In the first part of our guide, we shared a few key tips game developers can use when reaching out to influencers. So, if you’re working on your pitch, or still figuring out which one is best for you, then we recommend you to head to part 1 before reading this one. 

For part two of our series, we’re going to give you the lowdown on how to build a (manageable) timeline for your influencer marketing campaigns, no matter what your company’s size or budget is. And just like any other strategy or timeline, this isn’t a “one size fits all” plan. Rather, you can use this as a simple framework to follow when building your own strategy.

This is what we will cover:

  • How to estimate how much time you’ll need
  • Pre-campaign planning
  • Production/creative process
  • If you’re beta-testing
  • Post campaign analytics
  • Things to consider

How to estimate how much time you’ll need

Before you do anything, you will want to roughly estimate how much time you actually need for your influencer marketing strategy (don’t be tight here, give yourself some leeway time). Think about it in 4 steps, or ‘phases’:

  1. Pre-campaign planning 
    • On top of finding influencers, this is where you’ll lay the groundwork for your campaign.
  2. Production/creative process 
    • Assuming you found your influencers, this is where you and your influencer(s) hash out all the details regarding content.
  3. Beta-testing 
    • Where you can get feedback from the influencer(s) you’re working with (only factor this in if it’s part of your overall game launch strategy).
  4. Post-campaign analytics  
    • Where you gather all the data and feedback you need for the next campaign.

Every studio, developer, and publisher are different, so there’s no one answer for the above. To help you figure out what this all means, let’s put these phases under the microscope…

Pre-campaign planning

You’re going to need to figure out a few key things before starting your campaign, including when you want to release your game, how much you’re able to spend, and what your campaign’s goals are. Once you’ve done this, then you can start looking for potential influencers to work with.

Here’s a general checklist of what you’ll need to answer in this phase:

  1. What’s your overall budget for your influencer marketing campaigns?
  2. How long do you want to run this for? When do you want to release your game?
  3. What is your primary goal for this campaign? Is it simply UA? Are you testing your game in different countries? Or are you trying to figure out your primary audience?
  4. What kind of influencers do you want to experiment with? (e.g. size, geos, etc).
  5. And how many influencers? Just a large-sized one, or 10 smaller sized ones?

Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how long the campaign is going to take.

As a general rule, it’s always best to experiment with multiple influencers with different-sized channels. If you only reach out to one or two people, the sample size risks being too small, and you can’t get a good idea of what results to expect. So the more influencers you reach out to, the better the odds of striking multiple deals and getting your game out there.

Psst… We strongly recommend that you do all of this before you’ve even launched your game. We spoke about this in our previous post, but one key way to get an influencer’s attention and interest in your game is to give them exclusive playtime before you release the game. 

Total time for pre-campaign planning: 1-2 weeks

Production/Creative process

Production Process

In this phase, you’ll first need to have a list of influencers that have agreed to play your game. This in itself can be a lengthy process, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find and contact influencers (at least 2 – 4 weeks should be a good start). If you’re not sure how to reach out to them, have a read through our previous blog here.

Here’s how this phase will look:

Step 1: Send the influencers a brief

This is an important step, and you should really have a draft ready before you even talk to influencers (so you can send it to them as quickly as possible). A messed up brief can mean miscommunication, so delays, wrong content, screw-ups, and more. Inside your brief, you’ll want to make sure you lay everything out as clear as day. That means agreed price, tracking link, must have CTAs, deadline, anything you don’t want them to say, etc.

Don’t forget, after you review the video, you’ll probably want to give some feedback or small changes (as long as you don’t step on their toes), so give yourself time for that.

Step 2: Give them everything they need 

Logos, artwork, even pre-recorded footage. Sending all this to them can be a massive timesaver, for both you and your influencer. Ask them exactly what they need – they’ll know more about this than you.

Step 3: And give them time as well

Playing games and recording videos take time, especially when they have to edit the content, too. So don’t expect this to be turned around in a day. Ask them how long they need. But once agreed, make sure to stick to the deadline. Yes, they’ll have other commitments too, but it’s your game, so don’t be afraid to follow up with them. Communication is key.

Total time for the creative process: around 3-4 weeks 

If you’re beta-testing…

Skip this step if you’re not beta-testing your game with an influencer. But if you are, then carry on reading.

Running an influencer marketing campaign during beta-testing is pretty different to run one during the official launch of your game, but just as important (if not even more). A campaign like this is a good way to grasp your games’ LTV, how well it performs in different geos, but most importantly, if players will even like it.

It’s not that hard to do, either. Simply find the country you want to do your beta test in, and reach out to local influencers. You’ll be surprised, most of them actually like playing games before they are launched. And as most of them are professional games, their feedback can be invaluable.

You’ll want to give your influencer(s) as much creative freedom as possible when playing, however, make sure the objective is clear as possible when briefing them. This can influence how they talk about your game to your audience, which can be harmful if your game isn’t polished enough, or is full of bugs.

When the influencer does give you feedback, make sure you have enough time to make those changes.

This is a pretty important step, so I would say give yourself at least 3 weeks for this. Although, this really does depend on the relationship you have during the test. If you expect expert feedback for your game from an influencer, then you need to allow yourself time for the influencer to play, and for you to make any development updates as well. You never know how many changes you’ll need to make.

Post campaign analyticsAnalytics

This is another vital phase in this entire process (who are we kidding, they’re all important). Take a week or so to look at the analytics of your campaign. What went well? What didn’t? Here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself at this stage:

  1. Which influencer performed the best? (Assuming you’re working with more than one)
  2. How did this campaign affect my KPIs?
  3. How many installs did I get off the back of this?
  4. How good are the retention and other KPIs for these new players?
  5. Was my game suitable for that influencer and audience?
  6. What audience is more suited for my game?
  7. What barriers did we come across during this campaign, and how can this be smoother next time?
  8. Take into consideration that you’ll still be getting views and installs even after a couple of months.

Answer all of those, and then plan out your next steps from there (you’re on your own here, but feel free to buzz us if you have any questions for this).

Give yourself a week or two to do this. There are different reporting tools out there, but Matchmade has a pretty useful one, which lets you get real-time reports of your campaigns. You can see for yourself here.

Things you’ll need to consider during this entire process

Make a gaming calendar

AAA titles, gaming events, DLC, VidCon, and more. This is all the stuff you should write down in a calendar somewhere. And the reason why is influencers will likely make these events a priority. Even things like big TV shows can sometimes take up their time. So plan your campaign and launch around these releases and events, not at the same time.

Here’s a list of some of the top games being released in the next few months.

Let your influencers do their jobs

Influencers are incredibly talented people. They can make your game shine, all while reaching thousands of players. And although your game is essentially your baby, it can be pretty daunting to hand it over to a stranger with that much power, and hope they say nice things about it.

But it’s important to give them some trust and creative freedom. If you’re too demanding, then they might not be able to give you the credit your game deserves. And if they have some feedback, make sure to listen. They know, more than anyone, what their viewers like and dislike, so they’ll definitely have some good ideas to help you make the best game possible.

Keep to your schedule and timeline

We covered a lot in this post, so here’s an overview of what you should include in your timeline:

  1. Plan, plan, plan
    • Budget, resources, objectives, and more. Do your research in this stage, too. And give yourself realistic deadlines. Things pop up all of the time.
  2. Do, do, do
    • Send the brief, creative assets, and give them time. Give them feedback, too, but be reasonable. And again, allow yourself time for any setbacks.
  3. Listen, listen, listen…
    • If you’re beta-testing, you need to listen to what they are saying, and then make your game better before the big launch.
  4. …and learn, learn, learn
    • Analytics are your friend, and will only make you and your game better (you can trust our friends at GameAnalytics about this, it’s kind of their thing). Give yourself time to figure out what went well and what you need to improve on.

We hope you’ve found this two-part guide useful. When done well, not only can you get your game well known, but you can also build lasting relationships with people you can count on in the future, too.

If you want to learn how we help developers and studios with their influencer campaigns, feel free to ping us a message at hello@matchmade.tv. We are more than happy to chat.

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