For those who don’t already know, Twitch is an online streaming service, similar to YouTube, wherein users sign up, create accounts, and post their own content. However, Twitch has one major difference: it is solely used to live stream gamers playing their favorite (or not-so-favorite titles).
As the stats show, live gaming is no longer a niche area. Twitch receives over 13 million unique monthly visitors from the US alone, and around 100 million worldwide. Since it was founded in 2011, the site has attracted over 2 million broadcasters and been purchased by retail giant Amazon for almost $1 billion.
With numbers like that, Twitch has become a major social network, not just a hangout for geeks. But how can companies use the site in their marketing efforts?
Sponsor Gaming Events With Popular Players
Not all of the broadcasters on Twitch have equal reach. In fact, any given title or system will have its superstar gamers with hundreds of thousands of followers, and little-league also-rans with just a handful.
This doesn’t just apply to gaming titles. If you connect with the right gamers, they can promote anything, including controllers, clothing, toys, art, and food products. For example, beef jerky manufacturer Jack Link’s makes a point of sponsoring several Twitch users, who in turn always mention the jerky as they snack during long gaming broadcasts. The firm specifically chooses users with a reputation for outbursts of anger at the games they play to fit in with their “hangry” advertising campaign, and it works beautifully.
Organize Twitch Launches For New Titles
Many gaming companies now use Twitch as a springboard for their launches. For example, the developer Bungie chose to roll out its new first-person shooter Destiny on Twitch back in 2014. Although this was a risky approach to take at the time, the launch was a massive success, attracting 20 million views in the first week. By reaching out to strategic gamers before the game was released, Bungie ensured that as many influential channels as possible would be streaming Destiny, sending its sales soaring.
Dive Into the World of eSports
Competitive gaming is big business. Events like the Dota 2 Battle, held in Seattle’s KeyArena, attract thousands of fans with the same passion as football or baseball crowds. They also attract even larger audiences via Twitch broadcasts.
Whether these events showcase the best Call of Duty players or the world’s most skillful Fifa experts, eSports events can go on for a long time and attract loyal viewing audiences. This makes them the perfect place for a snack and fast-food retailers to promote their wares, which is why pizza companies like Totinos find them so appealing.
Craft Your Own Unique Twitch Events
Twitch isn’t all about watching the best gamers battle it out. You can also create more imaginative, playful events to attract the attention of users and promote your products.
For instance, Old Spice thought outside the box and created a chat room on Twitch that was connected to an in-game player navigating through a forest. This fit in neatly to their “nature adventure” marketing theme. Users in the chat room could issue commands that the player had to carry out, often with hilarious results.
This humorous element made the experiment a huge success and highlights a key aspect of Twitch marketing. Gamers have their own quirky language and humor, and companies can only succeed by “hacking” that culture, which is what Old Spice achieved.
Target Twitch Commentators as Social Influencers
When marketers think about which type of people to cultivate as “influencers,” they tend to think about bloggers, speakers, YouTube vloggers — anyone but live gamers. However, the best Twitch commentators can be superb brand ambassadors.
If you help to publicize what they do and offer them free products or content, Twitch gamers will often be happy to drop references to your products into their content. This works even better if they are commentators at the major eSports events, so find the right users and get to know them. It’s well worth the effort.
Twitch could be an extremely powerful marketing platform, but many companies have not yet realized its potential. The possibilities are not confined to game developers, console manufacturers, or retailers of gaming peripherals. They extend to everyone from T-shirt designers and model makers to fast food firms and car manufacturers. All it takes is the imagination and willingness to explore the world of gaming.