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Why influencers are a key part of games marketing and how to work with them

An overview of the space and how to harness these social media stars in your marketing campaigns

Why influencers are a key part of games marketing and how to work with them

Influencers have become a key part of the games industry in a very short amount of time.

It’s why this month we’re running articles like the below to get a closer insight into this important part of the games industry.

We’re also taking things further with the imminent launch of a brand new site in the influencer space. It’ll be looking at influencers in all areas, not just gaming and not just mobile (though naturally mobile games will play a big role in our coverage).

You can contact Steel Media Operations Manager Dave Bradley at or our influencer site Editor Danielle Partis at for further details.

The PR industry has evolved dramatically in the past 10 years and online marketing and distribution has become more favourable than ever.

With an array of free tools, a huge concentration of content creators and a saturation of social influencers, a new game - or indeed any product - could be the recipient of a huge buzz without you having to spend a penny.

Here are our top four things you have to know about the role of influencers right now.

Main image credit: Barboza

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 The internet has adapted to favour video games

    The internet has adapted to favour video games logo

    The sensation began with YouTube. The platform’s early years were mostly awash with one hit wonders, though some creators from that period are still at large.

    You can trace them fairly easily in various ‘where are they now?’ articles. However, most of them have strayed from content creation. Because the term “influencer” has a whole different connotation to what it did five or six years ago.

    The YouTube scene began to focus in on games around 2010. Video game Let’s Plays became the primary trend on YouTube, giving video games a whole new platform to flourish. The launch of Twitch followed in 2011, giving gamers the ability to stream their play throughs in real-time whilst connecting with a live audience.

    Suddenly, marketing wasn’t just about impressing journalists, it was about gaining the favour of this new breed of influencer, people who were amassing millions of fans just by reacting to video games.

    Of course, it’s not just video platforms that have caused a stir in recent years. The rise of social apps like Snapchat, Vine and Instagram have bred a new wave of social influencer.

  • 2 The difference between useful influencers and ‘red giants’

    The difference between useful influencers and ‘red giants’ logo

    It’s easy to spot the YouTube greats. Channels ranging from 10 million to over 50 million subscribers. That’s a potential 50 million people seeing your game, right? Well, not really.

    The past couple of years have seen a huge shift into ‘quality over quantity’. The channels leading in subscriber count are not accurate representatives of how many people they’re actually reaching.

    There are channels that have amassed an audience of millions that have stagnated and don’t have the audience retention of channels a quarter of their size.

    For example, a channel with over a million subscribers releasing a video each day is only racking up 10,000 views per video after a week. That’s 1% of their potential audience actively engaging with their content.

    Whereas a channel with 250,000 subscribers doing the same thing is hitting 40,000 views per video each week. It’s a larger percentage of their potential audience, 16%, but it’s not even close to the total number of subscribers.

    This applies to new channels and social media accounts too. In a climate where someone can easily buy subscribers and followers, a large number may not represent an individual’s potential at all. Always check for interactions, not just numbers.

    Aside from YouTube advertising revenue, Patreon is also becoming an increasingly popular method for influencers to earn additional, regular income.

    Patreon is a platform where fans can donate money each month to a content creator, and receive rewards for doing so. The amount the creator is making is public by default, so a collection of ‘Patrons’ paying money for free content generally indicates an active, enthusiastic fan base.

  • 3 Influencer marketing is accessible and rewarding

    Influencer marketing is accessible and rewarding logo

    Reaching out to influencers is quick and can prove to be more valuable than some methods of traditional PR. Traditional marketing isn’t obsolete, but while you’re pestering a big site or magazine to feature you, you could be reaching out to many small/medium-sized influencers with their own audiences.

    YouTube and Twitch are the giants in video game PR right now. You want as many people as possible playing your game on these platforms.

    But be smart with inquiries. It’s important to identify the personalities that’ll enjoy your product. Most influencers will have a public email that handles PR. If they don’t, then a friendly tweet is a fine way to make contact. It’s arguably more time consuming, but it pays off.

    If you’re making an RPG, target the creators that enjoy RPGs. Your strength is in whether your product correlates to a creator’s interests.

    Professionalism is key, but always keep a light tone when approaching creators and influencers. An email that’s been blatantly copied and pasted to a mailing list will not hold the attention of a creator or their PR. Relate your product to a game they’re openly enthusiastic about. Pitch your title like it’s in their interest to check it out.

    It’s all about strong communication, finding the right creators and believing that every little interaction contributes to a larger, successful campaign.

    There’s also the avenue of brand and sponsorship deals. Influencers will have varying fees, depending on their subscriber count and popularity.

    They may calculate a flat fee. Of course, if you’re an indie on a budget, paying influencers for positive coverage may not be the avenue for you.

  • 4 Tooling up

    Tooling up logo

    There are countless tools and services available for inlufencer marketing campaigns that could help make your life easier by making the process more efficient.

    Keymailer is a relatively new, innovative outfit that connects YouTubers and Twitch streamers to games publishers and developers. It’s easy enough to both upload keys on to, and request keys from.

    There’s some minor issues on both ends, but overall it’s a solid distribution platform, with helpful and insightful staff. Keymailer is free to use and for games promoters it takes the hassle out of finding out whether that YouTuber asking for free games is legit. 

    Another useful tool often recommended by game PR professionals is A free-to-use, set of tools that allow developers to create simple, efficient electronic press kits with ease, ideal for a developer or a team on a budget.

    Tools like Social Blade are ideal for finding out information about a video channel or social media identity. If outsourced help is what you need, there are a range of agencies that work specifically in the influencer space, promising to connect YouTubers with game promoters.

    We've had our eyes on sites like (which enables YouTubers to find ad campaigns to run) and (which runs influencer marketing campaigns for PC, console and mobile games), but a simple Google search will turn up more than you need. 

    Influencer marketing may seem daunting; but the core mechanics align with traditional marketing all the same. It’s all about strong communication, finding the right creators for your project and believing that every little interaction contributes to a larger, successful campaign.

    This article is part of our influencer special. You can find out more about it and how to take part here.

    If you want more details on our forthcoming influencer activity covering this space, you can contact Steel Media Operations Manager Dave Bradley at or our new influencer site Editor Danielle Partis at for further details.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.