Gaming continues to grow at an exponential rate. In fact, in 2020 video games were a bigger industry than movies and sports combined in North America. The audiences that watch streaming videos for leisure are larger and more diverse than ever before. Twitch.tv has the largest live gaming viewership, followed by Youtube and Facebook Gaming.
Naturally, as the world reopened, many in the industry expected viewership to drop as more people went back outside and fewer people stayed home. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong: in October of 2021, Stream Hatchet reported that Twitch.tv has had over 18 billion hours watched so far this year. That number is comfortably ahead of 2020, when there were 13.1 billion hours watched.
Variety in Live Streaming
Why is this happening? As more viewers get into watching gaming online – whether it’s esports, large organized speedrunning marathons like Games Done Quick, or just variety streamers playing niche titles – they also recognize that there are creators out there making video content about other interests that they have. As they enjoy watching these gamers creating gameplay videos, they also enjoy building a relationship with these streamers and want to know more about other hobbies these streamers enjoy.
If a viewer enjoys watching an influencer play a video game, it’s not a stretch to imagine that same audience enjoying watching an influencer cooking a meal, teaching arts and crafts, or playing a tabletop game. In fact, Twitch.tv’s most successful channel isn’t a video game stream at all. Critical Role, a stream featuring popular voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons, reported the most earnings on the platform since 2019.
The big takeaway from this is that gaming streams are here, and their popularity is here to stay. Even better, your brand can benefit from growing a presence on video game streaming platforms, even if your products have nothing to do with video gaming.
With how the demand and demographics for live streaming are expanding, you can reach any audience you’re interested in by pursuing these viewers. Let’s talk about some of the key strategies you can use to achieve this.
As we’ve touched on in previous posts, Affiliate Marketing is a strong option for your influencer campaigns. You can choose mega influencers to reach one large audience or choose a variety of nano to micro-level influencers to better segment your approach. Either way, this strategy is a great way to touch audiences you’re less likely to reach via other forms of advertising.
You can build a relationship with content creators in a variety of forms. You can have a standing relationship where they have banner ads and links with a personalized code that their viewers can use to purchase your product. Even better, you can sponsor a stream. Your brand can have the content creator do a more in-depth presentation to their audiences about why they believe in your product, and why their viewers should consider trying it. This authenticity can go a long way toward building interest in your product into actual conversions and sales.
Another big advantage to this approach is how it builds familiarity with your product without using traditional ads. That way, you can avoid ad-blockers and subscription bonuses that might block your other efforts.
Sure, one of the perks for Twitch channel subscribers and Youtube Premium subscribers is to avoid viewing in-stream advertisements. But that only applies to channels that users uniquely subscribe to on Twitch. Any time they browse and discover new channels that are Twitch partners, they’ll view advertisements from brands like yours. And at an average of 2.8 million concurrent viewers at any given time, that’s a large pool of consumers your brand can reach.
Youtube is an even smaller pool of users that avoid ads: combined, Youtube premium and music only have 50 million subscribers, compared to the 2 billion total users that are active on the site.
So, what’s available in your advertising toolbox on these platforms?
Video options: Includes mobile and desktop video. There’s also an option for Cross-Screen video that lets you enable a video asset to be integrated into live broadcasts.
Turnkey: Twitch has a bounty board where you can fill in your campaign information. Content creators can browse these boards and choose the brand advertisements that they feel are the best fit for their audiences.
IAB Standard displays: Naturally, there’s plenty of options for simple banner advertising as well.
Overlay ads: When a video is monetized, ads can appear in the bottom 20% of the screen, or off to the side.
Skippable ads: Ads that can appear mid-stream. The benefit of these is that you only pay for them if the viewer watches at least 30 seconds of the ad, the entire ad (if your ad is less than 30 seconds) or clicks on it.
Bumper ads: A six-second ad that plays before the viewer gets to their video. These are short and sweet, but are great for building awareness without a massive production involved.
Create your own channel on Twitch
Some advertisers falter on Twitch when they create an official channel of their own and don’t get the results that they would expect, despite the platform’s huge viewership numbers. Why is this? Twitch is unique in how a channel’s success relies on personality and community as much as actual content. Viewers come expecting it, and if they don’t get it, they’re unlikely to stick around.
If you just try to employ the same strategies that worked well on other platforms, you’re probably ignoring key components to success. Even worse, you might be opening the possibility of making your brand look out of touch with the rest of the site’s content.
Here are a few key points to consider if you’re thinking about a Twitch channel for your brand:
Give your channel a face. Viewers are conditioned to see a familiar face when they go to a channel. Find a presenter that represents your brand in the ways that you want, and creates the personality you want viewers to associate with your brand.
Make sure you have a clear goal for your channel. Whether it’s increasing sales, increasing awareness, or just carving out a presence to get noticed by viewers, having a clear objective is critical so that you have a clear objective for your channel.
Be consistent on when you stream. No one is going to come to watch if you rarely go live, and aren’t clear on what your streaming schedule is.
Engage with chat. If you don’t acknowledge your viewers in chat on Twitch, you probably won’t have an audience for very long. If your presenter is too busy and engaged to read chat, be sure to have someone else on hand to do that.
What’s on the Horizon?
There’s one big elephant in the room when it comes to Twitch: the platform is owned by Amazon, the largest ecommerce seller in the world. Despite this, there are currently no ecommerce integrations or shoppable streams for brands looking for a more direct connection with viewers.
Some form of integration with Amazon to make purchases easier for viewers seems inevitable with the increased interest of different brands looking to make a big splash on the platform. Getting in on the ground floor on this platform will make it very likely to pay off big dividends later.
Meanwhile, Youtube is already a giant of streaming video, but is actively courting content creators to compete with Twitch. Expect to see a constantly shifting landscape in streaming video sites to attract top talent for live streaming, and be ready to get your brand out there on each platform.
Are you looking to get your brand in front of the rapidly growing audience of consumers that love to watch streamers play games and other activities? Schedule a call with Sideqik today and learn how our platform can give your brand a competitive edge in today’s live streaming marketplace.