One of the most common myths we hear about creator marketing is that it doesn’t scale and that it is not well suited for user acquisition.
Sadly, this is true for many advertisers. A lot of players in the influencer marketing industry are doing things in an outdated, manual and inefficient way, reaching out to creators one by one or using tools not built with scaling in mind, and this is hurting advertiser performance.
The important thing is to stop doing things in this way and embrace more modern, scalable solutions. It is the only way to succeed in today’s competitive user acquisition environment where user acquisition costs and investments into creator sponsorships keep rising.
To help you get started, this blog post covers four of the biggest mistakes gaming advertisers are making in creator marketing and how you can fix them to make creators one of your most important user acquisition channels.
Mistake 1: Assuming creator marketing doesn’t work for user acquisition as well as social and search ads do
This is a common misconception as the traditional, mostly manual way of doing influencer marketing is inefficient and relies too much on using a few big creators at a time (who may or may not perform). The result is inconsistent performance and the inability to run campaigns consistently because you need to resort to bigger pushes on an uneven schedule.
When done in the right way, leveraging the right automation, creator marketing is one the most powerful user acquisition methods. A testament to this is the fact that it is already the fastest growing digital marketing channel (42% YoY growth vs. 29% for digital as a whole) so the time to start using it is now.
In terms of performance, creator campaigns typically generate less direct (click-through) conversions and much more organic uplift than paid ads (as you usually can’t measure view-through conversions). You can read more about measuring organic uplift here, but the main thing is that especially once you account for organic uplift, creator campaigns can bring stellar performance.
Creator marketing can be an excellent user acquisition method because creators have engaged audiences interested in specific subjects such as gaming so you can efficiently reach a very large, high-quality audience. A great example of this can be seen in our case study with Nordeus where we helped them acquire more than 35,000 high-quality users cost-effectively, with minimal manual work required.
Using the right influencer marketing platform like Matchmade can also reduce the time needed to create and launch a campaign considerably. This enables performance-friendly approaches similar to search and social such as always-on strategies and creative A/B testing.
User acquisition costs from paid ads are rising rapidly due to existing and upcoming tracking restrictions. With Apple’s tracking limitations, and similar restrictions on the way from Google, running successful user acquisition campaigns using online ads is becoming ever more difficult.
Successful mobile game advertisers should invest in new acquisition channels like creator marketing now to start generating learnings about what works and scales.
Mistake 2: Relying on influencer marketing agencies to help you scale user acquisition
While influencer agencies can help with user acquisition, especially when you are just starting out with influencer marketing, the reality is that the only thing many influencer agencies offer are:
1) Access to a limited number of creators
2) People to do the manual job of contracts, creator communication, etc. for you
3) Some reporting after the campaign has run
This will not scale in the long term, especially if you operate in more than one country (which most mobile games do). While it can work great in the beginning, there is a high risk that you ultimately end up working with a limited number of creators from a specific agency’s roster while you are charged hours of manual work (with hefty commissions on top).
On top of this, to reach all of your key markets you often need to work with several different agencies in different countries, which again increases the overhead of managing them.
The traditional influencer agency model is not the way to go if you want to make creators a user acquisition channel with meaningful scale. The far better strategy is to look for a partner like Matchmade that helps you make influencer efforts more automated, efficient, and repeatable.
(And yes, we are fully aware of the irony that we recently won the Influencer Marketing Agency of the Year award, but we think it goes a long way to show how Matchmade is changing the industry for the better).
Mistake 3: Thinking all influencer marketing platforms are created (roughly) equal
This misconception surfaces very often. There are several software programs that categorize themselves as “influencer marketing platforms” but it is very hard to compare their real capabilities, at least based on their websites and marketing efforts.
While it is true that most of them share similar features and functionality, there is a massive difference between the more capable, true creator marketing platforms like Matchmade vs. the rest.
We’d even go as far as to argue that most influencer platforms aren’t actually marketing platforms at all. In fact, many are nothing more than glorified “mini-CRMs” prefilled with creator contact information and audience data – with some messaging capabilities slapped on top.
To better understand this statement, let’s look at what kind of capabilities people typically look for in any kind of marketing software platform.
1) Automation that helps you do things more efficiently: You want to reduce time spent on manual tasks, do things at a bigger scale with the same amount of time and resources, and generally speaking free up time for the more valuable activities such as strategy and testing new things.
2) Integrations that allow you move data to and from your other systems: You want to be able to track conversions generated through the platform in your own analytics system (such as a Mobile Measurement Partner). You also need to be able to create individualized tracking links to separate the performance of different ads, creators, or content pieces.
3) Reliability & consistent performance: The software needs to help you achieve things consistently – for example efficiently managing an always on campaign or quickly launching a new one when needed. In the case of issues, you need support so errors can be fixed quickly.
Based on these three simple criteria, most solutions positioning themselves as influencer marketing software don’t actually fill these criteria (or only do it partially).
Most influencer software might let you find and contact creators more easily, but they only do the bare minimum to help you automate and scale the entire influencer process so it actually becomes a meaningful user acquisition medium (e.g. pricing, contracts, negotiations, and more).
So when you are looking for a creator marketing platform, ask yourself: does this really help me make things better or am I just buying a contact list with some nice looking UI?
How is Matchmade different?
This is why we built Matchmade, a true creator marketing platform that turns your creator marketing into a scalable user acquisition channel by letting you hire hundreds (or even thousands) of influencers of all sizes with the right audience at the right price within hours, not weeks.
Our goal is to make creator marketing predictable, scalable and repeatable. For example, we find and hire the best creators for each advertiser based on data, taking zero time from the advertiser. There are no lists that need to be reviewed, our system automatically finds the creators with the audiences that are most important to you.
Contracts are also handled automatically so no time is wasted on manual contract management.
Creator pricing is done automatically based on forecasts and parameters such as demographic data. This means there is no manual negotiation, and the advertiser can be confident they are paying for the key audiences that matter the most.
We even take care of the creator communication, so the advertiser doesn’t have to worry about things like troubleshooting or promptly answering questions that creators might have. We also handle the payouts so the advertiser does not have to go through the hassle of collecting payment information and paying every creator separately, they simply need to pay us one invoice.
Furthermore, our platform automatically provides each influencer with a unique tracking code, and integrates with all of the biggest measurement providers, so the customer can use their own tracking & attribution to determine which campaigns and creators are performing the best.
Mistake 4: Thinking that big creators are the best way to acquire new users for your game
While working with big creators can work well, most gaming advertisers are making a big mistake by not working with smaller creators as well. The most common reason for doing this is resource constraints. When you are managing creators manually (either in-house or with an agency), it is simply too time-consuming and expensive to work with hundreds at a time.
This can luckily be fixed by leveraging the right technology platform like Matchmade, but why should you work with creators of all sizes?
– More reach: ~99% of all creators are midsize or smaller and they generate 65% of all social media views
– Follower count does not actually predict the average views a creator generates: Influencer size is often evaluated based on follower counts, but it doesn’t actually correlate strongly with average views per video. Creators with smaller follower numbers can end up generating many more views in the aggregate (especially if there are videos that end up going viral).
– Smaller creators have more engaged audiences: On average their content gets 1.5 – 2X engagement vs. big creators.
– Smaller creators are more cost effective: Based on our internal data about the best-performing sponsorships (based on cost per install), the lowest cost per conversion is typically achieved with sponsorships costing around 300–400 USD. Working with creators of this size requires automation so you can efficiently hire as many as possible.
You’ll of course still need creators of different sizes to generate sufficient volumes of conversions, but these numbers prove that smaller creators should not be ignored.
Matchmade’s network of more than 15,000 creators of all sizes generates more than 5 billion views per month so we can handle campaigns at almost any scale required. We’ve already paid creators more than 10M dollars for sponsorships, so we have seen first hand how advertisers get meaningful results by working with creators of all sizes, not just the big names.
So there you have it, four big mistakes you might be making in your creator marketing efforts. While some of them might be partially true, leveraging a modern creator marketing platform like Matchmade for your user acquisition efforts can help make your influencer marketing far more efficient and scalable while bringing meaningful results.
If you are interested in learning more about how creator marketing can help your user acquisitions efforts, check out our latest post on how players discover games in 2022 or get in touch with our team to see how we could help you.
P.S. At the time of writing this article, our team is busy preparing for Gamescom 2022. If you are attending and are interested in learning more about our offering, we’d love to hear from you!