The most interesting things we learned at last month’s Zoom Room…
Earlier this year (right in time for lockdown, handily!) Killer launched a new interactive online session series for charities and non-profits to share our teams’ years of experience and knowledge in creative, mass-participation fundraising.
From getting approval for a new project to designing incredible campaign creative, we’ve covered a range of topics, but most recently we invited some special guests to share with attendees their unique insights into fundraising through gaming and the gamer/streamer community. If you missed it, read on to discover our top insights that came out of that session…
Jeffrey Burrell – Director of Social Impact at Riot Games
Jeff gave us a unique perspective from the point of view of a games developer and publisher. He made no bones about the fact that partnering with a games company for in-game activation is far from a quick win:
• There can be a LOT of red tape needed for a cause marketing campaign (check out Corporate Co-Venture in America & Cause Marketing Legislation in the UK) and there can be massive differences country to country. This is a big barrier for studios as they don’t all have this knowledge, and charities may have to help the games company understand it.
• Companies have to go through many legal hurdles to engage in ANY kind of cause marketing campaign. Video games in particular need to follow their software development cycle when integrating a fundraising component to a game. Be prepared for a long timeline if you’re looking to build something great together.
• Giving players the chance to vote on which charity receives donations is hugely powerful. From Jeff’s previous experience, players loved knowing their voice mattered and an incredible 7 million players voted over two weeks when Riot Games asked.
• Top three social values for gamers in Europe are:
○ Good health & mental wellbeing (mental health being number one in this)
○ Quality education and job training
○ Combat climate change
If you want to partner with a studio, spend time understanding what the game is about and what the community has supported in the past
• Find an audience that is really passionate and resonates with your cause and go after that, rather than just going for raw population size. If you find a streamer or influencer, that will go so much further than just talking to a games studio. (more on this later…)
• When games studios look to partner with a charity, they do this in a player-focused way; they look to understand the social values of their audience. They also look for ‘diamonds in the rough’ that they can give a boost to, not necessarily the big, globally-recognised organisations.
• For Jeff, there’s no real preference for big or small charities. If it is a big organisation, they need to be able to make it locally relevant (e.g. Save the Children in SE Asia identified specific programmes to support in that region; In the UK, Raspberry Pi foundation worked on coding camps)
Aly Sweetman – Director of Social Impact Team at Twitch
Aly helped us get under the skin of the creators and influencers on Twitch, helping us see that they are so much more than gamers. She provided some actionable advice on how to get started in this area:
• Gamer does not equal streamer: Not every gamer streams, and not every streamer is a gamer. Another key message was that influencers are business people, and so should be dealt with as such.
• Twitch is not just about gaming. It started that way, but now makes up about 60% of the content. Creators stream workouts, cooking, travel, cosplay, crafting, gardening, drag shows… in particular, the music category has recently exploded. (Check out the Wounded Warrior channel – they teach things that align with their mission such as cooking and yoga).
• Aly does NOT recommend that all non-profits create their own channels – they require a fair amount of time and energy! If your charity does want to create content, why should people watch you? What is interesting or different about what you’re streaming? You don’t need to stream too much, just have a consistent schedule so your community can expect it – then tell everyone about it!
• For charities that don’t have a dedicated staff member to take on the engagement of streamers and creators, there are other ways to approach this. Millennials, Gen Z and upcoming Gen Alpha are more connected than ever and are used to seeing advertising – the only way to get through is with direct connection.
When talking to influencers – don’t get hung up on the gaming aspect. You’re asking them to ‘entertain’ and ‘influence’ – they don’t have to play games to do that, just interact with people.
• Before reaching out however, you should look to build a streamer toolkit. Check out Wounded Warrior Project, St Jude, No Kid Hungry and CharityWater for some great examples of what these can look like. They all have a space on-site where they host assets for livestream fundraising, the same as you would for any other fundraising campaign.
• Don’t just aim for top influencers on each platform – there may be a fee associated. They are also reached out to on a daily basis, so cutting through is a big challenge. Most fundraising on Twitch is actually done by smaller creators with 25-500 viewers – the average fundraiser raising anywhere from $500- $2,000 – so start there.
• To begin developing relationships, connect with everyone to find someone relevant. Only do an elevator pitch and keep it short. Also, don’t forget teams! Go to Twitter, type in ‘Twitch Team’ and then go to ‘People’, where you can find teams of people to reach out to.
• If your charity doesn’t have a presence yet in this area, Aly’s top 3 things to do first are:
○ Be on every fundraising platform you can afford as influencers have different preferred platforms (although Tiltify is top!).
○ Make a kit for streamers/supporters. What are the three things you should focus on and three impact statements? This will make people more likely to do it and gives them the tools to set up fundraising incentives.
○ Ask questions – this community LOVES giving advice.
Sam Williams – Account Director at MEERKATworks
Sam brought to life a range of opportunities for reaching a gamer audience, with an emphasis on cost-effective options for charities to engage them:
• Firstly, Sam recommends looking at charity supporter data to understand previous supporters, as well as looking at similar campaigns from other organisations to understand new potential opportunities.
• Multi-channel targeting – think about channels for brand building and direct response. Mixing long and short-form content is more effective and cost-efficient.
• You should also mix up touchpoints – this keeps your campaign front of mind throughout the day, as people may not want to convert at the point when you first talk to them (e.g. pre-stream). Environment is key and differs across platforms.
Make the conversion journey as simple as possible – that is the foundation of a successful media campaign.
• You also need to think about the longer-term strategy and what the supporter journey will look like once they have engaged or signed up.
• A concern for many charities is ads showing up against undesirable content. Sam reassured that content is whitelisted to ensure ads are showing up where you want them to and you can also choose to blacklist particular types of content if necessary (however this is less of an issue nowadays).
• Costs can be a barrier for some charities, so look into minimum spends on different platforms. For example, entry-level display programmatic can be £5k+, however, in-game advertising is likely to be higher.
Sam also shared some helpful tips on the following specific channels:
• YouTube – You can target by interest segments, but don’t have to advertise alongside that type of interest content. (E.g. you can target people who watch gaming while they are viewing cooking content) This is a particularly good platform for reaching families and is pretty cost-effective.
• Twitch – Media spend will be most beneficial here as part of a broader campaign (e.g. national, looking to include influencers). Twitch then amplifies the reach across the platform – it does however have a £20k entry point, which is important to consider. You can even have in-game advertising – gamers are used to this and won’t necessarily be put off by it.
• TikTok – We’re sure you already know that this platform has a strong affinity in the youth market, but what you may not know is that you can find a huge number of people here that are not present on any other social channels – a great reason to get your campaign on the app!
• Instagram – Huge reach and in-depth segment options. Sam shared a UNICEF Instagram stories format as an example of using video and a ‘donate and support’ button leading to a secure donation form, all without asking the user to leave the platform. We’ve seen that this leads to a better conversion rate.
• Digital audio – This format works well in a multi-channel approach. Lockdown has led to a big increase in numbers of people listening to digital audio (e.g. live radio, catch-up, podcasts, streamed music). This way of marketing allows you to have an ad go out across lots of titles to increase the frequency of touchpoints and make it appear a bigger campaign to that listener.