Game devs are always looking for new ways to attract users to their apps. Seeing the rise of some social media channels we had during the last few years, influencers are now a source of impressions and engagement worth considering.
If you're struggling to get installs or brand exposure for your mobile game or App while your paid campaigns are limited to google ads, this article will help you open your mind to other possibilities that you may not have considered before.
Keep reading to learn the basics of community influencers and the best ways to work with them for game developers.
Summary of this article:
- Influencers: Professionals or Amateurs?
- Micro vs. Macro Influencers
- What can influencers do for your Mobile Game?
- Brand Awareness vs. Performance
- Building partnerships with Influencers
- Starting your Influencer Campaign
Influencers: Professionals or Amateurs?
When game developers hear the word "influencer", the first thing that comes to mind is a trendy millennial taking selfies in a random touristic-ish location outfitted in high-end cosmetics, designer labels, and the latest iPhone to farm views and likes on social media.
This representation is far from what most influencers look like. They are not celebrities — or at least not the "Hollywood" ones that pop into your mind. Most of the time, they don't have marketing skills.
Influencers start a channel because they are fans of a brand, have a broad knowledge of the product they are using, or are active community members. This is how they start gaining notoriety and become powerful advocates for the brands and products they love.
Some of them are game developers who build their followings through shared passions and authentic connections.
We often do not realize that influencers may have lucrative full-time careers in their industries. With Cryptocurrencies, we have started tearing that veil down, but still, many industries have a niche of 1,000 followers that can be very lucrative.
Micro vs. Macro Influencers
Depending on the size of their audience, you can categorize influencers by Nano, Micro, Macro & Mega influencers.
Let's start with the biggest fish in the ocean; the Mega Influencers.
Mega influencers are famous people, celebrities, and over-the-top people known worldwide. Their reach is far beyond their social media (Youtube, TikTok, etc.).
We're talking about influencers with more than one million followers on any social media site, and their relationship with their followers is not so close.
Such a massive audience makes working with them challenging beyond any indie developer and mid-size studio.
Macro influencers have between 100k to 1 million followers.
They are very convenient when you have a comfortable budget and want to approach a specific niche or geographic area.
Macro influencers are not celebrities. They started from zero and had to grow their user base slowly. This means their followers have a stronger bond with them. People trust them and make decisions based on their opinions.
Micro-influencers have less than 100k.
They have fewer but more loyal followers. Therefore, the required budget to work with them is smaller and even more affordable for startups in the gaming industry.
You can spread your reach to several niches when connecting with several micro-influencers. This way, you can get the best value while reaching a wider audience.
What can influencers do for your Mobile Game?
The strong suit of influencers is engagement. You can get help from influencers to build an organic relationship with their followers.
Some strategies to follow come from:
- replying to comments,
- participating in discussions,
- or even sharing user-generated content.
When an influencer creates a conversation around a brand or a product, players and users feel less exposed to an advertisement, and they react as if they were getting a piece of advice or recommendation from a friend.
People often turn to their favorite influencers for everything from advice to recommendations, and Apps are no exception!
Furthermore, an added benefit for mobile apps and games is that when you have an influencer talking about your game, more and more people will install your app and you’ll get pushed in the top charts.
Like a burst campaign, you get to use the inertia of new paid installs to acquire organic installs. However, to achieve this impact, you must work with an influencer of a specific size or have a solid and well-coordinated campaign of small influencers.
Brand Awareness vs. Performance
People are more likely to take action when they connect with someone they like and trust. When people see trusted celebrities engaging with your app, they are inclined to try it or at least explore the app stores.
For this reason, it is commonly said that influencers boost quality traffic to your App Store page and social media channels.
You can be sure that if those recommended users do not download your app based on the influencer's recommendation, they will be aware of your existence. Next time they bump into your app or game, let it be through paid ads or organic reach, they will be more willing to try it.
Moreover, by driving the influencer's audience to your page, you may create retargeting campaigns for users that, otherwise, you wouldn't know how to reach.
If the influencer you've partnered with has the same niche as your core target, engaging with them and creating better performance campaigns focused on converting them to players of your App or game will be far easier.
Building partnerships with Influencers
The most straightforward way to start collaborating with an influencer is to set a price for each sponsored publication.
However, as a game developer with a robust analytics system integrated into your game, you have a roster of options that you can leverage to negotiate better deals.
Find ways to compensate the influencer's work through goals & objectives. The same way you set up your performance campaigns to track installs or even in-app events, you can track & set up milestones for each attributed user coming from an influencer.
Since they have to sell your app on their channels, let them have a bonus depending on how well they perform.
And starting from that, you can set up a line of badges and mentions on social media & online profiles managed by your brand. If you have a landing page, you can create a dedicated page of "collaborators".
Also, if the influencer is hooked on your app or game, you can give them free premium services, a bunch of gems (or any hard currency you've created), or even exclusive skins to show off.
And if you genuinely want to run the extra mile, you can also integrate the influencer inside your app. As a game developer, you can create an NPC (non-player character) or a Skin with the looks or logo of that influencer you've partnered with.
It will depend on your flexibility and the influencer's willingness to take a more public role in your app, game, or product.
Monitor and adjust as needed
Once you've closed a deal with your influencer, do not rush to launch the joint campaign.
First, ensure you have correctly set up your analytics system to track the results of all the influencers you've partnered with.
Whether you have a "price per publication" deal, or a more complex one based on your goals - tracking the influencer's results is of the utmost importance.
At the same time, monitoring these results will help you better understand which users are being influenced and their quality.
- Spending on IAPs (In-App Purchases)?
- Consuming IAAs (In-App Ads)?
- Churning before or after the tutorial?
- Getting properly tracked by your CRM? (so you can later create retargeting campaigns)
You've spent money on this campaign and want to make it work. With a proper analytics system, you can detect which influencer is not reaching the goals you've set for them. You can even use it to (re)negotiate current or future deals with them.
Start your Influencer Campaign!
During this last year, the mobile App & gaming ecosystem has suffered many changes. App downloads keep blooming, and marketing professionals must adapt to the ad-tech changes. Game developers have found some challenges in understanding how users interact with their apps.
In such a context, influencer marketing presents itself as an excellent & reliable source to acquire users that would otherwise be hard to reach.
With all the concepts and ideas we have gathered in this post, you should be more than ready to start partnering with the right type of influencers. They are a valuable resource to reach more users and apply adapted monetization strategies.