Digital marketing isn’t just about running ads wherever your competitors run ads. In fact, the best marketers find niches and jump into new channels before anybody else, in order to capitalize on the under-priced attention.

That’s what a number of brands are doing with Twitch.

What Is Twitch?

Owned by Amazon (of course!), Twitch is a video streaming platform used primarily by gamers to stream themselves, well, playing games. It’s a simple concept that has captured the gaming industry, which is worth a staggering $137.9 billion.

Take a quick scroll through the Twitch website or mobile app and you’ll find gamers playing titles such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) — two popular games that attract millions of gamers every month. Many of those same gamers will also log into Twitch to watch their favorite gamers concentrating and narrating their way through adventure role-playing games and first-person shooters.

And if you’re wondering just how many gamers are doing that, wonder no more. Twitch boasts over 100 million monthly active users and 2.2 million monthly streamers.

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How do Twitch Streamers Make Money?

Following a Twitch streamer’s channel is free for viewers, but if they want to subscribe to a channel to remove ads and gain access to incentives, they’ll have to pay a fee which is split between Twitch and the streamer. Subscriptions come in three tiers; $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 per month (Tier 1, 2, or 3). Streamers get to decide what the incentives are for each tier. Streamers can also earn money by accepting donations known as “bits” from viewers.

Participating in eSports competitions — which are events organized for gamers to come together and play against each other — is another source of income. These are often hosted outside of Twitch, but only the best gamers are able to enter and win prizes for beating their fellow players at these events.

Finally, perhaps the most lucrative way for streamers to earn money is by using Twitch to launch a career as an influencer across social media and in the real world. Popular Twitch streamer Ninja is one example of how this model can work both inside and outside the Twitch ecosystem.

Targeting Generation Z

With so many people watching Twitch streams, a marketer’s mind asks one question; how can we get them to click away and visit my page? Or at the very least, how can we get our logo in front of all those eyes, for branding purposes, if nothing else? 

Andrew Pearson, Managing Director of Hong Kong-based Intelligencia, explained how the company’s affiliated eSports association organizes eSport competitions with the help of Twitch sponsors. Pearson claims that Red Bull, the Macau Tourism Board, Kaisun Energy, Sephora, and Youku (China’s YouTube) have all sponsored events. “We use Twitch to market our sponsors' messages,” Pearson said. “They were interested in both reaching the younger and energized audience that follow Twitch. Twitch audiences are highly engaged as well and there is a stream of comments that follow the actions. Moderators are able to connect with these audience members as well, which allows for strong customer engagement,” he explained.

Doron Nir, CEO and founder of Tel Aviv-based StreamElements, confirmed that there is indeed a growing desire to leverage Twitch as a marketing channel, especially for those targeting Generation Z and Millenials. "Live Video streaming, through platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live, and others, is quickly emerging as a new marketing channel for brands and businesses by creating a richer form of influencer marketing that is much more engaging and community focused,” began Nir.

He continued on that Twitch tends to be engaging, particularly among young audiences, because audiences form trust and or relationships with the streamers they watch. By generating a community of like minded people, influencers on Twitch are able to engage in a kind of direct marketing that is not as easy to achieve otherwise. “In terms of the demographic that live streaming appeals to, using Twitch as an example, 81.5 percent of Twitch viewers are male and 55 percent range in age from 18-34,” Nir said.

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How to Get Started With Twitch Marketing

To get started with Twitch marketing yourself, you’ll first need to identify (or become) a Twitch partner. A streamer can become a Twitch partner by having:

Twitch partners can run pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads. They can also run commercials every eight minutes. That’s where brands like yours come in. Naturally, you’ll want to approach streamers with large followings and regular viewers so your ads can get maximum exposure.

Learning Opportunities

The great news is, Twitch is a very hospitable environment for marketers, as 82 percent of Twitch users feel sponsorships are good for the gaming industry.

Which Brands Are Engaging in Twitch Marketing?

Many brands have already started engaging in Twitch marketing. Here are five examples to whet your appetite with.

1. Kellogs Krave

Kellogs took the plunge with Twitch when it partnered with an agency to produce a multi-regional pre-roll ad for France, Spain, and Italy. The ad featured a 3D Character animation of the “Krave Chocovore” wearing a Twitch hoodie to fully integrate the two brands.

2. EA

To promote its new game The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs, EA partnered with Twitch Streamer RoryPlays to create a single sponsored live stream. During the two hour stream, RoryPlays played EA’s new title while discussing its features with her viewers.

RoryPlays naturally spoke about the positives, talking up the kindness that EA had shown to her by flying her out to events, and how that directly benefited her fans and viewers who got to see exclusive content as a result. This all helped to position EA as a generous, positive brand in the eyes of RoryPlays fans.

3. KFC

To advertise their chicken wings and give away free gift cards, fast food chain KFC partnered with Twitch Streamer Lupo. But they didn’t just pick a streamer at random; KFC purposefully chose a PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds (PUBG) player, as, “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” is a commonly used phrase by PUBG players and streamers — making it a perfect fit for the KFC brand.

4. Old Spice

Stepping away from video games, Old Spice and Wieden & Kennedy stepped into the great outdoors to promote their brand. They leveraged Twitch’s real-time chat features in their campaign titled, “Old Spice Nature Adventure,” which featured a man in a forest who was contractually obligated to do whatever Twitch viewers requested for a full three days.

As you can imagine, viewers had a good time making the man do whacky and borderline-dangerous tasks, all while chatting about the adventure unfolding before their eyes.

5. Duracell

Duracell supercharged their campaign with eight influencers taking part in a five-hour, multi-camera live broadcast which streamed on all of the influencer’s Twitch accounts. The broadcast included 25 different challenges powered by one single charge of Duracell’s new batteries.

By leveraging all eight influencers, Duracell accrued 187k views from 150k unique viewers with 355k minutes watched and 4.8k chat interactions.

How are you planning to approach Twitch marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!