Twitch marketing: What it is and how brands can do it right
Trying to wrap your head around Twitch marketing?
If so, you’ve got the right idea.
Beyond the major social media platforms, Twitch represents a booming community with millions of daily active users.
Although Twitch is primarily associated with gaming, it’s quickly becoming the go-to place for livestreaming content at large.
And slowly but surely, brands are finding fresh ways to get on board with Twitch and engage its rabid user base as a part of social media marketing.
That said, you really need to understand Twitch’s audience and best practices before you dive in.
If you’re totally new to the platform or don’t quite “get it,” this quick guide to Twitch marketing will break down everything you need to know.
What is Twitch marketing?
Simply put, Twitch is a livestreaming platform. Most of Twitch’s content is related to gaming and esports, but you can find streamers doing just about anything these days.
Cooking? Workouts? Music productions? Creating custom sneakers?
Yep, all of the above. If you can think of it, there’s probably a channel for it.
Let’s do this.
— Suto (@SutoCustoms) August 28, 2020
Here’s the short of it: content creators stream themselves via Twitch and engage with viewers via Twitch chat. Viewers can then support streamers through donations and subscriptions (starting a $5/month, of which Twitch takes a cut).
If you’ve never watched a stream before, the concept of Twitch might seem downright bizarre. That said, there’s no denying the millions of concurrent viewers on the platform at any time.
The best way to explain Twitch’s success? Well, live video is compelling, combining the must-see nature of live TV with the interactivity and community of social media. The fact that you don’t have to pay-to-view is an added bonus versus old-school cable.
Why does Twitch matter for marketers?
Food for thought: according to the most recent Sprout Social Index™, live video was cited as one of the most engaging in-feed social content formats by 37% of consumers.
Twitch’s recent success speaks for itself, with the site on track to surpass 40 million monthly active viewers. With this kind of reach, the platform is just a trend when it comes to tapping into the power of live video.
In terms of Twitch marketing, the site’s demographics skew on the younger side. A staggering 73% of the platform’s users are 34 or under, with 41% between 16 and 24.
For brands targeting a millennial or Gen Z audience that has even the mildest interest in gaming, the platform is a potential goldmine. According to Twitch themselves, the majority of viewers engage with streamers on a daily basis. A similar percentage support them monetarily either through donations or product purchases.
While Instagram might be known as the hub of influencer marketing, Twitch is home to tens of thousands of livestreaming influencers with enthusiastic audiences.
And if nothing else, understanding Twitch marketing can help give brands a better pulse on what the younger crowd is up to these days.
What are some Twitch terms that marketers should know?
Before you worry about advertising on Twitch in any form, it’s crucial to understand the basics of how the platform works. Here’s a quick primer to essential Twitch terminology.
Twitch chat is where the magic happens! In short, this is where users can post comments, ask questions and engage with streamers.
Although streamers can’t respond to everything when chat moves fast, there is a “slow mode” available to prevent spam.
Larger streamers are traditionally supported by mods who act as admins, volunteering their time to make sure chat doesn’t spiral out of control and nobody says anything inappropriate. Twitch also offers a number of automatic filtering and moderation settings that can be especially helpful for new streamers to maintain a positive and on-topic chat without the intimidation factor of manual moderation.
Subscriptions, emotes and badges
Twitch users can support channels by “subscribing” to a channel. Doing so has its perks, including ad-free viewing and access to subscriber-only emotes (think: branded, unique emojis that are exclusive to Twitch).
Emotes are a massive aspect of Twitch’s culture and communities. They not only represent a way for streamers to brand themselves, but also present a playful and meme-worthy way for community members to interact. Users can also show off their subscriber-only emotes in other streamers’ chats, too.
Users are also rewarded with badges that appear next to their username in chat. These come from long-term support to a streamer.
Donations and bits
Beyond subscriptions, users can support streams through straight-up monetary donations. This can be down through apps such as PayPal, which in turn show donations on-stream.
Alternatively, users can donate through “bits.” This is Twitch’s in-app currency which also unlocks badges for users the more they spend.
Partners and affiliates
As a streamer, you need you to reach a certain threshold to become an affiliate or Twitch Partner. This includes obtaining a certain number of followers, streaming on a regular basis and averaging a consistent viewer count.
Becoming partnered is the sort of holy grail of anyone who wants to become a full-time Twitch streamer. Why? Because partners are typically afforded more brand deals through Twitch’s internal sponsorship program (seen by streamers via Twitch’s “Bounty Board”).
How exactly are brands using Twitch?
The good news for brands is that Twitch marketing is still sort of in its infancy.
Sure, some advertisers and businesses have channels and a presence on the platform. That said, it’s not too late to get started and start experimenting with how livestreaming works for your brand. Not by a long shot.
Let’s look at some real-world examples of marketing on Twitch below.
Gaming tournaments and esports
No surprises here. Many brand accounts have hopped on the gaming bandwagon either through tournaments or livestreams.
For example, Wendy’s regularly plays popular games such as Fortnite, Minecraft and Fall Guys.
Although hopping on a gaming stream might not make sense for many brands, doing so goes hand in hand with Wendy’s marketing presence which is laser-focused on younger consumers.
literally millions of people
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) August 27, 2020
From music festivals and award shows to dating contests and beyond, a lot of branded Twitch content emulates traditional TV.
Digital events emulate viewers’ sense of FOMO and Twitch is a prime place to host such events thanks to its massive, built-in audience.
How-tos and “classes”
As noted earlier, there’s an audience for just about anything on Twitch. If your brand or product revolves around something you can teach your audience, it’s fair game for streaming.
Interviews and roundtables
Interviews and discussions are low-hanging ways to engage viewers on Twitch that doesn’t require much in terms of production value.
For example, Bernie Sanders’ Twitch represented a unique mix of social media and politics during the 2020 primary season. Beyond hosting rallies, Sanders has conducted numerous interviews and roundtables with the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, and many more via Twitch.
If a 78-year-old Senator can manage a Twitch account, chances are you can as well.
Working with influencers
Remember what we said earlier about Twitch being a place for influencers? For traditional brands that don’t have a Twitch presence, sponsored streams represent a smart way to get your products in front of new viewers.
As an added bonus, content creators are typically social-savvy and will therefore find ways that best fit their Twitch presence and personal brand to make a sponsored stream feel fun versus forced.
Going LIVE on Twitch to prove myself against the @Energizer 🐰 How long can I last? Find out if all my time streaming Mario Maker 2 will pay off in today's win streak challenge #EnergizerUltimateLithium #StillGoing #ad https://t.co/1lc0UZuRok
— feen with confidence (@thedragonfeeney) May 18, 2020
Charity streams and fundraising are both huge on Twitch, making it yet another place for brands to put their money toward a good cause.
For example, Cash App actually donates all of their subscriptions and bits to The Gamers Outreach Foundation.
Meanwhile, corporate sponsors such as Red Bull have supported the biannual Games Done Quick speedrunning events. These streams raise millions of dollars for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Present Cancer Foundation.
And of course, Twitch has its own built-in advertising platform for brands running video ads. Given that viewers have to watch ads for any channel they aren’t subscribers to, there’s tons of real estate to explore.
What do you need to do to get started marketing on Twitch?
To wrap things up, we’ll quickly highlight some important pointers for brands and streamers interested in building a Twitch presence.
Invest in the right tools
Despite popular belief, marketing on Twitch doesn’t have to be a total money-sink.
Sure, some streamer setups are truly extravagant.
But if you forego the $10,000 gaming chair, basic video marketing equipment and a microphone setup is enough to get up and running. Coupled with tools like Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS), you can quickly set up your channel creatives and donations in no time flat.
Figure out your branding
A huge aspect of social media for gamers, Twitch streamers typically go all-out when it comes to their branding both on-site and via social.
For example, many creators outsource emote creations and brand materials to artists on Reddit or Fiverr. In the meantime, tools like Canva actually have built-in templates to create Twitch graphics and “streaming soon” screens.
Don’t forget your Twitch social media promotion!
This is the big one!
If you want people to follow you beyond Twitch, make sure to put your social media front-and-center in your “About” section. Twitch automatically prompts you for your socials but also allows you to promote them via custom buttons that reflect your brand identity (see Red Bull below).
And maybe it goes without saying, but social media promotion is essential to any Twitch presence. When in doubt, don’t be shy about letting followers know that you’re going live.
HEY BEST FRIENDS
The ultimate Fall Guys tournament goes down tonight at FALLMANIA by @GrandPOOBear. 16 contestants will run, jump, belly flop & grab for a chance at $5,000 & the 👑!
I’ll be on the broadcast to bring the hype! SO DON’T GET ELIMINATED https://t.co/JsEIarwPal pic.twitter.com/3PqERFR9ju
— SnowBikeMike (@snowbikemike) August 27, 2020
Does Twitch marketing have potential for your brand?
Comparing Twitch is traditional social media is apples and oranges.
That said, the platform is home to an audience that’s not afraid to engage with products and brands. If your audience is on Twitch, it’s definitely worth exploring.
For more ideas on how to do exactly that (and better understand what the younger crowd wants from brands), make sure to check out our guide to marketing to millennials and Gen Z.
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