TL;DR: Twitch has become one of the largest live-streaming platforms in recent years. It has since evolved from its gamers-only beginnings to reaching new audiences as it becomes more mainstream. In general, consumers desire more authentic and interactive experiences with brands they love, so Twitch seems to be the next big opportunity for marketers.
If you grew up a as a gamer, you probably remember being told video games were a waste of time. Now, if you’re not someone like Ninja, it looks like you didn’t put enough time in it. How did an ex-pro gamer become a multi-millionaire in a year? Twitch.
Live-streaming has come a long way. From the early life (and death) of Justin.tv to Meerkat – every major platform has some sort of live aspect. Live content is certainly trending, but it’s Twitch that is leading the charge.
More Than Gaming
Founded in 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch is a popular live-streaming platform with a major focus on streaming video game-play but has since created an impact on things like traditional sports, TV, and product launches. The platform has over 15 million unique daily visitors (averaging 95 minutes of view time) and features over two-million monthly active creators.
Although video games are the main attraction, Twitch features a myriad of non-gaming creators. Once labeled “IRL Streamers”, Twitch has since divided the category into several categories such as Food and Drink, Music and Performing Arts, and Travel and Outdoors. The most popular category is “Just Chatting,” where creators either sit in the comfort of their own homes or share their day-to-day. Personalities really shine in the latter aspect as there’s little to no gaming involved, so the audience is mostly engaged in the lives of the creators. An example of a star in this category includes Jake’n’Bake, a traveler who live-streams his trips and his daily life.
Building Connections + Communities
What makes streaming stand out compared to YouTube videos is the interaction between the creators and their followers. Twitch integrates many opportunities for a streamer to build a community and converse with his or her audience, aside from just directly talking to them.
Above is an example of what a viewer will see in most streams – the game or activity being streamed and usually a webcam view of the creator. The biggest community builder is chat, which features subscriber badges (for things like how long someone has been a subscriber or who is the highest in paid tiers). Streamers often interact by reading the comments on there, having a quick and immediate interaction.
Opportunities for Brands
Brands can get involved through standard ad products, which easily integrate in the Twitch interface. Twitch’s CMO Walker Jacobs stated, “The largest percentage of our business with marketers is in video advertising, the unskippable 30-second videos.” He also noted the fastest-growing consumer categories include apparel, consumer electronics, retail, QSR, CPG and automotive.
These ads, partnered with Twitch, can seen before any stream. Other locations include banners and above the stream chat.
There are also partnership opportunities with streamers. A banner can be placed on gamers stream presentation platform, and in the case of Ninja, dynamically changes to other brands like his personal clothing line and NZXT computer hardware.
Lastly, below the video window is a “channel” page, which can feature not only the info about the stream, but numerous affiliate links, affiliate coupon codes, and even a direct thank you to sponsors.
Jumping in via Twitch’s many ad offerings is a clearcut way to get your brand involved on the platform. Though marketers should be aware, the majority of the audience is male, and between 18-34. If your goals involve Millennials, Gen-Z, and especially if they involve gamers, there’s a lot of room to flourish.
The live-streamer is the foundation of Twitch’s recent uprising. Ninja is the biggest mainstream name – putting Fortnite on the map by playing with rappers Drake and Travis Scott. He’s only one of the thousands of gamers and streamers that businesses can partner with. And not every partnership has to be as glamorous as Ninja’s Red Bull Gaming Room. Brand’s have found success in standard methods like product placements and affiliate links. The main advantage brands have through streamers is magnified trust combined with a faster conversion. An excellent example of this trust and speed is Shroud crashing the Cougar Gaming website with a simple shoutout.
Over 269 billion minutes of Twitch have already been watched in 2019 (560 billion in 2018), and the number of both streamers and viewers continue to grow. Despite being challenged by Facebook Live and Youtube Live, Twitch has the best understanding of providing live and interactive entertainment on a large scale while also taking tremendous care of its creators. The result is dozens of passionate fan communities who are doing more than just listening.