By Courtney Moser
Total revenue for the U.S. video game industry in 2015 was $23.5 billion – up 7 percent from the previous year. And as we dive deeper into 2017, this number continues to rise. Clearly, the market is huge, so the real question is: How can video games stand out from the copious competition today?
Many games are turning to influencer marketing to increase launch awareness, product buzz, digital fans and sales. These game brands partner with influencers who have a large gaming following online, and ask them to promote their game, review it or play it live. YouTube has emerged as the social platform of choice for these gamers because of the ability to share stories and authentic content through video.
Ann Hamilton, brand representative at video game publishing company Ubisoft, said of their YouTube-focused marketing strategy: “YouTube is an amazing channel for the video game industry. It allows us to share our video content with our consumers directly… It has been a great tool at building communities for each of our games.”
In fact, a recent study found that “90 percent of gamers turn to YouTube at least weekly for a gaming advice, while 64 percent of gamers download games after seeing them on YouTube.” Video game brands can reach their target audience on the platform more effectively with the help of YouTube influencers.
At the height of YouTube gaming influencer fame is “PewDiePie.” Known for his “Let’s Play” commentary and video game experiences, PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) has more than 42 million YouTube followers. What began as a simple YouTube channel featuring commentary while playing video games is now a full-fledged influencer business raking in millions. Along with writing a book and starring in a video game, Kjellberg has worked with major brands such as the Walt Disney Co.
The success story of PewDiePie, however, also comes with a cautionary tale. He was recently at the center of controversy when he posted videos with anti-Semitic messages. Situations such as this are troublesome because they often reflect back on brands the influencers work with – reinforcing the importance of guidelines and trust in influencer marketing partnerships. It’s vital to apply these best practices to your gaming campaigns for the best results.
Along with video game brands, every company in every industry should use caution when choosing to align with a celebrity or high-profile individual. Influencer marketing is always evolving, and brands have to stay on top of industry content and digital media in order to make an authentic splash and impact future success.
To learn more about different influencer marketing strategies for video game brands, contact the Find Your Influence team today.