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Paid Board Game Influencer Conversions

Hello all! Thought I'd do a small post about my experience with board game influences and board game marketing, and how well they convert to sales/backers on crowdfunding campaigns.

So, firstly I'd like to point out that Crab Studios has never been in a position to try and acquire The Dice Tower, or other similar-sized channels to make a video about one of our games, their conversions may be a lot higher. In saying that, as a general blanket statement before diving in, if you are a small publisher with little marketing budget, I would avoid paid influencer content.

The reasons for this are:

  • Generally low conversions. In my experience, the cost of acquisition for a backer usually exceeds any margin left in the product. An example such as a video that rakes in around 3k views, which would often result in around 5 backers. However, a video that does 3k views would most likely cost anywhere from 150-300 dollars, more in some cases. That puts the cost of acquisition just for the video at 30-60 dollars, which would eat into any profit margin for most games. Even if the video did well and you received 10 backers, that would still be 15-30 dollars.

  • Higher conversions when you specialize. A lot of paid board game influencers cover a wide range of games, so their audience is wide and the chances of a conversion are lower despite the view count being good. This isn't the case for all influencers, but a good amount of them. In my experience, specializing in an influencer that makes content related to your theme, or specific mechanic results in a higher conversion rate. For Fatal Knockout, I worked with the fighting game YouTuber Gekko. His video cost 150 dollars and resulted in 20 backers, which equaled a 7.5 dollar cost of acquisition, something that was workable within the margins of the game. Of course, mileage may vary, and it helped that the theme of Fatal Knockout was also a genre of another video game medium.

  • Videos have more value than just direct conversions! Now this may seem like it counters my previous two points, but let me clarify. Because reviews, first and foremost are to provide credibility and legitimacy to your crowdfunding campaign or e-commerce product, just having them exist on your campaign page is very valuable. If you launch a Kickstarter without any reviews, people won't back it. Therefore so long as there are reviews of your product out there, that does the job, and there are plenty of influencers who are happy to do it for free.

  • You have way more control if you run your own ad campaign instead of using that money for paid board game influencer videos. Facebook/Meta nowadays have a plethora of tools to enhance control over your ads, who they are seen by, and how much you spend per acquisition. With reviews/board game influencer videos you do not.

However, in saying all of this, it really does come down to cost of acquisition, which you won't know until you experiment. A lot of marketing agencies in the past have recommended that I do one big paid review, and a bunch of free ones. This may be an avenue you decide to go down as well, and just see whether your product works well in that format. I know that mine haven't, or as well as they need to be to make it financially viable, but that doesn't mean it can't, especially if your game is of a bigger scale compared to mine.

Also to note, this is my advice to people who have a low marketing budget, and really need to think about where their money is spent. In no way do I object to influencers charging for their time and their platform. This is all just to say that in a free market where people are offering a service for free, and the return on paying for that service is not worth it in my experience, I would recommend going down the free route.

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