We’ve shown you how working with influencers can increase revenue, now learn how to accommodate these powerful channels with optimized content and strategies as part of your comprehensive marketing effort.
As an indie developer, you need to get creative — television commercial slots are most likely out of reach, as are expensive agency campaigns. However, influencers can help close this promotional gap for less cost. Supply them with gameplay clips, screenshots, detailed information, exclusive material, and anything else they need to excite their audience.
Smaller influencers are more likely to give meaningful shout-outs because these influencers can more readily benefit from deeper access to your game. It will be easier for them to communicate the value to their audience, making their viewers care more about what your title has to offer.
The big day is here! Your game is available to the masses on whatever platforms you’ve targeted for release. Now is the time to really leverage your influencer connections and ignite interest. Just like during pre-launch, your smaller influencers should be more willing to shine a spotlight on your game. If your title can catch their audience’s interest, your sales numbers will increase.
You should have access to better videos and screenshots when launch time rolls around. You’ll also know the main plot points, gameplay features, and future roadmap points with certainty. These are things your influencer can share with their audience to help get them engaged in the game.
If you charge up front for your title, you can share discount codes through your influencers because people love getting a deal, and you can ride the positive momentum to increased popularity. If you use the free-to-play model, consider a special discount on in-game items for your influencer’s audience or possibly give away an exclusive or promotional item.
Viewership typically spikes when new games start trending, helping drive sales. YouTube’s algorithm tends to elevate videos based on these trends, drawing more and more eyes to your title. The same thing can happen on Twitch, where being in the top charts for viewers starts a virtuous cycle that brings in more viewers for your game and more revenue for your influencers.
Suppose you’ve created an excellent roguelike game with card battler elements, perhaps something like Slay the Spire. You plan to release the game on Steam in a couple of weeks with a marketing budget of $5,000. How will you work with influencers to promote your game?
Step 1: Define your goals. Do you need to attract potential buyers or increase visibility? For Steam to support your project by keeping it high on its leaderboards, you need to drive a ton of traffic to your landing page. In short, traffic matters more than the number of game purchases.
Step 2: Form a list of potential streamers for your game.
Essential features of more suitable influencers include:
Image courtesy of Mediakix
Based on these parameters, you would search the pool of influencers using specialized sites like SullyGnome or marketplaces like BuzzGuru. Often, you can also get good results by searching for your competitors’ games on YouTube.
Step 3: Prepare materials. It’s not enough to provide an influencer with a game — you need to help them make their communications exciting and informative. Prepare art, game logos, a couple of videos, and a fact sheet that contains the most important project features so that they can work comfortably. If you can give them some in-game currency, a premium account, or even in-game items, use this opportunity so that the influencer can speed up their walkthrough and see as much content as possible.
Step 4: Choose the format and price. Small influencers are usually open to negotiating and might be just as interested in securing giveaway content like game keys as they are obtaining sponsorship money. Work with them to ensure that they feel like they are fairly compensated for their time and effort.
Step 5: Specify the format of your placement. If you’re paying for a stream, you should know when it will go live and how long it will last. If you’re paying for a YouTube video, you should know its exact format and when it will be posted. Once you agree on compensation, put your terms in writing. Usually, small influencer rates range from $200 to $500, so your hypothetical budget could secure 15-20 different placements.
Step 6: Don’t pay in advance! Pay only after the work has been completed. You could end up paying for a video that comes out long after your game is released or not at all.
Step 7: Support the video. Ask your influencer to support their video by announcing it or mentioning it on their social media accounts. While this may seem like a given, their participation can drive a significant increase in views. Don’t forget to do your part as well: announce the streams on your own social media channels, and promote them as much as you can.
Step 8: Don’t forget about the links! UTM links are a must — you should evaluate each of your partners’ effectiveness and track whose audience most resonates with your game.
Step 9: Analyze your results and compare them with your goals. Analytics are crucial. How did the videos perform? Which influencers were the most effective? Why were they the most effective?
Step 10: Wrap it up. Be sure to thank your partners for their hard work and pay them. Then, start planning your next campaign.
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