Marketers have been debating whether influencer marketing or traditional celebrity endorsement campaigns are more effective for their overall marketing and branding strategy, at least since 2015. So far, this debate has been creating interesting insights for both sides. For instance, this study revealed that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after seeing an influencer-made endorsement. On the other hand, this survey showed that celebrity endorsed products, on average, lead to a sales increase of 4%.
At Matchmade, we analyze all gaming-related content on YouTube, and run hundreds of influencer marketing campaigns. Based on our experience, we wanted to share our thoughts on this contested topic by listing the four main reasons why influencer marketing might be the better strategy to adopt for your brand. Do you agree or disagree? — tell us what you think by tweeting or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Futureplay’s amazing art team for the image, which is from Idle Tuber Empire, check the game out on the App Store and Google Play.
Reason #1: Influencers engage with their subscribers on a daily basis
Unlike celebrities (e.g. actors, athletes), social media influencers are famous because of their online presence, and daily interaction with their fans. Aside from YouTube, they build relationships with their viewers on other social media channels, and speak to them the way they would speak to their friends. This is why it doesn’t feel like a paid ad, but a conversation about the latest game or product they have tested, to their viewers when they do make a sponsored video. (Note, we always oblige influencers to clearly communicate if content is sponsored.)
More importantly, influencers, on average, spend between 5 hours to a week (depending on the type of content) on the creation process to ensure they are producing quality videos that their subscribers will enjoy (we’ve asked a handful of our mid-sized influencers for insider info).
It is this type of thoughtful interaction that makes influencer marketing campaigns more effective than celebrity endorsements.
Reason #2: Influencers focus on niche audiences
That’s how they connect and build trust — by producing authentic content that tailors to the needs and wants of their viewers.
Celebrity endorsements, on the other hand, reach a larger mass of people, which means fewer of their followers will find the sponsored product relevant. But, influencers recognise that it is not sustainable to specialise in many areas, or possible to offer the same value to different types of audiences. There are exceptions, but typically gaming YouTubers choose to focus on gaming, an area that they are passionate about, much like beauty influencers focus on beauty products and services. It ensures that their (or a brand’s) message will be delivered to a more specific group of people — viewers who choose to listen to what the influencers have to say about a topic of their own interest.
From time to time, influencers would want to feature something new. When they do, they either separate their content into sections (their main game, and other games they play) or create a different channel. For example, when viewers visit Alvaro845’s channel, they can find different sets of Clash Royale and Clash of Clans videos, as well as his secondary channel that focuses more on mobile games. When they look up Nickatnyte on YouTube, they are able to find his main, and other channel that features videos of his daily life.
Reason #3: Influencers are authentic storytellers with full creative control
As we mentioned in last week’s post, influencers often create the best results when they have full control on the creative front. Creating the most authentic content possible is what draws their viewers to watch their videos and engage with them. As pointed out in this interview, influencers should be allowed to be themselves when creating sponsored content because they understand how to speak to their viewers in the most effective way. Unlike celebrities, they don’t (and prefer not) to relay scripted brand messages — they want to be able to tell stories in the way they know best.
We recommend advertisers to provide a short and clear brief with all the information (i.e. call-to-actions and one-liners) they want the influencers to use but let them be creative in their own way. (For more tips on how to get the most out of influencer marketing, check out this post.)
Reason #4: Influencers are influencers
Another reason why influencers are increasingly popular is that they are relatable. Aside from reviewing games (or other products), many of them share what goes on in their everyday lives. For example, last year, Ninja shared a video of him and his wife, JGhosty, cooking together at home, and this video gained over 5.3 million views. It is because of how transparent they are that their subscribers feel close to them.
As for celebrities, they prefer to keep their personal lives private, which makes their fans feel distant from them. In 2011, there was a rumour circulating around that YouTube offered a list of popular Hollywood personalities (up to) 5 million dollars to start their own YouTube channels as an attempt to expand their partnership network. This plan eventually fell through because, as we speculate that, many of these celebrities probably didn’t have the same drive as influencers to make videos regularly, or let viewers close to their skin.
For more advice on influencer marketing, take a look at these following posts: