How To Promote Indie Games Through Influencers by Anna Mizina

Every day, an average of 30 games are released on Steam, which is great news for gamers.

But how do you publish and promote your game if you’re new to indie game development?

When I asked around, most people with experience in the industry mentioned that the top channels they use to promote new indie games were Twitter and promotion via Youtube and Twitch influencers.

Why Should You Use Influencer Marketing for Your Indie Game Release?

Let’s zoom out to the general marketing principles. Influencer marketing is booming and lots of brands budget for paid promotion through opinion leaders. One reason is that traditional advertising, such as banner ads, doesn’t work as effectively as it used to.

There are two main options. One is to increase budgets to show more ads, which is a solution that only big companies can afford. The other option is to look for new platforms that aren’t as saturated with larger companies.

Influencer marketing budgets have doubled since 2019 and budgets are expected to keep growing in 2023. Adweek reported that 51% of people check influencers’ feedback on products or brands before making a purchase. 

And these numbers are easy to explain considering the quality of this channel. You can show off how your game looks and plays in a real setting. Players can more accurately convey the game experience than pictures on Twitter ever could, but as this part of the industry grows, you can’t rely on randomly being noticed by a popular streamer.

To see results, you need to build a strategy.

How to Find Influencers for Your Indie Game

Even big publishers still manually look for the right influencers with the advantage being that they’ll find exactly the person they need. This is a pretty old-school and time-consuming approach, but there are tools to discover the market and see the data behind the profiles.

Initially, you could use something like Socialblade since it’s a pretty good tool for working out who’s the best in your niche, discovering content creators by category, or screening the influencers that you’ve shortlisted.

You can also use influencer marketplaces to simplify the process. You can filter relevant bloggers by tags, number of views, and followers, and reach out to them directly through the platform. On TikTok’s Creator’s marketplace, for example, you can even see a budget requested.

These platforms allow you to reach out to influencers or get their emails. The truth is that if you want to win this game and get placement, you’ll need automation tools for outreach. The math is simple: the lower your budget, the more emails you’ll have to send.

If you expect free placement, be prepared to contact lots of influencers and don’t take it too personally if many of them ignore you. It’s also standard practice to check in 3-5 days later with a follow-up if they don’t get back to you.

Avoid using a one-size-fits-all email template. Sort creators into groups by size, content type, etc. and then create more specific templates for each group. If it’s a high-range influencer who probably receives tons of proposals, your message needs to be unique and stand out. Pitch your game and explain the value it’ll offer influencers from integration (the mention of your game in their content authentically and naturally).

As the creator economy grows, it gets harder to get efficient promotions for free so consider allocating at least a small budget to get results.

What are the benchmarks in influencer marketing? The problem is that there are no clear numbers because this market is neither centralized nor regulated by a single tool. The price might start from $30-60 for 1,000 impressions and go up to $100 and those numbers could be different for your game. That’s why you need to do your research.

Analyze What You Have

You aren’t done once the integration process is over. You’ll need to collect the stats to see if it’s worked. Think about this in advance, too.

How are you going to measure your promo’s success?

Even big companies just turn off all similar activities and check the dynamics, especially for TV promotions with a high chance of non-direct acquisition. If integration is the only change you’ve made, an increase in traffic could be considered a result.

One issue is that you need to leave space between different promotions so their results don’t get mixed up. This is also only for campaigns with big influencers and audiences. If you follow this approach with many small reviews you’ll be unable to measure it, which is why the best practice is to have a direct link that is being tracked.

Some people may Google your brand on their phones so be sure to check out the organic traffic results. But if you still want to minimize untracked traffic, a QR code might be the solution.

People do scan QR codes, by the way! For example, during the live stream of One True Genshinologist USA Quiz Show, we placed a QR that led to giveaway drops on our website. We set a limit of 500 entries and reached that in 30 minutes.

If it’s a demo of the game you should still use a call to action (CTA) that tracks the audience response. You can encourage them to add games to a wishlist, follow your social media, or visit a website. This is how you’ll compare the varying integrations, but also a way to build a community around your game and remind them about the release later.

5 Ways to Improve Your Promotion

So, you’ve chosen your benchmarks. Now let’s make some extra effort to push those numbers and get the maximum out of your integration.

Here are a few tips on how to get more from your promotion:

  1. Prepare a good brief for the creator. While you may have been working on your game for a while, it’s probably completely new to your chosen influencer. A good brief is key to good integration. It’ll make sure you’re both on the same page. It’ll also help them to speak naturally about the game during the stream and appear like they know what they’re talking about, which can improve the integration and the final results.
  1. Engage the audience during the stream. Don’t be boring. Interesting experiences can increase conversion by up to 7 times, not only because of the value of the final prize but also through increased engagement.
  1. Make a clear call to action. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward about what you expect people to do whether it’s adding your game to a Steam wishlist or playing it immediately. It doesn’t mean that you have to spam them and be aggressive with your CTA, but until you say exactly what it is, no one would get what it is exactly that you propose to them. 
  1. Make pre- and post-integration content. Your results aren’t just from a few hours of streaming. Prepare things for before, during, and after the stream or giveaway. Stay in touch with the audience after the stream: highlight the best moments, and repost video clips on Twitter and TikTok if you’re allowed to. If you collect emails or get more community members, post updates for them. Don’t spam them, but stay in touch and share more exclusives with them to keep them interested.
  1. The best product sells itself. It may sound obvious but it’s true. If something doesn’t work or the influencer isn’t enjoying your game, there’s not really anything they can do about it.

Anna Mizina helps game developers and publishers boost community engagement and influencer promo performance through You can reach Ana at

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