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PewDiePie, KSI, DanTDM; you’re unlikely to find anyone between the ages of about eight and 20 that hasn’t come across these names. One even featured in a South Park episode. The influence and popularity they wield is almost unparalleled in the online world, having built themselves up from average streamers to behemoths in the industry.

We’re obviously talking about the influencer marketing craze, and the gaming industry specifically. Influencers have been popping up in everything from beauty to extreme sports, though there’s no doubt that video-orientated gaming influencers are a different breed. In fact, the whole social landscape is different, with platforms such as Twitch and Discord created to feed the hungry gaming mob.

To get your campaigns to the top of the leaderboard, understanding the value of gaming influencers and social media for your brand is the best place to start. Lucky for you, we’ve put together three pointers to help you on your journey from total noob to social pro.

Gaming influencers are…well, influential

First thing’s first; don’t ever doubt the power of the influencer. Particularly a gaming one. Anyone with a console or PC and some video equipment has the potential to become one of your most valuable assets. Minecraft discovered this early on, holding a number of workshops at its MineVention events with Minecraft YouTubers to educate its next wave of influencers.

The influencer phenomenon isn’t limited to gaming. In 2017, Activate by Bloglovin’s research found that 67% of marketers think influencer marketing campaigns helped them reach a more targeted audience. Whether it be consumer tech or fashion, the impact of influencers has been impossible to ignore in the last few years. The rise of gaming influencers in particular however has been particularly impressive.

Sean Smith, COO and Co-owner of SimpleTiger, explains how: ‘’I’ve worked on projects such as one that led to 30,000 beta signups in 24 hours from one YouTube video pitching a service on a channel that had 40,000 subscribers. That was only one of three videos produced for that project, and the entire project cost was $1,500. If you do the math on that, the cost per acquisition is astounding’’.

As is the case across other areas, bigger isn’t always better. Twitch claims in a 2016 blog post that 46% of sales that occurred on the platform were because of mid-tier influencers (33 to 3333 concurrents, or average amount of viewers per stream). 13 times more effective than top-tier, this is just one example of the value to working with smaller, more concentrated influencers. You need to assess on a case by case basis, though going for influencers based on followers alone is a strategy doomed to fail.

Looking beyond gaming

No longer is gaming the pastime of the nerds. Some might, might, even call it cool. The games themselves are now appealing to everyone from Drake to Travis Scott, and even the gear has got a sexy edge to it.

The growing appeal to gaming outside of its traditional circles also means that often more lifestyle-orientated influencers are just as beneficial. As Benedikt Seitz from GameInfluencer tells GamesIndustry.biz: “Don’t look for the right influencer, look for the right demographic. Going for similar types of gaming channels is also a good start, but the most important factor is really the demographic of their viewers”.

Let’s take the popular YouTube influencers Rose and Rosie and their page Rose Ellen Dix. With nearly 800,000 subscribers, they discuss everything from LGBT issues to relationship advice. By all means, it’s a fairly typical, if particularly popular, lifestyle channel run by a young couple.

Alongside this however they also run another page, Lets Play Games. Here they produce a range of walkthroughs and other in-game content from their favourite games, with their own personality injected into it.

It’s funny, it’s engaging, though above all, it’s proof you aren’t tied to strict gaming influencers to reach the right audience.

Pick your platforms carefully

There’s no one size fits all approach to picking the platforms you think will work for your brand best. Understanding the specific benefits is the first step there, with some undoubtedly more appealing to gaming brands.

Social media is a huge part of the gaming community, with platforms such as Twitch and Discord set up specifically to appease their needs.

YouTube and Twitch are both examples of platforms that allow brands to upload video content, though targeted towards a different kind of viewer. Whereas youTube is best for putting together guides and highlight reels, Twitch is the leading live streaming platform, not only for gaming influencers but also for a range of eSports Leagues.

Picking the right platforms and then catering your content is the only way you’re going to see a good return on your investment. The potential value is there for all to see; according to the Twitch article mentioned above, 25% of sales of Punch Club and The Culling at the time could be attributed to the platform. Video content might not be your best approach, and that’s fine, though there’s no doubting it’s a seriously effective outlet if handled correctly.

Now pass me that controller. I’ve got a very important flight to catch.

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