Live video streaming: Twitch’s value for communicators
Twitch originally started out as a gaming platform where users can log on to watch streamers play games but it’s now so much more than that. Today, Twitch has evolved to include streams dedicated to different niches and industries, including art, music, food and many others. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how communicators can use Twitch to gain exposure for their own organisations or their clients’ brands and put these on the international stage.
What is Twitch?
If you’re not familiar with Twitch, it’s basically a live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive (an Amazon subsidiary). The platform was launched back in June 2011 and it’s grown exponentially since then.
Unlike other social media channels, Twitch caters specifically to viewers who want to watch or stream digital video broadcasts. Fun fact: Twitch has better user engagement levels than many other digital destinations. As compared to Facebook, for example, Twitch commands nearly 2.5x more engagement.
Twitch’s user base consists of 100 million unique users and 2.2 million broadcasters and it boasts of an impressive 15 million active daily users. Nearly 50% of Twitch users watch more than 20 hours of content each week and users are predominantly male (to be precise: 81.5% male, 18.5% female). 55% of Twitch users fall within the 18-34 age range – a prime target group for PRs and marketers alike.
Now, gaming brands are obviously a good fit for Twitch, but that aside, many mainstream brands that are not related to gaming have also started advertising on Twitch. For example, Achievement Hunter, an American video gaming division of media and entertainment company Rooster Teeth Productions, is often sponsored by meal delivery service Blue Apron, Omaha Steaks and even direct-to-consumer brand DollarShaveClub — all brands which aren’t remotely related to the gaming industry.
Q2: Twitch is widely known to be a platform for gamers. What if your brand’s focus is not a popular topic on it? Should you continue to explore the platform? Are there industries that better lend themselves to livestreaming on Twitch than others? #CMWorld pic.twitter.com/HZmMBdhoNW
— Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent) January 22, 2019
Benefits of live video streaming
Thinking of adding live streaming to your marketing mix? There are plenty of benefits that this brings to the table:
On Twitch, the focus is not on the content you’re streaming but your interaction with the audience. When streaming on Twitch, organisations can tap on moderators, bots and brand safety tools to engage their audience and solicit feedback about their brand, product or campaign. It’s even possible to integrate live polls and surveys using third-party tools.
The numbers don’t lie: the average viewer spends 8x longer watching live video than on-demand and 80% of audiences prefer a brand’s live video over reading a blog post. On top of that, we also know that 73% of B2B businesses using live video state that they have experienced a positive ROI.
Ease of production
Another plus point of live streams is that they’re a lot cheaper and easier to produce than traditional videos. Live streams are typically more informal and perceived to be more authentic – all you need to do is sit down, start streaming and chat with your viewers watching the stream. With traditional videos, on the other hand, there’s a lot of effort involved, for example in terms of post-production, before the video even gets published.
Last but not least, unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitch users are more open to advertisements. More specifically, a whopping 80% of Twitch users are open to brands sponsoring a specific streamer or team. This puts communicators in an excellent position to work with streamers and influencers to promote their brands.
Twitch: Opportunities and risks for communicators
Communicators can run ads or webinars on Twitch, work with influencers or set up live streams to promote their products. For the latter, you get the opportunity to directly interact with audiences in real-time. If you’re streaming to a large group of people and you can’t keep up with all your messages, it’s possible to add your team members as moderators (also known as Mods) and get them to help you manage all conversations.
Ads – Twitch offers a decent range of ad types: there are the popular pre-roll and mid-roll ads and also native and display ads such as homepage carousels, leaderboards and more. As mentioned earlier, it isn’t just gaming-related brands that are advertising on Twitch — many reputable brands such as Netflix, Apple, Nike, Vodafone and Kellogg’s have run ad campaigns or streamed live events on the platform.
Webinars – If you’re looking for a platform where you can create and disseminate webinars, Twitch is an excellent choice. Twitch comes with all the tools and features you need to host a successful webinar and you can also tap into its large user base and promote your webinar to a huge audience.
Influencer marketing – Twitch is a great avenue for companies who want to explore different marketing tools on the platform but what sets it apart from all the other social media platforms is that it offers a great environment for running effective influencer campaigns. As live streaming is highly interactive, influencers find it easier to build rapport with the target audiences — this, in turn, allows them to promote your brand in a way that’s genuine and authentic. Given that consumers say that authenticity is one of the top qualities that would attract them to a brand, this definitely works out to your favor.
While Twitch creates many opportunities for communicators, it also brings about its fair share of risks. The risks of live streaming on Twitch include bots, legal issues such as privacy as well as inappropriate content. For instance, in May 2019, anonymous trolls flooded Twitch with pornography, violent content and copyrighted movies and television shows.
Twitch compared to IGTV, Facebook Live and YouTube
How does Twitch compare to the other live streaming tools or video platforms on the market?
IGTV – IGTV allows users to create and share videos up to an hour long and all IGTV videos are vertical to cater to mobile viewers. While Twitch focuses more on live streaming and informal, spontaneously-created content, many brands use IGTV to upload pre-created content with music, transitions, video effects and more.
Facebook Live & Facebook.gg – If you’re a regular user of Facebook Live, you might have noticed that the views you’re getting have been gradually levelling out. As Digiday reports, Buzzfeed revealed that some of their recent Facebook Live videos achieved less than 50,000 views. The average viewership on Twitch, on the other hand, is 1 million digital viewers. In 2018, Facebook also launched its own video game streaming hub Facebook.gg, so far only to moderate success.
YouTube – YouTube and Twitch are really two different beasts: YouTube focuses on recorded video whereas Twitch is primarily about live video. Twitch also differs from YouTube in the sense that it places a larger emphasis on community building. Case in point? Twitch doesn’t utilise algorithms to recommend videos to its users; users only see notifications about new live streams after they follow specific streamers. YouTube is looking to catch up with its own live streaming offering named YouTube Live but from a brand safety perspective alone Twitch appears to be the better option.
Brands on Twitch
In this section, we’ll discuss three notable advertising campaigns on Twitch by Nike, Oldspice and Duracell.
In January 2019, Nike used Twitch to introduce the launch of its Adapt BB Self-Lacing Shoe. The company live streamed a press conference from its New York City headquarters and also enlisted FreshStock (a weekly show about sneaker culture) to provide pre- and post-show commentary. Twitch users were also able to co-stream this event: The ability to play live videos on streamers’ own channels, adding their own comments and interacting with their own communities translates effectively into a catalyst for brand exposure.
Oldspice’s “Old Spice Nature Adventure” campaign featured a man in a forest who was contractually obligated to do whatever Twitch viewers requested for three entire days. The man’s adventure was captured on live stream, with viewers chiming in and requesting for the man to do wacky tasks via Twitch’s real-time chat.
Duracell partnered with eight influencers and got them to take part in a five-hour, multi-camera live broadcast which streamed on all of the influencers’ Twitch accounts. In the broadcast, the influencers participated in 25 different challenges powered by a single charge of Duracell’s new batteries. All in all, Duracell chalked up 187,000 views from 150,000 unique viewers with 355,000 minutes watched and 4,800 chat interactions.
Pro tips: How to get live video streaming right
To make the most out of your live streaming, keep the following tips in mind:
- Promote ahead of time – The more people know that you’re going to be streaming, the more people will tune in — so promote your live stream ahead of time on all the channels you own (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc).
- Leverage the power of influencers – Apart from paying an influencer to mention your brand on their stream, you can also come up with your own live stream and get influencers to participate.
- Keep track of key metrics – At the basic level, you’ll want to look at minutes watched, number of clicks and unique viewers. If you introduce a custom emote for a promotional stream, you can also measure viewer engagement via the use of these emotes.
Twitch – what’s in it for B2B communications?
Twitch has come a long way since 2011 and the platform is gaining even more traction as we speak. As Twitch becomes more mainstream, we foresee that more companies will tap into live streaming and utilise Twitch to market their brands.
However, many B2B communicators may question whether Twitch is truly suitable as a marketing medium but the answer is a resounding yes. The way we see it, Twitch is a highly versatile platform that lends itself well to a wide variety of B2B formats, such as product demos, product tours, webinars and behind-the-scenes content and even live streaming project updates or beta tests. If your company is organising some sort of event or panel sessions, you can even live stream those to increase your reach and generate more awareness.
According to Devin Rose, Senior Media Strategist at marketing solutions firm eBridge, there is even more: “Keeping in mind that Amazon has an incredible repertoire of accurate personal information to draw upon, I anticipate they’ll have the ability to offer appealing targeting filters for B2B brands. How cool would it be to show video ads during an NFL game only to IT Managers? How about retargeting your site visitors with video ads during an NFL game? How about targeting people who’ve bought books about both corporate leadership and Linux servers in the past year? Twitch has the potential to empower small-to-mid sized B2B brands by providing granular targeting options, for smaller ad budgets, yet on a truly mainstream stage. That’s something we’ve never seen before and it has the potential to be a real game changer.”