The gaming industry has seen rapid viral growth in the past few years. In many ways, this evolution was sparked by YouTubers, bloggers and other online content creators categorized as influencers.
The role of influencer is pivotal to the overall growth of the industry and has become a primary promotional strategy for game developers and marketers.
What Makes Influencers So Darn Influential?
The biggest reason influencers have risen to such importance is that they creatively embed their unique personality into their content – a practice traditional media might not risk experimenting with.
When a small blog or YouTube channel slowly and gradually become famous, their community grows with it. Influencers build and maintain that connection with their readership or subscribers, and this community building eventually offers an extreme level of trust. Being a blogger myself, I’ve experienced that sense of connection with my readers.
Influencers develop unique connections with their followers in this way – by building communities that promote an extreme level of trust. By honing in on the style of presentation their audience prefers, they amass a collective of like minded users for marketers to target.
The Advantages of Influencers Over Traditional Media
For example, if you're marketing a casual game geared towards iPhone owners, you can isolate bloggers and YouTubers who create content exclusively for iOS users. Such focused, trusted content is hard to achieve for larger media outlets with a high frequency of material and millions of views every month. So without influencers, non-mainstream content can easily fall by the wayside.
Acquiring users from conventional media, like print, television or big online portals can be quite expensive, especially for indie game developers. More affordably, you can A/B test multiple influencers who create different types of content (i.e. ‘let's play’ videos vs. reviews vs. top 10 lists) to find the most effective form of influencer marketing for you and limit how many to utilize based on the budget of a particular promotional campaign.
Immediate and Lasting Influence
Influencers have an immediate and lasting effect on their audiences. We’ll always remember how PewDiePie's DON'T PLAY THIS GAME video helped Flappy bird earn a fortune. And when influencers post new content, it prompts their subscribers to immediately sample the latest developments. Fortnite’s massively viral success due to gameplay videos is a testament to this. Conventional media just can’t create such hysteria for video games.
There can be no doubt that live streaming is the trending influencer medium of the day; tomorrow it can be something else. As a game marketer, you must try to promote your game on the platforms that are most relevant and with influencers that can present your game’s content in the most innovative way possible. The virality of Flappy Bird or Fortnite can be replicated if you make influencer marketing a part of your game promotion strategy.
Influencers bring the players to you. The rest is simply up to the game.