How Twitch Marketing Can Power Up Brands

What if someone told you there was a platform with 100 million active users in the U.S., who are so engaged that they spend 106 minutes per day on it, on average? You’d want in, naturally.

That platform is Twitch. A live streaming video platform, Twitch was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for almost one billion dollars and was founded on a simple premise: a platform on which people can watch other people play video games. It provides the technology to both view and broadcast, as well as the ability to confuse outsiders when you explain that simple premise and its undeniable popularity. A few years ago, we discussed how marketers could leverage the social gaming platform for marketing to millennial males.

But now, Twitch is expanding its channels past the gaming realms, unlocking new types of content and features – and creating opportunities for brands to capture coveted audiences. But, before you go clamoring to find advertising opportunities on Twitch, there are a few things you need to know.

Consider your target: Twitch’s audience is slowly expanding beyond males 18-49, but it isn’t there yet. If your target doesn’t primarily fall within this audience, don’t go blowing your marketing budget just to do something new. Twitch is ideal if you’re looking to grow a specific segment of market share or strengthen brand loyalty within this demographic.

Entertain first, advertise second. Twitch offers straightforward ad products like banners, takeovers, and mid-rolls, which allow brands to easily occupy real estate on channels and within streams. But, the brands powering their campaigns with creative, custom programs and leveraging Twitch’s influencer network, are the ones turning heads. For example, Snickers saw success with their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” Twitch campaign, during which gaming influencers played uncharacteristically poorly the hungrier they became. Once the influencers ate a Snickers bar on-screen, they magically returned to their game-dominating selves.

Aim for interaction: People tune into Twitch to communicate and interact not just with each other, but with the streamer or influencer. The most successful marketing strategies on Twitch invite users into the fold to be a part of the experience and ultimately impact the outcome. To to introduce a new product, Old Spice launched S.Q.U.I.D. (Shared Quests Uniting Individual Dudes), a game in which a robotic Kraken was controlled by eight different Twitch users, each in charge of a different tentacle. The stunt garnered 30,000 viewers at its highest point.

Partnering with Twitch for Brand Marketing

Old Spice’s Twitch Campaign – Shared Quests Uniting Individual Dudes (Image Source: Old Spice)

Chart new territory: To make Twitch users stop viewing and start paying attention, you have to push the envelope. By nature, Twitch is an experimental platform and it’s the perfect forum for a brand to try something innovative and create absorbing, new worlds. To promote its new show, Mr. Robot, NBCUniversal brought it to life during a three-day live-stream event on Twitch. They built a hacker lair and, as an ode to the show, erased more than $100,000 of users’ debt in real-time.

Partner up: Influencers run the Twitch world. They lead the platform and users loyally follow them. More content channels are opening up opportunities for new influencers and expanded brand partnerships, but don’t throw product or pointless swag at users. Instead, encourage them to interact with your brand or product in an authentic, entertaining way (see Snickers). Twitch users are a volatile cadre and will see right through product promotion.

If you think you’re ready to explore Twitch, embrace the platform in its entirety. Know that Twitch users are fickle – they may love your brand one second and wage war on it the next. It’s a high-risk platform. And high-risk platforms make for the most thrilling leaps!