The Top 4 Influencer Marketing Takeaways From Our Talk With Metamoki At MGS 2019

How can advertisers and publishers get the best results from a celebrity influencer project? Tenjin and Metamoki share their favorite examples from collaborating on Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm.

Last Wednesday, Tenjin CEO and co-founder Christopher Farm took to the MGS stage with Metamoki’s head of product/monetization, Eiso Kawamoto. Their aptly-named “Legalize It!” presentation explored the evolving discipline of influencer marketing by way of Metamoky’s recent collaboration with rapper Wiz Khalifa, ultimately leading to their hugely successful mobile game.

While the conversation was light-hearted -- and contained more weed references than a marijuana prescription -- it emphasized the opportunities and challenges of working with celebrity influencers. These partnerships are growth multipliers that generate organic signal boosts using built-in audiences. That said, mismanaged communications can quickly become low-return resource sinks that land you in hot water with regulators. Influencers and publishers can only find mutual benefit by sharing the risk, accountability, and responsibility of projects.

These are important insights for today’s mobile ecosystem, and we wanted to highlight them here for those who couldn’t make it. So once more for the people in the back, here are our favorite takeaways from “Legalize It!”

Choosing influencers

Before entering a professional relationship with an influencer, you’ll need to determine whether their brand drives mobile engagement. Social media platforms tend to offer reliable metrics on this front - if their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers number in the millions, the higher the chances you’ll be able to convert a percentage of them into game players.

In Weed Farm’s case, Tenjin was also able to monitor Wiz Khalifa’s social post effectiveness and contest entries to determine how followers engaged with his posts. These tools and analytical capabilities are an ideal way to gauge whether influencers will drive downloads.

Sharing responsibilities and managing relationships

Influencers will likely take on the heavy lifting in promoting your mobile game. Not only does it allow for high organic traffic, it lets them take ownership of projects that reflect their brand. That being said, influencers aren’t necessarily game designers and cannot speak to all elements of app development. It’s important to quickly define their relationship to the game and responsibilities for the overall project.

Influencers can assist with design and promotions by lending their brand identity to make the product more authentic. With Weed Farm, Metamoki recorded Wiz’s voice to use in-app, and applied it to SFX prompts and push notifications. Images of Wiz laughing, smoking, or wearing his latest fashions also make the app more authentic to his audience.

There are circumstances where mobile developers must use their expertise to correct influencer over-reach. Developers and publishers need to take ownership of what is and isn’t permissible according to the Apple and Google terms of service. Promoting external businesses via App Store communications is a bannable offense, so be sure to keep things on the rails whenever possible.

  • What should influencers have final say on? Game art
  • What shouldn’t influencers have final say on? App design and game mechanics

Getting the most out of a partnership

Working with an influencer can provide a major boost to your app’s traffic and metrics -- in Weed Farm’s case, Tenjin saw a 20% bump in engagement compared to standard campaigns from Wiz’s brand presence alone.

The presence of a celebrity influencer creates significant opportunities to create engaging co-produced marketing communications. Here are some examples and guidelines Metamoki and Tenjin used when promoting Weed Farm:

  • What do effective co-created marketing communications look like: offer access to celebrity brand, PR copy, and a game trailer link
  • Establish brand guidelines: Create guidelines that reflect influencer’s brand, and have influencer approve each communication before posting
  • Branded ad creative: Short Weed Farm videos and playables deployed as in-app advertising
  • Organic social posts: Wiz would actively promote Weed Farm on launch day
  • Paid social posts: Metamoki would use Wiz’s name and likeness in ad creatives

Measuring effectiveness

No marketer should rest on their laurels and assume an influencer’s reputation will make an app successful. You’ll still need to monitor advertising channels to ensure you’re effectively converting leads, engaging with audiences, and retaining users who might follow similar product launches. Some metrics to consider include:

  • Return On Ad Spend
  • Retention
  • Ad Engagement

These metrics go beyond organic install rates by measuring the long-term monetization value of your game and relationship with this influencer. Tenjin’s Custom Channels are well-positioned to measure these elements during the lifetime of your app.

Working with a celebrity influencer is a tantalizing opportunity, but not one publisher should enter into blindly. By following these guidelines and working alongside experienced partners like Tenjin, you’ll be well-equipped for the highs and lows of the field. No pun intended.

Looking to better understand the fast-paced mobile games industry? Download and read Tenjin's 2018 Ad Spending Report today!

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