Influencers are increasingly holding sway over the performance of games on any given week, and players these days can’t get enough of their zany content. And it’s not surprising that titles like Apex Legends and Brawl Stars owe a large part of their appeal to well-executed influencer strategies. With that in mind, how can developers not only find social media influencers, but also position their game so they’ll be lining up to review it?
So in this post, we let you in on some of the best-kept secrets in how to entice influencers (especially the ones on YouTube and Twitch) to help you make a success of your new release.
First things first – the fundamentals
Before you start reaching out to influencers, we recommend you to hash out your expectations and goals for your influencer marketing strategy. Having these few bits ironed out at the beginning of your search will give you an idea of what type of influencers to look out for, and make it easier for you to negotiate deals with them after.
Here are a few things to ask yourself before you get started (you can use this as a checklist):
- Genre – What genre is your game? Are there any influencers you’ve already come across that are creating content on other games in the same genre?
- Audience – Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach? Stuff like age, gender, location, gamer type etc.
- Objectives – What are you trying to achieve through influencer marketing? Do you want to raise awareness? Get installs? Build a community? Reach new geos?
- Timeline – When is the deadline you need to meet? How long do you expect the outreach and negotiation process will take? Do you need time to review the video beforehand?
Influencers – identifying the right ones for your game
After defining the basics of your influencer marketing efforts comes the most time-consuming part: finding the right influencers for your game. And as a rule of thumb (and to avoid finding any ol’ influencer and saying ‘they’ll do’) you’ll need to have that nifty objective in mind.
So here’s some advice that can help guide you through your search:
- Compatibility – Seek influencers who share the same audience as you. Look at where they are based, the type of language they use, and ask yourself if it’s relevant to your game.
- Number of views over subscriber count – Compared to subscriber count, viewership is a far more useful metric to measure the results of your videos. Who knows, they may have a ton of subscribers but barely any viewers. No’ of views is also more predictable based on historical data. For example, the average 30-day views gives you a good idea of the views your video might get.
- Engagement rate is important – This is also an important metric to consider. Yes, they may have a super high viewership, but if they’re getting less than 1% engagement on those videos, then it’s safe to say they have little to none influence over their audience.
- Relevancy – ‘I have a match3 game, so I need to look for other match3 games’. No, it’s not that simple. Instead, think about the audience group of your game. If your game is targeting 18-25-year-olds, then what other games (or media) could potentially have that similar age group? Always make sure the content of the influencers you choose match your game. Obviously, if you can find a game that is super popular on YouTube and is similar to your title, then great! But the reality is that rarely happens.
- Experiment – If something worked for you 3-6 months ago, it doesn’t mean that it will keep working. Keep experimenting. Even after you think you’ve found the best channel/promotion type. Influencer trends change fast, and if you want to use influencer marketing to promote your game, then it’s your job to keep up with them.
Influencers are people too – so show that you care
Remember, influencers are people who are passionate about producing content that their audience enjoys. Many of them would even reject sponsorship offers if they know that their audience won’t like the game they’ll be featuring.
So, if you feel like you’ve found an influencer who shares the same niche as your title, show that you actually care about their channel, and consider the following before reaching out:
- Avoid assuming you know what the influencers want – There are many factors influencers consider before they will do a sponsored campaign. This ranges from whether:
- their audience will like it,
- they personally like the game,
- which game studio created the game,
- if they have creative freedom for the video,
- how much they’ll get paid, and
- how co-operative you are. Often an influencer will just drop out of the deal if they find it difficult to communicate with you or your advertiser.
- Remind yourself that it’s a two-way street – Don’t expect they will immediately agree to work with you.. because the chances are, they might not. Ask yourself what’s in it for them. For example, does your game actually resonate with their audience or help them in any way? If it does, how? Give them a reason to work with you. This can be an exclusive play through before anyone else, monetary reward, or in rare awesome cases, just an awesome game that they are excited about.
Interestingly… in a recent study we held, we asked influencers what factors they considered most important when accepting paid campaigns, and the results were very intriguing:
- More than 66% of them considered whether the content chimed with what their audience wanted. The top factor for influencers was whether games were actually suitable for their channel, to begin with.
In a nutshell, if you can convince them that you are reaching out because you genuinely care about their channel, then they’ll be more likely to accept your offer.
Best way to reach out to them (you can use this as a checklist, too)
After narrowing down which influencers you want to work with, you now need to strategize and come up with a good way to get their attention:
- Keep things short and simple – Bigger influencers can get hundreds of emails per day. Catch their attention with your email subject. And make sure that it is a sponsorship offer so they wouldn’t skip reading it.
- Give them enough time to prepare content – We can’t emphasize enough the importance of giving influencers enough time for content production. This makes a huge impact on the final version of the videos you’ve been waiting for, and prevents any rushed production.
- And give them control – Sales pitches don’t work on YouTube. That will generate a lot of dislikes and hateful comments that correlate with the end results. Authentic content is what drives people to return to their channel and even install the game that they’re talking about. So, it’s very common for influencers to request for creative freedom before signing on a paid campaign. Don’t worry though, as they’re experts in what their viewers want to watch, and the best-sponsored content comes to light when influencers are just being themselves.
That’s it for now, folks! This is just the beginning of our guide to a well-executed gaming influencer collaboration. So, don’t miss the second part (coming soon), where we’ll explore how to get that influencer schedule just right – so nothing is left to the last minute.