The Best eSports Marketing Strategies by IGaming Experts (Sponsored content from I Kravchuk)

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eSports, also known as competitive or professional video gaming, enjoys a massive following, particularly among millennials. A collaborative study by Twitch and Nielsen highlights the remarkable loyalty of U.S. eSports enthusiasts, with many following the scene for over four years.

This expansion is driven by the interactive nature of eSports and the relatively low competition in this marketing space. Twitch stands out as a key streaming service for eSports, currently featuring fewer advertisements. The effectiveness of sponsored ads on Twitch is significantly enhanced by the deep engagement of viewers who are highly invested in the streamed content. The platform’s live chat and contest features further amplify viewer interactivity, making it an attractive venue for advertisers. For specialized iGaming marketing services, offers tailored strategies that leverage these dynamics to enhance brand visibility and engagement within the eSports sector.

Targeting the Ideal eSports Audience

Grasping the nuances of the eSports community is crucial for crafting an effective marketing strategy. It’s unreasonable to lump all eSports enthusiasts into a single category. Similar to traditional sports, eSports encompass a variety of genres, and fans differ based on their game preferences. This diversity allows for targeted audience segmentation in marketing efforts.

Some of these include:

Player vs. Player (PvP)

First-Person Shooter (FPS)

Real-Time Strategy (RTS)

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG)

Understanding your target audience allows you to craft content that resonates with them and identify eSports teams that enjoy their support. Aligning your objectives with those of the team you sponsor can foster a lasting and mutually beneficial partnership between both parties.

Choosing Optimal Channels

Once you understand your customer base, it’s crucial to determine where they primarily engage with gaming content. This involves identifying popular eSports teams that present valuable sponsorship opportunities.

Gamers frequently gravitate towards video game streaming platforms. Some of the leading platforms include:




YouTube Gaming

Bigo Live

Gosu Gamers

It’s important to analyze the subscription plans and user statistics of these platforms to identify where your target customers are most active and where there is less competition. Additionally, reviewing user feedback for the platforms you’re considering can provide valuable insights into their effectiveness and user satisfaction.

Collaborating with eSports Influencers

Influencers can significantly enhance the reach and impact of your eSports events and campaigns. It’s crucial to collaborate with influencers who share the same audience as yours and are active on the platforms you are targeting.

There are numerous influencer marketing tools available that can assist in pinpointing influencers who fit your specific criteria. For instance, consider how an eSports influencer can elevate your sales: Shroud, a prominent streamer on Twitch and YouTube, successfully partnered with the clothing brand JINX. This collaboration featured bomber jackets branded with Shroud’s insignia, which were advertised both on his Twitch channel and the brand’s website.

Incorporating influencers in your marketing efforts, such as featuring them in advertisements and live chat sessions, can significantly boost the visibility of your content.

Of course, it’s also worth considering other prominent video game streamers on Twitch who, while perhaps not as widely recognized as Ninja, still command significant followings:

Shroud (6.5 million)

Summit1g (4 million)

Riot Games (4 million)

Tsm_myth (5 million)

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool, enticing prominent esports teams to seek partnerships, sponsorships, advertising opportunities, and more with you. This strategy creates a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties involved.

Forming Your Own eSports Team

Teams on Twitch consist of gamers united by their passion for a specific esports game, streaming their gameplay regularly. The size of a Twitch team can vary, with no restrictions on the number of members.

Starting an esports team is more accessible than many small brands might believe. Numerous capable esports teams lack adequate sponsorship and would be open to partnerships if the terms are favorable.

For your brand, partnering with these teams means securing premium advertising spots during their streams. Additionally, when these teams interact with their fans, your brand gets priority exposure. Essentially, you have the opportunity to influence and direct marketing campaigns to your advantage.

To form a team on Twitch, you must have Partner status, or you can collaborate with someone who does. To recruit team members, you can reach out to streamers in Twitch-related Facebook groups. Promoting the opportunity on your social media accounts and website can also attract potential team members.

Organizing Events for Your Team

If you’re new to the eSports sector, it’s wise to start on a small scale. Consider visiting local pubs and gaming arcades to find businesses interested in co-sponsoring events.

Here are some event types you could host on Twitch with your team:

Mini Tournaments: Organize competitions where team members compete against each other. Promote these events on your social media channels and encourage team members to do the same. Consider hosting giveaways to increase viewership.

Multistreaming Events: Encourage your streamers to collaborate and interact with each other during streams. This approach can help your team attract more viewers.

Podcasts/Webinars: Schedule regular shows, either weekly or bi-weekly, where team members can share insights and tips about the gaming world with viewers. This can be an excellent way to engage with the community and position your team as knowledgeable in the field.

Team Meetings: Keep your team page vibrant and active by holding regular meetings to brainstorm ways to enhance your broadcasts. Creating a Discord server for your team can facilitate better communication. Members can use this platform to post questions and share information, fostering a collaborative environment.

Utilizing Agencies for Team Development

If time constraints are an issue and you need assistance building your eSports team, consider hiring an eSports influencer agency. These agencies specialize in connecting you with the most suitable and reputable eSports teams on your preferred platform.

They provide services like influencer discovery and campaign management, simplifying the process of forming and maintaining a team. However, one potential downside is that using an agency can be more expensive than assembling a team from scratch.

Engage in Event Co-Sponsorship

If you’re looking to leverage the popularity of a high-profile Twitch streamer, consider co-sponsoring one of their events. This approach offers immediate access to a dedicated fan base already engaged with the content you’ll support. Additionally, this strategy helps build your credibility on the platform, potentially attracting more viewers, sponsors, and streamers to your brand.

For example, GameStop, a well-known sporting equipment retailer, partnered with OpTic Gaming, a leading eSports organization, along with two other brands, to host events in 2019. These events specifically targeted the Texan gaming communities, aligning perfectly with GameStop’s target demographic. They organized gaming classes and clinics in GameStop’s local stores, which significantly boosted in-store sales and enhanced the brand’s image.

Content Marketing is Important

Content marketing is an effective strategy for establishing your presence in the gaming industry. By creating and sharing valuable gaming content through blogging, you can attract a loyal following of eSports enthusiasts. Leveraging partner influencers to generate exclusive content for your brand and promote it on their channels can further amplify your reach.

Additionally, promote your content across your website, social media accounts, and through in-stream advertisements. Ensure each piece of content concludes with a compelling call to action (CTA) that encourages readers to engage further with your brand. If your content is well-researched and offers fresh insights, it stands a good chance of becoming popular within gaming communities, potentially even going viral.

Capitalizing on Video Advertising

Video ads are highly effective when displayed at the right time to the right audience. For example, Twitch streamers can utilize pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll video ads during their broadcasts. However, to deploy these advertisements, streamers need to attain Twitch Partner status. Partnering with a Twitch Partner allows you to leverage video ads effectively.

The credibility of Twitch streamers often increases in the eyes of millions of esports viewers when they see partnerships with major brands. Similarly, esports teams and players gain greater recognition globally as viewers notice their associations with well-known brands. These partnerships not only boost the profile of the streamers and teams but also enhance the visibility and reputation of the brands involved.

Planning and Executing Small-scale Tournaments

Starting small can lead to big results, particularly in the world of esports. Hosting smaller tournaments can significantly impact your brand, serving as a gateway into the broader esports community and offering a prime opportunity for smaller brands to dive into esports marketing and create a buzz online.

Collaborating with local venues such as pubs, hotel bars, or sports bars can increase the appeal of these events. These partnerships can also draw in local esports teams that may not have the budget for larger entry fees. This grassroots approach does more than just foster community involvement; it lays the groundwork for sustained growth and a stronger presence in the esports industry.

Scaling Up: Organizing Major Tournaments

Whether you collaborate with another gaming platform or organize a large-scale tournament on your own, hosting major events typically results in significant turnout. A notable example of this was when PepsiCo’s subsidiary Brisk, 7-Eleven, and Twitch teamed up to host an off-season esports tournament for the game Rocket League. Such events not only draw large crowds but also foster a competitive environment that can elevate the visibility and recognition of participating esports teams. Big tournaments offer these teams the opportunity to showcase their skills on a grand stage, potentially attracting further sponsorships and increasing their stature in the esports community.

Outreach Through Blog Marketing

The number of gaming enthusiasts continues to grow each day, making content marketing, especially blogging, an effective strategy to attract more followers for your brand. To maximize impact, ensure that your blogs provide valuable content tailored to the interests of your target audience. Additionally, guest posting on well-known esports marketing blogs can extend your reach and introduce your brand to broader audiences.

When your content resonates well, gaming fans are likely to engage with it by liking, commenting, or sharing within their communities, further amplifying your visibility.

Beyond blogging, email marketing offers another robust channel for promoting your esports brand. This method allows for personalization, enabling you to tailor messages to meet the specific interests and needs of your audience. Email marketing also supports retargeting efforts, upselling, and more, providing a comprehensive toolkit for nurturing leads and building lasting relationships with your audience.

Boost Engagement with Merchandise Giveaways

Even if your brand isn’t directly related to the esports industry, effective positioning can still achieve significant marketing success.

For instance, if you operate an apparel company, you could create a limited edition line of esports-themed t-shirts and promote them through social media contests. User-generated content contests can serve as powerful conversation starters and help to broaden your customer base.

For the distribution of free merchandise, consider selecting a mix of lesser-known esports players and popular video game streamers. This approach ensures that you engage with a wide range of influencers within the gaming community, from rising stars to established personalities. This strategy not only boosts your immediate visibility but also establishes a solid foundation for future collaborations, such as forming or sponsoring an esports team.

Moreover, esports teams may approach your company seeking sponsorship for apparel like shirts or caps for upcoming competitions, providing further opportunities for brand exposure.

When planning giveaways, opting for unique promotional items can make your brand stand out. Purchasing these items in bulk and customizing them with a distinctive design that showcases your brand will make them even more appealing. Consider working with professional design services, like Penji, where you can test their offerings risk-free for 30 days, to ensure high-quality and impactful merchandise designs.

Harnessing Data to Understand Gaming Communities

Before launching an esports marketing strategy, it’s crucial to base your approach on aggregated data to effectively connect with your audience. If you’ve previously conducted esports marketing campaigns, analyze the data to refine your targeting tactics. This will help expand your reach and enhance the effectiveness of your efforts.

Data not only aids in targeting but can also be instrumental in securing a larger marketing budget. Stuart Lipson noted in Event Marketer that robust data can persuade executives to allocate more funds or sponsorships, highlighting the direct impact of well-presented statistics on decision-making.

Furthermore, authenticity is essential when engaging with gaming communities. Gamers are adept at identifying insincere sponsored content or promotions. To truly connect with your target audience, it’s beneficial to cultivate a genuine interest in their community. This understanding will guide you in crafting marketing messages and designs that resonate authentically, ensuring that your brand communication is both relevant and impactful.

Innovating with Experiential Marketing

When hosting an event, integrating experiential marketing can deeply engage your target audience and generate enthusiastic support for your team. By transforming events into immersive experiences, you not only captivate attendees but can also significantly boost customer retention and loyalty.

A prime example of effective experiential marketing in the gaming industry is Call of Duty XP. This event brought the virtual world of Call of Duty into the physical realm through interactive activities like paintball matches and virtual reality experiences that mirrored scenarios from the game. These engaging elements allowed fans to step into the shoes of their favorite characters and experience the game’s dynamics firsthand, creating memorable interactions that strengthened their connection to the brand.

Amplifying Reach via Podcasts

Podcasts focused on esports are a valuable channel for reaching your target audience, as many esports enthusiasts regularly tune into these shows. Advertising on these podcasts, whether through direct ad placements during episodes or by arranging for hosts to mention or endorse your brand, can be a highly effective way to engage listeners. This method of podcast advertising allows you to tap into an engaged audience that may not yet be familiar with your brand, expanding your reach and visibility within the esports community.

Dynamic Social Media Presence

Social media is a powerful tool for reaching your target audience, especially considering that most esports enthusiasts are active on various platforms. Beyond hosting contests or merchandise giveaways, social media serves as an excellent venue for announcing upcoming events and promoting your esports team.

Launching a social media marketing campaign focused on esports also provides valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and behaviors. By monitoring engagement and feedback, you can gather data that helps you understand what captures your audience’s interest. This information is crucial for refining your advertising strategies, allowing you to tailor your efforts to be more effective and engaging in future campaigns. This approach not only enhances your current promotional activities but also strengthens your long-term marketing initiatives.

Refining Your Marketing Tactics

The success of any esports marketing campaign hinges on achieving desired outcomes, making it essential to regularly evaluate your efforts. Setting realistic expectations is particularly important when working with smaller influencers and streamers, as their reach and impact might differ from larger personalities.

If you’re aiming for a high return on investment, consider investing in video ads that run pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll during streams. Although joining programs like the Twitch Affiliate Program and Twitch Partner Program may require a significant investment, they often provide more assured returns due to their extensive reach and established viewer bases.

Regardless of the specifics of your strategy, continuous monitoring of your campaigns is crucial. This allows you to track their effectiveness and make necessary adjustments to align with your marketing goals, ensuring that your esports marketing efforts are not only sustained but also optimized for maximum impact.


eSports marketing offers a unique and highly effective strategy suitable for brands across various industries and of different sizes. If you’re considering diving into this type of marketing, adopting a strategic approach is essential. The guidelines provided in this discussion can serve as a foundational blueprint to help you begin. With this knowledge, you can confidently initiate your journey into eSports marketing, leveraging its potential to enhance your brand’s visibility and engagement.

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