There are a plethora of companies and video game publishers looking to sell their products online to a wide gaming audience. But with the ever-increasing relevance of social media, advertisers are looking to connect with their audience through popular influencers on social media.
In 2021, the influencer marketing industry nearly reached 14 billion USD, and both Influencer Marketing Hub and Refersion predict it will grow to about 16.4 billion USD in 2022. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok have all been major points of focus for advertisers to reach young people, and the large fan bases of video game influencers has made advertising even easier.
Let’s cover a few advertising campaigns that have used influencers both in and outside the video game industry to market their products.
ExpressVPN, a company that provides virtual private networks to hide your IP address, is one of the most popular YouTube advertisers. In 2020, ExpressVPN was in the top-three of spenders on influencer marketing, with a total influencer media value (IMV) of 46.16 million USD, according to the Statista Research Department. IMV is a more accurate way of understanding an influencer’s reach and its worth to an advertising company, as well as how much that company should be willing to spend.
ExpressVPN has sponsored popular YouTubers such as Cody Ko and Drew Gooden, as well as video game content creators such as CalebCity and Mumbo Jumbo.
A big reason why ExpressVPN has been able to sign so many influencers to advertisements is because of its accessible influencer program. Content creators can apply to partner with ExpressVPN directly on its website, getting paid for advertising the company on their social media accounts.
ExpressVPN’s competitor, NordVPN, also has a similar program, and it had 44.06 million USD in IMV in 2020. Providing influencers an easy way to partner with your brand makes spreading your message much easier.
It doesn’t need to be stated again how much of a success Riot Games and Fortiche Studios’ Netflix series, “Arcane,” was. Quickly trending as one of the hottest shows on Netflix upon its release, “Arcane” is one of the highest-rated Netflix shows on IMDb.
However, something arguably as impressive as its ratings is the level of care and craft that went into the pre-release hype. From billboards to Fortnite crossovers, the show’s advertisements were everywhere. Riot Games even sponsored YouTube influencers such as Necrit and T B Skyen to create videos surrounding the show as it was being released.
But the best idea came during its premiere. Many Twitch streamers were allowed to co-stream the first episode to their viewers, giving fans a chance to get a taste of the show alongside their favorite influencers. Because of the incredible quality of the show, many influencers gave raving reviews of the episode, prompting many fans to finish the series on their own time.
This is a sneaky way to advertise across a wide range of influencers without actually having to pay for an advertisement slot. The show, of course, was a success, and a large part of that has to be attributed to the pre-release hype built by influencers, as well as live reactions from Twitch streamers.
Sometimes influencer marketing doesn’t need to be a paid ad break or scripted pitch!
3. Raid: Shadow Legends
Finally, let’s talk about one of the most common advertisers in the gaming community — Raid: Shadow Legends, a free, massively multiplayer role playing game.
In 2021, videos sponsored by Raid: Shadow Legends amassed a total of 27 million views, with an IMV of 4.3 million USD, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. That made it the third-highest spender on YouTube videos for the year.
With so much money being thrown towards video game fans on YouTube, it better pay off. And it has! In October 2021, Raid: Shadow Legends was the seventh-most downloaded Android app in the U.S. Google Play Store, according to Statista.
There are no hard numbers to prove what Raid: Shadow Legends is generating for its developer, Plarium, but SensorTower estimated that the video game makes around 13 million USD a month as of December 2019.
The successes of both Raid: Shadow Legends and ExpressVPN show the impact of widespread attention in a community. The video game’s advertisements are widely thought by many gaming fans on YouTube to be an easy way for influencers to make money, yet Raid: Shadow Legends brings in thousands of players every day.
These are just three major success stories in the world of influencer marketing. Not every influencer marketing campaign needs to be as massive as the ones listed above. But the three examples should show the possibilities connecting with audiences through influencers can bring.