Computer gaming as an industry and entertainment concept has grown steadily since first entering our homes around 50 years ago.
The industry's popularity exploded when the 21st century brought gaming online, and the landscape was forever changed.
In 2023, the global online gaming industry is estimated to be worth around $26 billion, up almost 10% from 2022. This figure is predicted to rise, reaching $32.5 billion by 2028.
What began as a niche extension to traditional offline console and PC gaming has become the norm. Technology and game-making have developed at an incredible pace to create exciting new worlds shared by millions across the Earth simultaneously.
With over a billion people playing regularly online, potential revenues for every business connected with the industry are enormous. Marketing to this massive consumer base has become a fiercely fought contest.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the most effective promotion methods outside traditional advertising and media editorials. One aspect of this approach, which online gaming particularly lends itself to, is the employment of gaming influencers.
Table of Contents
Two forms of marketing
Though they are closely related and often intertwined, gaming influencers and affiliate marketing are two distinct categories:
If you grew up with a passion for something like gaming, sports, music, or fashion, you’ll already have encountered influencers. In the old days, these took the shape of celebrities or, in some cases, the most clued-up kid in school.
These early influencers were the people we aspired to because of their knowledge, lifestyle, or some other appealing quality. When these people endorsed products, subtly or overtly, we saw those products as a way to access their world.
Fast forward and modern influences are a mixture of these two figures. They are experts in a field who share their knowledge and experience and often become famous by doing so.
Modern influencers can also make sizable incomes through partnerships with brands seeking access to their impressionable audiences. The brands gain by having a trusted champion, and the influencer gains by direct payment, free products, or commission.
Influencer-led marketing takes many forms but most commonly involves offering and recommending products on social media and videos. The critical ingredient is that the influencer must build an audience who trust them, and therefore the products they recommend.
Though it works similarly to influencer promotions, affiliate marketing is less personality-based. In its most basic form, affiliate marketing is when brands pay commissions for customers driven by their services and products.
Examples include experts, agents, consumer guides to the best new products, or featured lists of recommended offers, bonuses, and incentives. Wherever consumers seek an independent third party to assist their decision-making, affiliate marketing can occur.
In the online casino sector, for instance, you find affiliate marketing sites listing the best slot games or poker tournaments. Casinos.com is one trusted example and provides regularly updated lists of the most common type of live casino bonus.
Think of affiliate marketing services as a variation on price comparison websites or traditional brokers. It gives users a single point of access to a range of services and allows providers to compete for sales.
As you might expect, the lines between influencers and affiliates are often blurred; the styles differ. Think perhaps of an influencer as the ‘face’ of a promotional team and the affiliate marketer as the ‘business end.’
The key consideration when forming these sorts of partnerships is credibility and integrity, particularly regarding influencers. To maintain success, an influencer must be seen as honest and ‘real’ above all else.
Audiences need to believe their favorite influencer makes recommendations based on what they believe, not what they are paid. An influencer's appeal quickly diminishes once that balance is perceived to have shifted in the wrong direction.
With more comparison-based affiliate marketing, the burden of trust is more focused on accuracy than authenticity. Most consumers are savvy enough to understand recommendations are often paid for but insist the information offered is always correct.
Does it work?
To understand how successful influencer and affiliate marketing are, you only have to look at how popular they are. In online gaming, thousands have set themselves up as influencers, with the most successful earning millions yearly.
Similarly, thousands of affiliate marketing programs offer competing commissions and incentives in every sector. In online gaming, these range from niche independents to global megabrands such as Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony.
Everyone involved in these reciprocal relationships, from brand to marketer to user, is continually incentivized to play their part. Brands must produce appealing products and pay well; influencers must maintain integrity and popularity; users must reward authenticity and quality.
This merry-go-round creates a network of trust between all parties in exchange for easy access to both supply and demand. It’s easy to see why influencer promotion and affiliate marketing have grown to play such important roles in online gaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do gaming influencers impact consumer behavior in the online gaming industry?
Gaming influencers significantly impact consumer behavior by shaping trends and guiding purchasing decisions through endorsements and content.
What differentiates affiliate marketing from influencer marketing in the online gaming sector?
Affiliate marketing is less personality-driven and focuses more on providing expert recommendations and insights, while influencer marketing relies on the influencer's personal brand and audience relationship.
Can affiliate marketing exist without influencers in the online gaming industry?
Yes, affiliate marketing can operate independently of influencers, focusing on guiding consumers through expert recommendations and curated content.
How do brands benefit from employing gaming influencers?
Brands benefit from gaming influencers through increased visibility, credibility, and connection with a targeted audience that trusts the influencer's recommendations.
What role does trust play in influencer marketing within the online gaming community?
Trust is crucial in influencer marketing, as the audience's belief in the influencer's authenticity and sincerity directly impacts the effectiveness of their endorsements.
How do affiliate marketers earn revenue in the online gaming industry?
Affiliate marketers earn revenue through commissions paid by brands for directing customers to their products or services based on the marketer's recommendations.
What makes an effective gaming influencer in the eyes of the online gaming community?
An effective gaming influencer maintains authenticity, deeply understands gaming, and builds a genuine connection with their audience.
How has the rise of online gaming influenced the marketing strategies of gaming companies?
The rise of online gaming has led gaming companies to increasingly rely on influencer and affiliate marketing to reach and engage with a digitally savvy audience.
What are the key elements of a successful affiliate marketing strategy in online gaming?
A successful affiliate marketing strategy in online gaming includes accurate and helpful recommendations, credibility, and a clear understanding of the gaming audience's preferences.
How do influencers and affiliates work together in the online gaming industry?
Influencers and affiliates often work together by combining the appeal and reach of influencers with the practical, recommendation-driven approach of affiliates to maximize marketing impact.
What challenges do gaming influencers face in maintaining their audience's trust?
Gaming influencers need help balancing promotional content with genuine recommendations, as over-commercialization can lead to a loss of trust and authenticity.
How do affiliate marketing sites like Casinos.com contribute to the online gaming industry?
Sites like Casinos.com contribute by providing curated lists and recommendations, helping gamers make informed decisions and enhancing their gaming experience.
What trends are shaping the future of influencer and affiliate marketing in online gaming?
Emerging trends include increased focus on authenticity, the rise of micro-influencers, and the integration of advanced analytics to tailor marketing strategies.
How do gaming influencers choose the products or services they endorse?
Gaming influencers typically choose products or services based on their personal experience, audience interests, and alignment with their brand values.
What makes affiliate marketing appealing to online gamers?
Affiliate marketing is appealing to online gamers because it provides expert advice, curated recommendations, and assistance in navigating the vast array of gaming options.
How do gaming companies measure the success of their influencer marketing campaigns?
Gaming companies measure the success of influencer marketing campaigns through metrics like engagement rates, conversion rates, and the influencer's impact on brand visibility.
What strategies do influencers use to build trust with their audience in the gaming community?
Influencers build trust by consistently providing honest reviews, engaging with their audience, and being transparent about sponsored content.
How has the perception of influencer marketing in online gaming evolved over time?
The perception of influencer marketing in online gaming has evolved from skepticism to acceptance as audiences recognize the value and authenticity influencers can bring.
What role does audience engagement play in the success of a gaming influencer?
Audience engagement is crucial for a gaming influencer's success, reflecting their ability to connect with and influence their followers' decisions.
How can gamers discern between genuine and paid recommendations from influencers?
Gamers can discern between genuine and paid recommendations by looking for transparency in disclosures, consistency in the influencer's content, and