Esports has become a global phenomenon. As advertising, sponsorship and media outlets pour money into this burgeoning industry there is little to stop the growth of competitive video gaming. An industry that turned over $500 million in 2016 is now looking to generate as much as $5 billion by 2020. So with such a huge uptick in exposure and investment, there is no wonder why businesses are now looking to work with esports influencers.
Whilst the popularity of esports may be surprising to some, it may be more surprising to discover that women make up almost 50% of the market. However, despite having a big presence in the industry, there has been recent controversy around the attitude and treatment to female players. With male-only competitions seeing much more money than their female counterparts, the spotlight has been put on equality in the gaming industry. As a result, popular female gamers have become icons for many young female gamers almost overnight.
Far from the stigma of gaming in the 80s and 90s, esports have been legitimised by stadium-filling competitions, egaming sports scholarships and coverage by huge sports channels. As internet speeds increase, more and more gamers have found access to online communities such as Twitch.
Twitch is a video streaming site where gamers play games and record vlogs for their community and sees over 15 million daily users. What’s more it has seen a 21% compound annual growth rate over the past three years. Recently bought out for just under $1 billion dollars by Amazon, Twitch is a sign of the times as desktop as well as mobile users turn from traditional media to streamed content.
This success has grown into international competitions for popular games such as DOTA, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Overwatch, Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. Thousands of fans fill stadia across the world adorned with advertising and led by media pundits much like a Premier League football match. These events feature million-dollar cash prizes and the top esports names receive sponsorship deals by pc and other major brands alike. This huge increase in publicity and support make esports the perfect hunting ground for an influencer marketing campaign.
While men are the usual focus of esports events there has been a huge boom in female profiles. Considering players play from behind a keyboard it seems silly to separate the genders but female players seem to relish the opportunity. Female teams such as CLG Red prefer the all-female makeup as it makes a point and thumbs its nose towards this historically male dominated pastime.
By grouping together, female players have cultivated a space to train, improve and build the presence of female gamers in professional esports. This has created female superstars like Sssniperwolf with 7.2 million subscribers on YouTube and iHasCupQuake developing a brand that has 6.1 million dedicated fans. These female influencers are the ideal addition to any digital marketing strategy as they speak not only to the genre but to a gender that is poorly represented.
Investing in professional female esports influencers is a no-brainer as studies have shown women led men in mobile gaming engagement and were more likely to spend money on mobile games. This willingness to engage with the medium along with strong female role models make female esports a powerful tool for marketers.
The Future of Girl Gamers
The sun is only starting rise on the new age of female gamers with icons blazing the trail for generations to come. The likes of Julia Kiran, Steph Harvey and Sasha Hostyn have all made huge waves in their respective games and started developing roles for women in the industry. Steph Harvey has become a major proponent for female gamers after retiring from CS-GO competitions and works as designer for the famous game developer, Ubisoft Montreal. On top of this she has founded the online community Missclicks to deal with issues around the under-representation of women in the video game industry.
Together, these names along with the burgeoning esports industry make it rich hunting grounds for marketers and advertisers alike. The power of influencers is well noted with dedicated fans engaging with brands more than traditional media. There is no time like the present to make the most of this growing industry and put your brand at the forefront of a rich market.
At Influencer Matchmaker, we bring influencers and brands together to create bespoke marketing campaigns. Whether you're looking for a macro or micro influencer we have the perfect fit for you and your brand. For more information or to start collaborating with an influencer today contact us via email at [email protected]. Alternatively, call a member of our team on 0203 9580 427.