This article was published on October 22nd, 2017 in Bloomberg Businessweek Turkey as part of a piece titled “Who shapes the gaming world?”. You can read Bloomberg Businessweek Turkey via Turkcell Magazine (Android and iOS).
How does one become an influencer, and how do they make money? Capturing video games and editing them for a whole day isn’t as easy as it sounds. According to many people, these people who ‘upload videos and become millionaires instantly’ are in fact committed to their jobs. They earn money from YouTube ads, sponsored videos and donations from Twitch. And, contrary to popular belief, even a streamer with 100,000 followers on YouTube can not earn a living just with YouTube ads. Most of the revenue is generated from sponsored videos and advertorial projects with companies.
I have asked all the details to Enis Kirazoğlu, the Editor in Chief of Multiplayer platform, which has over 250,000 followers on YouTube. In recent years, the 28-year-old Kirazoğlu changed his focus from written media to visiual media, and has more than 100,000 subscribers on his personal YouTube channel. So he is an influencer himself, and he also works with other influencers.
There is a burning question: Does being an influencer earn you a lot of money?
If you are an individual entrepreneur who wants to reach people by playing games, there are two different platforms: Youtube and Twitch.
YouTube is a platform where you can upload and monetize videos. But it is very difficult for Turkish gamers to earn enough money to make a living.
These statistics I share here ($467 revenue per 2 million views) show how many clicks I got and how much I earned in a month. While you can earn $5 per thousand impressions in the US, the amount you can earn per thousand impressions in Turkey is often not even 0.4 USD.
The second platform Twitch is a platform that grows every year and is a serious competitor to YouTube on gaming content. The biggest reason for its growth is that it opens a much better revenue stream for content publishers. At Twitch you reach your viewers via live broadcast and instantly interact with them. Rather than getting advertising revenue per clicks, you get your revenue from your viewers on Twitch. Viewers can send you donations as much as they want on the platform.
For a streamer, the revenue from Twitch is quite high compared to YouTube. There are Turkish streamers who earn between 10,000 TRY (2,500 USD) and 30,000 TRY (7,500 USD) per month.
Who follows the influencers that publish gaming content?
The age group following the streamers varies from 15 to 24 mainly. Of course, there are many gamers who are over 30 and under 15. But most of the people we call regular followers are 15-24 years old.
The statistics for subscriptions on my personal YouTube channel are as follows: 12 percent between the ages of 13-17, 50 percent between the ages of 18-24, 30 percent between the ages of 25-34, and 8 percent between the ages of 35-44.
Also let’s not forget that a large number of people under the age of 18 register as 18+ years old to bypass restrictions.
What do you think about YouTube and Twitch broadcasts in Turkey? I am asking this; because there is usually a negative perception in this regard.
There is a similar situation on YouTube as there is on TV. We can’t get rid of bland content because people care too much about ratings. This isn’t a problem for a certain audience group. They can already find the quality content because they can distinguish between good and bad.
YouTube unfortunately poses as a serious problem for the people below 15 years; these kids are greeted by streamers who swear a lot, marginalize and instill fanaticism into people. The biggest reason for this is the money earned per view.
The way to break this is through the companies. In particular, companies should not invest in people we call ‘toxic streamers’ and stay away. Thus, those streamers will have to pull themselves together to earn money from the ads. This will make the platform a better place for everyone.
What do you see in the future of this business? Just as it is on TV, there will be changes and the same content will not always be consumed.
For an individual publisher or a YouTuber, there is a psychological limit: Imagine that you have to host a program every day on TV, and that you need to constantly find new ideas so that ratings do not plummet. You need to be always active and you need to produce content. Then think about whether you can do this for 10 or even 15 years. In this process you will either change the age group and audience you will address, or you will be able to appeal to the same audience when you are 45 years old.
We can say that the actual future of this business is always related to the investment for the sector you will do. If you wantto have a future as a streamer or a YouTuber, you should be able to produce diverse content or keep your communication strong with the companies that would sponsor you. Even if you stop streaming actively, your knowledge and experience can create business opportunities in the future.
You should hear that some YouTubers are planning to film their own movies. In the next five years you will hear even more of them do the same thing. Because nobody will want to stay on YouTubing, which burns people out.
How do entrepreneurs and companies handle YouTube and Twitch relationships? There is also something called MCN (MultiChannel Networks)…
Apart from being an individual publisher, it is also very popular now to bring these publishers together with projects. Digital agencies in particular started to invest in this business under the name of “MCN”.
Let’s say that you are streamer with good amount of followers yet you don’t make that much money. You feel you can earn more, but you don’t know what to do. Maybe you are a director at a company; YouTube is eye-catching, you want to invest, but you do not know how to reach the audience.
At this point, the MCNs enter into the game. Although MCN means an organization that has more than one YouTube channel, in Turkey these agencies do more of a job to bring streamers with companies. A company is trying to market its new product, it contacts and MCN and then MCN tells its YouTubers to advertise the product.
The MCN’s profit here is commission. Because of the huge gap on YouTube, many of the companies that have been involved in digital marketing in the last two years have been directed by MCNs.
How can companies benefit from YouTube?
One of the classic ways is letting YouTubers do marketing for you. Of course, companies do not always choose this path. There are many companies that have recently been trying to create their own platforms via YouTube.
One of them is the “Mutluluk Oynanır (Happiness is Played)” channel that confectionary company Ülker opened for the players. At first it gained quite a momentum but made mistakes and withered.
Most companies are unfortunately missing the crucial part. The general method for agencies is “we will make media purchases, we put ads and we will make people watch”. This approach may prove successful if you are working on a single commercial, but this is not the right move if you want to attract people to your platform. Then you can also say that “I will invite YouTube celebrities to my channel”. Mutluluk Oynanır chose this approach. They brought famous YouTubers to their channel but it wasn’t enough to create a following. Because those people already do the same thing on their channels. There couldn’t be a future for this. The content wasn’t valued by the viewers as they could go and watch the YouTube celebrities in their own channels.
The right answer is doing something unique. There’s no point in spending a lot of effort for something everyone has already done in their own channels. Instead, we need to do thing that the YouTube audience has not witnessed yet.