YouTube is changing the games media landscape – you need to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly, says uChannel Management's director Sam Barkaway.
If you've been reading the marketing press over the last 12 months, you'll find no shortage of commentators talking about the importance of tapping into ‘influencers' – delivering commercial messages or endorsements via trusted personalities on social media.
These articles are littered with words like ‘millennials' and more often than not the chosen medium for delivery is YouTube.
And that makes things very interesting if you're a games publisher. If you're not setting aside budget to work with influencers as part of your campaign planning, then you're missing a trick.
At a very basic level, the games media landscape is changing – while there will always be a place for display ads on websites and magazines, increasing numbers of consumers are making their purchasing decisions based on what they see on social media.
But even here the sands are shifting. Facebook long ago throttled back the organic reach of brand page posts, while recent changes to Twitter's feed algorithms have nudged business users towards paid campaigns.
And then we have YouTube where, for this industry, video game broadcasters are the new superstars of our age – the guys that seven-year-olds worship.
The act of watching someone else playing a game for pleasure, might seem alien to anyone over the age of 24, but it's second nature to the gamers of tomorrow.
YouTube is turning into ‘mainstream' TV for the modern age, putting out content for all age ranges. While, the main demographic for watching games broadcasts on YouTube is six-to-24 year-olds, there's still a sizable audience up to 28 years. That's a lot of gamers, with a lot of cash to spend.
What's more, I've been working closely with YouTubers on marketing campaigns for years and, quite frankly, it's one of the most engaging and transparent advertising platforms available.
Having an influencer promote your brand is one of the most trusted forms of advertising, viewers really respect their opinion.
As well as this, running user-friendly and innovative ad creative around the video content results in campaigns pushing a lot of traffic towards the brand, building trust with the new user base.
Statistically speaking, ‘traditional' display advertising clickthrough rates have plateaued at 0.5 per cent, but YouTube campaigns I've worked at uChannel have seen a staggering 20 per cent of users going on to click an ad.
"Traditional display ad clickthrough rates have plateaued at 0.5 per cent; 20 per cent cent of users click a YouTube ad."
Sam Barkaway, uChannel Management
YouTube isn't just about the ads though – it's about the personalities. Give a YouTube influencer an energy drink and watch its sales go through the roof. I've been blown away with the impact they can have on consumers buying decisions.
Put simply, short videos and images on YouTube relate brand messages very well – particularly if the content is fun and non-intrusive.
It's a two-way street, of course. The opportunity is there, but as a brand it's crucial to find the right influencers. And the YouTuber certainly doesn't want to negatively impact his or her reputation by partnering with a brand or product that isn't right for them.
Spend time with a trusted partner to get your influencer strategy right – having activated such campaigns across the games, tech and eSports sectors, the extremely high re-booking rates we've seen are testament to a well-researched approach.
The games media influencers of the future are building audiences of millions right now on YouTube and Snapchat – make sure that you're working with them today.
Sam Barkaway will be participating in the games media influencers panel at the Future Games Summit, on November 23rd & 24th. For more information and tickets, visit www.futuregamessummit.com.