The Sitch with Twitch: How to Master Influencer Marketing on Twitch

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Having great content creates value between you and your customers; with the continuous rise of influencer marketing, it’s time to look at the largest peer-to-peer influencing platform on the internet.  We’re going to bring you up to speed on all things Twitch, and how the right Twitch Influencer Marketing Strategy can help you to create a trusted, credible brand that is reaching new audiences.

What is Twitch?

Twitch streamers

Twitch is a platform that allows people to watch gamers live stream video games and upload their gameplay. However, although gaming remains the star driver of Twitch’s traffic, the platform has expanded to stream a wide range of videos.

This service started its days in 2006 as Justin.tv in San Francisco and by 2014 Amazon bought the service for $970 million. As of 2018, Twitch enjoys 45 billion minutes of streamed content per month! And with 3.2 million unique broadcasters uploading monthly, they’ll have no shortage of content in the near future.

Twitch viewers have a hefty platform list to choose from when engaging with content, including:

  • Desktop
  • iOS
  • Android app
  • Nvidia Shield: an Android family of digital-media consoles
  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox 360
  • Chromecast
  • Fire TV

Twitch also provides Twitch Prime, which is a paid subscription that is included with Amazon Prime and Prime TV services where customers receive bonus content and exclusive in-game content.

Twitch also has a significant eSports following which is where influencer marketing is heading, and fast. In 2017, eSports raked in 500 million dollars, and with 40% yearly growth, it’s set to become a $1.7 billion industry by 2021.

Twitch is primarily used by males in the 18-34 age category. However, we’ll be getting into more details about users later in the post.

We’ll also explore how influencer marketing slots into the fast-paced, content churning platform that is Twitch, and how your business can drive profits from collaborating with Twitch’s top streamers.

Is Twitch just another version of Youtube?

While Twitch is Amazon’s foray into the world of online gaming, they are in intense competition with Google’s Youtube Gaming. However, one of Twitch’s co-founders, Emmet Shear, remarks that this competition is great for both companies. In this Bloomberg article, he states “The more of an attractive career it is to do live game streaming, the more quality people will do it… In the long run, anything that’s good for the talent is good for us as well.”

Twitch completely focuses on their community’s experience. Users’ feeds contain no sponsored links and no algorithms to push specific content. Twitch users only get notifications for content created by the streamers they follow.

We’ve also got to keep in mind the active participation of Twitch’s audience. This is because of the live streaming preference of the platform. Live streams feature ahead of video-on-demand results in Twitch searches. Live chat is also a central feature of Twitch.

Youtube’s audience structure is the more passive of the two. Although live stream is an option, video-on-demand is still the go-to. This creates a completely different community feel, and the prevalence of sponsored content creates a less authentic experience for viewers. Twitch also broadcasts adverts, but it’s conducted in a more natural way that fits the Twitch community.

Twitch and Influencer Marketing

There is no industry where influencer marketing is more influential than the gaming industry.

Twitch streamers get a lot of their revenue from influencer marketing. It’s not a new concept that companies are teaming up with Twitch’s top streamers to connect with their target audience.

An exciting component of Twitch that is not prevalent across all platforms is their users’ approval of influencer marketing. 80% of users are open to the idea of game sponsorship, and 82% feel this sponsorship is good for the gaming industry. So, once your product provides value to the target audience on Twitch, you are likely to find a receptive audience.

However, as lucrative as this platform is for planting your marketing campaigns, it’s still a social media platform. It’s important for a business to understand that the benefits only come to those who are in it for the long haul.

Somehow, Twitch hasn’t yet become a household name. This is in spite of the fact that its game tournaments often surpass those of TV show viewings.

What are the top games?

Each game brings with it a different audience. In terms of popularity, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, World of Warcraft and Destiny currently hold the top five places.

By tunnelling into market research and finding the right game to match your brand, you create the best approach to entering this streaming empire.  Have a look at our Fortnite, Rocket League and Twitch decoding article.

Fortnite

Fortnite

Image via EpicGames

Fortnite is miles ahead of the rest of its competition in terms of hours of content watched by fans, which is currently at 150 million. This game became mainstream, front and center of pop culture. Proof of this came about when one of Fortnite’s biggest Twitch streamers, Ninja, along with Drake, one of the top rappers today, collaborated for a live stream. The 600,000+ views made it the most watched live stream of all time.

eSports is breaking free of its nerdy stereotypes, and investing in eSports marketing just as it’s exploding into mainstream culture could bring your business along with it.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft Twitch

Image via WorldofWarcraft.com

WoW is an iconic game that has captivated audiences long before the birth of online streaming platforms. Its latest expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth, managed to create enough traction to trump Fortnite for a spell. The game also has a large, yet surprising, celebrity fan base with female gamers such as Mila Kunis, Cameron Diaz and Felicia Day announcing their love of the fantasy universe. Needless to say, it has a broad demographic!

IRL

Twitch Streaming IRL

Image via Twitch

IRL (in real life) became the umbrella term for non-gaming video content on Twitch. There has been a steady increase in the creation of channels providing communities for niche hobbies such as model building, yoga, DIY and an endless list of other pastimes. So much so, that on August 9th of this year, Twitch announced that it would be implementing ten new categories to replace IRL.

This creates better awareness and navigation for the creative sections on Twitch. Obviously, these are great avenues for niche products to explore!

If you find a ready-made audience of prospects, you have a high probability of a lucrative ROI once the collaboration is secured.

Top Twitch influencers: who does it best?

The likes of Imaqtpie, Nightblue3, LIRIK and DrDisRespectLIVE all have followers of over two million. Others such as Myth have twice that with an estimate weekly income of $5,300-$6,300 from streaming on Twitch.

Twitch as a streaming platform enables on-demand content that allows viewers to be creators. This gaming community broadcasts and publishes content organically. The rich variety of content that Twitch provides its users allows for the creation of press conferences, developer programs, and even gaming for charity events. From this, emerges a diverse and engaging social network for gamers. It’s also the perfect destination for the eSports industry to take flight. With tournaments, leagues, interviews and many other forms of coverage for eSports fans to follow top professional players. Corporations such as Epic Games, also have channels on Twitch.

Ninja

Ninja Twitch

Image via Twitch

Ninja is the top dog as of 2018, with 11 million followers and raking in $500k a month from live streaming his Fortnite gameplays. What’s really noteworthy about this streamer is that his current total views come in at over 305 million. This year he teamed up with Uber Eats to give surprise discounts and giveaways to his followers. As you can see in this interview, it’s not a regular sponsorship campaign, but a long-term relationship between influencer and brand.

Summit1g

summit1g Twitch Streamer

Image via Twitch

Jaryd Lazar, the Twitch gamer known as Summit1g, is an American streamer with over 3 million followers. He streams a variety of game content from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as well as Escape from Tarkov, Fortnite, GTA V, and DayZ. Being a high energy player makes Summit1g a great fit for sponsoring Monster energy drink. His light-hearted branding also echoes Monster’s image, and he frequently wears their apparel to promote their brand.

TSM and Cloud9

TSM Twitch

Image via Twitter

TSM is one of the top professional gaming companies on Twitch. It was founded in 2009 in LA and now has one of the biggest eSports fanbases in the western world. They’ve leveraged this fame to attract sponsors such as Logitech, Red Bull, HTC and CyberPowerPC.

Cloud9, set up in 2013, is a more recent addition to the eSports world. They have links with Red Bull, HTC, Hyper X, and MSI.

Twitch partnered with both these teams back in 2016 and now act as their official sales representative, with any sponsorship deals going through them. Twitch released statements clarifying that the primary reasons for these deals were to connect the companies with brands outside of the gaming industry looking to collaborate. However, other than Red Bull and a handful of other brands, we haven’t seen much in the past two years in the way of non-endemic marketing campaigns.

Who are the primary users of Twitch?

One thing to be aware of from a marketing standpoint is the age profile of Twitch users.  81.5% of Twitch users are male with 55% within the 18-34 category. This is a streaming service that isn’t really suitable for children, and there is an age restriction of at least 13 to set up an account. However, it’s unlikely to deter children from tweaking their date of birth to access the content.  The top 16 streams on the platform will help you gauge an understanding of the types of viewers.

The rise of female influencers

KittyPlaysGames is the account owned by 26-year-old, British Columbian Kirsten Valnicek. She is currently at 930,000, just shy of the million. Not only is she a Twitch partner, an elite group of streamers who receive money from the adverts on their content, but she’s also in the top 100. Have a look at the top female eSports players here.  

What can Twitch do for your business?

If your target market aligns with Twitch’s audience base, you have an excellent platform to reach out to potential leads.

Viewers spend an average of 1.5 hours per day on this site, so there’s a big window for streamers to market to their viewers without content seeming overly advertorial. There is a culture of sharing on Twitch, that enables your influencer marketing efforts to appear organic rather than pushy. All in all, it’s a good platform to begin the dialogue with your target market.

Obviously, in the end, you want these investments to produce returns and drive sales.

Consumers are overwhelmed by the blur of content and adverts online and are turning to influencers that they trust to give them sound advice and opinions on brands. 31% of consumers have made a purchase based on an influencer.

Combine this with the fact that Twitch’s growth in viewers is in line with the dawn of influencer marketing, and you’ve got the foundations for an effective campaign.

Just as important is to set KPI’s, create targets and find the right influencer for your brand. Influencers also need to be on board with what’s expected of them and how to show your product in the best light. Successfully approaching these influencers is similar to influencers from any social media platform.

Influencer marketing is making serious waves on Twitch. There’s even a market for influencer platforms to help companies and streamers connect. Influencer marketing generates up to 11x its ROI, and 94% of marketers are happy with the results from influencer campaigns.

How to use Twitch to your advantage?

So now that we’ve listed the benefits of using Twitch as an entryway into your target market, it’s time to explore the best branding techniques. For this, we’ve researched the techniques that top streamers use to display brands in their best possible light.

Here is the list of marketing techniques you can use.

  • Product / Logo Placement – create familiarity around your brand within the Twitch stratosphere
  • Game/ product reviews – top Twitch streamers have loyal fan bases that place a lot of trust in what these gamers have to say. By investing in a streamer and their tight-knit community, the goal is to increase sales and create buzz around your product.
  • Giveaways – Again, this creates buzz around your product. It changes the perception of your brand into a covetable association. Once the competition has finished, ‘unlucky’ entries will likely become leads.
  • Social Media Operations – crossing the social media boundaries maximizes impact when marketing content. You’ll often see what’s known as Twitch Clips, a forty-second snapshot of a video, as a marketing ploy on Facebook or Instagram, for instance.
  • Playthroughs –  this is when a streamer plays through an entire game on live stream. Usually, they preview new games to give viewers an insight into the gameplay so they can decide whether or not to purchase.
  • Charity events – streamers go live often for an extended period of time (sometimes 12-24+ hours without stopping, sometimes every day for a week while taking breaks at night) and they give all their donations to charity.

And, last but not least…

Unboxing videos/ streams

Their popularity stems from the consumer getting a sense of the product in real life. Adverts are glossy and provide us with more of a concept of the product rather than its utilities and ‘real feel’. An unboxing, on the other hand, includes a real person and a tangible object. Twitch influencers spend years building rapport with their fanbase, so there’s also a high level of trust.

Lesser known Twitch streamers may shoot an unboxing video, and a subsequent product testing/review video, in return for free samples. However, if you’re looking for maximum views, be prepared to pay top dollar to have your product shown to a broader audience.

How does influencing happen on Twitch?

It’s best to dive into a case study to understand how a master influencing campaign comes together on Twitch. DrLupo, a professional eSports player, teamed up with KFC to give away free dinners to his fans.

What set KFC out from the crowd was the way they decided to go about this. In an online streaming game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, viewers were encouraged to type “dinner dinner” into the chat when Dr Lupo managed to defeat the other 99 contestants. This phrase links back to one of KFC’s slogans “winner winner chicken dinner”. Not only that, but a new KFC bucket emote was created for the event and viewers who typed this into the chat after a victory were in with a chance to win a $20 KFC gift card.

KFC is very active on Twitch and for good reason. Their target market is right there, and consuming a lot of content. They’ve also mastered connecting with these fans through relevant interactions that spark interest and create memorable brand awareness.

Obviously, since I’ve already mentioned Uber Eats and KFC, fast food is a key industry that is capitalizing on this optimal space to reach their target market. There are many other industries, such as male fashion and grooming products, that are utilizing their Twitch presence to create leads and develop brand awareness.

From an outsider’s perspective, Twitch may not seem that relevant for influencer marketing, but the truth is these two are a match made in heaven. High ROI and influencers with substantial fan bases make it ideal for relevant businesses. It’s a much more targeted platform so marketers should keep this in mind when considering where to invest their marketing budget.

Why not have a look at our how-to guide to help you get started with Twitch influencer marketing.

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