We’ve indexed all YouTube gaming channels and delivered over a hundred thousand high quality installs to our partners. We’re now sharing this data to paint a picture of how YouTube game influencer marketing looks like in spring 2017.
From 2009 to 2015, gaming on YouTube grew at breakneck pace, with the number of channels increasing ninefold in six years. 2016 was slower, but it looks like 2017 is going to be a massive year with almost as many new channels created in just the first five months as there were during all of 2016.
About 12% of all gaming channels on YouTube are no longer active (defined as not having published a video in the last 90 days). It also seems YouTube game content creators are a tenacious bunch - the average lifespan of a now-inactive gaming channel was three years and 9 months. It’s worth pointing out that YouTube “reclaims” inactive channels automatically, so the actual number is very likely to be higher.
The vast majority of gaming channels are small. 91% of all gaming channels have less than a thousand subscribers, and only 16 channels have more than 10 million.
When looking at total video views, mid-size channels dominate. 74% percent of all video views come from channels with between 100k and 10m subscribers. In terms of average views per video, big channels rule - channels with over 10m subscribers had average video views six and a half times as high as channels in the 1m-10m range.
The YouTube gaming audience can be best described as “male millennials”, with over 72% of the subscribers being male, and over half of them being between 18 and 34 years old. Channels that have a female majority subscriber base commonly have a female host or co-host.
In terms of geography, a vast majority of the influencers are US-based, with large representation from other big Western countries and Brazil. In Asia, channels from Thailand, Korea and Japan also attract large audiences.
Generally, there are three different ways of working with gaming influencers: agencies & networks, direct contact, and platforms.
Agencies and networks do a lot of the work for you, but the downsides are high cost and often low transparency. Working directly with influencers can be very cost-effective, but the amount of work needed to identify the right influencers & to work with them can be very high. Influencers also often don’t want to share key metrics and analytics data directly with their partners.
Platforms generally offer high transparency (because of access to a large amount of data) and a lower cost than agencies. With platforms like Matchmade that offer advanced content / audience matching, the amount of work required to reach a significant number of relevant influencers is also very low.
Types of sponsored content generally fall under three different categories: shoutouts, visibility and gameplay.
Shoutouts are short mentions of the sponsored game as a part of the channel’s regular programming. Their relevancy to the user is generally low, which results in low conversions and user quality. They can however be relatively cheap.
“Visibility” refers to content that focuses more on brand awareness. This type of content is typical for channels with a broad mainstream audience, and thus performs best for games with a broad casual audience. This type of content is more typical for large channels, and the prices reflect that.
Gameplay videos such as let’s plays and walkthroughs are the best performing content type from the point of view of user quality. Cost-wise they are more expensive than shoutouts, but generally not as expensive per user as broad visibility campaigns.
Matchmade focuses on high quality users for the brands & high quality content for the creators, which is why we’ll specifically discuss gameplay videos.
Creators often prefer a per-video fee for sponsored content. However, the pricing isn’t strictly related to channel size, audience profile, etc. This is why it’s important to always understand what to expect in terms of conversions and user quality, and to do the math on what kind of a cost makes sense for the product being promoted.
For performance-based campaigns, CPIs are roughly in line with those seen in traditional performance advertising. However, user quality is usually significantly better when working with the right creator partners.
Performance campaigns usually have a significant unattributable lift - somewhere between 100% and 300% extra on top of attributed installs. This means that effective CPI rates are significantly lower than with other UA channels, especially for such high quality users.
Another clear benefit of working with YouTube creators - when the audience matching has been done correctly - is that users often leave a lot of positive reviews.
While we can’t share detailed numbers from most of our campaigns, on average Matchmade campaigns see a 3.15% views-to-installs and a 35% clicks-to-installs conversion. User quality is extremely high - for example, in a recent campaign the ARPU was 92% higher and D7 retention 182% higher compared to organic users.
If you’d like to hear more, don’t hesitate to contact us!