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Twitch live video streaming for marketers

Apex Legends. Source: Electronics Arts

Some experts recommend that marketers keep a close eye on Twitch, a video streaming platform owned by Amazon. Video gamers use Twitch to stream themselves playing games and watch others play. The platform also doubles as a social media site. Viewers offer comments on games in a public chat, and popular game streamers sometimes add a voice-over, creating a talk-show like experience. Top players compete against each other for prize money in eSports competitions.

Why should brands promote anything besides video games on Twitch? Audience size is one reason. Twitch has more than 100 million monthly active users and 2.2 million monthly streamers. On average, viewers spend more than 1.5 hours per day on the network.

In addition, Twitch hopes to become more than a video gaming site.  It’s expanding into other areas of streaming, including news and entertainment with channels for cooking, art, computer programming tutorials and other interests.

Top Players Are Top Influencers

Leading Twitch streamers boast both millions of followers and deep relationships with those fans, a combination that offers superb influencer marketing opportunities.

Electronic Arts (EA) demonstrated how to use influencer marketing on Twitch to launch its Apex Legends video game. Instead of following the usual strategy of TV ads, press previews and online trailers, EA paid top Twitch gamers to stream the game on the platform, according to Barron’s. Streamers also played Apex Legends to prepare for the “Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge” and win the $200,000 prize pool. As a result, more than 25 million players tried the game, and it jumped to the top of viewership rankings in just a few days after launch.

Brands outside the video gaming businesses work with officially designated Twitch Partners to promote their products. As users are mostly young (and overwhelmingly male), the platform offers an ideal path to reach millennials and the Generation Z crowd. Red Bull, the Macau Tourism Board, Kaisun Energy, Sephora, and Youku (China’s YouTube) have sponsored events. KFC, Old Spice and Duracell have also advertised on the platform. Some integrate gaming features into ads.  For instance, one ad included a popular gaming phrase.

Picking Twitch Partners

Kaya Ismail, founder of content marketing agency Wordify, recommends that marketers work with Twitch partners who have:

  • An established and steadily growing audience and chat,
  • A regular broadcast schedule of at least three times a week,
  • Content that conforms to Twitch Rules of Conduct, Terms of Service and Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notification Act (DMCA) Guidelines.

Sponsors should dedicate time to watch the creator’s catalog of content and make sure their voiceover and approach are appropriate for your brand, urges Chris Kerns, vice president of research and insights at Spredfast, in Marketing Land.

Brands can also consider creating their own creator channel, he adds, noting that Twitch encompasses more than just video games and the other content categories are gaining popularity. Be sure to have the right on-screen talent and enough content to produce a good series of videos before embarking down that path, he cautions.

“The live-streaming space may seem foreign to many, but the data shows that it’s a real player, deserving of real attention — not in six months, not next year, but now,” Kerns asserts. “The more adaptable you are to new ideas, new channels and new opportunities, the more your marketing will stop looking like everyone else’s and have a greater chance to get ahead of the pack.”

Bottom Line: Twitch, used mostly to live stream video games, offers several advantages for marketers. Some marketers predict that the platform will grow into much more, as it is already expanding into other lifestyle categories. Brands that become familiar with Twitch and its dedicated users now can gain a head start.