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Nowadays, the gaming industry has become the new hotspot for influencer marketing. In fact, influencer marketing seems to be transforming the industry as a whole, as a majority of brands are turning to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch to showcase their new games through the power of influencers. With the gaming industry projected to be a $300B industry by 2025 and the influencer marketing industry positioned to become a $10B industry in 2020, it makes sense why the two have recently gone hand-in-hand.
At an unprecedented level, influencer marketing can help gaming brands spread awareness of specific games and even encourage new users to download/install a new game for trial. And, as NeoReach’s 2020 Q2 YouTube Influencer Marketing Global Spend Report shows, the influencer marketing investments the industry has made are continuing to show high returns.
Gaming, YouTube, and Influencer Marketing
Digital creators in the gaming industry have a huge hold over the influencer marketing space. With their dedicated, loyal, and engaged fanbases, it’s clear that gaming influencers aren’t just playing around – they’re here to stay and make profitable unique content. As many social media and marketing experts have pointed out, it seemed that as soon as the influencer marketing industry joined forces with the gaming industry, it was there to stay. This partnership between the two industries has even led to the growth of gaming-focused influencer marketing agencies, such as GameInfluencer.
As a platform, YouTube has had one of the most significant impacts on the gaming industry, especially when it comes to gamers. YouTube made it the norm for gamers to film themselves playing popular games and newly released games for the first time to capture their reactions and experiences. In the gaming community, these videos are referred to as Let’s Play, or LP for short. Ultimately, this clashed with traditional media, as many now call written game reviews outdated. Suddenly, YouTube gave the gaming industry a new way to advertise games, encourage reviews, and draw in user-generated content.
As a visual-heavy industry, the gaming industry thrives on YouTube, as the platform allows potential buyers to see gameplay from their favorite gamers instead of reading a review online. The gaming side of YouTube also evolved to cover gaming news and analysis videos, which were both usually supplied by traditional gaming media. At the expense of gaming media, game publishers and distributors are now looking to give their products to YouTubers to review and produce engaging content.
So far, the benefits of YouTube for gaming companies have paid off. In Q2 of 2020 alone, according to NeoReach, the gaming industry accomplished a reach of 2.1B, which made up for 20% of the total reach for the quarter. While the industry spent $32.4M on sponsored YouTube video content, this content produced 12.4M engagements. To this day, YouTube remains the top platform with high growth results for gaming influencer marketing sponsorships.
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How Twitch Changed the Game
If you can acknowledge YouTube’s impact on the gaming industry, it’s also imperative to acknowledge Twitch, the world’s leading live-streaming platform for gamers. While other streamers focus on anything from music to lifestyle content, gamers are the most popular streamers that account for the majority of views and time users spend on the platform.
With more than 15 million daily active users, Twitch quickly gained the attention of marketers who want to work with top-performing influencers. The difference, however, is that promotions on Twitch are live-streamed. Most often, Twitch streamers that promote specific brands or products will film:
- Shout outs
- Let’s Play
- Product Unboxings
For marketers aiming to reach Gen Z and Millennials, Twitch is a fantastic platform. Not only are more and more female streamers joining the platform, but the age of users remains relatively young, with 73% of Twitch users aged 16-34. Plus, the gaming community is a wildly diverse and segmented group, so virtually any target audience will be represented.
NeoReach’s Work with Gaming Brands
With NeoReach’s focus on full-service influencer marketing, we’ve applied our data-backed strategies, influencer sourcing, and performance reporting methods to various top-tier brand campaigns. More recently, we’ve worked with top gaming brands, such as Nvidia, to provide them with instant access to top-performing niche influencers that we hand chose for their campaigns.
By launching strategies derived from data, including competitor audits, audience demographics matching, and platform-specific insights, NeoReach matches gaming brands with the perfect influencers for their campaigns. Then, with the right influencers selected, our team manages the entire process including introduction, contract negotiation, deployment, shipping, and payments. To judge the success of the influencer-pushed campaign, NeoReach also analyzes influencer performance, social channels, types of content, and the audiences who performed the best.
Game Campaign Findings: Marketing on Social Media
As reported in the Q2 report, when it comes to campaigns, gaming sponsored videos often favor branding and awareness or downloads and installs as desired goals. The content for these campaigns usually follows the industry trend with the majority of influencer videos featuring integrated content. However, some campaigns produce better performing results than others. Let’s break them down.
Epic Games is an American video game and software developer known for games such as Fortnite and Gears of War. As a brand, Epic Games believes that influencers are one of the main discovery engines for their games, allowing these creators to inspire millions of other people to play. Because of this, Epic Games is consistently one of the largest YouTube spenders in the gaming category, most recently spending top dollar to activate 23 influencers that promoted their games by filming themselves playing and providing tips. They partnered with gamers such as:
Overall, this specific Epic Games campaign drew in $14.7M in IMV, 112.5M impressions, and 5.6M engagements on YouTube. In January 2020, when the first videos for the campaign were posted, it was reported that Epic Gamed amassed 108 million registered users on their store and generated $680 million in revenue. By June 2020, after the campaign video content finished posting, the revenue for 2020 grew to be forecasted at $5 billion, proving that influencer marketing brings in long-lasting results.
Back in 2012, when Hitman first launched, using social media as a marketing tool was a relatively new development. As a result, Square Enix, the developer behind Hitman, didn’t account for the fact that some strategies could be in bad taste. To market the game in which users play as an assassin, the marketing team created an app where people could hire a hitman to “kill” their Facebook friends. Of course, this ended up being extremely controversial.
The takeaway? Your marketing strategies don’t need to model your game. Also, the game drew criticism for its use of offensive language and descriptions to identify Facebook users by their physical features. Hopefully, this example serves as a reminder that while gaming seems to be a male-driven community, your campaigns should still relate to and address women and minorities respectfully.
By working with top-performing influencers that reach millions of gamers around the world, the gaming industry is achieving incredible results. If the traditional gaming media chooses not to adapt to modern digital consumption, platforms like YouTube and Twitch will only continue to thrive. As more and more gaming brands break into the influencer marketing space, the momentum behind this powerful duo of industries shows no signs of stopping.