How to leverage social media influencers to acquire new mobile players | Chartboost Academy
Insights & Best Practices
April 27, 2023
Influencer marketing has taken the world by storm.
Thanks to the internet — and social media sites in particular — anyone can build a following. Savvy companies can tap into these followings to connect with their target audiences.
Your mobile gaming company is no different. By developing an influencer marketing strategy and partnering with authoritative personalities in your niche, you can introduce your games to new players. Doing so will supercharge your marketing efforts and increase revenue.
But wanting to build an effective influencer strategy and actually doing it are two different things. Don't worry, we're here to help. Keep reading to learn about the building blocks of gaming influencer marketing, as well as how to create a successful influencer campaign.
The building blocks of influencer marketing for mobile games
Let’s start with the basics: What is influencer marketing? What kinds of influencers are there? Why is influencer marketing so important? And how do you know if your mobile game is ready to use this strategy to partner with influencers? We’re glad you asked.
What is influencer marketing?
Generally speaking, influencer marketing is what happens when a company partners with influential people to help promote its products and/or services.
Most influencer marketing campaigns you see today are partnerships between brands and social media celebrities, i.e., individuals who use platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to connect with specific groups of people who trust what they have to say.
By partnering with influencers, a mobile game can spread its marketing messages in more authentic ways than, say, running pay-per-click (PPC) ads or crafting television commercials. Why? Because the marketing messages in question come from trusted voices, not unknown brands.
As we discuss later in this article, there are plenty of mobile gaming influencers your mobile game can partner with to boost its name recognition and installs.
5 kinds of influencers to know about
Now that you know what social media influencer marketing is, let's talk about the five different kinds of influencers a game developer can partner with:
- Nano: These influencers have followings of 1,000 to 10,000 people
- Micro: These influencers have followings of 10,000 to 50,000 people
- Middle: These influencers have followings of 50,000 to 500,000 people
- Macro: These influencers have followings of 500,000 to 1,000,000 people
- Mega: These influencers have followings of 1,000,000 people or more
As you would expect, the more followers an influencer has, the more expensive he or she is to work with. Just remember, follower count and actual influence are different.
We'll talk more about this in a bit. First, let's discuss why influencer marketing is important.
Why is influencer marketing important?
There are more than 850,000 games available in the Google Play and Apple App Store combined. Add in Amazon Appstore as well, and it becomes clear that these platforms are highly competitive.
Influencer marketing can help your games stand out in a crowded market and get the attention they deserve. This attention can be used to increase installs.
Wouldn't you like to see your game hit the top of the charts? Don't you want thousands, if not millions, of people to experience the game you and your team have spent countless hours and millions of dollars creating? A mobile game influencer marketing strategy can help make it happen.
Think of influencer marketing as renting someone else’s audience. Instead of building your own social media following — something that usually takes years to accomplish — you can use other people's followings to promote your games right now. All it takes is a bit of money.
Speaking of money, what about the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing? According to recent research, social influencer marketing produces $6.50 for every $1 spent. Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on your specific game and its user acquisition (UA) and monetization characteristics, but that potential upside is a compelling reason why game developers should consider this strategy.
When should you create an influencer campaign?
Regardless of when you use digital influencer marketing techniques, if you incorporate them right, you should find success. That said, these four moments in the cycle are considered ideal:
- Before launch: Partner with an influencer and promote your game before it hits the app stores. You will generate buzz and increase pre-orders.
- During launch: Craft an influencer campaign and release it on the day your game comes out, too. Influencers can include actual gameplay in their content, which will likely boost the number of installs your campaign generates.
- New updates: Are you about to update your game? Hire an influencer to create content that promotes new levels, characters, etc. to your target audience. This may convince new players to install your game and inspire current players to re-engage.
- Special events: Finally, partner with an influencer to promote your game during special events? We're talking spring break, Christmas, etc. Marketing with influencers around holidays hones in on greater relevance and context.
How to create a successful game influencer marketing campaign
Influencer marketing sounds great, right? Of course it does! Now you just need to learn how to develop an influencer strategy for your specific game. We've got you covered.
This six-step process will help you work with social media brand influencers successfully:
1. Select your goals
What do you want your social media influencer strategy to accomplish? Set very specific goals for your campaigns. That way you can assess your efforts effectively.
Your goals may include:
- Increase game brand awareness
- Drive brand installs
- Generate direct-response installs
No matter which goals you choose to pursue, make sure you choose metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor for each and how you'll track them.
The only way to know if your gaming influencer marketing campaigns are working is to analyze the results you achieve. This is easier to do when you know exactly which metrics and KPIs to track. We'll talk more about analyzing results soon.
2. Know your audience
Next, pinpoint your target audience.
Who do you want your influencer marketing campaign to reach? The answer to this question will help you choose the right influencer to partner with and the kind of content he/she creates.
What audience data points should you collect? Start by identifying their gender, age, location, language, and spending habits. For example, you might target males between the ages of 25 and 35, who live in the United States, speak English, and prefer to play short sessions of realistic car racing games during their commute.
The question is, how do you learn this information? Start by analyzing the people who already play your game. Next, assess the folks who follow your brand on social media, have signed up for your company's email list, etc. Finally, study your competitors to see who they market to.
3. Decide on your budget
At this point, you know what you want to achieve with gaming influencer marketing and who your target audience is. Next it’s time to decide how much you can spend on your influencer campaign.
As mentioned earlier, the more famous an influencer, the more money they will charge. If you want a member of the Kardashian clan to post about your game on Instagram, for example, you'll likely have to pay six or seven figures per post. Ouch!
Fortunately, as a game developer, you don't need celebrities. You can achieve amazing influencer marketing growth by partnering with nano and micro influencers. And guess what: these people generally charge less than $500 to partner with.
It should be noted that there are different payment models out there. Most influencers offer fixed prices, but others are compensated based on results. The latter option can be better for game developers because you only pay for the outcomes your influencers produce for you. Keep in mind, however, that influencer campaigns include both direct-response installs and non-direct installs, such as when a user remembers the name of your game later, searches for it in the app store, and installs it. In other words, your payment model and measurement approach must be clearly defined from the get go.
4. Choose an influencer
Now the moment of truth — choosing an influencer to work with.
First, make sure that your influencer has some connection to your target audience. Don't hire someone who creates home improvement content to promote your game, unless of course the theme of your game is home improvement or interior design, for instance. An influencer with no real connection to your game wastes time and money, even if they have millions of followers on social media. Remember step two: know your audience so you can find an influencer that has the ear of people with similar interests.
Second, check how influential your chosen influencer actually is. You'll achieve more success if you work with a micro influencer with a highly engaged audience over a macro influencer whose audience couldn't care less about what they have to say.
One of the best ways to check actual influence is to study the influencer's past posts. Do they generate a lot of likes, comments, shares, etc.? If so, their followers are probably engaged.
You might be wondering, "How do I find potential influencers to help promote my game?"
You can manually search through your favorite social media sites to find them. You can check who your competitors have partnered with in the past. Or, you can use a gaming influencer platform to help you find influencers. All three of these options will get the job done.
5. Create an effective campaign
Once you find an influencer to partner with, you need to create a top-level campaign.
If that sounds challenging, don't worry. Influencers excel at creating content. That's how they became influencers in the first place. You don’t need to micromanage the process.
Give your influencer a bit of creative freedom while maintaining consistent contact. This ensures that they create authentic content that resonates with their audience and also aligns with your gaming company's unique personality and values. Consider striking a deal with them that allows you to use their content, such as video, to promote your game in your other paid UA campaigns as user-generated content (UGC).
6. Track and analyze your results
It doesn't matter how visually appealing your influencer campaign is. If you don't learn how to use influencers to drive sales, you'll never achieve success with this marketing strategy.
That's why you need to track and analyze your influencer marketing efforts.
This isn't as difficult as it sounds, especially if you've already chosen specific metrics and KPIs to monitor, as we suggested in step one.
Do you want your influencer campaign to boost your UA efforts? Track installs. Looking to increase revenue? Track sales and/or in-app purchases.
What if your campaign doesn't generate the results you want?
First, make sure you understand how to measure influencer marketing. ROI can be difficult to calculate for certain goals, such as improving brand awareness for a specific game.
Second, analyze your campaign to see where things went south. Did you work with the wrong influencer? Did they create subpar content? Did you funnel players to the Google Store when you should have sent them to the Apple App Store? Study the data to answer these questions.
To that end, be sure to measure both traditionally attributed installs using a mobile measurement partner (MMP) as well as the in-direct positive effect on branded search in the app store driven by the campaign. This can sometimes account for more than 50% of the installs driven by an influencer campaign.
3 Influencer marketing examples to learn from
Influencer marketing isn't new. Plenty of game developers have used this strategy to find success. Here are three influencer marketing campaign examples to study:
Supercell released Brawl Stars in December 2018.
To promote the mobile game, the developer hired 10 popular YouTube influencers to create pre-launch videos. The goal? To generate registrations before the game officially hit stores.
It worked. Supercell was able to produce 5 million registrations.
This success can be attributed to the influencers the developer partnered with. These folks weren't the biggest names, rather they had played Supercell games in the past. By targeting this specific niche, Supercell achieved amazing results.
FGTeeV is a family of gamers with more than 21 million subscribers on YouTube. It makes sense that Electronic Soul wanted to work with them to promote its game BarBarQ.
The video that FGTeeV and Electronic Soul created perfectly captured FGTeeV's unique personality and approach to content. As such, it felt authentic. The video also showcased BarBarQ gameplay in a way that made it look like an incredibly good time.
Wildworks went BIG for this influencer marketing campaign.
The brand didn't just hire Ryan from Ryan ToysReview to promote one of its products. It actually created an entire game, called Tag With Ryan, based on the popular YouTuber.
In the game, players get to control Ryan as he plays tag with his friends. To promote it, Wildworks partnered with Ryan and his mom to shoot a YouTube video for Ryan's channel.
Enhance your mobile UA efforts with influencer marketing
Whew, you made it!
Now you know what influencer marketing is and why it's important for mobile games. You know how to use this strategy to promote your own games, and you've learned a little bit about how to track influencer ROI to ensure your campaigns actually help you achieve your goals.
All that's left is to put this information into practice. As long as you follow the six-step process above, you should be able to create an effective campaign. Good luck!