Our Restream Friday Live show host Anya Razina sat down with Andrew Bennison, Managing Director and Creative Lead at Prospect Games, to talk about indie gaming developers and all sorts of troubles that happen when delivering new products to fellow gamers. Grab your favorite snacks and enjoy this insightful talk about some real stuff.

Thanks to the viewers’ questions, Anya and Andrew managed to discuss some vital topics in the gaming industry, like the impact of influencers, gaming conventions, different marketing and promotional strategies, social media, new streamers, and many more! So without further ado, let’s skip this cut scene and jump straight to gameplay.

How to choose influencers to promote your games

When it comes to promoting games via influencers, a deeper connection is a must-have. However, what’s even more important is for live streamers to be genuinely interested in your game. A win-win situation is when influencers enjoy playing a video game, thus entertaining the audience in the most natural way. In other words, your game should really resonate both with the influencer’s brand and their viewers.

It follows logically that finding the right influencers can be quite a challenging task. According to Andrew Bennison, “Your best bet is to be as targeted as possible from the get-go.” You have to understand the core of your audience and find an influencer whose audience shares the same core. That’s some really good news for beginners with relatively small view numbers.

Your best bet is to be as targeted as possible from the get-go.

How to understand if views translate into sales

Nowadays, there are lots of tools, like Google Analytics and different sites, where you can track where the traffic came from. However, in reality, things are much trickier. Someone could watch your video on their friend’s phone and buy the game a few months later. And to be honest, you shouldn’t really bother analyzing this stuff.

Andrew believes one of the best ways to understand if people are going to buy your game is to monitor their comments under promotional videos and on live streams. If people enjoy your game, you’re going to know that.

Who is a good influencer?

A short answer is that there’s no such influencer who is a golden standard across the entire live streaming market. Of course, every game developer would be absolutely delighted if Pewdiepie played their upcoming title. In reality, a good influencer is the one that suits your goals and shares your passion towards the game you are promoting.

In Andrew’s words, “A good influencer is one that not only wants to play a product and has an audience that will want to buy your product, but ideally also fits into the kind of marketing strategy and the way that you want to communicate with your community and the wider world that they're going to fit in with that.”

How can new streamers partner with game developers?

Yes, it is true. The competition is rough, and the number of followers and subscribers matters. There are lots of new streamers trying to get in touch with game developers. However, the crucial factor is the attitude. “Reach out and personalize things,” Andrew says. “You're not just there to get a product off of someone, or you're not just there to sell a product and get money. That's not how this works.”

Write an email and make it personal. Show that you are really interested in the product and have something to offer. It’s in your best interests to make a good argument on how you can benefit both the game and the company. If you are a new streamer, you should set your expectations low, but aim high.

It's about building a relationship with somebody by saying, ‘Here's how working with me positively benefits you.’

How to stand out from other gaming companies

Andrew believes that “if there is a wider potential for people to get into something, then the overall level of quality drops.” He attributes this to a tremendously larger pool of people who might not be passionate enough or as skilled as you in the mix of other game developers. Therefore, this makes it much harder to get your product off that ground level so everyone can see it.

The key influential factor is making fruitful connections with publishers, influencers, media, etc. Andrew managed to put it best: “It's all about relationships. It's all about trust. It's all about showing you have a proven track record and knowing the right people in the right places and keeping them up to date and keeping them motivated in what you're doing.” And this simple yet powerful idea is really applicable anywhere, not just the gaming industry.

Does visiting gaming conventions help to promote the company?

Just like in all things you do, you have to understand what is your goal behind visiting a gaming convention. Is it just to show your game to as many potential players as possible, or is it to make crucial connections? Considering low-budget indie developers typically look to meet the right people who could turn things around, there’s basically no point in competing with the gaming giants like Blizzard, Riot Games, Ubisoft, etc., in terms of organic views.

“Had we not been there and spoken again to that one person and built that one critical piece of relationship up, our story would have been tremendously different. A lot of that was not by accident — it was strategy,” Andrew says. When visiting gaming conventions, you need to know if there are any strategically important connections you could create.

Nine times out of ten, you just bump into somebody, and then that changes your life.

Final thoughts

Indie gaming companies have limited resources to develop and promote their games simultaneously. That’s when digital marketing comes to the rescue, where streamers play the crucial part. Usually, developers go for influencers who enjoy playing their games and whose communities match the targeted audience. For instance, if a developer is trying to promote an FPS game, they would look for influencers who have built their audiences around other FPS games.

Although the number of subscribers does matter a lot, indie developers often partner with new streamers. There are a few things you as a fresh influencer can do to make this happen. Firstly, make sure you are genuinely interested in the product you want to promote on streams. Secondly, reach out and personalize things. Try to build a deeper relationship with the developer and make a good argument on how they can benefit from you streaming their game.