I never thought I’d get to the point where I actually miss when Brexit dominated headlines. COVID-19 has rocked the boat, and in no time at all, caused unprecedented havoc on many people’s lives.
Unprepared, we Brits have been instructed to do what we thought we did best; “Keep calm, and carry on” (at home in lockdown). These restrictions have disrupted not only our personal lives but industries too, particularly the traditional sporting world, with many events being postponed, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The combination of people spending more time at home and a lack of sport to watch has paved the way for a relatively unaffected form of entertainment to take centre stage: esports. Through the growing popularity and integration of live streaming, esports has been able to grow beyond staged tournaments and become a global phenomenon.
The above graph shows the growing popularity of live streaming as the coronavirus embedded its way into our nation. With this abnormal shift in circumstances, consumers are being forced to change their consumption habits.
Last Saturday, I was meant to be celebrating my hockey team’s final match of the season. Instead, like the rest of the nation, I found myself locked-in. Whilst scrolling aimlessly through my Instagram feed, I found that an event I used to attend at University, Bongo’s Bingo, was live-streaming their sold-out event for free online. All I had to do to attend was download Twitch – a live streaming app.
What is the purpose of Twitch?
To put it simply, Twitch is the world’s biggest platform serving the live-streaming community. For those who remember the 90s, or who are currently working their way through Stranger Things whilst being stuck at home (i.e. me), this is the return of the arcade. However, each user spends on average 95 minutes per day at this arcade live-streaming all sorts of things, including esports.
Remember when you and your friends used to crowd around a single console and shout commands? This is the need Twitch is fulfilling with its livestreams and live chat abilities. Using the power of technology, Twitch has connected typically hidden communities around the world.
Is Twitch free? Yes, Twitch uses a freemium model; although many of its features are available for free, users can choose to pay for access to exclusive content. The platform is also owned by Amazon, so is part of their Prime offering, however, even these paying customers are still exposed to advertisements – which is good news for marketers.
Unlike other platforms with live streaming capabilities, Twitch is purpose built, more developed than Facebook Gaming and less crowded by branded ads like YouTube. Being backed by Amazon, this is definitely an industry to keep an eye-on with the world’s biggest tech companies all battling it out for market space.
Who uses Twitch?
According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s infographic, Twitch has over 15 million active daily users and overwhelmingly 81.5% of them are male – considerably more imbalanced than its social media counterparts.
If your target audience is the millennial male, you could consider adding Twitch to your social media marketing strategy.
Is Twitch only for gaming?
Although Twitch may have found its success in the live streaming of esports events, such as Fortnite, the platform has branched out into many different categories. From food, to travel, to just chatting, anything that can be streamed live can be broadcast on Twitch. As Twitch’s audience becomes more diverse, so does the content they consume.
How do you market on Twitch?
From art to science, there’s a broad set of interests to target through Twitch, you don’t have to be just a gaming company to communicate with them. In general, there are three mediums marketers can use to reach their audience: organic content creating, paid ad placements, or influencer marketing.
1. Creating organic content for Twitch
Creating free organic content can help you reach your prospective customers without breaking the bank. Perhaps the most famous example is when Old Spice used gamification (just a camera) to reach their male audience in 2015, by letting Twitch users dictate a man’s life for three days.
However, because there’s a greater diversity in categories, brands could look further afield for live streaming opportunities such as live streaming recipes, tours, or even the tech side of the business. Over time, you could begin to build up a set of engaged followers and even the odd subscriber for your brand.
2. Twitch paid ad placements
There are several paid opportunities for brands within Twitch too. Even those using Twitch Prime are exposed to native and display advertising, such as pre-roll, leaderboards, and carousel ads. Surprisingly, 82% of Twitch users feel sponsorships are good for the gaming industry, so these ads don’t seem to be met with the same annoyance as they are on YouTube or Facebook.
3. Twitch influencer marketing
The final way marketers can reach users through Twitch is through influencer marketing. Given how influencer marketing has taken off on all other social media platforms, it isn’t surprising to find it has found a home in Twitch too.
Unlike normal influencer marketing, this happens in real-time: it’s live rather than static or prerecorded. Perhaps you could argue this is risky, but also more authentic than traditional sponsored posts? The influential activities themselves generally take the same form as other influencer marketing channels, such as unboxing, product placements, shout outs etc.
Reaching your audience through Twitch
With a lot of people only being allowed to go outside for one form of exercise a day, their habits are changing and so is their desired entertainment. Perhaps brands should consider changing the way to reach their audience too by trialing new platforms and developing a twitch marketing strategy.
If you don’t think Twitch is right for your brand, then check out our guide to some alternative social media channels.