Consumers today are often less engaged with traditional types of advertisement, but the usage of online personalities or influencers can be an effective method to represent a brand in a positive way. As the field of esports continues to thrive at an accelerated rate, predicted by Forbes to expand into a $1.7 billion industry by 2021, utilizing an esports influencer can be a fruitful endeavour in bringing a brand to a greater consumer audience. However, it is important to choose the right esports influencer to represent a brand so that the product is put forward in the most engaging way. While sponsoring events or teams can also be a lucrative option for brands, choosing an esports influencer to represent one’s product creates a more personalized and direct advertisement experience for the influencer’s audience members.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right esports influencer is the influencer’s relevance in juxtaposition to the brand and product. Brands must conduct deeper research and review the influencer’s content in order to understand an influencer’s online persona; for example, whether they’re a family-friendly channel or go for an edgier sense of humor and style. Examining the kind of language and topics of discussion that the influencer uses while streaming videos or posting other types of content on social media can help a brand see if their company values and objectives mesh well with the influencer’s. This will also give insight into who the influencer’s target audience is, such as if they are trying to appeal to a younger or more mature audience. Aligning commonalities between the influencer’s online presence and the brand’s will help the product become more marketable.
Another dimension to consider is the influencer’s online reach, or how many individuals will be exposed to a potential product advertisement. While data points about new subscribers are flashy, it is valuable to keep in mind that an influencer’s follower count is not an equal ratio to how many views or clicks their content will receive. An esports influencer with a loyal fanbase who routinely return to watch videos, versus an esports player with more followers but unengaged audience, may have more success in selling a brand due to re-exposure of the product. Some brands may gravitate toward major esports players with millions of subscribers for brand promotions, but esports influencers who have a smaller, dedicated and tight-knit group of followers could drive more sales. In one report from Twitch, smaller streamers on average convert views into purchases 1,000 times greater than “top-tier” e-celebs. Additionally, 46% of sales originating from Twitch streams are derived from channels with “mid-tier”-level follower counts and views.
Authenticity and personableness are other major factors in whether an esports influencer is successful in promoting a brand. Esports influencers who have conversations with their audience and give personalized attention to followers are less likely to seem like a celebrity endorsement, and more like a friend giving a casual product recommendation. Esports influencers also have a network of social platforms to advertise products beyond streaming services like Twitch and Mixer, as many also build social profiles on websites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more. If a non-endemic brand is considering bringing an esports influencer on their team to advertise their product, it would be valuable to consider which social media platform would be most significant for marketing. For example, an esports influencer may have the most amount of followers on their streaming site, but having an influencer advertise an irrelevant product such as fashion or food on their livestream may be jarring or inauthentic to viewers. A brand selling non-endemic items such as clothing may be able to create a more authentic and significant advertisement experience by having the influencer market their product on a fashion-forward website like Instagram.
There are numerous dimensions to consider while deciding to choose an esports influencer to promote one’s product, such as their audience demographic, audience engagement and loyalty, and the traits of the influencer’s online image.
Esports Charts has the relevant data and analysis to not only measure the metrics of influencers, but also to assist in evaluating potential influencers for your brand.
Written by Caitlyn Joyce | Image credit: NGame Esports