Brands that want to reach a wider audience should look no further than Twitch – the king of social media live video streaming.
Despite Twitch users consuming more than 22.8 billion hours of content in 2021, most marketers have still yet to realize the potential of the platform founded just over a decade ago. Now is the perfect time for brands to start leveraging Twitch creators to increase conversions and drive sales using one of the internet’s most unique social media platforms.
Twitch is a live video streaming platform. It focuses primarily on gaming, but has expanded over the years to include music, art, and other forms of creative and interactive content. Twitch users can choose to be notified when their favorite creators “go live” so they can watch and engage with streams in real time.
A subsidiary of Amazon, Twitch currently has 30 million daily active users and 140 million monthly active users. A number of creators have built loyal followings with regular streaming sessions that often last for hours at a time. As a result, many of them have caught the attention of marketers, brands, and media outlets.
Twitch gaming broadcasts generally feature a split-screen display. Users can see what the streamer sees on their monitor and can view and hear the creator on the other side of the screen. The Twitch display also features a chatbox on the right-hand side of the screen for viewers to interact with each other and the creator.
Unlike similar platforms like YouTube Gaming, Twitch’s focus lies solely on a community experience. User feeds have no sponsored content nor do they use any algorithms to show specific content. Twitch does, however, allow users to purchase games through links on streams, with streamers receiving sales commissions. Creators can also sell products on their streams with affiliate links.
Twitch caters to a young audience. Roughly 50% of Twitch users were under 30 in 2021. Only 5% of platform users were over the age of 50.
Twitch’s complete age breakdown is as follows:
Twitch also has a predominantly male audience, although the gap between male and female viewers has narrowed over the years. Platform users were 67% male in 2021, whereas 81% of Twitch users identified as male in 2017.
When it comes to location, most of Twitch’s viewership comes from the United States. More than 22% of all desktop traffic came from the U.S. in 2021. Germany had the second-most with 6.7%.
Twitch influencer marketing is similar to influencer marketing campaigns on other platforms. The one major difference is that influencer promotions come in a live video format rather than a single image or a video.
Influencer marketing is extremely effective in the gaming niche, making Twitch one of the few social media platforms that has seen an increased focus on influencer marketing over the past two years. It is also one of just two platforms (TikTok, Twitch) that has seen an increase of at least 8% since 2019. Other more “traditional” platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been on the decline for influencer marketing over that same period.
And data suggests even more user growth on Twitch over the next few years.
With the vast majority of streams lasting well over an hour, Twitch provides creators the chance to produce unscripted, long-form content in an intimate setting that doesn’t seem unnatural or forced. By inviting users right into an influencer’s personal living room, studio, or kitchen, Twitch viewers can interact and feel like they are really getting to know their favorite streamers (and the brands they promote) on a more personal level.
As more creators accumulate massive audiences and engagement on Twitch, it’s easy to see why brands are pooling dollars into influencer marketing on the platform. Some of the top reasons influencer marketing works on the platform are:
Twitch’s impressive growth rate is one of the main reasons more brands are migrating to the platform.
In 2016, Twitch had a total of about 645,000 daily concurrent viewers. That number nearly doubled to about 1.2 million by the end of 2018. Today, Twitch is home to more than 2.5 million monthly concurrent viewers.
Image via TwitchTracker
Despite its massive audience, many brands still haven’t moved to Twitch. Brands who embrace the shift now can become early adopters and start nurturing relationships with top streamers before the platform becomes oversaturated.
Twitch promotions are never one-dimensional. On other platforms, promotions generally end once the content is published. Those posts garner likes and short comments, but that is typically where the engagement ends.
On Twitch, the audience and the streamer are equally engaged in the promotion. The streamers can answer audience questions in real time and even give live demonstrations on how products work. The interactive environment not only amplifies engagement, but makes the specific product or service the center of attention.
Twitch has more than 15 million daily unique visitors who watch an average of 95 minutes of content every day. The vast amount of time Twitch users spend with their favorite creators forms a connection that is far stronger than most influencers have with their fans on other social media platforms.
Twitch’s live chat option also allows creators to have two-way conversation with their viewers to help create a truly interactive experience. This type of meaningful interaction creates an environment that resembles a real-life friendship more closely than any other social media channel. And with that relationship comes a level of trust that increases an audience’s chances of following product recommendations from streamers.
Twitch’s homepage is the best place to start for brands that are brand new to influencer marketing on the platform.
The homepage lists recommended channels and categories, as well as trending streams. These links are a great place to familiarize yourself with Twitch’s layout and learn how some popular creators interact with their fans and brand partners.
Next, try clicking on the “Browse” tab at the top left-hand corner of the homepage. This section has every streamer creating content on the platform and serves as a kind of “influencer database” as you search for the right partners.
The Browse Page can be filtered by type of content (gaming, just chatting, music, art, etc.) or by a specific video game or genre of video game (sports, RPG, first-person shooter, etc.). From within each of these content types, you can search for specific keywords or browse by trending tags to narrow your search even further.
When you find a creator you like, chances are their contact information is listed on their About Page. Send them a short message to introduce yourself. Let them know what you like about their content and why you are interested in partnering. Be clear and concise, and be sure to include some kind of call to action in your message.
Although Twitch is still most popular among the gaming community, creators from virtually every niche have found a home on the platform. Twitch has diversified its content enough over the years to accumulate 5.8 billion hours of watched content worldwide in Q3 of 2021 alone.
Some of the most popular content types for creators on Twitch include:
While Twitch has helped produce household names within its own community, the platform also attracts an increasing number of mainstream celebrities.
In 2018, rapper Drake collaborated with gaming superstar Ninja on a live Fortnite stream that attracted a then-record of more than 660,000 concurrent viewers. NBA stars Kevin Durant and Trae Young hopped on the platform along with 14 other current NBA players for a live gaming event to raise money for charity. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even found herself on Twitch ahead of the 2020 presidential election to encourage young people to vote while live streaming the popular game “Among Us.”
Since gaming is still by far the most popular pastime on Twitch, gaming brands are currently the most common advertisers on the platform. But as Twitch expands to accommodate streamers from all walks of live, plenty of non-gaming brands have entered the fold and found success in the space.
KFC, for instance, collaborated with Dr. Lupo to advertise their chicken wings. Similarly, Gillette collaborated with Dr. Disrespect to promote their range of razors to the male audience. In 2020, Pizza Hut launched “Friday Night Bites” – a series hosted by Twitch streamer Jericho and other celebrities that accumulated more than 5.4 million views.
@gonnaneedmilk We’ve partnered with @cnotbusch to create a 1/1 trophy for who’s got the fastest hands at #TwitchCon. Think it’s you? Play our reaction time game at booth 1832 and show us what you got. 🤝 #twitch #art #gaming #fyp ♬ original sound – Milk
GonnaNeedMilk took to TwitchCon San Diego 2022 to see which visitors to their booth had the “fastest hands.” They developed an interactive, head-to-head game that will let users challenge each other in a game of mental and physical speed. While participants could fuel up with chocolate milk and get swag, the ultimate winner got to walk home with a trophy that was hand-crafted by Twitch streamer @cnotbusch.
Kellogg’s was looking to “connect with the next generation of cereal lovers,” so how better to reach them than to turn a beloved mascot into a Twitch VTuber? The brand created a 3D Tony the Tiger and had him take on Twitch as he streamed with GoldGlove, BigCheese, and Chrissy Costanza.
Brianne is a “COVID-era” streamer who started her channel in August 2020. The 26-year-old Hawaiin native is a casual gamer and up-and-comer who just recently surpassed 3,000 subscribers on the platform.
Brianne mostly plays League of Legends, but her chat is open to all types of conversation, including one of her favorite topics – Korean BBQ. Brianne insists that the dialogue in her chat always remains respectful to create a wholesome environment free from any kind of bullying and harassment.
Matt is a former Marine, Purple Heart recipient, and father of five whose online community is as avid and supportive as they come.
Matt uses dark comedy to share stories and raise awareness for what life is really like for military personnel operating overseas. He is known best for giving live commentary on combat documentaries, and hosting no holds barred discussions on how the films relate to his own experiences and the mental toll those events have on veterans when they return to civilian life.
WitchyTwitchy, also known as Luna Cera and formerly known as Pseudo_Poise, is a seven-year streaming veteran and the only ASMR Twitch streamer on our list.
WitchyTwitchy holds an open dialogue with her community and discusses a variety of topics including her struggles with ADHD, reconnecting with her Native roots, and crafting. Aside from gaming and creating art, WitchyTwitchy has a passion for uplifting female gaming streamers in a male-dominated industry.
Tim isn’t nearly as skilled as most of his professional gaming peers, but then again, neither are the vast majority of his followers. It’s just one of the many ways he has capitalized on relatability and grown his following into one of the largest and most dedicated on Twitch.
Tim claims his #tatmanarmy as the most interactive — and bizarre — communities on Twitch. The Tat Man plays mostly first-person shooters, but encourages his viewers to chat with him about whatever is on their mind, including life, sports, and any and all video games. He does, however, encourage his viewers to be mindful of their language in case anyone from the “younger generation” is watching.
Krysta is a variety gamer who jokes that she enjoys talking to random strangers almost as much as she loves talking to herself.
Krysta got her start playing Minecraft and The Sims on her YouTube channel in 2012. Her infectious positivity and welcoming environment makes her Twitch channel a must-follow for any gaming enthusiast in need of a laugh.
Hello, beloved human beans! Welcome to VenusWorld, a musical Twitch community hosted by pop artist Venus, formerly known as Sophie Janes. The UK singer-songwriter treats subscribers to tri-weekly shows on her channel where she has compiled a setlist of more than 300 original and cover songs.
Since she hit the streaming scene in 2018, Venus has nurtured what she calls one of Twitch’s warmest communities, whose members she lovingly refers to as her “band of Venusians.” Her channel is meant to be a place where people can come to unwind and relax with a cup of tea, and just enjoy the music.
TBH is a variety streamer who hosts entertaining (and sometimes serious) conversations with his stream team The Gaming Illuminaughty.
TBH mostly streams Apex Legends and is known for inspiring his audience by dropping nuggets of wisdom during his sessions. He is also notorious for hilariously roasting trolls when they pop up in the chat.
Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff has become one of Twitch’s most popular gamers since he got his start in 2010 on the platform’s predecessor Justin.tv.
While Nick’s audience might come to watch the veteran Twitch streamer dominate competitive shooters, they can stay for his workout videos and conversations that tend to veer deep into the world of sports. He has also carved out a niche in console gaming, where the use of a controller is often seen as a huge disadvantage in competitive gaming.
Julia “StorioniGirl” Dina is another musical gem performing (and gaming) live on Twitch.
The professional classical violinist earned her Certificate of Violin Performance from Yale School of Music. She has played in a number of well-known orchestras and served as the concertmaster of Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Dina left her concertmaster gig last year, which allowed her to discover her love for video games and video game music.
Samora’s Twitch quote sums up her online community perfectly: Be you to the fullest, be YOU the FULL, BEAUTIFUL.
The Dutch variety streamer aims to spread positive vibes on her Twitch channel and encourages all her viewers to be comfortable enough to speak up and talk with her about whatever is on their minds.
With countless content creators covering just about any topic one could think of, Twitch provides endless opportunities for brands looking to expand the scope of the influencer marketing program.
The influencers who call Twitch home are some of the most authentic creators on social media, and the long-form content they produce has helped build a rapport with their audience that most creators on other platforms simply can’t match.
The sky is truly the limit for Twitch influencer marketing, and there is no better time than now to get in on the action.
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