Evolution of Video Game Consumption
Established in 2011 and bought by Amazon in 2014, Twitch has quickly become recognized as the world’s leading live streaming service for gaming. Yes, you read that right, gaming. Gone are the days of stereotypical gamers, replaced now with streamers making thousands a year. The highest earning Twitch streamer, Ninja, brought in $5.4 million a year in sponsorships, ad revenue and other partnerships.
(Pictured above, highest earning Twitch streamer Ninja. Source: ESPN)
The Twitch Audience
So who is on Twitch? Right now, there are over 15 million daily active users on the platform. Around 75% of these daily users are male with 73% between the ages of 18 and 49. Nearly half of Twitch users spend over 20 hours a week consuming content, with the average person streaming an average of 106 minutes (1 hour and 46 minutes) a DAY! Dominated by highly engaged Millennials and Generation Zers, Twitch is a perfect place for brands looking to reach a younger audience to advertise on.
In addition to “the watchers”, like most platforms Twitch also has creators—over 2.2 million content creators (streamers) to be exact. Of these creators, Twitch considers the top 5% “influencers”, and describes them as, “broadcasters whose passion for gaming and electric personalities inspire a large, loyal fan base of viewers.”
Down to Basics
Before we get into advertising on Twitch, let’s quickly breakdown and navigate the different areas of the platform for anyone that is unfamiliar.
When the user first clicks into Twitch, they are greeted with what is known as the homepage (I know, really unique, but stay with me). Here, users can search for specific streamers, games, or other queries, browse categories, see who is LIVE that they are following and last but not least, they’re shown a handful of featured streams.
Aside from searching on the homepage, users can navigate to the browse tab and can either discover different channels or new games. As we will discuss soon, this is a very important page to advertisers as it is the primary placement for display advertisements.
From here, when the user chooses the stream they want to watch they are brought to the broadcaster’s “channel”. There are three important areas of the channel – the actual stream feed itself, the chat, and the broadcaster’s information panels.
Simply put, the stream feed is the area in which the video (AKA the stream) is playing. This video player works very similar to YouTube in functionality, however a key difference is that the content is live. Essentially, what this means is that if the user pauses the stream it will not pick up where they left off. Instead, the stream will automatically catch up to the live broadcast.
Next, and arguably the most important element of the channel, is the chat located on the right side of the screen. Here, viewers can communicate with each other and the broadcaster live making the chat a highly interactive and engaging part of the channel.
Finally, the broadcaster’s information panels offer a customizable area where the creator can design buttons, graphics and text boxes to let their audience get to know them better. Think of this area as the profile or “About Me” section. This area can be a great indication of the type of content the broadcaster produces and the audience they attract.
There are a number of advertising opportunities marketers have at their disposal on Twitch, from “traditional” digital to more creative and experiential digital campaigns. Available on Twitch’s advertisement platform are native, display and video ad formats however, they also boost the ability to create customizable executions as well.
An example of Twitch’s native advertising would be the featured streams mentioned earlier, which are found on the homepage. This format, however, is obviously more useful for a brand that already has a Twitch channel and live broadcast planned as a part of their marketing strategy.
Similar to display advertising of Facebook or Google, Twitch display ads require eye-catching creative designs. There are a number of different formats for display ads, however it is important to keep in mind that with the exception of the Homepage Headliner (which appears on… the homepage), all the other formats can only show on the browse tab.
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Moreover, the most popular format of advertising on Twitch is unsurprisingly video. Again, similar to YouTube, Twitch also has the opportunity to serve in-stream video ads. However, unlike YouTube, all of Twitch’s video ad formats are a maximum of 30 seconds long and are all unskippable.
Other Forms Of Advertising
Influencer – As briefly touched on earlier, 5% of Twitch’s broadcasters are considered influencers. Influencer marketing has boomed over the last couple of years with Twitch being no exception to the trend.
Sponsorship Opportunities – Like influencer marketing, the popularity of e-sport gaming has skyrocketed over the past couple years providing unique sponsorship opportunities for marketers. With a number of leagues, teams, and tournaments all over the world, e-sports is quickly becoming a powerhouse source of entertainment.
Give-aways – Usually done in partnership with a popular streamer or game, brands can choose to hold a give-away of product or prizes. Common give-aways on Twitch are done by video game companies themselves, giving away discount codes, add-ons, or a number of other prizes to watchers and fans of the game.
Experiential – Now for the fun stuff. Some companies have pulled off really impressive campaigns using Twitch. Take Old Spice for example,
Old Spice ran this 3-day long campaign in 2015, and managed to receive over 2.65 million views and 1.4 million interactions in the chat. They developed emoticons related to the stream to be used in the chat, which were utilized over 100,000 times and received over 88,000 unique views per hour! The campaign was a success for both Old Spice and Twitch, and can be re-watched on YouTube.
Another cool example of experiential marketing on Twitch comes from the well-known men’s grooming brand Gillette. Last March, Gillette and Twitch partnered to create “Gillette Gaming Alliance”. The alliance was made of 11 popular Twitch streamers who participated in their “Bits for Blades” promotion. As part of this promotion, viewers were able to purchase select Gillette products from Amazon (Remember? Twitch is owned by Amazon.) in exchange for “Bits” (Twitch’s form of currency used by viewers to support their favourite creators.) The campaign was a huge success, leading the company to announce the return of the promotion again in 2020.
Did you notice anything about those last two examples? How about the fact that both Old Spice and Gillette are predominantly male-oriented products? Twitch boasts the ability to reach half of the male population in the USA. You read that right, half. Now, this is not to say that there is no opportunity to advertise to females on Twitch, because there certainly is. Just a little under 20% of Twitch’s total users are female. It is just to say that the opportunity to reach males between the ages of 18 and 49 is significantly greater. So, if this is your target audience, why not give advertising on Twitch a try!
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