Twitch is the biggest online video streaming platform in the world. Starting from humble beginnings in 2006 – initially under the domain Justin.tv – the website has since ballooned from a niche game streaming platform to where it stands now: a microcosm for not just gaming streams, but…
- Watch parties
As of March 2023, the platform records over 140 million monthly active users… with 2.4 million of those users watching a stream at any given point in time.
Twitch has become the central hub for the consumption of live content. With the website garnering so much traction, many brands have started to try and get in the mix by deploying marketing strategies. And many of those strategies… have failed. Why is that?
Twitch Is Different
Twitch is nothing like your typical social media site. Because the website centers itself within the “live model,” outside of saveable re-runs of live streams, there really isn’t any content that lasts in perpetuity. And even those expire eventually.
You cannot upload videos for your audience on Twitch like you can on YouTube or TikTok. You cannot send out a written post to your audience like you can on Twitter or Instagram. Twitch requires an entirely different approach.
Marketing on Twitch
For smaller brands, trying to build out a presence on Twitch is almost a waste of time. Despite this, the website can still be the most fruitful within the social media space when it comes to growing your brand.
And that is because of influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing on Twitch
There are hundreds of streamers who pull in millions of views every month on Twitch, with extraordinarily dedicated and loyal audiences behind those numbers. And these creators are typically, more often than not, open to the idea of collaborating with brands.
An influencer/brand collaboration can be executed in many ways. It can be as simple as having the streamer display your company’s logo throughout the duration of the stream, periodically spotlighting the “sponsors” throughout.
However, your marketing efforts will yield better and more memorable results if you get creative with these collaborations…
Some streamers will offer to dedicate a significant chunk – and in some cases, an entire stream – to showcasing your product or service. This is where you can get creative when collaborating with a streamer.
An example of a well-executed sponsored stream was Nissin’s collaboration with the streamer Pokimane. This collaboration saw her eat Nissin’s cup noodles while measuring her noodle-eating noise level with a “slurp meter.”
Her community ate it up, and Nissin directly benefited from this creative sponsor segment as viewers who wanted to test their own noise level subsequently bought Nissin noodles.
All this said, these sponsored streams can be a slippery slope if you don’t do your due diligence.
At its core, Twitch culture is very organic. This can make it an uphill battle for your brand, as many streamers will be accused of “selling out” if the sponsored segment isn’t creative enough or doesn’t resonate.
This happened when streamer xQc was sponsored to play ‘Hunter’s Arena Legends’.
His community did not take well to the uninspired sponsored segment and actively began to sabotage his gameplay. The company subsequently gained very little – if anything – from the sponsorship.
Finding the Right Streamer
Numbers and follower counts can be blinding. As outlined previously, a streamer like xQc may consistently pull in nearly six-digit viewership. But that viewership won’t particularly matter if none of those viewers are actually interested in what you and your brand have to offer.
As an example, if you were trying to promote a new app for artists… you wouldn’t go to the streamer who does sports content, even if they pull tens of thousands of views.
Be intentional with the creator you partner with. Creating brand loyalty through influencer marketing is far more effective with smaller streamers who align with your brand and products than it will be with massive streamers who do not.
Twitch Marketing Cost
Virtually every streamer has a different rate that you will have to factor for. If your brand initiative is on the smaller end, the top 1% of streamers will likely fall outside of your budget, which may be another reason why you’d want to consider working with smaller streamers.
This is another reason to be very intentional with the streamer you choose to align your brand with. Especially because if the sponsorship isn’t taken well, you could potentially lose a decent chunk of change. There is a level of risk/reward within influencer marketing.
That said, if the relative cost & negotiations put you off, you could choose to work with Twitch directly!
Whenever a user clicks on a Twitch stream, they are served 1-2 ads before they are able to tune in to the stream. The streamer can also opt to run ads at any point throughout the duration of their stream.
This is an opportunity for your brand to serve up something memorable. Since it’s an ad, it can also be pre-produced and contained.
That said, the return on investment of a Twitch ad is little compared to a well-executed influencer marketing campaign. But the aforementioned risk from influencer marketing is also nullified.
Additionally, Twitch has banner ads displayed throughout the site as well…
…yet another opportunity for you to market your product or service. But again, the ROI is far outweighed by influencer marketing.
The cost to run a Twitch ad isn’t case-by-case as well – typically running between $2-$10 per user impression. It all comes down to personal preference with regard to the direction you want to take your brand & marketing strategy at the end of the day.
The End Goal
As mentioned earlier, as a brand, your primary goal should not be to build a platform directly on Twitch. What you are trying to do with streamer collaborations or running ads is direct potential buyers to other social media platforms.
Twitch is the most difficult social media platform to grow on today. Even in the case of streamers, you typically see it as a daisy-chained byproduct of followings from other social media platforms.
However, the potential of strategies such as influencer marketing cannot be understated if executed properly. Your goal when working with a streamer should be to have them draw viewers to your other social channels – such as Twitter or Instagram – or your website.
Once you create the bridge, you can take it from there. But that bridge will collapse on the way if you aren’t smart and personable about your approach.
3 Tickets to Twitch Marketing Success
Find your target audience. Do not let big numbers facilitate tunnel vision. The streamer that brings in 1,000 viewers may actually bring more value to the table in collaboration than the streamer that averages 60,000 viewers because their audience aligns more with your target audience.
Be authentic. Because Twitch is 100% live, you are going to have to relinquish some of that control that you would have over something like a marketing package. Lean into that lack of control. Have fun with it, and try to come up with a collaboration that is fun & brings out a little bit of the human side of your brand.
Get involved. Align your brand with the culture of the community you are trying to market towards. Try to interact with the creator(s) and their communities. If you are collaborating with creators who have similar target audiences to you, then their audience will slowly become yours as your brand becomes more recognizable.