The constant evolution of the internet and technology at large has made a lot of impossibilities possible -electronic-wise. For instance, who would have taught that playing video games would surpass being a hobby and evolve into a billion-dollar industry? And that is many thanks to brands that use influencer marketing as a means of advertisement.
Esports (electronic sports) was first sighted in 1971 when some students of the University of Stanford played the Vintage Spacewar game, with no winning prize attached. Before that, esports (without the “e”) was simply games played physically, mostly individually, and with a lot less competition. Adults that thought that kids needed to concentrate more on schooling and real-life matters discouraged gaming. But now, these kids and even the adults, make thousands of dollars as esports influencers, esports marketing agencies, and so on.
What distinguishes this baby industry from the days of archaic video gaming, is the winning price that raises the gamers’ competitive spirit to an insane level. Esports are not played by amateurs or beginner level gamers (unless you’re practicing hard to be a pro) but are played by esports influencers or professionals who have dreams of being esports micro-influencers
Esports is a 2021 influencer marketing niche that has marveled everyone with its growth rate. In 2019, there was a prediction that the esports influencer marketing industry will reach a $1billion value, which it did and has shown signs of meeting future predictions. Some of the factors that accelerated the growth of this industry are the successful collaboration of esports micro-influencers with brands, product and ticket sales, and a host of them.
While the esports influencer industry is growing more popular, you would be amazed to know that only a handful of games are the engine of this industry’s rapid growth. Some of them are the League of Legends World Championship, Dota 2’s International, Evolution Championship Series, and a few others.
With the booming of this industry and the world’s general globalization, there’re more answers to the question: what does esports marketing mean for your brand. There’s also a production of more advanced gaming consoles and gaming products and an increase in esports patronage and viewership. According to newzoo’s esports statistics, there was an increase in this industry’s viewer count from 200 million in 2019 to 220 million in 2020. Newzoo expects these digits to skyrocket to over 500 million total audiences by the end of 2024.
What does esports marketing mean to your brand?
Image source: https://www.unboxsocial.com/blog/influencer-marketing-gaming-industry/
In general, esports marketing means almost the same thing that other influencer marketing means to brands. It means brand awareness, positive conversion rates, high engagement rates, and even positive ROIs. This is how esports influencers achieve this:
Electronic sports are carried out on platforms that have a lifestreaming feature so that spectators can watch firsthand how professionals and esports influencers beat each other at a game over a winning price. They video themselves while playing these games, and if they are pro, they can carry out real and meaningful conversations with their audience to keep them engaged.
When that audience loves what is going on in the lives of these esports micro-influencers, and can relate to these events, they form a following and a subscriber list.
Unlike other influencer marketing niches in social media platforms, brand collaborations and advertisements are not made as social media posts, stores, or videos. They are made while the esports influencers are live streaming and gaming. This influencer marketing style has proven to be more effective because followers and subscribers get to see the effectiveness of a product before they buy it.
So esports marketing goes beyond word-of-mouth or friend-to-friend recommendation.
For instance, if an esports influencer is promoting a brand’s energy drink, they would drink it while gaming, and give their audience a first-hand view of how long the energy drink lasts before its effects wear off. If the product to be promoted is a gaming tool, say a gaming console, esports influencers would use the gaming tool while playing, and tell their audience how the tool feels. This style of influencing shows an authentic and unbiased product review and always leads to a trusting audience.
The generally accepted conversion rate for social media influencers is between 1% and 3% conversion rate. But gaming marketing agencies have discovered that esports influencers meet and surpass that target.
A laudable example is shroud, a very popular twitch esports influencer. Shroud has more than 9million twitch followers and is popularly known to have views that exceed his follower count. He also has a 10% conversion rate.
Meanwhile, since esports is an independent niche, you don’t have to go through the time-consuming process of hunting down an influencer that meets your brand’s mission. All you need is to have a defined campaign purpose and contact any influencer marketing agency -like anystarr to link you to perfect esports influencers.
Now, to prove that esports influencers can drive sales and create awareness for your games, below are a few successful esports influencer marketing collaborations
Gaming brands that have successfully used esports influencers to grow their products.
- Wildworks and Ryan’s World
Wildworks, an American game development studio, worked with the popular kids’ YouTube channel, Ryan’s World to promote their new game: Tag with Ryan. The game, which looked a lot like the Subway Surf game, featured Ryan’s cartoon character, running from an enemy, and collecting coins, keys, and treasures while at it.
In his promotion video, Ryan played the Tag with Ryan game with his mother to show his viewers how the game works and how to unlock new features. When his mother failed to get a high score, Ryan casually suggested that his viewers play the game every day to get better at it and also unlock daily streak bonuses. And since he is a popular YouTube Kids’ influencer, the game garnered up to 47 million views and a lot more app downloads.
- Azure games with esports influencers:
In April 2018, the popular Azure cloud community launched an experimental pre-launch esports influencer campaign. According to them, they only used traditional media and their Facebook pages as an advertisement platform, and with the coming of the Infinity ops game -formerly called Destiny Warfare, they decided to test out esports influencers.
They chose to work with 13 influencers whose bio, and audience demographics suit their brand’s target audience.
And one of them was the YouTuber NoahsNoah
In his promotion video, NoahsNoah explained the feature of this Sci-Fi FPS and how to play it. And to entice his viewers, he mentioned that azure was giving out 400gold bonuses as part of the pre-launch package. NoahsNoah’s video had more than a million views. Not only that, the combined promotional videos of all the 13 esports influencers that azure collaborated with were able to convince 1.3million people to download Destiny Warfare’s pre-launch. And this surpassed the company’s 1 million downloads goal.
The two aforementioned successful esports campaigns prove that gaming influencers are as advantageous (if not more) as influencers in other niches and on other social media platforms. Since the influencer marketing industry has come to stay, make sure your brand is profiting from it.