Esports influencer marketing: How to get started
Professional gamers, streamers, content creators, and other influencers can help any gaming or esports brand reach new audiences, but how do you get started? How can you find and choose the right partner? What does a successful influencer marketing program look like?
Success is more than views, impressions, and overall engagement. Sure, these are the basic indicators, but before you get started, you will want to think through a clear strategy.
Let’s talk about how to do that.
Ask yourself the most important question first
Go to the front page of Twitch and you’ll find a dizzying array of individual streamers, categories, and games to choose from. The world of influencers is huge, and can be equally as confusing.
Influencer marketing may seem like the right investment, but it shouldn’t be a box to check. Before you even get started, you have to ask yourself the most important question: Does it even make sense to work with an influencer?
Understanding the influencer ecosystem and finding the ideal partner takes time and research. When considering influencers as an option for your public relations mix, carefully consider whether the investment is worth the potential result. Can you spot a streamer or a category where a partnership might make sense? Is the right partner available and open to a partnership, or would the investment be better spent on other marketing and PR initiatives?
When we work with clients on influencer campaigns, we carefully map out the influencer world for them, detailing what potential partnerships could look like — both paid and organic. It’s a time- and resource-intensive process, but that understanding at the start pays dividends in the long run.
Do the heavy lifting up front
OK, so you’ve decided influencer marketing makes sense and you’ve started to identify a few streamers, gamers, or content creators. Before you start committing marketing resources, begin to plan out what an ideal engagement with an influencer would look like.
If you’re planning paid partnerships, you’ll likely be able to set specific goals and targets. If you’re going the organic route, think about how you’d want your product or title to be featured by a partner. Are there brand guidelines, assets, or other items you’d like a partner to use? Is there a trend, topic, or something else you’d want your product tied to?
Planning upfront and communicating this plan to your potential partners will save countless hours in the long run and help to ensure influencer engagements work smoothly.
Unleash influencers’ creativity
Influencer marketing is not a one-way street. The most successful partnerships involve input and time from both sides. Let the most creative ideas win out.
Many influencers operate their individual brands highly effectively and understand how to work with brands to hit certain goals or feature products. Don’t be afraid to let them take lead on the creative. Remember, they understand their audience best, and will know how to best make the partnership successful. The risk of less control is often worth it in the end.
For the release and promotion of Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft partnered with top YouTube gamer MatPat of The Game Theorists to create, film, and produce a series of reality hostage situations that involved other popular YouTubers. The campaign was wildly successful, commanding millions of views and driving massive brand visibility.
Our client SCUF Gaming takes a different route with many of their influencer partnerships, even creating unique products and designs for some of the top pro gamers, content creators, and streamers. Their influencer relationships go beyond content and tap into product designs that consistently deliver home-run launches for gamers and fans alike.
Measure, assess, repeat
Whether you’re pursuing paid partnerships, affiliate relationships, or organic opportunities, back up each campaign with a way to track success. Impressions are a great starting point for measurement, but other data can tell a richer story of the campaign’s success.
What types of web or social analytics can you rely on to see if influencer relationships are actually successful? It’s not uncommon to use custom promotion codes to better track the performance of individual posts and partners. Consider that option for even clearer visibility into ROI.
These types of measurements can help objectively track the success of a campaign. Not impressed with how a post is performing? Consider changing the creative, the streamer you’re partnering with, or something else. If a specific post or partnership is successful beyond your expectations, this could tip you off to an opportunity to expand on a partnership and amplify what’s working.
Ask the right questions, map out a plan for what success looks like and how you can track campaign performance, get creative, and choose the right influencer partner(s) for your next marketing campaign. It sounds simple, but many of these partnerships quickly go awry if they aren’t meticulously planned, tracked, and executed.
Want more ideas on how to level up your PR and marketing?
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