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Influencer marketing in video games

What is Influencer Marketing?

I recently went on my Bachelor trip. When we stopped to get gas, one of my groomsmen (Grubbs) came out of the gas station holding a Coconut-Berry Red Bull. To everyone else, Grubbs was getting a random drink. However, I happen to know that Grubbs is a massive consumer of live-streams. The largest streamer is Ninja and Red Bull is a sponsor of Ninja.  I also happen to know that Ninja’s “favorite” flavor of Red Bull is none other than Coconut-Berry. Coincidence, or something more? When I asked Grubbs about it he said: “I don’t even really like coconut but I started liking it probably just because he did.”

This is exactly the reason Red Bull is sponsoring Ninja. Ninja has endorsed this flavor of Red Bull thus directly influencing Grubbs to buy it. This is one case, one person. Currently, Ninja has 14.8 million followers on Instagram. I’m not saying all 14.8 million followers will buy Coconut-Berry Red Bull, but you see my point. Influencers, like Ninja, are people who have a following on social media. Influencers can use their platform to endorse or advertise products for businesses.

Another way of thinking about influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. For example, Ninja may have a sponsored stream – when a streamer plays a certain game or endorses a product for the duration of a stream. If you value Ninja’s opinion then you may buy whatever game or product he is endorsing.


Targeting Niches

When considering influencer marketing, it is import to find influencers who are already active or have authority in a specific niche. For example, Ninja endorsing Nike is not as valuable as an endorsement from Drew Brees. Vice versa, Drew Brees endorsing a video game is not as valuable as an endorsement from Ninja. The more you can target your audience, the more effective your marketing strategy becomes.


How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

I know some people say they are not affected by influencer marketing, but the proof is in the numbers. According to an online survey by Tomoson, businesses earn $6.50 per $1 spent on influencer marketing. “The poll also found that marketers rate influencer marketing as their fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing.” 

Marketers believe influencer marketing attracts not only more but better customers. Jeff Foster, CEO of Tomoson, said: “Social media users tend to spend more money, and are more likely to spread the word to friends and family.” But just because influencer marketing is effective, it does not mean that there are no downsides.

According to a survey of marketers by mediakix, 89% say influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other channels. This survey is not saying to abandon your other marketing channels, however, it shows strong points to include influencer marketing into your market strategy.


Downsides to Influencer Marketing

In every situation, it is important to look at both the pros and cons. There are potential downsides to influencer marketing. What if the content creator that endorses your product has a PR conflict? Do you want your product associated with that? What if you are paying for a sponsored stream and the streamer doesn’t like your game? Their influence could work against your product. Therefore, it is so important to choose the right person to endorse your product.

Another downside to influencer marketing could be the legalities. Michele Robichaux explains the new updates with the FTC disclosures for influencers. It is important to ensure that the influencers are FTC compliant by disclosing that they are getting paid. The most common way of noting this is simply by using the hashtag –  “#ad”. You also have the risk of an influencer breaching the contract. This isn’t as common, but it does happen. There have been cases where the influencer does not follow through with their side of the contract. 


How To Choose the Right Influencer

  • Set Goals. Determining your goals will help you decide the following steps. For example, is your goal direct response or brand awareness?
  • Determine what platform you want to target. By using different platforms, you are able to target your audience more. For example, if you wanted to have your product endorsed on a podcast, which ADWEEK suggests in 2020, then you would want to find a podcast that discusses your industry.
  • Along with a relevant platform, you want to choose a relevant influencer.
  • Find influencers who are perceived as authentic. You want to find people who have a loyal following.
  • Look for Influencers with high engagement rates. You want your influencer to be engaging with their audience to build the community.
  • How many people will see the endorsement? Researching the influencer’s reach will help determine this metric


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