A Rise in Mobile Gaming Is Changing Influencer Marketing

Industry experts discussed strategy and trends at Adweek’s summit

zoom call of five people
Diana Pearl, Adweek’s deputy brands editor, led the discussion. Adweek
Headshot of Paul Hiebert

If you’ve spent more time solving puzzles and collecting points on your phone during quarantine, consider yourself part of an in-crowd.

In conversation with deputy brands editor Diana Pearl at Adweek’s Mobile Gaming summit, a group of industry experts discussed how the rise in mobile gaming is changing how brands approach influencer marketing in the space.

Mobile gaming has grown during the pandemic, with eMarketer estimating that U.S. adults will play mobile app games for an average of 26 minutes each day in 2020, an annual increase of three minutes. By comparison, mobile gaming increased by two minutes last year.

One major shift that’s occurring is that mobile technology is able to run higher-quality games traditionally made for the PC, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty. In recent years, core gamers—i.e., people who play many hours a day while wearing a headset—have migrated to mobile, resulting in a novel mixture of casual and committed gamers, explained Nick Allen, svp of partnerships and operations at Loaded/Popdog.

“You’re starting to really see this blend of cultures and blends of player bases that you really hadn’t seen a lot,” said Allen.

The fact that phones cost less than computers means more people are gaining access to the gaming world. For instance, since the outbreak of Covid-19, Twitch has seen mobile gaming content increase around 200%, with much of that growth coming from Latin America, according to M. Chad De Luca, director of Twitch Properties at Twitch.

Katiana McCown, vp of professional services at CreatorIQ, noted that because mobile games are gaining in legitimacy, it’s pushing developers to think more about the cross-platform experience, the value proposition of each device and how and when new games get released.

As for what’s unique about influencers operating in the mobile gaming space, McCown said the audience is full of tech-savvy early adopters “who are extremely discerning not only on the marketing strategies that are presented to them, but also on who they decide to follow and listen to.” Another factor is that influencers within the mobile gaming community command a lot of respect from their followers, meaning they’re likely cautious about which brands they partner with.

“Mobile has really opened up the landscape for creators and influencers to connect,” said Chris Hewish, president of Xsolla. “We’re allowing people to get those direct relationships with influencers, which obviously is much more immediate when you’re on mobile because you can do that from anywhere.”

To learn more about the panelists’ thoughts on strategy, ROI and future trends, watch the entire conversation below:


@hiebertpaul paul.hiebert@adweek.com Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.
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