Published on March 22, 2022, at 9:01 p.m.
By Jennafer Bowman.
Social media allows public relations to become stronger and more impactful. Published content such as blog posts and news releases are able to live longer and reach a broader audience, but there are times when social media platforms lack interaction between brands and their consumers.
Instagram users can turn off comments, limit tags on posts or simply only like posts, causing there to be mindless scrolling and no interaction with companies. Brands have seen a decrease in consumer interaction and are left with ghost followers. Companies need an interactive platform that keeps both consumers and content creators engaged, like the popular livestreaming service Twitch.
What is Twitch?
The web platform was purchased by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. Twitch is used for livestreaming content such as games, entertainment, music and more. In 2020, it made a revenue of $2.3 billion, a big jump from its 2018 revenue of $900 million.
“Twitch is unique compared to other livestream sites in both the content streamed on the platform as well as the typical fanbases of creators on the platform,” said Jack Mulkerne, a leader for The University of Alabama’s Twitch class and a brand ambassador for LevelNext Esports, a college esports organization.
The American company launched in 2012 and hosts over 2.5 million users. It’s not just individual creators making content on Twitch; brands such as American Express and DoorDash are utilizing the platform to reach publics. Both companies use the livestreaming platform to roll out new content and rewards for their target audiences. DoorDash created its first-ever live, branded content series called “Game at Your Door,” and American Express promoted its discount to the NBA Store with the creation of an alarm for Twitch streamers covering NBA games to play when there was a triple-double scored. Both campaigns garnered over 20 million viewers and 66,400 messages were shared between both of the live chatrooms.
“Twitch allows brands to interact directly with their customers via chat and caster engagement,” explained Kyla Kennedy, director of esports for LevelNext at Learfield, a leading media and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. “The two-way interaction between brands and fans in real time is what makes Twitch a compelling addition to a brand’s marketing mix.”
Who is Twitch’s target audience?
Twitch is most popular with younger demographics: 73% of Twitch users are below the age of 35, and 41% of them are members of Generation Z. Rolling Stone reported that Gen Z holds a buying power worth $143 billion.
“Younger consumers interact with multiple digital channels daily. A major advantage Twitch has is it’s currently the most popular livestreaming platform when you look at revenue, streamers and total hours watched,” Kennedy explained. “If brands want to engage with the Gen Z demographic, they have to go where they are, and Twitch is a popular online destination for this age group.”
Brands can also take advantage of Twitch streamers with a large audience to promote their companies and new products. In 2018, the popular fast-food chain KFC partnered with famous Twitch streamer DrLupo. The internet gamer has 4.4 million followers on Twitch and is on the same esports team as Twitch’s most-followed user, Ninja, KFC partnered with Lupo to give away gift cards every time they won a round in the popular battle royale game, PUBG.
“Even though Twitch in the United States is 90% gaming and 10% in real-life content, overseas it’s the opposite,” noted Randall Huffaker, president of Alchemist Branding, an Alabama-based advertising agency, and a senior instructor at The University of Alabama.
Huffaker recalled seeing a Twitch stream of someone in Asia simply talking to their camera, and there were over 400,000 viewers on the livestream. Overseas mundane activities such as eating, studying and sleeping have taken over the top spots in streaming. In South Korea mukbangs are increasingly popular streams and are starting to become more popular stateside. The streams consist of content creators slurping and chewing their way through different types of food as upwards of 10,000 people watch.
What type of content can be on Twitch?
Twitch has multiple different categories users can employ to classify their streams. From specific video games to just chatting, viewers can find their niches on the platform. For example, the category “Just Chatting” has a total of 376,617 viewers per day. The average Twitch viewer is actively watching a stream for 59 minutes per day.
“The difficulty in using Twitch is making people stick around,” Huffaker noted. “Gamers have started to talk about real-life things so they can keep viewers’ attention for longer. You have to act like it’s a TV show and keep people entertained.”
While Twitch is the top livestreaming platform, other social media platforms such as Twitter are trying to break into the streaming universe. With its launch of Twitter Spaces, a way to have live audio conversations, the company is trying to make creators have more screen time in the app.
How can brands create content for Twitch?
“The hardest thing is creating content that is unique that keeps viewers interested,” Huffaker said. “Think of the TV show “LOST” — viewers tuned in every week because of the unique concept and to see what happened next.”
Brands such as luxury-fashion house Burberry have already tried to use Twitch like televisions. Burberry streamed its spring/summer 2021 fashion show from London Fashion Week to 42,000 viewers. By using the “squad stream mode” feature, commentators such as model Bella Hadid and artist Rosalia were also on screen to offer their perspectives on the show.
While brands are figuring out their next social media campaigns and what platforms are best for them, they should consider using Twitch as their primary outlet.