April 26, 2021 at 01:00PM

The explosion of the influencer economy has opened up entire ecosystems through which brands can advertise and reach new potential customers. As a result, content creators are becoming vital marketing partners of organizations looking to tap into the power of social media and other online portals to reach audiences that may not be reached as effectively via more traditional advertising avenues like print or television.

But the influencer industry remains relatively young, and for many brands, navigating uncharted marketing territory can quickly become a stressful and expensive endeavor, particularly when it comes to actually paying those partners.

Konstantin Andryushchenko, head of Publishing Business at game developer payment services firm Xsolla, said influencer marketing budgets are ballooning. Yet each business has its own advertising needs based on size, location and industry. Collaborating with third parties that can address the nuances of specific markets can be a valuable strategy to yield the results every firm seeks: revenue growth.

Video Game Developers

Xsolla recently took the industry-specific approach to tackling influencer payout friction through the rollout of its Influencer Payouts tool designed specifically for video game developers.

Content creators are big business for the video game arena. Whether approaching influencers on Instagram or TikTok, or working with gamers and game streamers, connecting content creators to new video game creations can be an effective way to promote the product and reach audiences most likely to purchase it.

Understanding how effective that strategy is — and understanding how much an influencer should be compensated as a result — is a bit more complex.

While Andryushchenko declined to explain how video game developers traditionally manage these payouts, he did note that they can manage this workflow in a variety of ways that can often add excessive burdens on back-office staff.

“The biggest challenge is the ability to scale to thousands of content creators, and a lack of expertise required for legal compliance without hiring additional staff,” he said.

But payouts are only one component of this process. Andryushchenko went on to highlight the friction that often comes with onboarding and managing these influencer partners, to running know your customer (KYC) and other compliance checks required to safely compensate these professionals.

Creating even greater challenges to this process is the global nature of this industry, worth more than $159 billion.

“An additional layer of complexity is added if game developers and influencers are in different countries, as that means knowing the specifics of privacy laws, tax regulations, compliance and so on,” noted Andryushchenko.

A Targeted Approach

According to Xsolla’s observations, marketing budgets have shown an 80 percent increase in funds allocated to influencer marketing in the gaming sector.

At the same time, the industry’s expectations for technology that can support their influencer marketing efforts is growing more complex, with Andryushchenko pointing to “the growing demand for natively-integrated influencer marketing that works programmatically with the game design and economy.”

That means enabling all of the administrative and compliance requirements of an influencer marketing strategy, while also implementing features unique to the video game industry, “such as debriefs, distribution of access to the games, promotional codes, tracking links, creator tags and more.”

And, when it comes to the actual payout itself, game developers require B2B payment technology that can facilitate cross-border payouts in the method these influencers prefer, which is often bank account deposits or via PayPal, said Andryushchenko.

For all sectors, influencer marketing remains in its infancy, but with marketing budgets expanding for this channel, FinTech has a significant opportunity to tackle some of the biggest pain points around budgeting, compensation calculations and the payout itself. For many FinTechs, taking an industry-specific approach may also prove to pay off — for client, provider and influencer alike.

Easing Video Game Developers’ Influencer Payout Headaches …

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