7 tips for video game marketing on streaming platforms

Anna Bredava
by Anna Bredava on June 15, 2021

Article summary

In this article, we explain how to market games on streaming platforms. We cover two major challenges: how to find a new audience for your game and how to make people buy your game during the stream.

  1. Why you should use streaming for video game marketing?
  2. How to market your game on streaming platforms
  3. Collaborate with a gaming influencer
  4. Collaborate with gaming media
  5. Find an online community
  6. Advertise your game on streaming platforms
  7. Actively engage with stream viewers
  8. Run a contest for your viewers
  9. Try to go viral

Can you guess who Netflix considers their biggest competitor? It's not HBO or Amazon Prime. It's a game called Fortnite. 

This is a screenshot from the Polygon'a article titled Netflix says Fortnite is bigger competition than Hulu
A screenshot from polygon.com

According to Netflix, their penetration in some areas is lower because of online platforms and video games.

Indeed the gaming industry grows every year and attracts more and more customers. Tech Jury estimates that the gaming industry will be worth $180 billion in 2021.

A big part of this success of the gaming industry can be contributed to streaming. According to Market Watch, the live game streaming market is expected to grow even more in the next 4 years!  

Streaming games can come in different forms: from doing chill playthroughs to covering Esports tournaments, but there's a huge demand for all types of this content.

We talked about streaming before: we covered the rules of Twitch marketing and analyzed the different audiences of streaming platforms. What we haven't covered yet is the marketing potential of streaming for game developers — and it's huge.

Why you should use streaming for video game marketing?

Gaming remains one of the main forms of entertainment on streaming platforms. For example, 87.1% of all streams on Twitch are gaming streams. Games are the most-watched category on YouTube as well. 2 of the top 5 YouTube channels with the most subscribers worldwide are gaming-related.

So, how do you tap into this pool of potential customers? Whether you're an indie developer or an established studio, you'll need a marketing strategy that targets streaming platforms.

There are two core issues marketers need to solve with their strategy:

  • How to find and reach the right audience through your stream?
  • And how to make people interested in your game?

Since the games, much like movies, have long production cycles, oftentimes, the marketing starts before the actual release. This poses another challenge for marketers: they need to make sure the audience they reach remains with them until the actual release of the game. 

In this article, we will go through all the tips to ensure your streaming marketing strategy can successfully face these challenges. Let's start with the first one: how to find the right audience. 

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How to market your game on streaming platforms

How to find your audience

Obviously, when you're making a game, you already have an image of your player in mind: someone who likes a particular genre, themes, or aesthetic and will probably like your game. Moreover, you might even already have an audience on social media — and you surely need to invite them to your stream.

However, you always want to reach new people. If you are not really sure who your audience is, creating a customer persona might help — check out our guide to building a customer persona to do that. Knowing who your audience is, i.e., their interests, values, age, and other demographics and psychographics, helps you determine how to reach them.

Once you understand your audience, you need to figure out where to find them and how to get them to watch your stream. And that's where our tips come in handy! Here are 4 ways to reach a new audience through streaming.

Tip 1: Collaborate with a gaming influencer

Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to reach a new audience. Moreover, influencers typically have a strong relationship with their followers, which helps to promote your game.

If you want as many people as possible to learn about your new game, you simply need to find a streamer who has a large audience, right?

Actually, it's not that simple. You want to reach a specific audience. You wouldn't promote a story-focused RPG by collaborating with a gamer who mostly plays FIFA, so there needs to be a bit more thought put into influencer search. 

For example, Backbone is a very recent indie game developed by a team of 18 people. Twitch streamer named shenryyr played the game for 7 hours and got more than 10 thousand viewers! For an indie game, this is an incredible result.

A screenshot of a Twitch stream
shenryyr playing Backbone on Twitch

Here are the aspects you need to pay attention to when you're choosing an influencer:

  1. The number of subscribers. As much as we talk about the duplicity of vanity metrics, the number of subscribers is a good indicator of the audience's size. You don't always need to pursue influencers with the biggest number of followers, micro-influencers can be just as or even more effective when it comes to marketing.
  2. Content. I've already mentioned this above — the games the gaming influencer streams should have something in common with the game you want to promote. Otherwise, you'd be marketing your game to a completely wrong audience, and this will never result in new fans or sales. So check out their channel description and saved videos to see if their content fits your strategy. 
  3. Public image and audience interaction. Once you find a couple of influencers that fit your requirements, take a look at their streams. How do they interact with their audience? Is their commentary style edgy or wholesome? How much attention do they pay to the game vs. rambling? All these questions will help you determine if the influencer is the right fit for your game.

Finding influencers can be a challenging task. It's not enough to go on a streaming platform and just scroll through the feed — this gives you no information on who these streamers are. If you decide to do it manually, you need to check each influencer, and this can take ages

To speed up the search and make it more precise, you can use an influencer marketing tool. Awario finds influencers across several platforms, including YouTube (Twitch monitoring coming next month), based on the keywords they use in their streams. It then organizes them in a list and ranks the influencers based on their audiences' size.

A screenshot from an influencer marketing tools with a list of gaming influencers.
A screenshot of the Influencers report from Awario.

To find influencers that will fit your requirements, you need to set up a monitoring alert. To do that, use the titles of similar games as your keywords: that way, you cover the content part. You can also introduce some filters such as language or time to make your search more precise. 

A screenshot with social listening alert settings to find influencers in the gaming industry.
An example of alert settings for influencer search in Awario.

Once you set up an alert, Awario will immediately start looking for the mentions of these games. Then it will identify the most popular accounts whose content fits your desired audience. You can check their number of followers in the tool and then check out their streams by clicking their name.

You can run the same search in Awario using your game's name as the keyword. That allows you to see if there are any mentions of your game that you've missed. You may find that an influencer has already played your game just for fun — and offer them a long-term collaboration.

Once you find the right influencer, reach out to them and offer collaboration. They may ask for free access to the game, or something else in return, negotiate the payment and get ready for your first influencer stream!

Pro tip

Twitch has a fun option of "raiding" someone's stream. When someone ends their stream they can automatically send all their viewers to a different stream. This way famous streamers can promote smaller channels. You can ask influencers to raid your streams to gain new viewers.

Tip 2: Collaborate with gaming media

Individual gamers are not the only accounts on streaming platforms, gaming media also have a presence there. These websites and publications write about the video game world. They publish news, reviews, think pieces about the industry, and run streams playing games and covering industry news.By securing a spot on their streaming channel, you get access to their audience.

The caveat is that gaming media usually don't focus on a particular genre, thus, there's no way to target a precise group of people.

However, the main advantage of gaming media is once you're picked up by one of the channels, other media platforms will be happy to have you as well.

So let's say you get a spot on GameSpot. Chances are, Polygon and IGN will be willing to play your game as well creating more and more media buzz around it. You can also look for lesser-known websites that cover indie games and small studios such as Rock Paper Shotgun.

Don't hesitate to reach out to journalists from these media via Twitter — in the gaming world, Twitter is one of the main platforms for communication (in addition to Reddit and Discord, of course).

Whether you're collaborating with influencers or media, you don't have to completely give up playing during the stream. You can participate in the stream by playing together with them or talking about development and all the cool little things you incorporated into the game while they are actually playing.

Nevertheless, it's not easy to get a spot on a streaming channel of a major publication. Even negotiating with an influencer can be quite tricky. Thankfully, there's always a way to find an audience without going through an intermediary: by finding a relevant community.

Tip 3: Find an online community

Gamers are extremely social people, opposite to the stereotype. They like to talk about games, share different moments of their gameplays, and discuss plots and characters. There are entire communities formed around streaming playthroughs, speedrunning, Esports, and so on.

A great place to find an online community is Reddit. There are multiple subreddits dedicated to games where streamers and those who watch them hang out: r/speedrunning, r/gaming, r/gamernews, r/IndieGaming, to name a few.

By posting exclusive content there, you may get new fans even before your game's release. To learn more about Reddit marketing, check out our article about the topic.

Sometimes you don't even have to target gamers. Take the game I mentioned above — Backbone. The action takes place in Vancouver, so they posted a short video showing how Vancouver's architecture looks in their pixel-art interpretation and gathered quite a lot of upvotes and comments asking when the game would be released.

Screenshot showing an example of Reddit marketing for games.
A screenshot from Reddit showing engagement on Backbone's post.

Thus, your search for a community could be based on your game's aesthetics, topics, or even a location — get creative with it!

Pro tip

Since Awario supports Reddit monitoring, you can use it to find interesting posts and subreddits to join.

Tip 4: Advertise your game on streaming platforms

All the major streaming platforms, i.e., Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming, allow you to place your ads on someone else's stream or a page. These ads can be your game OR your stream — you can advertise it to gain more viewers.

The important thing to remember here is that people come to these platforms for entertainment. That's why you need to make sure your ad brings entertainment so that it doesn't annoy stream viewers.

A GIF depicting a gaming advertisement on Twitch
An example of an ad on Twitch.

Once you arranged a stream with an influencer or a gaming publication, or decided to start your own stream and find an audience through ads or online communities, you need to plan your stream. It is smart to prepare your intro, call to action, outro, goals, and purpose of the live session beforehand to make live streaming successful. 

Remember, it's not enough to simply showcase your gameplay. People need to get hooked and be interested enough to buy your game. Let me give you some tips on what to do during the steam to convert your viewers.

How to make people buy your game

Tip 5:  Actively engage with stream viewers in chat

You should focus on taking advantage of the interactions with viewers in the chat. Ask and answer questions, discuss easter eggs, explain why the devs made a certain decision, and added certain storylines, gameplay elements, and characters. Make your viewers eager to learn more about the world of the game!

Live streaming as a marketing tactic is primarily used to showcase your gameplay.  Your dev team or the streamers you work with should comment on aspects of your game's experience, controls, interactions with the world, and more. Your audience wants to see how your game looks, sounds, and performs. Show it to them.

Check out how this streamer called ShannonISLive takes pauses between gameplay to directly address her audience and answer their questions. During the game, she discusses characters' choices and their personalities, as well as technical characteristics such as gameplay and graphics.

All of this creates a more exciting experience.

Tip 6: Run a contest for your viewers

Another great way to engage viewers and encourage them to check out your game is to run a contest.

The prizes can be different: a game merch, exclusive access to unreleased bits of the game, or an opportunity to create a character that you can later add to the game.

Running a contest on a stream will encourage more people to join it and stick around until you announce the winners. This way you make sure they stay on your stream long enough to see the gameplay and will be interested to learn more about the game.

The requirements to enter may be also different depending on your imagination from simple "write in chat that you want to enter the contest" to "make up a pun with the game's name".

Live streaming is already a great generator of FOMO (fear of missing out). People are enticed to watch a stream because they are afraid to miss something fun or important.

Adding a contest to your stream makes it even more exciting, adds intrigue, so people will be more willing to join, stick around, and check out the game afterward.

Tip 7: Try to go viral

You may think: "But live streams have a very short shelf life. How can you go viral if your stream lasts around 2-6 hours?"

Well, a lot of gamers actually went viral thanks to their streams. The key here is to repurpose the content.

If there's anything fun, cool, or completely unexpected happening during the stream, once you're finished, cut out these moments and upload them separately to YouTube and your social media profiles. This prolongs the life of your stream and makes it easily shareable.

Embrace the spontaneous aspect of streaming and have fun with it. Don't try to create these viral moments on purpose, because people will notice that you act unnatural (although, it can make you go viral for all the wrong reasons). But if they do happen, amplify them through your social media strategy and make more people curious about your game.

If you need more tips, check out this article on how to go viral on each social media platform.

Game over

Ultimately, the gaming community lives on live stream platforms nowadays. It would be a huge mistake to ignore them. So set up your camera, prepare a plan for the stream, use our hacks to find your audience, and click play!


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