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How Influencer Marketing Can Take Your Game to the Top

26/10/2021 Written by The Game Marketer

Why Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing has fast become one of the most important and rewarding ways for video game developers to get their game in front of their target audience. This article will look at all aspects of influencer marketing, from the process behind acquiring influencers to be part of your campaign, managing, and maintaining relationships with influencers, the types of content and partnerships that you can create with influencers and the most effective ways of working with influencers. Influencer marketing can bring great rewards, much more so than traditional advertising campaigns, and at a lower cost also. Influencers these days have huge audiences that they're able to tap into when promoting a product, leading to engagement from their fans for much less than it would otherwise cost if they were to use paid ads. In this article, we will be looking at the why’s and how’s of influencer marketing and show you some of the best practices to use when looking at an influencer marketing campaign.

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When Should I Be Looking at Influencer Marketing?

The truthful answer is that there is no right or wrong time to look at influencer marketing, but it is the type of campaign that you carry out that matters most. For example, many developers might believe that when their game is in the early stages of closed or open beta, that it is too early for them to look at influencer marketing. However, bringing in influencers to look at the game in its early stages can still be highly beneficial. You can look at different types of campaigns at this stage, for example allowing the influencer to review the game or make 'first look' content, where they give their initial thoughts on the game. Of course, if you are to look at bringing influencers into work with at this stage of the game, it is important to have somewhere to direct potential players, be this a Discord, social media accounts, or a Steam page to wishlist the game.

Alternatively, if your game is further along in its timeline, and it is in early access, you can look at influencer marketing as a viable marketing option too. At this point of your title's timeline, you will have a clear idea of where you will be directing your potential players and what the ideal outcome of your campaign will be (to drive early access sales, to further your titles' visibility among certain sections of gamers and so on). When your game is in early access, a successful influencer campaign can really help to drive numbers and push the hype around your game along as you head towards your full release. At this point, all types of influencer content can be greatly beneficial to you and your game. Preview and review content can boost awareness of your game and bring it to a fresh audience, people streaming your game on Twitch will help to maximise coverage and looking at other avenues such as list-making content creators can be a great way to get your game out there.

As you head towards the launch of your game, influencer marketing can be a pivotal arm of your marketing arsenal. This is the point where coverage can play a key role in your game’s success. Getting content made around your title will be a huge factor in the size of your initial player base and the initial success of your game. All types of influencer content can be advantageous to you as your game heads towards launch, having people streaming the game to their audiences, creating YouTube content (be it reviews, a let’s play series etc), or even sponsoring influencer content can all be great ways to maximise coverage and reach as many potential players as possible. But picking the right influencers to work with can be a key factor to a successful influencer marketing campaign.

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How Do I Choose the Right Influencers?

Influencer acquisition is a key part of influencer marketing and knowing who to work with and how to find them will be instrumental to the success of your campaign. One place to start with sourcing influencers for your campaign would be to look at similar titles to your own and seeing which influencers are playing that game. You will need to look at competitors of similar a genre and style of game to our own and find out who are the top influencers that are playing that game. You should do this as you know that the fans of these influencers are already interested in similar games to your own, along with influencers having an active interest in your genre of game.

Once you have built up a list of potential influencers to work with you can look to categorise these influencers and let that dictate the type of campaign you will look to run. For small-to-mid sized influencers you can put together an email campaign, offering them the chance to try your game for free and create some content around it. Something to bear in mind when looking at free coverage from influencers is that you don't get a say in the type of content that is created and what reaction the creator has to your game. For larger influencers, you can look to carry out paid campaigns with them, either through dedicated videos, sponsoring videos, or getting them to stream your game. This allows you to have a bit more input around the content that is made.

Both free coverage and paid coverage have the pros and cons. As we have already established, with free coverage you don't get as much input (if any at all) on the influencer’s reaction to your game, but however the content that is created will be a lot more authentic and genuine, and if their reaction is positive then this can be hugely beneficial to the performance of your game. However, with paid coverage, you do get that control over what content is made and you are often working with larger influencers on your paid campaigns as opposed to small-to-mid size influencers. However, sometimes paid and sponsored content can across as insincere and your game may be overlooked by their fanbase. For this reason, when looking at paid coverage it is highly important to think about where and how you carry out a paid campaign, so as not to seem like your game is being shoe-horned in to content around something else, but to have an opportunity to properly showcase your game for everything it is.

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In Summary

Influencer marketing can be an incredibly important arm of your marketing strategy. A well prepared, well thought out and well-executed influencer campaign can be paramount to the overall success of your game and getting the right campaign out at the right time can rocket interest in your game and give your game a great chance of performing well once you hit launch day. Of course, influencer marketing alone might not be solely enough to guarantee success for your title, but when used as a key part of an overall marketing strategy, it can prove to be a cornerstone of your marketing plan and something that can ultimately prove to be the difference in your marketing campaign as a whole. With influencers fanbases' ever-growing and more content being consumed by their fans than ever before, now is the perfect time to be looking at influencer marketing for your game.

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We love video games marketing, and we love talking to people about games. We’d love the chance to find out how we can help you too. Our consultative approach means we collaborate with you, sharing our deep knowledge and expertise of all things video games marketing related. Call us today for a free assessment and chat about how we can work on your video games project.

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