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Live Streaming Services and the Future of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a concept that has been heavily reliant on social interaction in recent years. The traditional method of gathering a following on a popular social media platform and promoting a product while risking the loss of viewers is no longer the best method for securing earnings through an advertising network. Influencer marketers are looking towards a more modern approach that will allow them to advertise a product more effectively with content that will not disappear and can provide a valuable long-term asset to the advertised product. This is where endeavoring to combine the use of live streaming services with influencer marketing becomes a more ideal option for modern marketers.

Live streaming services are becoming more and more important. As a result, they are beginning to attract the attention of people who are interested in combining their entertainment with an advertising element that is highly interactive. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is highly arguable. However, it is clear that the nature of advertising as a whole is naturally helped by any service that is able to interact with the consumer in a way that leaves them wanting more.

The Rise of Live Streaming Services

Live streaming also offers a newer form of content sponsorship. When wanting a product sponsored in a pre-recorded video, often times a company will want approval over the script of what is said about their product before paying the content creator. With the fan interaction in live streaming, an influencer could simply have a product on screen during their stream, talk about how cool it is, and there’s a good chance someone from the company will contact them with an offer while still giving creative freedom.

Instead of trying to make themselves heard in an oversaturated market of pre-recorded YouTube content, live streaming services offer a newer blue ocean for influencers to tap into, where they can grow a more grassroots fan base. Live streaming offers a sense of interactivity between the influencer and their audience that isn’t there when people are just watching a YouTube video. Normally, a viewer may leave a comment and hope the content creator responds to it. However, with live streaming, it’s not uncommon for an influencer to respond to everything he or she sees in their chat window, often directly speaking to and answering questions from their viewers. This makes the viewer feel more connected to the influencer and can often turn this viewer into a dedicated fan.

People interested in tapping into the influencer marketing industry often assume that they need to use high-production YouTube videos, witty Vine skits, or eye-catching Instagram content to get noticed and capture companies’ interest. However, with the rise of live streaming services, that type of production value is no longer the only way to garner an audience. Live streaming services, such as Twitch, Hitbox, or even YouTube Gaming, have been a booming industry in the past few years. Pioneered primarily by Twitch, this industry has seen massive growth in a short amount of time, and aspiring influencers should take note.

The Impact of Live Streaming on Influencer Marketing

Currently, most marketed products of sponsored advertising can be a more passive experience for the viewer since they may consist of a review or a display of the product in action. Live streaming presents the opportunity for a product to be integrated into the live content in a less intrusive way than traditional forms of advertisement. An influencer can do a live demonstration of a product, an unboxing, or a Q&A segment dedicated to questions about the product with giveaways for viewers. The viewer has the opportunity to ask questions and gauge the product for themselves with the potential for direct interaction with the influencer. This fosters a stronger impression of the product with the consumer than traditional forms of advertising and can lead to a more organic purchase. A special feature of live streaming with promotional content is that the stream itself can also be sponsored by a company, which can be a more seamless form of advertisement.

The impact of live streaming in influencer marketing is huge as it is making influencer marketing more personalized and an interactive experience between an influencer and a potential consumer. While a consumer can communicate with the influencer via the live chat feature during the streaming, the influencer can respond on the spot during the stream. The ability to receive and respond to instant feedback is an extremely attractive feature for an influencer as it allows them to gauge the interests and reactions of the viewers in real time. This can be particularly useful when an influencer is testing out new products or content, as instant feedback can be used to steer the direction of their content strategy. Additionally, by encouraging the viewers to engage via the chat function, it increases the time spent watching a stream, and an engaged viewer is more likely to convert.

The Future of Influencer Marketing in the Live Streaming Era

Building influencer support into a game’s development via closed session playtesting and feedback can create organic promotion for the game in its early stages and provide developer insight on how the game can be tailored for the influencer’s specific audience during its development. An example of this can be seen in Blizzard’s Overwatch game, which had sponsored play sessions with various streamers during its early development in order to teach the game fundamentals while promoting a feeling of community support from its influencers.

With the future of live streaming looking very bright in terms of viewership and engagement, it’s safe to say that the future of influencer marketing in video games will likely revolve around integrating streamers directly with the development process, content creation, and even game experimentation in order to build hype for viewers.

Traditional marketing techniques are saturated in the modern age, and product placement and ads are not as fruitful as historically seen. An article in “The Guardian” gives some insight into this via the statistic that “40% of millennials connect more with YouTube personalities than celebrities” and “60% of YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over a traditional famous person.” This, coupled with the significant cost benefit of bringing in an influencer compared to buying ad space with a significantly higher engagement rate, paints a very attractive alternative to older marketing techniques.

In this particular area, we see a connection between promoting and influencer marketing. Influencers have large followings in genres similar to video games. Negotiating with big-time influencers to promote a game in unison with its live release can be a very fruitful marketing tactic to push it in front of an audience that has already expressed interest. An example of this can be seen in an influencer such as Shroud, who pushed the release of the Diablo 3 game with sponsored trips to Blizzard’s headquarters and closed-door play sessions with Blizzard developers.