8 Common Mistakes Brands Make When Working With Influencers

For this piece, we chatted with Alexander Ruban who is the Growth Team Lead at Wargaming Mobile. He shares some tips and tricks on influencer marketing. Let’s get to it: Marketers are increasing their influencer marketing budgets as an important part of their overall marketing and branding strategy. But, as anyone who works within influencer marketing will tell you, running good campaigns efficiently can be tricky. The other day, Kim Whitler, a former General Manager and CMO of David’s Bridal and Beazer Homes, published an article on Forbes talking about how US companies aren’t focusing enough on building long lasting relationships with the influencers they are working with. At Matchmade, we work closely with both sponsors and influencers, and we wanted to chime in by listing common mistakes we’ve seen many sponsors make. The first 3 in this list are based on Whitler’s article, and the 5 last ones are additional errors we think all influencer marketing folks should be aware of… and avoid. Tell us what you think! Tweet us or email us: hello@matchmade.tv.


  1. Sending generic emails or Twitter direct messages to the influencers you want to work with

Influencers receive over 100 e-mails and Twitter/Instagram direct messages throughout the day, let alone week (we asked some of our mid-sized influencers to estimate their inbound message traffic). That’s why writing a personalised message and showing that you care about them and their channel can really make a difference. Start by tailoring your message according to how you think your game suits their audience and what you can offer them outside of a paid sponsorship (a promotion on your social media channels, cross-promotion, or regular videos, for example). You can even throw in a compliment, and show that you watch their content. Btw, many influencers work through managers and agencies, Matchmade partners with several of them.

  1. Expecting influencers to promote your product (or game, in our case) without letting them try it out first

Under the FTC’s endorsement guidelines that influencers are required to follow, it has become easier for consumers to spot if the influencer’s content is sponsored. It is now even more important to ensure the feedback influencers include in their videos is as authentic as possible. The best way to do this is by letting them test your game before they create the sponsored campaign for you. Authentic content is what ultimately drives people to come back to watch more videos, and most importantly, purchase the game (or product) they feature.

  1. Not being smart when searching for the right influencers

As we have mentioned in one of our previous posts, don’t rush the process of finding influencers. Matching your game with the best and most relevant influencers is what drives the success (or peril) of your campaign. Don’t settle for “okay” — search through YouTube, watch videos again and again until you have found the one. In other words, choosing to work with YouTubers that share similar audiences as your target group is ideal. Finding the right data to guide decision-making is also important (and yes, we can help with that as we analyze over 3M channels on YouTube every few minutes). Alexander Ruban from Wargaming Mobile also warns sponsors to avoid being tricked by the subscriber count of a channel — always base your decision on the view engagement. He says, “their subscribers can be inactive, and it’s easy to fake. The true power of an influencer comes with the constant growth in views for each video, as real users react and engage with the content.” Alexander’s second piece of advice for searching the right influencers is keeping an eye out for multiple geographies: “Thinking that all views should came from one country is a mistake. Advertisers should always check the demographics of the channels, and make sure they’re prepared to reach around 60% of the target views from the main geography. The rest can come from various different regions. For example, if you have a video from the US, there will also be viewers in Canada, UK, Australia and India.”  For tips on how to search and find the best influencers for your game or product, check out this post (or email hello@matchmade.tv).

  1. Starting too small

When you’re just starting out with influencer marketing, it makes sense to want to try working with 1-2 influencers and analyse the results. But, according to Alexander, this is a mistake. “If you run influencer campaigns with, let’s say, 1-2 YouTubers, you are not likely to see any effect from it because it is difficult to measure the results gained from such a small amount. In order to see the true effect of influencer marketing, you have to launch promotion on multiple channels. This way, you can create a cumulative digital impact.” The number of influencers you decide to work with at what level of budgeting really depends on your goals. Check out this post about the 3 KPIs for influencer marketing, and feel free to ping us for some advice: hello@matchmade.tv.

  1. Assuming you know the decision-making criteria of an influencer

Unless the influencers you want to work with have clearly stated how they expect to be paid for doing a sponsored campaign with you, don’t assume what they want — be transparent and ask them. There are many factors influencers consider before they decide whether to make a sponsored post. This includes (but is not limited to) if their audience will like it, if they personally like the game, which game studio created the game, if they have creative freedom for the video, and the amount of money they will receive. For some content creators, they don’t only want a free game — they might ask for more. For some other YouTubers, they might be thinking of a different amount they would like to receive than what you are planning to offer. Keep an open mind and have a chat with them about it.

  1. Not giving influencers creative freedom or writing bad briefs

As pointed out in this interview with some influencers we work with, the best sponsored content on YouTube is created when influencers are allowed to be themselves. Their personality is what makes people watch and subscribe to their videos in the first place. They’ve built their audiences with a lot of work over a long time, and they are experts in what their viewers enjoy to watch. However, giving creative freedom without any briefing is a bad idea. As Alexander from Wargaming Mobile puts it, “writing bad briefs or demanding YouTubers to advertise your products their own way is a mistake. It never works when you just give a bag of money to the YouTubers and ask them to ‘do something and promote my product’ without giving them context. You need to guide them by giving them a feature list, and a specific list of what you want them to talk about.” So, provide clear advice on what the call-to-action is, and send over the one-liner of your game, but let the influencers do what they do best on the creative front. Trust them — they know their viewers, especially when it comes to when they tune in and how to communicate with them effectively.

  1. Not being sophisticated about tracking and metrics

Ultimately, the success of your influencer marketing campaigns depends on how well you define your campaign goals, set up accurate tracking and measure the actual results. We recommend tracking your downloads by teaming up with a 3rd party data partner. (Our platform supports almost all of them.) Don’t forget to estimate the number of organic installs you get in addition to the tracked installs to get the most accurate understanding of what your ROI is. Check out our Advanced Analytics toolset for deeper data dives into influencer marketing performance.

  1. Not giving the influencers enough time to prepare content

We understand that you are working with tight deadlines for game launches and update cycles, and influencer-made sponsored videos are the final pieces you are waiting for. But, the chances are the YouTubers you are working with are also working with other sponsors, and have a content calendar they strictly follow. Be mindful and give the influencers enough time (instead of reaching out to them 2 days before your own deadline) so they can create the best possible content for you. One of the few ways you can do this is by setting deadlines for the first and final versions of the video with the content creator. This way, both parties will know exactly when the videos should be ready, and there will be no rushed production.


For more advice to influencer marketing, check out these posts:

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