Integrated marketing, a practice employed by the advertising community for just about 40 years. The lowdown on this term is that it's a way to describe a multifaceted marketing campaign. One that crosses the lines which separate traditional avenues such as television, radio, print ads, etc. It's a method that combines several of these avenues into one giant campaign. Many ad campaigns run by large corporations nowadays utilize integrated marketing; Examples being Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign, Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign, and 5 Gum's "What It Feels Like To Chew 5 Gum" campaign.
The advent of digital marketing has since become almost synonymous with the integrated marketing term, as most forms of digital marketing are integrated marketing by nature. Remaining consistent with an integrated marketing campaign can help your target demographic become familiar with your brand. Integrated digital marketing makes this task much easier as it not only broadens your outreach, but easily allows for brand consolidation across all platforms.
Integrated Influencer Marketing
Taking a step further down the integrated marketing road, we stumble across integrated influencer marketing. This jumble of words refers to an integrated marketing campaign where personalities with large online followings (influencers) are embedded into the marketing campaign itself. A good recent example of this phenomenon is the inclusion of Elijah Wood in the game AFK Arena's most recent video ad campaign. These ads are comprised of a series of 6 comedic videos in which Elijah Wood interacts with a character in the game. The intention of a campaign like this is that people who have seen the ads would relate Elijah Wood with playing the game. Elijah also tweeted about the videos to help promotion. These videos went viral and were met with very positive reviews.
The Covid-19 lockdown has increased consumer online activities by a substantial amount which presents an alluring amount of digital marketing opportunities in the gaming industry. As such, integrated influencer campaigns utilizing B2B (a person with a high level of authenticity in an industry) influencers are also becoming far more common. According to the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, a few metrics regarding how the marketing world views integrated influencer campaigns are as follows:
- 74% of marketers believe influencer marketing improves customer interaction with the brand.
- 63% of marketers agree that marketing would have better results if a B2B influencer was included.
- 96% of marketers consider their campaigns with B2B influencers to be successful.
- 77% of prospective customers rely on industry experts, according to marketers
Some additional data from an integrated influencer marketing campaign Cherwell Software ran showed that:
- 90% of all visitors were new users.
- 342% better click through rate on content showcased by influencers.
- A 743% increase above benchmark in potential reach from influencer shares.
These metrics of course only apply to integrated influencer marketing campaigns in which the influencer is seen as a highly influential person in that products industry. But the influencer you choose for your marketing campaign doesn't necessarily need to be an industry expert, it's all about how you style the campaign around the influencer. Creating integrated influencer campaigns in the gaming industry isn't as difficult as other industries; Mainly because of the sheer amount of eSports professionals, semi-professionals, and teams that populate websites like Twitch and YouTube.
The exponential surge of online content consumption due to the Covid-19 lockdown presents incredible opportunity for integrated influencer marketing. Take note of the graph above to see a visual of these astounding numbers. Total viewer hours per day has nearly tripled since the beginning of 2019. In a separate Gamesight blog post found here, we can see a massive spike in sponsored content viewership right after the quarantine started. While quarantine is slowly coming to an end, the amount of digital content people are consuming is still on an upward trend.
Crafting a Successful Integrated Influencer Marketing Campaign
There are thousands of other successful integrated influencer ad campaigns, many of which differ from eachother in terms of marketing style. So, there's no cookie cutter metric that dictates how an integrated influencer campaign should run. But there are a few guidelines that marketing teams should adhere to:
- Choose an influencer that could be easily related with and align with your product/game/service.
- Understand both yours and the influencers audience; mold the campaign around what would suite both target demographics.
- Craft a campaign that doesn't scream "this influencer is selling out" by allowing the influencer to help you craft the campaign.
- Implement attainable KPIs that play to the strength of both the influencer and product/service.
- Track consumer engagement performance for your campaign and reference it against the metrics of previous campaigns.
- Create a team fully responsible for all aspects of the influencer campaign. This eliminates piecemeal inefficiencies and increases overall campaign equity.
- Fully commit to the integration by engaging with the influencer and sharing their content.
Regardless of what product/service your campaign is tailored around, these steps are a good starting point towards a successful ROI.
Pitfalls and Things to Watch Out For
While there are many positives associated with integrated influencer marketing, it's certainly not a foolproof endeavor. There are many risks accompanied with tying your brand to a high profile entity. Mitigation of these risks is essential for ensuring a successful integrated influencer marketing campaign.
Obviously, the most important factor to account for is the public image of your prospective influencer. Choosing to partner with someone who has a history of negative press is not a wise decision when deciding who to align yourself with. Not only will people associate your brand with these scandals, any misconduct during the marketing campaign will be absolutely devastating for your brand image.
- Past Rhetoric
Something else to be on the lookout for is whether or not your prospective influencer has been critical or negative towards your brand in the past. It wouldn't take too much effort for one person to notice that the influencer was trashing your products previously, but is now trying to actively promote them. This ties in with trying to eliminate the public perception that the influencer is a sellout.
Ideally, your influencer will be easy to work with and you'll be able to establish a healthy relationship. You want to keep your influencer happy with the terms of the contract. At the same time you want your influencer and their agent to be flexible/open to new ideas and changes to the marketing strategy if the campaign isn't going as well as it could be.
In summary, implementing an integrated influencer campaign in conjunction with a new product release or just to improve your brand's exposure can be a powerful tool. Stay wary of the negative aspects involving the campaign and the fallout from potential scandals. In turn, develop a contingency plan in your contract with the influencer to mitigate many of these risks.
Like any marketing strategy, know your audience. Don't waste money on a campaign to market towards a demographic that couldn't care less about your product. Do your research on potential influencers beforehand, establish a healthy relationship, and then craft the campaign with your influencers audience in mind. Hopefully this article was informative and provided some previously unknown insight into integrated influencer marketing.
At Gamesight, we help PC and console marketers implement performance marketing techniques for their games. If you are seeking help setting up and measuring your campaigns, working with influencers, or would like to simply talk with us about this article, please reach out on our website!