What are the benefits of using eSports influencers as your company’s brand ambassadors? And why should more businesses start considering this influencer marketing strategy?
With every new trend on the internet activity, comes with opportunities for marketing, and some prime examples include YouTube advertising, podcast sponsorship, social media sponsored posts, and social media influencers being paid to promote a product to their followers, which can total in the hundreds of millions for prominent figures like Ariana Grande or The Rock. These “brand influencers” can drive revenue growth as much, or more as a well-placed website advertisement or even a TV commercial.
Online gaming is nothing new, but competitive tournaments are becoming more and more popular, and more and more profitable. The evolution of the e-sports industry is bringing with it another wave of influencers whose online popularity makes them prime targets for influencer marketing. Here is a more detailed look at the three main reasons brands should jump on board with eSports influencers in 2021.
E-sports is Big. Really Big
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The industry is already extremely popular, but to put those words into economic terms, Forbes predicts the industry will generate $1.7 billion in revenue in 2021. Though COVID-19 didn’t do many folks in the brick-and-mortar (and ball) sports industry any favors, the e-sports industry grew even more rapidly. At the beginning of shutdowns, the sports network ESPN was showing prominent e-sports tournaments in prime time, where football games and basketball games would have been if not for the pandemic.
The folks over at ESPN seem to know what they’re doing, and choosing these events over things like classic replays or commentary was certainly a calculated decision. Some of the major e-sports tournaments payout literal millions of dollars, and the viewership of one of the major events, the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice had more people tuned in than the NBA finals.
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Multiple Outlets for Brand Ambassadors
Many e-sports influencers use the same social media outlets as other influencers, and some prominent gamers total in the tens of millions of followers on Instagram, meaning a lot of eyes on those potential brand ambassadors simply through social media posts and other sponsored content the influencer shares with his or her community.
In addition to the regular social media that non-gamers use and make a lot of money from, gamers tend to have more engagement in places like Reddit and Discord, which is sensible given the fact that these outlets are generally viewed as “techy” and gamers’ existence revolves around the use of a PC, Xbox or PlayStation (VR is also very popular).
Going back to the aforementioned tournaments that millions and millions of viewers watch, that is another option for your brand to gain awareness. To use a simple example, if you’re a hat company and you do business with a gamer who agrees to wear your hat when she or he is competing, those millions and millions of viewers will now be seeing your brand, no different from sponsorships in other individual sports like golf or racing, which have no shortage of brand ambassador-style marketing.
Uniqueness and Opportunity
One thing that COVID-19 did for the business world proved to skeptics that cloud-based work, remote employees, etc. can save a company a lot of money in expenses. That same mindset should be had for skeptics regarding eSports influencers. Social media marketing is great for products and services you want to push to the masses, but the sect of people who seem to gravitate to e-sports figures as influencers is a unique one and offers a great niche market for people looking to advertise to a group of people who spend a lot of time cruising the internet rather than the mall.
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The prominent of the prominent in the eSports world have undoubtedly already received offers to be brand ambassadors, so the time is now to find the next Tiger Woods or LeBron James and build your brand.