Gaming macro-influencers can scale your video game to millions of players. These creators can be defined as social media power users, widely recognized trendsetters, with followers in the hundreds of thousands, and more often millions.
Famous macro-influencers in the gaming scene include PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Ninja, individuals turned brands who have become cultural icons in the space. Celebrity gamers like Ninja and Pokimane even starred in the “Free Guy” movie where they played themselves reviewing a video game.
A collaboration with a macro-influencer allows your brand to reach huge audiences who listen intently whenever their favorite creator speaks. It’s possible to reach millions of followers through macro-influencers, numbers that smaller types of influencers (micro-influencers) simply cannot hit.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Macro-influencers enable your brand to reach their huge communities that you might otherwise have no chance of marketing to. If your focus is on raising global awareness, macro-influencers often possess dedicated fans across regions worldwide, instantly opening your game up to new market opportunities. Given their size, macro-influencers are regularly approached by world-known global brands—this offers meaningful validation of an influencer’s abilities.
Speaking of validation, your brand becomes associated with a macro-influencer generates a level of trust more traditional marketing channels can’t necessarily offer. Traditional ads can often feel corporate or inauthentic—particularly for younger generations.
Comparatively, macro-influencers present an opportunity to associate your brand with a recognized celebrity who represents a familiar face, someone they aspire to be, or someone they’re already engaged with.
Macro-influencers essentially become their own brands, with a dedicated team that usually includes camera operators, motion designers, photographers, and social media managers. Given the quality of this content, you’ll have zero hesitations repurposing it across other channels, be it social, email, or web.
Macro-influencer channels continue to grow, and content is often evergreen—particularly on platforms like YouTube which isn’t driven by a chronological algorithm. Rather than looking at your planned campaign with a macro-influencer as an isolated case study, consider the longer term results.
Macro-influencer success is much more than a series of vanity metrics and positive brand associations—you’ll generate real results. For example, high performance on Apple and Google Play Store rankings can be critical for your game’s success, and macro-influencers offer you access to the sizable, passionate audiences that have the scale to affect these rankings.
CloutBoost emphasizes a data-driven approach to influencer marketing, giving us an in-depth, accurate perspective on estimated views and engagement for any given influencer. These figures are extremely useful, but they aren’t necessarily inclusive of the virality potential for a particular video.
If one (or more) influencer videos go viral, viewership and engagement can far exceed average estimates. Plus, given internet culture and the creator economy specifically, it’s likely videos will be picked up and discussed by others in the community, turned into memes, and ultimately result in your brand being part of a cultural moment that drives significant value.
AFK Arena: Macro-Influencer Case Study
Our campaign for AFK Arena highlights the success that macro-influencers can bring to your video game.
The Chinese video game producers Lilith Games had an ambitious objective of having their new mobile RPG card game hit the top 50 charts in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store in the US. To generate awareness and downloads on the scale necessary to achieve this, CloutBoost leveraged several YouTube macro-influencers in the country, accounting for a total audience of over 16 million.
In terms of content strategy, the six macro-influencers each produced a 60-90 second video integration showcasing the game’s unique in-game content, as well as its accessibility and simplicity with respect to the casual mobile format, concluded with a strong download call-to-action. Beyond the YouTube content, social media posts on Twitter and Instagram were created to promote the game—including giveaways—which further amplified AFK Arena and built awareness.
Overall, Lilith Games’ use of macro-influencers significantly overperformed initial expectations of a hopeful top 50 entry into Apple App Store and Google Play Store. AFK Arena achieved a rank of #13 in the US Google Play Store, and #26 in the Apple App Store (above Fortnite!). The audience almost doubled since the launch of the campaign, rising to 30M from an initial 16M, while the number of views tripled, from an initial 5.5M to 14.5M.
Macro-influencers offer multiple benefits, the most impactful of which we outlined above. But to truly capitalize on your macro-influencer campaigns, you need to have clear motivations reflected by defined campaign objectives.
Brand awareness campaigns represent a perfect opportunity to partner with macro-influencers. Similar to a traditional TV campaign, macro-influencers allow you to reach a huge audience that you otherwise wouldn’t. This approach works particularly well when you’ve already found success with niche audiences, through micro-influencers or otherwise.
Best Fiends: Macro-Influencer Case Study
Mobile startup Seriously’s first game, Best Fiends, has two million daily active players and over 100 million lifetime downloads. Influencers represent 90% of the company’s marketing budget. Over 700 YouTube creators have worked with this gaming brand, including prominent gaming influencers Markiplier, PewDiePie, DanTDM, and others.
A notable campaign featured the two-and-a-half-minute-long YouTube comedy video called “Don’t Download Best Fiends”, combining YouTube Influencers Graceffa and Pansino with Hollywood actress Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy).
Opposed to releasing promotions in isolation, influencer activations span across different, interconnected creatives. For example, alongside the comedy video, the community was given a 48 hour first look at the unlisted YouTube video before it went live.
Longer term, the ad kicked off a treasure hunt where different symbols attached to different influencers were hidden in the game. Influencers then shared clues on their social channels, with players that found all the symbols in the game unlocking a new fiend.
The results of these efforts speak for themselves. In the U.S. alone, the company has been able to grow daily active users of Best Fiends from 9 percent to 21 percent following this campaign. At the same time, daily installs have increased sixfold, while daily revenue has increased fourfold.
Macro-influencers have a whole host of benefits, but selecting the right ones is just as important. Their specific audience may not be well aligned with your brand, or you might not be sure what metrics hold the most weight. While macro-influencer follower counts offer some insight into lifetime interest, it’s far from the most important metric.
We’ve broken down a list of several criteria that you should be paying attention to when deciding which macro-influencers to reach out to.
When it comes to finding audiences that could be a match for your brand, demographics are vital. You’ll be able to gain insight into the age, gender, and location of your audience, using that information to help determine whether there’s alignment with your campaign goals.
Subscribers and followers are deceptive. While a macro-influencer may have been huge once, perhaps they have a stagnant audience who are no longer so invested into their content. Channel growth allows you to understand how quickly—or slowly—a channel is growing in real-time, opposed to what may have happened in the past.
Much like channel growth, Engagement Rate (a sum of all actions e.g. likes and comments, divided by number of views) will help you understand how passionate a macro-influencer’s audience truly is. In a similar vein, utilizing the True Reach metric can help you identify macro-influencers that have fake and/or inactive followers.
You might be a huge fan of a celebrity macro-influencer, feeling immediately compelled to work with them given the opportunity. As exciting as macro-influencers might sound, remember your brand. Think about whether the connection between that macro-influencer and your brand would feel authentic and natural, or would it feel forced. Your brand values need to align with that of your chosen macro-influencer, or you’ll risk not only alienating your target audience, but also your core fans.
Working with macro-influencers isn’t without its challenges. We’ve listed a few of the common ones here, and considering how you’ll navigate them ahead of time can optimize your process significantly.
It can be hard for macro-influencers to retain the levels of engagement relative to smaller, so-called, micro-influencers. As an audience grows, it can often become harder to connect with fans in the way that you can with smaller audiences. In an era of content overload, retaining “relevancy” can also become challenging—people are often looking for something new and fresh.
Even with the top macro-influencers, don’t be alarmed by lower engagement percentages, just make sure to do your due diligence. Zoom out, look at the scale of audience you’ll be reaching, and compare macro-influencers across similar industries to see if their numbers stack up.
While macro-influencers allow you to reach huge audiences, bigger isn’t always better. These audiences by default become very broad—they’re playing across multiple different platforms and multiple different genres.
If your game is somewhat general and therefore relevant to a variety of audiences, this is great. But if you’re operating in a specific niche, an MMORPG for instance, working with a macro-influencer will likely lead to you reaching irrelevant audiences who have little interest in your game.
When you’re approaching smaller influencers, a random outreach DM might do the trick. But when it comes to macro-influencers, they get hundreds — or thousands — of messages per day. This is why in most cases they have an agent handling all their collaborations, so be prepared to communicate with them instead.
While you’re not communicating with the influencer directly, agents will typically respond quickly and professionally.
As you’d probably expect, other brands that work with macro-influencers will also be interested in who you’re reaching out to. Just as you’ll want to be selectively looking for a brand-influencer match when it comes to values and audience, macro-influencers are looking for the same things.
If you’re confident you’d be able to do great work with a particular influencer, make sure you effectively communicate what’s unique about your brand, and why that influencer specifically will have a positive experience working with you.
We talked about competition for an influencer’s time, and unsurprisingly it’s likely you’ll be faced with a busy calendar when reaching out to their agents. Successful macro-influencers can be booked out months in advance, so you’ll want to plan ahead as much as possible, and be prepared to wait for the collaboration to happen.
Macro-influencers don’t come cheap. Huge, engaged audiences associated with an in-demand influencer can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to these initial collaboration costs, it can be expensive to acquire content usage rights for repurposing macro-influencer content across your brand channels.
Despite rates appearing significant upfront, in reality, you often get a lower CPM in comparison to smaller influencers.
To maximize the returns on your investment into a collaboration with a macro-influencer, make sure to follow the best practices listed below.
Working with macro-influencers to finalize a script detailing what they’re going to say to promote your game is a great way to ensure everyone’s on the same page. A script will ensure all the key points you want to communicate are hit accordingly, and save both you and the macro-influencer extra work associated with not having one.
While the word script might raise concerns around a lack of authenticity, macro-influencers are well versed in delivering authentic and genuine brand integrations that seamlessly integrate with the rest of their content.
You should already have ideas around how the influencer content will be repurposed across other channels prior to devising it. Opting not to repurpose content means you’re essentially handicapping yourself by limiting its potential reach.
For example, if your macro-influencer content is a longer YouTube video integration, it’s easy to cut that down to small clips you can play across TikTok or Instagram. Once these clips have been created, you can utilize them as paid ads across social media and ad networks to reach new or existing audiences.
Competition to get eyes on your content is tougher than ever so taking a bold creative direction in your macro-influencer collaboration can help your campaign stand out. There really are no limits when it comes to macro-influencer content, as long you stick to your brand guidelines and behave ethically.
Below we’ve outlined some examples of creative macro-influencer campaigns in the gaming space to offer some inspiration.
Plenty of huge gaming brands have leveraged macro-influencers to star in short commercial-style video concepts to present their brand in an engaging, direct manner. For example, blockbuster mobile game Candy Crush featured Khloe Kardashian and Doja Cat in a lighthearted YouTube skit to promote Candy Crush All Stars.
Having macro-influencers talk about your game is great, but what about if they actually exist within it? Fortnite is arguably the biggest example of this strategy in gaming, having partnered with huge global names such as Ninjato have their character (skin) playable in the game.
WildWorks went one step further with “Tag with Ryan”, creating a game centered around popular kids YouTuber Ryan’s World, who they then collaborated with to promote the game. Creating an in-game character—or even a whole game—linked to a macro-influencer allows audiences to connect with them, and ultimately your brand, on an even deeper level.
To promote the return of Agent 47 (HITMAN), IO Interactive partnered with a group of indie filmmakers and various YouTube influencers, including Smosh Games and esports champions OpTic Gaming, to lead “Real Life Agent 47” (the franchise protagonist) through a scenario similar to the one in the game. In the iconic Hitman style, “players” could complete missions in various ways.
A variation of the short movies example we talked about earlier, comedy sketches are a great way to have macro-influencers promote your game in a lighthearted way. While there’s always the chance of a comedy sketch missing the mark and coming across as awkward, a good comedy sketch can help position you as authentic, genuine, and relatable.
Challenges naturally play into the element of virality in an era of TikTok trends. A well-devised challenge with the right macro-influencer can generate significant engagement, allowing audiences to feel more connected than they might by solely being a consumer of content.
In a similar vein, the Brawl Stars case study ties into the challenge concept of playing against each other:
Supercell: Macro Influencer Case Study
Supercell, a mobile games developer, allocated a significant portion of their marketing budget to a macro-influencer strategy for their multiplayer online battle arena game, Brawl Stars. The brand partnered with 10 mobile YouTube gamers and influencers to run a series of pre-launch gameplay live streaming videos. Partnered influencers included Orange Juice Gaming, MOLT, and Powerbang Gaming. Check out one of these live stream videos below, which has eclipsed 2.5 million views to date.
With so many content creators playing with each other, the power of shared networks can result in viral, talked about moments.
In May 2021, Russian celebrity artist Morgenshtern released a new music video—sponsored by War Thunder. The game’s marketing team took a bold decision to partner with the controversial Russian rap artist, an approach that could have easily backfired.
While associating yourself with controversy is certainly risky, the numbers generated are significant as audiences rush to see what’s going on. The game is actually mentioned in the song, with a direct CTA to download it in the lyrics. To date, the music video has generated an incredible 68 million views on YouTube.
Macro-influencers reach audiences in the millions, offering your game access to a level of scale. Plus, you’re ensuring the quality of content production that you’d expect with more traditional marketing methods like huge TV campaigns, without sacrificing the feeling of authenticity you want to be associated with.
When working with macro-influencers you should be ready to face certain challenges which include influencer’s availability, communication nuances, and cost of collaboration.
CloutBoost agency has years of experience in managing successful macro-influencer campaigns for leading game developers like Rovio, Lilith Games, and Tiny Build Games. Contact us today to discover how your game can benefit from a partnership with macro-influencers.