In the summer of 2011, the face of video game culture was forever changed with the launch of Twitch, a video game live-streaming service. The platform turned seemingly ordinary video game nerds into boisterous on-screen personalities and professional content creators overnight. In fact, it’s multi-million daily viewers has made it possible for Twitch broadcasters to quit their day jobs and play video games for a living.
In 2014 Amazon purchased Twitch for $970 million dollars. If that doesn’t pique your interest as a marketer, perhaps these numbers will:
As of March 2020, Twitch averaged 1.44 million concurrent viewers on its platform
Twitch hosted streams from 3.8 million unique broadcasters over February 2020
Twitch users watch 95 minutes per day on average
The platform’s viewership only continues to rise as time goes on. So how can marketers incorporate Twitch into their digital marketing strategy? Let’s first begin by understanding the demographic viewers.
As of 2017, the core demographic of twitch users are 65% male, with about half between the ages of 18-34. This undoubtedly deems Twitch as a treasure trove for brands looking to reach millennial male audiences. With users consistently spending a chunk of their day engaging with their favorite live-stream, advertisers should spend time understanding how they can best align themselves with broadcasters.
How Twitch Broadcasters Make Money
As we mentioned before, becoming a successful Twitch broadcaster can be quite lucrative. The Twitch Partner Program and the Twitch Affiliate program allow broadcasters to monetize their live-streams by making various revenue streams and special features available to them.
As of March 2020, Twitch worked with over 40,000 Twitch Partners. To earn the status of Twitch Partner, broadcasters are required to live-stream a set amount of hours each week and must maintain a specific audience size during each of their live streams. Twitch partners can create revenue by generating subscriptions to their channel, earning bits from viewers (think tips or donations), and earning dollars for every ad played on their stream.
Twitch Affiliates are able to monetize their broadcasts by similar means as Twitch Partners, with the added feature to earn a commission from video game sales prompted by click-throughs during their live stream.
Outside of Twitch partnerships, any broadcaster can work with brands as an influencer. It’s not uncommon for broadcasters to mention a promo code during a live stream or display branded affiliate links in their twitch profile. Every dollar spent through their promotional codes and links earns the broadcaster commission.
Twitch & eSports
Competitive gaming isn’t exactly a new concept. In fact, the first major video game competition was the Space Invaders Championship, held by Atari in 1980. eSports competitions have been happening right under your nose ever since. However, when Twitch came on the scene, eSports finally had the capacity for mass speculation.
When looking at the numbers, it’s clear that the accessibility to eSports was much anticipated. In the year 2018, eSports generated roughly 76.4 million U.S. dollars worldwide, and is anticipated to reach 1.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. Revenue streams include betting, prize pools and tournaments, but the vast majority of revenue was generated from sponsorship and advertising, which brought in almost $615 million U.S. dollars in 2020 so far.
More Than Just Gaming
In the Fall of 2015, Twitch launched a non-gaming category deemed “Twitch Creative.” This opened the opportunity of live-streaming to makers and artists. Broadcasters could now choose to paint, produce music, crochet, among other things… (see social eating).
The move to expand content beyond gaming allowed Twitch to put the pressure on Youtube as far as content streaming goes. A number of celebrities took to the platform to share their skills in real-time, including EDM producers such as Steve Aoki and Deadmau5. Broadening the variety of content being streamed on Twitch was also a big win for brands. This meant more opportunities to align brand names with popular creative streams.
Content Creation For Brands
Why not broadcast your own live streams as a brand? While this seems like the most obvious one, it really depends on whether your products/services can lend itself to this format of content creation. If you have a behind the scenes process that is interesting to watch, why not consider streaming it? As we mentioned before, there’s an audience for everything. How can you think outside of the box?
We can’t help but love Wendy’s use of the Twitch platform. Once Animal Crossing: New Horizons released, the fast-food chain took the opportunity to create a character for their very own mascot, Wendy. The brand has also been known to live-stream the game Minecraft.
The Bottom Line
Twitch might be intimidating if you’re still trying to wrap your head around the concept of live gaming, let alone figuring out how to insert your brand into the fun. Don’t let it’s mysterious allure keep you sidelined. You can start by putting your media dollars to work with display ads, but why not try something new? Brands that aren’t afraid to get creative by working with broadcasters or even creating their own content will make the most out of this platform. Don’t be left thinking “I wish we would have thought of that” the next time an ingenious twitch marketing campaign goes viral.