THE IMPORTANCE OF STREAMERS

By Gambling Insider
Industry leaders from Armadillo Studios – EveryMatrix, Relax Gaming, Evoplay & Gaming Arts discuss the increasing importance of influencers/streamers in the gaming industry

How important are influencers/streamers as a marketing medium for game manufacturers?

Razvan Haiduc:

They are very important. Getting the word out and advertising your product to the correct audience is becoming difficult and expensive in this increasingly competitive market. There is simply too much content coming out, so using your marketing budget wisely to reach your audience and differentiate your message is paramount. This is where streaming and influencers come into play. By some standards, this is still a brand new marketing channel, especially for the iGaming sector – but it is likely the most effective and (if used correctly) accurately targeted channel currently in existence. It reaches the end user directly – be it a user already familiar with the content (in the case of specialised streams) or demographics not yet exposed to the content (in the case of more generally oriented streamers).

Jean Venneman:

I think the rise of this category of influencers is great for the industry, especially for the manufacturers. It is an effective way for a viewer to get an unbiased, real-time experience of a slot game that can’t be mimicked in a demo video. Via the influencer, the viewer can go along for that emotional journey of wins and losses, and get a real sense of what kind of “ride” they can expect, how the bonuses work and how often they could potentially see them. It also helps create awareness of where the game is available for play. Of course, not all play sessions end positively for the influencer, so it’s important that they play a theme more than once.

Vladimir Malakchi:

Streamers and influencers play an important role in iGaming promotion. It's unusual to come across an operator that doesn't work with influencers. It's a win-win situation for all sides since operators create traffic and streamers get material. All they have to do now is package it up and put it out there creatively. Collaboration with streaming celebrities and other personalities seems logical for game developers since it provides the target audience with an already positive attitude towards a product. Marketing campaigns that capitalise on the influence of streamers often provide a fivefold increase in game revenue and a 30% increase in player numbers. We have approximately 45 streams of our games quarterly, generally resulting in a reach of 16.5 million potential players.

Marija Hammon:

In the last year or so, it has become quite apparent to us that leveraging streamers is an incredibly smart and savvy way for iGaming providers to reach players directly. We could see more and more people were turning towards platforms such as Twitch and YouTube to get information about new game releases, while being entertained at the same time. These streamers can bring light to games or features that might well have been overlooked had it not been for their keen eye. In this day and age, it’s fair to suggest that this exciting community of entertainers can make or break a game, so it’s important for studios such as ourselves to work harmoniously alongside them to ensure we can generate additional buzz around our product line.

What do game manufacturers look for in a streamer/influencer?

Razvan haiduc:

We can’t speak for every studio out there, but game developers should look at three main things when choosing a streamer or influencer. First, it’s important to look at the platform used, as some streaming platforms have limitations on the type of content that can be shown. Then, it’s important to understand the streamer. Ideally, it’s someone who’s specialised in the product, that can give feedback and do a reasonably accurate and enjoyable presentation. Or it can be someone who’s specialised in multiple products or content types and has a large following, so that they can put the game in the front of many eyeballs. Finally, we need to look at the cost – depending on the popularity of the influencer or streamer, budgets can expand and we must ensure that the benefits are worth the invested amount.

Jean Venneman:

As with anyone that the public relies on for information and suggestions, it’s important that the influencer is being honest and unbiased in their opinion and experience on a game. Objective comments are welcome and can be helpful to the manufacturer of the game. Future game design decisions could be impacted based on comments about what an influencer likes or doesn’t like.

Vladimir Malakchi:

One of the key criteria that have to be taken into consideration upon searching for the ideal influencer has to be the casinos they work with. A game developer is interested only in closing a deal with an influencer who plays at online casinos where their games are present. The goal is to drive traffic to the websites where your products are on offer. Another determining factor is markets where streamers have already established a presence. A match between our target markets and a streamer's emphasis regions is essential. More specifically, some of them require a licence, which is another major factor to consider. To summarise, geo, audience, the number of views, and the way a streamer distributes their content are what we take into consideration when choosing a person to work with.

Marija Hammon:

We wouldn’t be telling the truth if we didn’t say one of the first things game manufacturers look for in a streamer is a strong community and loyal following. Ultimately, we all want to ensure that our content is being viewed by a fanbase hungry for exciting slot content. However, it’s equally important to us that these streamers possess qualities such as professionalism, consistency in their approach and objectivity. The latter being one of the most important factors – the moment someone decides to prioritise one studio over another, credibility goes out the window. It’s also tremendously helpful to work with streamers that are genuinely entertaining and passionate about the subject matter. It doesn’t matter how many subscribers or viewers a streamer has if they’re not showing enthusiasm and passion.

Do B2B suppliers employ streamers/influencers directly, or do they rely on streamers/influencers to cover their games organically?

Razvan Haiduc:

As suppliers of B2B content, we would be really happy if streamers organically picked up our products, but the reality is that the more successful a streamer becomes, the higher the percentage of sponsored content. Employing a full-time streamer is perhaps not something we would consider, especially as a B2B provider. Our products cover a lot of markets and languages, so our marketing needs to take that into account. A better approach is to maintain active relationships with multiple influencers/streamers and target the marketing efforts based on required coverage, product or market specifics and  local regulations.

Jean Venneman:

I can only speak for Gaming Arts, where we recently announced a partnership with Brian Christopher, who is one of the most visible and successful, if not the most visible and successful slot influencer. We will be featuring his branding on one of his favourite Gaming Arts themes, “Pop N Pays™” with a version called “Brian Christopher’s Pop N Pays More™.”  We feel he has a large and loyal fan base that will seek out and enjoy this game.

Vladimir Malakchi:

At Evoplay, we've come across instances where streamers are the first to spotlight our games and show their audience how to play them. For us, it comes as no surprise that our games draw the attention of the entire entertainment industry, not only the iGaming sector. However, as a business, we continue to expand our B2C partnership network, while constantly on the lookout for fresh faces to help communicate the value of our products to a wider audience. We have a particular strategy for building mutually beneficial relationships with digital influencers, just as we do with other businesses.

Marija Hammon:

This can work in two ways. Firstly, there are streamers that’ll take payment in return for spending a considerable amount of time playing a game, during which the supplier might also offer affiliates sponsorships in the form of prizes they can hand out to their viewers. On the other hand, there are streamers that just pick up whatever game they feel like playing that day. Usually these are smaller streamers, looking to make a name for themselves. In many ways, these streamers are just as valuable as those that have tens of thousands of viewers – the key indicators we are looking for is their enthusiasm and that they care about their audience. In terms of reliability, I wouldn't say suppliers inherently rely on streamers, but that additional visibility is certainly worth having.

What do B2B suppliers have to do differently with streamers, as opposed to operators and affiliates?

Razvan Haiduc:

An operator (and to a lesser extent, an affiliate) has a very well-defined audience. Their goal is not to advertise an individual game, but multiple, to promote the platform and user experience as a whole. Sometimes, the focus ends up on specific games (for example streaming during a tournament or for particular player acquisition offers), but that is usually incidental. In the case of B2B suppliers, things are a bit different – we need to cover bigger markets and appeal to larger audiences. We cannot efficiently target the end user directly, so we need to cast a bigger net. Short sponsored streams with established streamers in multiple markets and languages are one way to do that. Alternatives are extensive reviews or instructional streams by specialised streamers with large international followings.

Jean Venneman:

As a manufacturer, we’d obviously love to see the influencers spend a lot of time on our games and sharing that experience with their audience. So just like our customers, if we hope that the influencer will give our new themes a chance, it could really help raise awareness of that new theme.

Vladimir Malakchi:

There isn't much of a difference for us in terms of whom we choose as partners. In all circumstances, our partnership strategy is based on the same principle: creating trusting and friendly relationships with both companies and individuals. We approach any business as if we are the people who stand behind it, and if it turns out that we share a common ground, nothing can prevent us from fruitful cooperation. It is easy for us to form long-term and respect-filled relationships as businesses want to work with us due to our seamless reputation in the market.

Marija Hammon:

To succeed with streamers, B2B suppliers have to ensure we have a good grasp of what the community is looking for. You can’t just throw any old game at a streamer and expect success overnight. It’s up to us as suppliers to create outstanding games. Streamers want entertainment value from games that produce high wins, which lead to memorable, thrilling and suspenseful moments for their audience. Naturally, this isn’t the same design we would employ for all player groups, so from a pure positioning point of view, we need to drive games that you feel are going to resonate within this scene. From a commercial standpoint, the discussion is also a very different one to that of an operator due to the propositional value, which is different to standard affiliation, where the aim is to direct attention to content. At the end of the day, what we all need to do is ensure that key USPs and game details are informed effectively so that players are receiving the right information. As long as that’s ensured, partnerships between the supplier and streamer should be strong and fruitful for all.

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