By 2023, there will be 3 billion gamers worldwide playing in what’s expected to become a $300 billion industry by 2025. The industry’s rapid growth provides marketers beyond consumer packaged goods and beauty brands a lucrative opportunity to reach this massive gaming audience through influencer marketing. According to a new HypeFactory report, the most effective way to do that is through YouTube.
From 2019 to 2020, HypeFactory helped MY.GAMES promote its title, Hustle Castle, by enlisting 40 YouTube Gaming influencers across various regions. These influencers posted 60-90 second video clips, as well as links in their video descriptions, around Hustle Castle to create buzz. The campaign outperformed its target goal and reached 6.3 million users.
Though 6.3 is a small fraction of YouTube’s total gaming audience, 86.3 million subscribers, the results of HypeFactory’s influencer activation for Hustle Castle show how huge the potential reach for an influencer campaign on YouTube can be.
Consumer trust has given YouTube influencers in general more credibility than any other platform. In June, Takumi released the results of a survey that asked 4,000 influencers, marketers and consumers from the US, the UK and Germany about their opinions of influencers on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.
Over time, consumers have come to trust legacy platforms like YouTube over newcomers like TikTok. For example, 28 percent of consumers said they trust influencers on YouTube, compared with 22 percent for Instagram. In addition, 37 percent of 16-44-year-olds said they trust a YouTube influencer more than a high-profile figure or celebrity.
Marketers, too, feel more confident in YouTube influencers’ ability to demonstrate return on investment (ROI), as Takumi’s research shows that 96 percent of marketers feel familiar with YouTube, just after Instagram.
Overall, both marketers (72 percent) and consumers (55 percent) agreed that YouTube is the most likely channel to lead to a purchase.
The data show there’s a clear correlation between greater trust and increased buying on YouTube, with 27 percent of 16-44-year-olds saying they’ve been influenced to purchase a product or service by YouTube creators in the last six months—higher than Instagram (24 percent) and TikTok (15 percent).
YouTube Gaming has made strides since its inception in 2015 as a standalone app. In 2018, in an effort to reach a larger amount of the gaming community, the platform created a dedicated gaming hub on YouTube, where over 200 million gamers visited each day to watch over 50 billion hours of content that year. This led the platform to retire the YouTube Gaming app in March 2019.
As mobile usage in lockdowns ballooned, the app has recently turned its attention to mobile activations. On August 27, YouTube Gaming held a charitable mobile games tournament, Celebration of Mobile Gaming. With a prize pool of $50,000, the event was streamed on VidCon’s YouTube channel and brought out creators who battled it out in Brawl Stars, Clash Royale and PUBG Mobile.
Today, two of the top five YouTube channels with the most subscribers worldwide are gaming-related.