A Game of True Influence

Video games are spearheading the cultural sector, and gaming influencers have become social media royalty of the digital era, amassing millions of views on their respective channels.

Persons of Interest in Gaming

Influencer marketing has reached almost every industry and gaming is no exception. Twitch (the world’s largest live streaming platform), YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming provide the biggest stages for gaming influencers, with members streaming themselves and being paid big money to do so. With 48% of gamers admitting they prefer watching gaming videos to playing them, there’s a strong case for gaming studios to include influencers in their marketing strategy.

Since it became a professional discipline in 1997, e-sports have gone from strength to strength, today followed by millions of viewers on Twitch, the number 1 streaming platform for video games. Whether they are YouTubers or professional gamers, gaming influencers have a growing impact on their communities. Some of them have become real marketing assets for video game developers and distributors, as they increasingly turn to influencers’ services.

As we already know, nurturing leads is one of the most important aspects of both inbound and outbound marketing. This is precisely what influencers are doing by engaging with their audience, making them an excellent investment for every business. The latest influencer marketing trend that video game developers can and often use to promote their games are the “Let’s Play” videos. In a nutshell, these videos are the new and modern take on game reviews.

They have nearly completely replaced the outdated written game reviews; they present the audience with a new and exciting way to find a game to play. After all, graphics, sound effects and music, and an immersive storyline are something that’s rather hard to portray with text alone. Most often, video game developers would reach out to influencers and offer them a chance to try and test their alpha/beta version of the game. The influencers would then simply play that game, voice their opinion, and suggest possible improvements while simultaneously providing viewers with a great insight into the upcoming title.

As we mentioned earlier, gamers follow influencers for a reason, and one of the most obvious ones is that they enjoy the content the influencer’s creating. In other words, they enjoy the type of games the influencer covers on their channel — but also the influencer’s personality, gameplay style, and commenting. This is extremely important to take into consideration because it allows video game developers to create a strategy that will increase the effectiveness of their campaign by choosing the right influencer to promote it.

After all, your goal as a marketer in the gaming industry shouldn’t be to reach as many users but to ensure that the right content reaches the right audience. Based on the latest data, most gamers are 18 to 34 years old. However, statistics also show that gamers belong to all age groups, genders, and ethnicities. In other words, gamers are just like influencers and, while some of them enjoy exploring new titles and genres, others prefer sticking to a specific type of games.

Getting to know your audience is also relevant if you plan to promote your brand via ads or sponsored videos, which are two other popular influencer marketing trends on YouTube.

We all know that ads are skippable, but deliver the right ad to the right person, and you have a potential qualified lead. As far as sponsored videos go, brands in this scenario can simply make a deal with an influencer who will then dedicate a segment of their video, or an entire video, to just talking about a certain product or game.

No matter which route you take, YouTube is undoubtedly an excellent platform for businesses in the gaming industry to promote their brand and drive sales — and the platform’s numbers are an excellent testament to that.

How to Connect Everyone?

Even though it’s gone mainstream, many marketers still find it tough to connect with people. But it’s not as complex as you think. Instead of looking for new-fangled ways of engaging people, you just need to leverage what we already know about modern marketing. By looking at four key reasons for the growth of the gaming industry, we can see parallels with the growth of digital marketing as a whole. Once you understand this correlation, it’s much easier to tap into the potential of the gaming industry.

We Live in a Mobile World

Just consider these stats:

Mobile games contribute 51% of the entire global revenue from the gaming industry. (Go Globe)
Mobile gaming industry revenue is higher than the GDP of Costa Rica. (MediaKix)
US gamers aged 18-35 play mobile games for 48 minutes every day. (Variety)
This is a massive, readily engaged market for companies to target. By pairing up with a gaming influencer that is relevant to your brand and products, you can quickly build brand awareness and boost leads.

The perfect example is the game, Brawl Stars. The creators, Supercell, teamed up with 10 influencers to promote the game pre-launch, helping them acquire 5 million registrations after announcing the release date. Since then, the game has been covered by many other influencers and is now the most played mobile game on YouTube.

Women are gaming more than ever

Today, 45% of gamers are women and girls. In fact, the most avid mobile gamers are middle-aged women. How’s that for a paradigm shift?

For brands who want to start marketing in the gaming industry, this is great news. The massive numbers of Gen Xers and Millennials online offer companies partnerships with people who actually have disposable income.

While many male gamers gravitate towards battle games and car racing, companies who align themselves with women’s interests may find partnerships that come with a more diverse audience.

Visual Content is Key

The rise of video marketing goes hand-in-hand with the growth of the gaming industry. Video content gets more engagement and influences more consumers. Studies from Smart Insights assert that video content will account for 78% of all the data traffic in the world in 2019.

As for the effect of video in the gaming industry, we need only look at YouTube, where six out of the top ten channels are related to gaming.

But they aren’t just watching anybody – they want to watch gaming influencers in action. Gamers can follow top influencers to learn tips, discover new games, and fall deeper in love with their greatest obsession.

The undisputed kingpin is a Swedish gamer, Felix Kjellberg, who goes by the moniker, PewDiePie. Despite some unfortunate racial slurs that cost him a partnership with Disney, his 90-million-strong following continue to tune in for his videos.

Cloud Computing puts Gamers in the Sky

When Amazon swooped in and acquired Twitch for a cool $970 million in 2014, many wondered how the gaming platform would fit into Jeff Bezos’ plans for world domination. As the cloud computing market has since blossomed, the answer became obvious.

After buying Twitch, Bezos launched Amazon Web Services in a clear statement of intent, but Amazon is certainly not in an echo chamber. Rival digital giants have joined the fray, causing massive disruption to the traditional gaming console space once monopolized by Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

Microsoft is now working on their cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, which is set to follow hot on the heels of Google’s Project Stream that came out in 2018.

Cloud gaming has steadily become a juggernaut, with the global sensation Fortnite being instrumental in the explosion of the online gaming industry. The cross-platform battle royale game is the product of Chinese company, Tencent, and it rapidly captured the imagination of the world in 2018, as well as most of the market with a whopping $3 billion digital revenue.

The Final Thought

For a gaming influencer, streaming live content is an important part of the job. As such, the continuing growth of cloud services will pave the way for many lucrative partnerships and promotions in the years ahead.

Fortnite is a global phenom because it broke the mould. Not only is it available on all platforms, but it took the age-old formula of the traditional fighting game and ripped it to shreds, choosing to create diverse, relatable characters instead of a stereotypical bunch of testosterone-filled action heroes.

Women are in love with games now because of moves like this, and they have plenty of strong female gaming influencers to be inspired by, such as SSSniperWolf, who has 9 million followers, and iHasCupquake, who has accrued over 2 billion video views.

Marketers are trained to go niche, but marketing in the gaming industry involves everyone. By crafting a more inclusive, welcoming brand identity, you will attract more attention, and foster greater trust with people. And who better to help you do that than gaming influencers? The traditional champions of the misfits.

If you can partner with the right influencer, you can move your brand up a few levels, and unlock a ton of bonuses along the way.