and create new trends.

Non-endemic activities: Traditional brands

  • Sponsoring partnerships with influencers to promote products/services/brands

Even if the gaming and eSports industry can look like a closed world for uninitiated people; it offers a lot of opportunities when it comes to advertising and marketing. Sponsoring partnerships is one of the biggest opportunities for brands and marketers. Twitch and other eSports platforms trigger an enormous audience. Besides, eSports followers are highly supportive and loyal to their streamers. As live streams are long and unfiltered; game influencers are seen as highly trustworthy.

Users are also extremely opened to sponsored content and eSports sponsors. 82% of them think that they are good for the eSports industry.

Many Twitch streamers developed gaming sponsorships with non-gaming brands.

KFC has developed a partnership with DrLupo Twitch streamer. DrLupo used to be part of the same gaming team than Ninja. He has now more than 2 million followers. The brand partnered with him to promote its chicken wings through his live channel. For the campaign; DrLupo teamed up with Anthony Kongphan, to play Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. While they played, they organized a live stream contest. Every time the duo was winning a game round; users had to write “winner winner” to win KFC gift cards. This sponsorship gave a positive image of KFC to users and create more interest for the brand.

Many other international brands; such as Red Bull, understood marketing opportunities created by the eSports industry and are sponsoring different players to create brand interest and recognition.

Specialized marketing agencies, with their knowledge of the industry, creates a bridge between traditional brands and game streamers; this enables companies to expand their marketing opportunities.

  • Identification and management of specific eSports teams/partnerships

A big part of the eSports industry is, of course, competitions and teams. Every year, prize pools are becoming more important within eSports. These competitions and teams represent huge opportunities for traditional brands as they are followed by millions of viewers throughout the year.

With the success of these competitions; gaming teams are getting very organized and well-known. The top teams are popular all over the world and win staggering prizes every year.

According to Business Insider, the top eSports teams of 2018 are:

  1. Team Liquid: they won the International 7 of Dota in 2017 and earned a total of more than 18 million US dollars for all their competitions.
  2. Evil Geniuses: focusing on fighting games, they played 685 tournaments and earned more than 16 million US dollars in prizes.
  3. Newbee: this Chinese team set up in 2014 a world record for biggest prize money by winning 5 million US dollars at the International 2014.
  4. LGD gaming: sponsored by a Chinese company earned more than 10 million US dollars in competitions.
  5. Wings gaming: they won more than 9 million US dollars at the International 2016 and were nominated in the best non-Olympic athlete category in China which was a first in history.
  6. Fnatic: this team is considered one the best in the world as they have the record of most League of Legends titles won.
  7. Sk Telecom T1: sponsored by a South-Korean brand, they won more than 8 million US dollars in prizes.

Most of these worldwide teams are named after their sponsor. eSports team sponsors are usually traditional brands. Through these sponsorships, they increased their brand recognition and develop a positive image within a huge community of gamers.

eSports marketing agencies connect gaming teams with brands to create successful partnerships.

  • Sponsoring eSports tournaments

As mentioned earlier; eSports competitions and tournaments are big business in the eSports industry. Sponsoring gaming teams or individual players creates important marketing advantages for brands. Companies can also sponsor events and tournaments.

As competitions are highly followed through live streaming on eSports platforms; even on more traditional media (such as ESPN); brands can reach millions of consumers in very little time.

One outstanding competition sponsorship is the partnership between Mercedes and ESL (Electronic Sports League). This sponsorship, announced in August 2017; included displaying of Mercedes logo, advertising spots, and cars in ESL tournaments. The ESL One in Hamburg in October 2017 attracted around 10,000 spectators in the arena and millions of viewers watched through live streaming on TV and eSports platforms.

Specialised marketing agencies help traditional brands in every industry to sponsor big eSports events; these tournaments and competitions enhance their brand image and create social media reaction within the gaming community.  These agencies can connect brands with millions of consumers through one event.

Who are the trending Twitch streamers to work with?

esports Twitch

eSports agencies connect brands with top-notch gaming influencers to deliver a high-quality campaign and reach an authentic and loyal audience. As game streamers popularity is changing rapidly and can grow in a few months, these eSports marketing agencies link brands with up-to-date trending eSports influencers. As a liaison between players and brands, agencies also choose influencers fitting brands values and needs for the campaign.

Gaming influencers are now popular not only on gaming platforms but also in more traditional media and social media. Ninja, the most followed player on Twitch became, this month, the first professional gamer to be displayed on the cover of ESPN Magazine.

Twitch gamers which are for a large majority male players, also include female Twitch streamers. KittyPlays and LegendaryLea are part of the top female Twitch female players and attract every day thousands of viewers.

For more information, this article will give you top Twitch players.

As one of the fastest growing platforms for live video streaming, Twitch is the new frontier for brands to communicate in an authentic way to their customers. Twitch streamers have highly loyal followers that will develop a true interest for brands they support. These are just some examples of how a brand can communicate but there are many more! Creative and innovative influencer marketing campaigns are developed all the time. eSports marketing agencies can help connect brands to the Twitch and eSports community to receive outstanding results. eSports industry has a lot at stakes, make sure not to miss opportunities! 

Jumpstart your Twitch Influencer Strategy with our how-to guide.

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