Through hardships to the stars: how eSports clubs increase their audience on social networks

We analyze in detail the various options for increasing the audience on social networks.

The audience is one of the most valuable resources for eSports clubs and eSports in particular. Exclusively, the presence of a wide audience contributes to large investments in the industry and, as a consequence, its development. Consolidating the audience around one club is a rather complicated and complex task.

In previous articles, we looked at how large e-sports organizations keep the audience on their official pages. Today I propose to play a little in the media director of the e-sports organization and to analyze all the possible ways to grow the audience in the vast social networks.

Faster. Higher. Stronger. Sports success as a factor in increasing audience

The word eSports itself consists of two words: cyber, which implies a virtual component, and sport, which in this case implies competition. As in classical sports, in e-sports, successes on the stage are directly proportional to the audience gathered around the club. The club participates in the tournament and thereby attracts attention. The amount of attention depends solely on the prestige of the tournament and its success. In general, such an increase in subscribers can be called organic, though with a stretch.

There is no need to go far for examples of such audience growth. A month ago, Kazakhstan club Avangar took 2nd place on StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, and quite sensational. The strongest CS: GO teams from around the world participated in the tournament, so there can be no doubt about the prestige of this tournament. A week later, the team wins on BLAST Pro Series Moscow 2019where fairly strong teams took part.

Such major events in the competitive world of CS: GO attracted the attention of millions of spectators. Naturally, the social networks of the Kazakhstani organization did not pass by the success and affected the population of AVANGAR fans.

The audience of the e-sports club AVANGAR before and after the triumph at the Starladder Berlin Major 2019 and BLAST Moscow 2019 tournaments

The difference is more than serious: the relative growth of subscribers was 20.9% for VKontakte and 99.2% for Twitter. And despite the fact that the growth of the VK audience in absolute terms is slightly more than double, the Twitter audience has a slightly different value, because most of those who subscribe to the organization’s page are English-speaking.

Thus, we summarize this method of recruiting an audience a bit:


  • large effect of audience growth, especially on cross-language venues;
  • audience growth occurs on all media platforms;
  • this method is actually an organic (natural) set of audience, therefore there are no additional expenses;
  • You can gather a solid audience in a fairly short time.


  • you have to win;
  • the effect depends on the prestige of the tournament.

“My friend will pay for me.” Club audience growth associated with the signing of media players

IN recent article we looked at the most media players in Dota in the CIS. The current realities of the eSports scene demonstrate that one particular player can easily have an audience that surpasses the audience of an average tier-2/3 club. Usually such media units are successful streamers who have a fairly wide audience reach and popularity in the industry as a whole.

This method consists in the following: the team signs the media player and the active part of the audience of this player is automatically recorded in the fans of the e-sports organization. The player receives certain conditions, the organization of the audience and traffic, everyone is happy.

An example of this audience growth is organization. Hellraisers, which on September 24 announced the signing of the most free media composition in the CIS. The most valuable media unit in the new composition has become Ilya ALOHADANCE Korobkinwhat the club says as if immediately in the announcement of the roster:



The return of HellRaisers to the Dota 2 scene alone would hardly have attracted much attention if the lineup looked different. Moreover, in this case, the overflow of the audience from the player to the organization occurred not only due to one ALOHADANCE: Alexander Nix Levin also actively streamed, and Yaroslav Miposhka Naydenov already ossified support in the CIS community.

Thanks to the signing of this composition, the HellRaisers audience began to grow by leaps and bounds:

Hellraisers eSports Club audience before and after the signing of the new Dota 2 roster

Thus, the audience of VKontakte subscribers for the month grew by 16.03%. The Twitter audience turned out to be inert to this event for quite understandable reasons: before taking the new Dota 2 roster under the organization’s wing, HellRaisers only had a CS: GO roster, which for the most part consisted of English-speaking players. At the beginning of this season, HR changed their CS: GO roster philosophy and abandoned foreigners. In this regard, a noticeable decline in the audience of tweeters, albeit insignificant. It is worth noting that the growth of the club’s audience was accompanied by sports successes: HellRaisers were held at DOTA Summit 11.

An example is the signing of the composition of ex-DreamEaters. Players of the organization, who a month ago gave a lot of positive emotions at Starladder Berlin Major 2019, went under the wing of the newly created organization Hard legion esports.

This transition has a trail of a small scandal, which is associated with the departure of players from Dreameaters, which served simply as an ideal information guide and attracted even more attention to the new organization.

The audience of the esports club Hard Legion before and after the signing of ex-DreamEaters

In a few weeks, the audience from scratch grew to 13 310 VKontakte people. The funny increase in Twitter readers against the background of VK is explained by the fact that twitter is still not the main social network in the CIS. And the guys forgot to put a hat on, which is generally strange and if I didn’t follow the link on Twitter from the VKontakte group, I would still think about whether the organization’s official account or not.

To put on a hat for a profile without a

To put on a hat for a profile without a “hat”

Yes, it is also worth noting that such an audience growth for a completely new organization occurred not only thanks to the players: the owner of the organization Hard Legion is the famous streamer Alexei Hard Play Baranov.

To summarize this method for recruiting an audience:


  • You can gain a large audience in a short time;
  • the incoming audience is very loyal, a great way to increase engagement in the group;
  • even if there is no result, the audience will not leave quickly.


  • This method allows you to effectively increase the audience of the organization only on local media platforms. Such a platform for the CIS is VKontakte;
  • the loss of the main media component, whether it is a player or the entire team, promises a loss of audience for the organization. Although for the whole composition this is debatable. For example, DreamEaters after leaving Zoner and Co. even increased its audience, albeit slightly.

Attraction of unprecedented generosity. Drawings

An old but still equally effective way to increase your audience is to play. You can play anything: in-game items, merch, computer peripherals. The only thing worth noting is that, depending on the assortment being played out and the conditions for the drawing, the effect of the growth of subscribers will directly depend. Recently Gambit esports resorted to this method of increasing the audience:



The effect was +23,000 subscribers per group per month. It’s even not bad, given that the time of the draw was the failure of Gambit Esports in Dota 2 qualifications for The International, that is, at the time of the active departure of the audience.

Let’s analyze the structure of this draw in more detail:

  • Simple conditions.

In order to take part in the competition, it was enough just to subscribe to the group and like the record. A basic letter was added to the basic conditions in the group’s PM, why, however, I don’t understand a bit. Maybe with the goal of weeding out bots, I’m not sure. At the same time, they decided to abandon the stop factor in such distributions, namely from repost.

It’s funny, but the psychology of such rallies has already been so formed, it would seem, while people willingly believe that if they also repost the record, then this will increase the chances of winning, even despite the fact that this is not supported by the conditions. At the same time, doing repost, purely mathematically, reposting potentially reduces, but does not increase the chance of victory. I think it makes no sense to explain why this happens. As a result of 605 reposts and even more coverage of the record.

  • The draw was dedicated to the participation of two Fortnite roster players in the World Championship.

The maximum possible coverage is achieved only if the rally is held for some special event. Attention to the first Fortnite World Championship was enormous, due to the huge prize pool and the popularity of the discipline in the world. Moreover, it is likely that such a rather fat set of prizes, the Gambit Esports media department was preparing for the release of the team at The International, but the “Doters” did not meet their expectations. And this, by the way, hit the actual growth of subscribers for the period of the draw.

  • How much is the subscriber?

The price of one subscriber was about 7 rubles. In general, this is a little expensive, although for an e-sports niche it can even be very good. Given the fact that the drawing was held with the help of sponsors, it is possible that such generous prizes went to the organization as sponsorship.

On the other hand, is it so expensive how to pay monthly salaries to the conditional ALOHADANCE and company? 🙂

Let’s draw a line to this method:


  • You can gain a large audience in a short time;
  • if the draw is sponsored, the subscriber can be essentially free.


  • Dear subscriber, if there is no sponsorship;
  • the growth effect depends on the fatness of the draw. Dialing a bunch of freebies for free will not work;
  • leave the draw by gravity is not worth it. Setting targeted advertising in this case is extremely desirable, and this entails additional costs;
  • among the wide audience that came to the group thanks to the draw, there will be people who came to the group only for the prize and the organization itself is not interested in the word at all. If you do not keep the audience that has arrived, then over time it will begin to leave;
  • As a rule, such rallies are held within the framework of one social network, respectively, the increase will be only on any one site.

Collaborations with social networks. Stickers, gifts, and other “fake whistles”

The implementation of this method is somewhat more complicated, because some finances are needed to integrate company attributes in a social network. I have no idea how much it costs to implement my stickers on VKontakte, but the fact remains – it’s worth it.

And it’s worth not only because of the good, and sometimes even excellent, indicators of audience growth, but also in the possibility of monetizing the same stickers. At the same time, there is one important thing: if you want to get a big increase in the audience, make buns for free.

As an example of the path of audience growth for this system, we choose Winstrike team. The organization was created on June 20, 2018 on the basis of the acquired structure. Quantum bellator fire by CS: GO and FlyToMoon by Dota 2.

The organization was created from scratch, so pumping social networks was necessary. Specifically, these two signed line-ups catalyzed a large number of audiences due to the fact that the “Doters” participated in the main tournament of the year – The International, and the “Xers” took part in the major in September.

At the start, of course, Winstrike used classic draws on the type of sign-win. But on August 17, 2018, during The International, VKontakte adds a set of gifts. It included three on-net gifts. In order to be able to send them to a friend, it was necessary to subscribe to three publics, among which Winstrike also consisted.



As a result, already in September, the audience of Winstrike VK publics amounted to as many as 255 103 subscribers from scratch. For a month and a half, 250,000 subscribers without unrealistic sporting successes, cool, huh? But this method has quite a few problems, let’s analyze them in detail:


  • You can gain a huge audience in a short time.


  • the audience will be little interested in the main component of your team. They came here for free gifts, and not follow the team;
  • the audience comes is not loyal. As a result, the audience’s involvement in posts decreases;
  • depending on the type of special offer, whether it’s stickers, a mask for stories or anything else, an irrelevant audience will subscribe to the group. For example, Winstrike Team and Virtus.Pro have the largest share of girls among subscribers. The value deviates very much from the eSports average, and this may alienate the potential sponsor;
  • for the effect to be strong, the publication of special offers should be timed to coincide with some event, be it a tournament, an organization’s birthday, or something like that.

The audience will start to leave sooner or later. And the Winstrike Team has problems with this:

Graph of the number of subscribers of the official Winstrike Team

As you can see from the graph, the audience leaves every month. For a year and a half of the organization’s existence, the number of subscribers decreased by 20%.

Someone may object and draw attention to the fact that since the founding of Winstrike, they have not really won anything and will be right. But, I believe that the main outgoing stream is precisely freeloaders who came for gifts a year and a half ago. I would like to be mistaken, of course.

Nevertheless, the recruited audience played a role and even did not have success on the esports scene. Winstrike managed to sign a sponsorship agreement with Toyota. Organizations from the CIS have not yet been attracted to such a large “beast,” therefore, here Winstrike should pay tribute.

Be able to content. Attracting a new audience through generated content

So, from a series of articles we found out that the generated content is one of the weapons for keeping users on the social networks of the eSports club. Though not as effective as sporting achievements. But is it possible with the help of content not only to keep an existing audience, but also to attract a new one? Yes you can.

The perfect example of this audience growth is Team empire. The “Empire” SMM is a real meme generator that, like a machine gun, shells all social networks. Memes are ideal content in this niche that does not require a lot of money for production, it is simple and understandable to any audience.

For example, I long ago subscribed to Twitter Team Empire just for the sake of memes, I never experienced any feelings for the team itself. Although management a couple of years ago was doing just unreal somersaults from seemingly hopeless situations.

Team Empire Twitter Readers Chart from July 2016 to October 2019

The graph shows how the audience was gaining quite smoothly. It is worth noting that the growth in January 2017 was accompanied by successes on the Dota-scene. Further, with success, the Dota squad had problems, a year of management crisis, but at the same time the audience was gaining up to a certain point. Though slowly.


  • low cost when choosing a certain type of content;
  • at the same time, the old audience is retained and a new one is recruited;
  • fun and provocatively.


  • quickly gain an audience will not work. Here you need a full game in a long;
  • such a long game can change the attitude towards the organization. For example, Team Empire, precisely as a brand in the e-sports community, is more associated with memes than with successes on the stage. True, the Rainbow Six Siege roster is gradually correcting this;
  • need a cool SMM manager.

To summarize

Among the variety of opportunities to choose the best type of promotion is quite difficult. One thing is for sure, each of these options perfectly complements each other.

  • On some memes, without at least some sporting success, it will be extremely difficult to increase the audience.
  • Signing the media lineup or a specific player will prove to be excellent at a short distance, but in the absence of sporting achievements, the audience will quickly begin to leave.
  • A raffle plays a plus only at the site on which it is held.

At the same time, the most reliable way to gather an audience around an eSports club is to win or at least a worthy participation in major eSports tournaments.

How would you gather an audience for your club?

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