The key gaming channels you need to know about in 2018 and how to use them in your upcoming influencer marketing campaigns.
According to Statista, the esports sector generated over $492 million in revenue in 2016 alone, a number that is said to reach $1.48 billion by 2020.
Gamers no longer fit into the stereotypical box that they once did. Today, they’re some of the biggest stars on social media, a fact that has given rise to countless influencer marketing campaigns within the sector.
The gaming space has opened up a whole new way for brands to engage with their target audiences, especially if they’re looking to reach Millennials and Generation Z.
We will cover the basics of gaming influencer campaigns, the key gaming channels that you should be aware of and the types of campaigns that you can run within this space.
Types of gaming influencers
Gaming influencers generally fall into one of two categories:
- Entertainers. While these influencers are avid gamers themselves, they are better known for their entertaining commentary and will generally earn an income from subscriptions and advertising. Entertainers are also referred to as amateur streamers and are skilled at building and growing loyal online communities. Some examples of entertainer influencers in the gaming sector include Markiplier, Lirik, Vanoss and PewDiePie.
- Professionals. Professionals gamers are more serious about gaming and will often stick to a single specialty game with a few reserves in order to grow and maintain their skill levels. Developing an influencer marketing campaign with a semi-professional will generally require a longer time commitment from the influencer and usually involves a partnership with a team. Examples of influencers who fall into the semi-professional category include KuroKy, FormaL, Gorilla and Miracle-.
2018’s Top gaming channels
There are several channels that are proving to be the most popular within the gaming community, including:
With over 2 million streamers and over 100 million unique visitors every month, Twitch is one of the largest live streaming platforms around today.
This highly-interactive platform gives users the opportunity to watch a live game feed while still having a view of the gamer in a smaller window. Twitch’s live public chat functionality also makes this one of the most engaging gaming channels, giving streamers the opportunity to interact with their audience while streaming and playing. Streamers are paid based on number of viewer subscriptions, with many of them making a full-time income from this platform. The average viewer spends around 1.5 hours per day on Twitch.
In 2017, YouTube’s active streamer base grew by 343% and has fast become one of the leading gaming channels on the web. YouTube Gaming gives streamers the opportunity to broadcast their gaming sessions while communicating with their audience at the same time. Streaming is available to both console and PC players but users will need to download software and register in order to do this. YouTube Gaming has seen 9x year on year growth in annual game views.
Gaming influencers are very active on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook but this is more for the purpose of maintaining and growing their online following than streaming games. Social media does, however, provide brands with more opportunities to work with influencers over and above live streaming events.
Gaming influencer marketing campaign ideas
Below are just a few influencer campaign ideas that work well in the gaming sector:
Unboxing or Reviews: Working with a gaming influencer is a great way to launch your product to the gaming sector. Increase brand and product awareness by getting an influencer to showcase or review your product live or via a social media post. Working with an influencer to launch a product helps build trust and credibility and creates excitement. For example, YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger’s review of Samsung’s new gaming monitor received over 4.4 million views, 155,000 likes, and 22,290 comments.
Game Tests: What better way to launch your game than to get someone with a strong following in the gaming sector to test it for you. This type of campaign is ideal for platforms such as Twitch and YouTube as it will create hype and an early demand for your game. It’s best to find an influencer who tends to play games that are similar to yours as this will ensure that you’re reaching the most relevant audience.
Live Events & Launches: By inviting a gaming influencer to experience your brand first hand, you automatically invite their followers to experience it too. Whether they stream live from your event or simply use social media to create more hype around it, this is an incredibly effective way to provide online users with a more engaging brand experience with the help of an influencer that they trust. Be sure to provide your influencer with as many photo and video opportunities as possible. In order to generate hype amongst fans across the globe, Universal Orlando invited 7 key influencers to experience the launch of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, an event that was broadcast across several social media platforms and to millions of followers.
Giveaways: If you’re looking to increase product awareness and create a bit of FOMO amongst your customers, running a competition in conjunction with an influencer is an ideal way to do just that. You can either get an influencer to post photos with a product while promoting the giveaway, or you can even get them to test or review the product live and announce the competition at the end of the video.
Product Placements: Sometimes a subtle product placement can make the biggest impact. A number of different brands have worked with key gaming influencers by getting them to use their product while streaming. This soft marketing tactic helps associate your brand with an influencer who already has a loyal online following, helping to create brand trust and credibility. For example, a fast food or beverage brand could send a meal or products to an influencer that would be consumed or placed in the shot during their live broadcast.
Original Content: What better way to promote your product than by creating original content involving gamers, and made for them? This can be seen among the top level of esports with TSM and Dr Pepper or Faker and Doritos.
Brands that are best suited to gaming influencer campaigns
The brands that would most benefit from running influencer marketing campaigns within the gaming sector fall into one of two categories:
- Endemic Sponsors: These brands are regular sponsors of eSports and generally create products that are used in the production or playing of eSports. Software, tech and energy drinks being prime examples.
- Non-Endemic Sponsors: These brands produce products that don’t have a direct impact on the production or playing of eSports but would still appeal to gamers.
There is quite a noticeable difference in the number of non-endemic and endemic sponsors within the gaming sector but this is mostly due to the lack of understanding of eSports. Many non-endemic sponsors are more knowledgeable about and attracted to mainstream events and teams that receive a lot of media exposure, but the large number of Millennials and Gen Zs is what’s leading more endemic sponsors to pay more attention to eSports.
Overall, gaming is no longer a niche market and is one that offers countless opportunities for brands looking to benefit from influencer marketing campaigns.