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Why video games need influencer marketing

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In today’s interconnected world, the way brands engage with their audiences is rapidly evolving. One area where this is particularly evident is in the gaming industry, which has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years. 

The gaming industry is projected to reach a market size of $384.9 billion in 20231. The industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9% from $229.39 billion in 2022 to $252.10 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $401.32 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 12.3%, which is impressive. 

Number of active video gamers worldwire 2015 to 2023

The number of gamers worldwide is expected to rise to 3.07 billion in 2023 based on a 5.6% year-on-year growth forecast. So it’s evident why gaming companies are continually seeking innovative ways to reach their ever-expanding audience.

Enter influencer marketing – a game-changer in the marketing world. With influencers in gaming amassing millions of followers and commanding substantial online influence, it’s unsurprising that they are becoming a preferred choice for promoting a variety of gaming products and services. 

You still wonder why video games need influencer marketing? In this article, the Famesters influencer marketing agency that has 6+ years of experience in promoting video games with the help of influencers will help you delve into the whys and hows of influencer marketing in the gaming industry, exploring its growing popularity, its significant benefits, and how gaming brands can effectively harness its potential for their marketing strategies.

THE ROLE OF INFLUENCERS IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY

As the digital world evolves, so too does the field of marketing, particularly within the gaming industry. Central to these advances is the emergent prominence of gaming influencers, who have created a paradigm shift in how gaming products and services are marketed and perceived.

At their core, gaming influencers are individuals who have garnered significant followings on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, or other social media channels. These influencers, often experienced gamers themselves, share game reviews, tutorials, live streams, and other related content with their dedicated audiences. Their unique blend of expertise, charisma, and relatability makes them trusted figures within the gaming community.

This trust is a crucial element in the gaming industry’s digital marketing strategies. Gaming influencers have amassed large followings, some into the millions, and these followers actively engage with the content shared. This engagement ranges from viewing live streams and recorded playthroughs to following game reviews and recommendations made by the influencers. These influencers often play a diverse range of games, including popular titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends, catering to a broad swath of gaming interests.

The appeal of gaming influencers comes from their authenticity and proximity to their audiences. Followers value the candid opinions and insights shared by these influencers, fostering a level of trust that typically surpasses that given to traditional advertising.

Given the reach and influence these figures command, it is no wonder that gaming companies have seized the opportunity to collaborate with influencers. These partnerships not only grant businesses access to a wider audience but also offer a more cost-effective marketing solution compared to conventional advertising methods.

Thus, gaming influencers have become essential cogs in the machinery of the gaming industry’s digital marketing strategies. Their ability to authentically engage with audiences while subtly marketing products makes them invaluable assets for businesses looking to expand their reach and influence within the ever-growing gaming community.

THE POWER OF TRUST AND THE INFLUENCE OF GAMERS

Trust plays a pivotal role in the relationship between consumers and brands. In the digital age, the conventional channels of building trust through physical presence and personal experience are complemented and often superseded by online reviews and endorsements, particularly those provided by influencers. This paradigm shift is especially noticeable in the gaming industry, where influencers yield a significant impact on consumers’ decision-making process.

Given the immersive nature of video games and the significant time and monetary investments they often require, gamers are inclined to seek reassurance from trusted sources before making a purchase. Also, users strive for a sense of belonging to a community.

Enter gaming influencers, who have managed to carve out a unique niche within the broader influencer marketing space. These influencers are more than mere marketers; they are fellow gamers, experienced and passionate, with whom their followers identify and whose opinions they trust. Their recommendations carry a weight that often exceeds traditional advertising due to their perceived authenticity.

The trust that gamers place in their favored influencers is a significant force in the gaming industry. The intersection of trust and influence, when strategically harnessed by gaming companies, can significantly enhance product visibility, brand reputation, and ultimately, sales.

THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING IN GAMING

Studies indicate that businesses generate around $6.5 (on average) for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. These figures clearly demonstrate the enormous potential and high yield that influencer marketing presents in the gaming industry. This robust return on investment serves as an impetus for marketers to increasingly incorporate gaming influencers into their broader marketing strategies.

One of the main reasons behind this impressive ROI is the unique nature of the gaming community. Gamers are often deeply engaged with the content they consume and are more likely to trust and follow the advice of influencers they admire. Consequently, when a gaming influencer endorses a product or service, it resonates with their audience, leading to higher conversion rates.

Moreover, the sheer size of the gaming community, with over 3 billion gamers worldwide, presents a massive market for gaming companies to tap into. This audience is only set to grow further. The vast reach that gaming influencers have can help brands access a significant portion of this market, enhancing their visibility and market share.

The substantial ROI coupled with the sheer size and engagement level of the gaming community make influencer marketing a compelling option for marketers within the gaming industry. It not only presents an effective way to engage with consumers but also ensures a profitable return on the marketing expenditure, making it a win-win solution for brands and influencers alike.

HOW GAMING COMPANIES CAN GET THE BENEFITS OF INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR VIDEO GAMES

In the gaming industry, influencer marketing has rapidly become a cornerstone strategy. Gaming companies can employ a variety of techniques to capitalize on the large followings and high levels of engagement that gaming influencers command. Here are a few key strategies:

  • Competitions. Holding competitions with influencers allows gaming companies to not only demonstrate their product but also to capitalize on the competitive nature of the gaming industry. For instance, Electronic Arts held a major competition for their FIFA 19 game, involving popular influencers, which brought in record-breaking engagement and dramatically increased game sales.
  • Reviews. Influencer game reviews are a crucial element of gaming marketing. A well-received review from a trusted influencer can drive sales in a significant way.
  • Live Streaming. This strategy allows real-time interaction between influencers and their audience. It also provides potential gamers an authentic, unedited experience of the game. Electronic Arts’ strategy of having Ninja live-stream their game Apex Legends on Twitch is an excellent example of how effective this can be. The game registered over 10 million users within just three days of streaming.
  • Gameplay. Showcasing gameplay is an effective strategy to provide a sneak peek into the game’s storyline, graphics, and unique features. Gameplay videos by influencers can create anticipation and excitement among potential players, which can subsequently lead to increased sales.
  • Challenges. Creating unique in-game challenges for influencers to undertake during their gameplay can add an element of excitement and novelty. This not only provides entertaining content but also a closer look at the various game features, thus enticing viewers to try the game themselves.

By choosing the right strategy and the right influencer, gaming companies can ensure maximum return on their investment. The results can be transformative, providing enhanced brand visibility, heightened customer engagement, and a considerable increase in game sales.

CASE STUDY: RESPAWN ENTERTAINMENT AND EA’S SUCCESS WITH APEX LEGENDS

 

APEX LEGENDS

In 2019, Electronic Arts (EA) released Apex Legends, a new game in the increasingly competitive battle royale genre, without any advance marketing – a move considered bold and risky in the gaming industry. Instead of the typical pre-release marketing campaigns, EA and the game’s developer, Respawn Entertainment, decided to take a different approach: they enlisted the help of popular professional gamers, including Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the most recognized figures in the gaming world.

EA specifically targeted 13 millions of Fortnite fans (then following Ninja) by partnering with him. Ninja was the most popular game at the time and a direct competitor to Apex Legends. They paid Ninja $1 million to participate in the Apex Partner program and play and stream Apex Legends on its release day. Other top streamers like Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, Jack “CouRage” Dunlop, and Herschel “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm IV also joined the program, although their payment rates were not specified.

These partnered players, who usually stream for 10 to 12 hours every day and have millions of followers, shared their experiences with Apex Legends on social media using the hashtag #ApexPartner. This strategy was successful in generating significant interest in the game: while only about 80,000 people watched the Twitch stream announcing Apex Legends, 12 hours later more than 400,000 people were watching the Apex partners play.

Before the game’s release, the pro players were invited to demo the game and provide feedback, which allowed them to share tips and information with their followers when they streamed the game on release day. More than 1 million players tried Apex Legends on its release day, and within the first month, more than 50 million players had tried it, thanks in part to the #ApexPartner program.

Although EA only paid the partners to play and stream the game until the second day of the rollout, many of them, including Shroud and Dr. Disrespect, continued to play the game on their own. The #ApexPartner hashtag remains popular among fans and semi-professional Apex Legends players hoping to find sponsors.

While Apex Legends has seen success, it still has a way to go before it can claim the title of top battle royale, a position currently held by Fortnite with its more than 200 million registered players. However, the case of Apex Legends illustrates the power of influencer marketing in the gaming industry, showcasing how effective it can be when properly executed.

Looking for more examples and case studies? Here they are:

WRAPPING UP

The gaming industry is increasingly recognizing the value of influencer marketing. The trust influencers build with their followers, their ability to engage with audiences on a personal level, and the substantial return on investment they can provide are all critical factors that are pushing this strategy to the forefront of modern marketing.

In a rapidly changing and competitive landscape, employing influencer marketing is becoming a crucial strategy for gaming brands. It presents a unique and effective way to increase brand visibility, engagement, and ultimately, sales – so it’s clear why video games need influencer marketing.

However, the process of finding genuine influencers that have the audience you target can be a complex task. Contact the Famesters influencer marketing agency for help! We offer crucial insights to help gaming brands connect with the right influencers and can manage your campaigns from start to finish, from preliminary research to detailed reporting. We are here to help you get all the benefits of influencer marketing for video games.

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