Level Up Your Marketing: Engaging with Digital Natives on Twitch
You’ll find all sorts of creators on Twitch, whether they are playing the latest high-budget action title or taking things slower with an indie classic full of nostalgia. Integral to the gaming community and internet culture more generally, Twitch is the largest live-streaming gaming platform there is.
As it happens, I have my own Twitch channel where I play strategy games for a modestly-sized audience. For me, live streaming has been a fantastic way to play games and get creative. I’ve managed my own brand, taught myself graphic design skills, administered esports tournaments, travelled to events in Europe, and, of course, learned the extremely important life skill of being able to play video games for 8 hours straight whilst talking to myself the entire time!
Twitch has held the top spot for live streaming for over ten years. Following Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch in 2014, it has gone from strength to strength, with over 30 million daily active users. Twitch’s continued growth and near-monopoly of the live streaming space was only further helped by the COVID-19 pandemic. With everybody cooped up inside, the platform was flooded with people looking to create their own content or consume others.
Why is Twitch an important marketing platform?
At its core, Twitch is a platform for gaming for gamers. However, increasingly, brands new to the world of gaming are using Twitch as a tool to communicate with digital natives. As the saying goes, ‘fish where the fish are’, and with 57% of millennials and 72% of Gen Z consuming video game-related content, brands looking to tap into those markets would do well to start exploring Twitch.
Already, we’re seeing global brands diving headfirst into the gaming space. From Adidas signing a deal with top streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins to the somewhat bizarre announcement of a KFC gaming console, it goes to show that with enough imagination, brands are beginning to see the possibilities on Twitch.
How can marketers get the most out of Twitch?
For brands considering Twitch, there are three main avenues to market your product: influencer marketing, organic social, and paid social. As with any platform, each comes with its pros and cons, but unlike marketing on the likes of YouTube or Instagram, Twitch has its own nuances and subtleties. Have no fear though; here’s a guide to lead you through the dos and don’ts of marketing on Twitch!
Twitch does influencer marketing better than almost any other platform. By affiliating your brand with an influencer on Twitch, you can quickly earn the confidence of your audience. Although reach may be relatively low on Twitch, the level of engagement is incredibly high due to features such as ‘chat’ where viewers can interact in real-time with the streamer and each other.
Viewers are spoiled for choice, with over 7 million streamers going live each month. Therefore, anyone watching and listening to a streamer for an hour or two a day must really enjoy that particular content creator's personality, finding it easy to connect with their beliefs and values.
As a brand, when partnering with an influencer, you should ask yourself:
Do we share a common audience?
Are they authentic and thought of highly within their community?
Is their content of a quality you would want to associate with your brand?
Are they professional, punctual, and easy to work with?
And, most importantly, how influential are they?
When measuring influence, it’s important not to fall into the trap of evaluating only viewership numbers and follower count. When it comes to influence, reach is only half the battle. The other half is trust.
Increasingly, Twitch is diversifying the content on the platform. Many of the most popular streams on the platform barely feature any gaming at all. This means no matter what sort of content you want to create or who your target audience might be, Twitch is a platform that will allow you to connect your brand with an enthusiastic community.
Twitch is a website about personalities, so brands looking to make original content should do so in partnership with influencers and their channels, as opposed to creating their own branded channel. Of course, there are always those who buck the trend, and one brand that comes to mind that has successfully built its own channel is Red Bull. Their success is a result of their investment in niche communities and their commitment to sponsoring events on the platform. They aren’t on the platform to shout about themselves; they are there to empower creators to connect with their fans. Ultimately, no matter your activation, this should always be at the core of your Twitch strategy.
Media buying is undoubtedly one of the most profitable ways to spend a marketing budget. With ROI that’s relatively easy to quantify, it’s no surprise so many marketing campaigns rely on paid social for conversions. As with any type of marketing, personalising the message is going to have a huge impact on an audience's receptiveness. Whether it's a display ad on the webpage or it’s a pre-/mid-roll ad, getting a brand or product in front of a user is simple. Twitch is home to a large millennial and Gen Z male audience, so if this is your target demographic, it's a fantastic opportunity, even more so if you target people interested in gaming or internet culture more generally.
How can we help?
Twitch can appear to be a complicated platform, and many of the metrics marketers value the most aren’t quite as relevant. However, sometimes, tearing up the rule book can pay off. When it comes to live streaming on Twitch, the platform offers brands an incredible opportunity to communicate with a dedicated audience in a high-engagement environment. Sure, partnering with an influencer on Instagram will bring a higher reach for your budget as opposed to Twitch, but the connection between a viewer and the streamer is much stronger due to the nature of the platform.
Facebook, YouTube, and now new contenders like Kick and Rumble are continually looking to overtake Twitch in the live streaming space. Yet, it remains on top of the leaderboard, and it looks likely to continue this way for years to come.
If your brand wants to connect with a younger audience in a high-engagement digital environment, give us a shout - we’d love a chat!