Famously critical, protective of their passions, and very online — video gaming audiences can be tough to crack into.
Growing a community on popular gamer platforms like Twitch, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube can be a daunting task for brands. As a result, activations get outsourced to marketing and social media agencies, each with different strategies around engagement and growth.
However, campaigns led across so many channels means that messaging can be fragmented. In a recent article by market research platform YouGov, 61 percent of US adults aged 18-24 feel that ads — though not necessarily ‘sponsored content’ — on social media are not trust-worthy. On the other hand, 53 percent of the same audience segment answered that they are more likely to engage with ads on social media than on regular websites.
Belgium-based user motivation platform StriveCloud has set out to solve this problem. Earlier this month, StriveCloud debuted a new ‘360° community engagement solution’ — designed to centralise website, gaming tournament organisation and communication efforts in one place.
StriveCloud Co-Founder Freek Borghgraef spoke to Esports Insider about his passion for putting tools out into the world and seeing what creative applications the community can come up with.
Built for creative minds
Borghgraef’s first company, Kayzr, began as a tournament hosting platform and games marketplace. However, after hosting hundreds of tournaments themselves, clients began asking for the keys to Kayzr’s software to host their own tournaments.
As a result, he took the functionalities that allowed the Kayzr platform to work and began offering it up as white-label tournament and gamification software to brands and agencies in the DACH and Benelux markets via StriveCloud. Clients include the likes of telecoms Proximus and KPN, global beverage giant ABInBev, and esports leagues across northwestern Europe.
Swiss marketing & advertising agency eStudios, for example, uses StriveCloud’s platform similar to how game and web development agencies use Unreal Engine and WordPress. The agency is experimenting with what is possible with the technology, adding new discoveries to its toolbox to craft custom solutions for clients.
Borghgraef said his team has been continually impressed by the creative uses agencies find for StriveCloud’s tools. “They are literally beating us at our own game using our own software,” Borghgraef commented. “They’re doing stuff that makes us say, ‘is that even possible?’”
Community engagement portal
StriveCloud’s new community engagement platform is a no-code solution for agencies, brands, creators, pro players, organisations and event organisers involved in esports and gaming. The solution creates a completely customisable hub for communities to revolve around.
The page builder offers a wide selection of widgets, allowing anyone to create a community home base. According to StriveCloud, the experience is somewhere between customising a blog, a Discord server, a Twitch bio, a Shopify store, and a SquareSpace site.
All members of a community can post to the timeline for social media discussion while admins can upload updates with a blog-like text editor. Email lists and DM functionality is also built-in. Permissions can be assigned, layouts and designs can be customised and updated to showcase sponsors or ads.
One interesting feature is that communities can also host their own leagues and leaderboards. Moreover, fans can create custom achievements and rewards, host a web shop, access data and analytics, or even use mod panels.
Shop functionality gives the option to create community-custom currencies to reward users and allow them to make purchases. Community raffles add an extra layer of ever-popular fan engagement.
Discoverability is built-in too. Users can browse and join other communities, and community competitions can be promoted on the ’front page’ as well. The platform also offers a dedicated onboarding process that explains the possibilities, with exemplary communities created by StriveCloud partners and agencies to showcase the software’s potential.
The StriveCloud team has plans to work with more agencies and organisations to introduce community tools into workflows and offerings. As partners, StriveCloud hopes to empower agencies to continue to deliver results for brands looking to engage with esports and gaming audiences.
“Agencies working in the space now have access to powerful content management and engagement tools all in one place,” Borghgraef said. “Where they can work with a dedicated member of StriveCloud’s team to create bespoke community pages for influencer or brand activations and rally their communities.”
The new platform is designed to be a centralised reward system in combination with a content management system. As esports continues to develop, more and more solutions are being created to enhance engagement, streamline processes, and push the industry even further forward.
“We’re considering, quite deliberately, to integrate with other channels where gamers are engaging as well [like Discord or Twitter]. We tried to see the product like WordPress for esports that can integrate with all sorts of channels.” added Borghgraef.
Following the soft launch of the platform, StriveCloud plans to activate dozens of new communities on the platform — showcasing prime examples of what can be achieved with the tools in the capable hands of the industry’s marketing and creative agencies. “We can’t wait to see what the communities can come up with,” said Borghgraef. “So long as creative people keep using our tools, we’ll keep improving them.”
Supported by: StriveCloud