In the dynamic world of digital marketing, platforms continually evolve, and with over 140 million monthly active users, Twitch has emerged as a powerhouse for brands seeking to engage with diverse audiences under the age of 45. In this edition of Plain Talk, we’ll discuss the following:
- What is Twitch?
- Who is Twitch’s target audience/demographics?
- How is Twitch different/similar to other social media platforms?
- Why do people spend time on Twitch? What do they do there?
- Who should market on Twitch and why?
- Twitch advertising opportunities?
- Influencers marketing on Twitch
- KPIs for Twitch beyond measurable attribution?
So, what is Twitch?
Twitch, which was founded in 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014, is a livestreaming platform primarily focused on gaming content. However, it has expanded to include various categories, such as music, art, and talk shows. Twitch’s defining feature is its real-time, interactive nature, allowing viewers to engage with content creators through live chat.
As stated, Twitch boasts a massive user base, with over 140 million monthly active users as of the latest data, an average of 2.58 million concurrent viewers, and generated approximately $2.8 billion in revenue in 2022. The platform’s growth has been substantial, particularly in recent years, solidifying its position as a significant player in the livestreaming arena. The target audience spans age groups but predominantly attracts a younger demographic.
Who is Twitch’s target audience/demographics?
According to Twitch’s statistics in December 2023, 72% of its users are between the ages of 18 and 34. The platform has also seen an increase in female users, up to 35% from less than 18% in 2017, challenging the stereotype of gaming as a male-dominated space. The gaming space has been predominately male for some time, yet the increase in female viewership gives reason to believe that the variety of content that Twitch accommodates is resonating with more people.
Twitch’s most popular day of viewership is on Sunday, and people spend an average of 95 minutes watching Twitch streams. The Twitch audience flocks to the right influencers based on their likes, interests, and values. There are streams for people who love NHL updates, Minecraft creative maps, “just chatting” streams on how to save money, and so much more that contribute to why this platform has continued to grow its user base. During 2020, Twitch saw a massive increase in its user base as people were searching for a place to connect outside of their homes and work.
How is Twitch different/similar to other social media platforms?
Twitch differs significantly from traditional social media platforms by prioritizing live, interactive content. Unlike static posts, Twitch allows for real-time engagement between content creators and viewers. While similar to other platforms in terms of community-building, Twitch’s emphasis on livestreaming sets it apart. Twitch additionally supports long-form broadcasts, allowing concurrent streaming for up to 48 hours. Many streamers use this capability with streamathons, goal setting, and interactive games with viewers, helping to grow their follower base and community engagement. Some competitors share similar abilities, such as video giant YouTube and , but Twitch remains the popularity king of video game streaming with 71% of the market share. Twitch sits on the throne due to its 20.8 million content creators, compared to YouTube’s 1.5 million and Kick’s 775,000. Twitch also boasts the most active user base, with 33.2 million active Twitch accounts.
Although Twitch is most widely known for the gamer type, users flock to Twitch for its diverse content, ranging from gaming and esports to music and creative arts. In fact, 27% of its content is non-gaming. The interactive chat feature enables direct streamer communication, fostering a sense of community. Viewers often engage for entertainment, skill improvement, or to connect with like-minded individuals. Twitch users even become great friends and visit each other for weekend trips or more significant community events like TwitchCon, where they can meet fellow viewers and favorite streamers and even interact with brands at booths.
Starting in 2015, TwitchCon is the platform’s semi-annual gaming convention and has one event in the United States and one in Europe. At TwitchCon USA 2022, held in San Diego, CA, they had a total attendance of 30,000, and TwitchCon EU 2022 had 14,500. This convention is a great way for streamers to grow their personal brand and for viewers to engage with their friends in common communities. TwitchCon is also a great place for brands to support their existing content creators and keep a keen view of who is engaged in this culture. Now that is community!
Why do people spend time on Twitch?
People spend time on Twitch for a variety of reasons. Although Twitch is primarily seen as an esports streaming platform, the most common streaming category on Twitch for the past three years has been “just chatting,” boasting a whopping 259,915,174 hours watched between December 10, 2023 – January 8, 2024. This category is open-ended, meaning content creators often go live on the platform and engage with their community in a thoughtful or playful way, discussing their daily lives, sharing creative endeavors, offering educational content, or simply chatting with viewers. Twitch provides a unique interactive experience, allowing viewers to participate in live discussions through chat, ask questions, and even financially support their favorite streamers through donations or subscriptions. The sense of community on Twitch is strong, fostering connections among like-minded individuals who share common interests, whether it be gaming, art, music, or other niche content.
Who should market on Twitch and why?
If money weren’t an issue, then all consumer brands that target Gen Z and millennials would be advertising on this diverse social platform. But it is. Traditionally, a lot of technology and gaming-based companies have thrived on Twitch. However, once Twitch grew and expanded not only its various content creators but also its viewer base, industries such as fashion, food and beverage, beauty, wellness, sports, entertainment and media, and education/e-learning have taken notice.
Further, as we’ll discuss later in KPIs, because of its unique live, real-time, interactive, micro-audience nature, Twitch can allow savvy large-brand marketers to explore brand and audience extensions with relatively little financial commitment.
Twitch advertising opportunities
Twitch offers unique marketing opportunities for marketers and brands to utilize their platform in a variety of ways. There are several different avenues for advertising, including media buying, sponsored content, native platform or site integrations, and brand partnerships. With millions of active users, the platform provides options such as display and video ads that can be strategically placed to reach specific demographics. Sponsored content and partnerships with popular streamers allow advertisers to integrate their products seamlessly into the streaming experience, leveraging the authenticity and influence of content creators. Twitch also enables interactive ad formats, fostering engagement through polls and chat interactions. The platform’s unique blend of gaming, creative content, and live interactions presents advertisers with a dynamic environment to showcase their products or services, making Twitch a compelling platform for those looking to tap into the enthusiasm of its active user base.
However, even if Twitch advertising is not an option with your budget or may not make sense based on your geo or other factors, your brand can still have a presence there by working with influencers and creating authentic and engaging content.
Influencers marketing on Twitch
The platform’s engaged user base offers a unique opportunity for brands to integrate into the content users are genuinely passionate about. There is an audience for nearly everything on Twitch, and with that comes enthusiastic and engaged Twitch streamers and Twitch channels who want to share anything and everything they are excited about with their communities. There is everything from small start-up coffee brands like Madrinas to large beauty powerhouses like e.l.f. Cosmetics that have found their brand voice in the Twitch world.
Twitch marketing costs vary widely based on factors such as the size of the influencer, campaign duration, and the type of content. Influencer Marketing Hub says prices can range from a few hundred dollars for smaller influencers to thousands for top-tier streamers. This range creates a highly cost-effective marketing plan for brands of any size. There is a meager cost for smaller or start-up brands with limited marketing spending to test their market demographics and even find some surprising key audiences.
Twitch marketing provides brands with a direct avenue to engage with a highly active and unwavering loyal audience. The authenticity of livestreaming, coupled with interactive features such as unique streamer emotes, fosters genuine connections. Additionally, Twitch offers diverse advertising options, including influencer collaborations, sponsorships, and display ads. Twitch streamers have partnered with brands that have digital screens and billboards in Times Square. Product unboxing is another very effective tool often seen, which comes at a small cost for the brand and gives the streamer exciting and fresh content. These streamers are recognizable and have strong loyalty in their audience. The connection that viewers feel with the streamer is personal. Viewers can feel like Twitch streamers are creating content and attributing that content to them because of the unparalleled capability to respond directly to viewers’ chat messages during a livestream. The impact this real-time dialogue can have on brands is unmatched by other traditional influencer marketing on Meta, TikTok, or X.
Understanding Twitch culture
To succeed in marketing on Twitch, it’s essential to understand the platform’s culture. Unlike other social platforms, Twitch has a culture similar to that of public-access TV. In fact, if Wayne and Garth were still broadcasting today, they would dominate on Twitch (Schwing). Each streamer has a Twitch.tv channel that they can use to create any content they want. This results in a diverse range of content, personalities, and voices, which creates opportunities for brands and marketers to find an influencer that resonates with their audience.
Moreover, Twitch viewers can subscribe to their favorite channels for $4.99 per month, similar to other streaming services. This subscription unlocks ad-free viewing, exclusive content, and other perks like custom emotes and bit badges. Streamers often give shoutouts to new subscribers or renewals during their livestreams, either verbally or with pop-ups.
Viewers can be part of a community they feel connected to, giving them a sense of belonging. Viewers who find their favorite channels become part of that channel’s culture. This can result in a more engaged and dependable community of subscribers who feel a deeper connection to the content and the channel.
Finding the right Twitch streamer for your brand
A Twitch partner and Fortnite streamer, Adriana, with her Twitch channel named sparkles_qt, has a fruitful partnership with Pizza Hut, which formed over her long-standing loyalty to their pineapple pizza. The brand team noticed that her audience was also extremely loyal and began what would turn out to be a mutually beneficial pairing. Because Twitch has the unique element of live engagement, Pizza Hut saw it as an opportunity to reach a new audience directly by doing gift card giveaways at incremental times during the livestream. The giveaway kept the audience engaged in Adriana’s stream, and the “regulars” of the stream also had an opportunity to engage with Pizza Hut as a brand.
Due to the success of several sponsored stream giveaways, Pizza Hut took it a step further and created a branded content commercial that aired exclusively on Twitch, with Adriana as the face. Viewers in Adriana’s community were incredibly proud of her for being the new face and content creator for Pizza Hut. There was an overwhelming sentiment that because she achieved something, so did the community. They were rooting for her, honored to be associated with her, and wanted to continue engaging with the brand to ensure her success. That right there is the power of Twitch.
Deciphering Twitch’s unique KPIs
Twitch houses a very different look at KPIs for agencies and brands to look for. Beyond measurable attribution, brands should focus on viewer engagement metrics. Concurrent viewership, chat interactions, and follower growth are key indicators of a campaign’s success. Additionally, sentiment analysis of chat interactions provides qualitative insights into audience perception. Active chats are a strong indication that these viewers care! Plus, there is an added benefit for brands to be able to directly interact with their target markets and the content creators they have representing their brand. Brands should evaluate the goals of their plan and use these KPIs to achieve the analysis they are looking for.
The heartbeat of success for Twitch influencer marketing lies in deciphering the intricate web of viewer engagement metrics. The center stage of this analytical journey is concurrent viewership, a metric that transcends mere numbers, offering a real-time pulse on audience interest and participation. Viewer engagement metrics are an extremely helpful KPI when the tactic is influencer marketing for testing, targeting specific audiences for research, or lead generation for sales. As viewers unite in the digital space, the dynamics of engagement further unfold through chat interactions. Each message is a testament to the depth of connection between the influencer and their audience. This interactive exchange measures the level of engagement and serves as a vibrant backbone of community sentiment. This is a great way for low-cost learning opportunities to evaluate real-time reactions to new products or services or even for discovering unknown research findings. Complementing this, the strategic tracking of follower growth comes through as a cornerstone in evaluating campaign impact. Follower growth extends beyond numerical ascent; it signifies the organic development of an influencer’s community, a tangible testament to a brand’s resonance within the Twitch ecosystem. Together, these viewer engagement metrics display a campaign’s immediate success and lay the groundwork for long-lasting relationships between influencers and their audiences.
Thoughts for marketers to take home
Twitch continually redefines digital engagement, and marketers can unlock its potential by understanding its diverse advertising opportunities, valuable content creators, unique dynamics, and platform-specific KPIs. With a plethora of options for marketing, brands can get low-cost learning opportunities, demographics testing, lead generation, large-scale brand awareness campaigns, and more. They can use these different marketing options to tailor strategies or tactics that resonate with the platform’s vibrant and unwaveringly dedicated community and can work well within brands of any size’s budget constraints. Want to talk more about your Twitch marketing plans or brainstorm ways to take your current efforts to the next level? Give us a call at 502.499.4209 or contact us online.
Today’s article was penned by sr project manager, Kelly Beam. Like what you just read? If you’re not already a subscriber to our Plain Talk newsletter, you can subscribe below.