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This is Live: Influencer Marketing on Twitch

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Influencer marketing is front and center in the digital space. Whether it’s Instagram models for Fyre Festival or Twitch streamers and Apex Legends, there’s incredible value to be had when a brand and an online personality come together.

That being said, advertising to a live audience on Twitch comes with it’s own unique obstacles that do not apply to other social platforms where pre-approved media content provides a safety net for the brand. This is live broadcasting.

McAfee Blogs photo of Ninja's stream

Understanding the Beast (Twitch)

Before we get into the quick tips, it’s important to understand the platform and the communities on it. Twitch is a live-streaming site with tens of millions of viewers tuning in each week to watch their favorite streamers play games, talk about their lives, and explore internet culture together.

The backbone of Twitch is this relationship between a streamer and their audience. So much so that for many streamers, fan donations and fan subscriptions (a recurring $5 per month donation to the streamer) is the only way they make money.

Microwave Gaming from Twitter

That said, Twitch streamers are known for their honest interaction with their audience; especially, when it comes to sponsorships. Ten plus years into the advent of social media, a generation that was raised on internet celebrities understands the economics behind enjoying free content, staring at a rotating logo on the bottom left-hand corner of their screen, and occasionally listening to a plug about an amazing product the streamer’s been using.

Open conversations with the audience about a product, the campaign, and the partnership details, are commonplace. Many streamers build deep connections with their fans by letting them know that partnering up with companies is a crucial part of how they pay the rent. With this type of transparency, it’s crucial to do proper due diligence on the specific streamers you’ll be engaging and the activations you have planned.

Twitch Influencer Campaign 101

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Streamers With Experience > Popular Streamers

Beyond views, followers, likes, audience synergy, or the perfect demographic fit, make sure you have seen the influencer sell or promote previous products or services.

It’s easy to get excited when you have an opportunity to work with a massive creator with the potential to reach millions of new customers but what happens when the “brilliant” activation that the agency or marketing team thought up isn’t going to plan or the influencers live audience isn’t reacting to the activation the way you thought they would? How does the influencer react live on stream when the thing they are supposed to sell and promote is causing thousands of viewers to leave the channel with nasty parting words?

A good Twitch influencer has been in this situation before and knows how to handle adversity quickly and make sure to save face for themselves and the sponsor.

Streamer Due Diligence

Newzoo Gamer Segmentation

From game to game, from category to category, from streamer to streamer, Twitch communities vary widely and what works for one audience may not work for another.

Does the streamer have a “clean” or explicit stream. Is it a gameplay-focused stream or is it personality-based? Does the streamer like to ramp up with slower music at the start or do they bring high energy right away? Does the streamer play with other regulars or do they normally play alone? Does the streamer take long breaks to talk to the audience during a stream? Does the streamer like to get personal with the audience or is he or she playing a character? The deeper insights you have on a stream the easier it is to tell what types of activations work with what streamers.

Accept Feedback and Improve

When it comes to what’s working or not, the streamer knows best. Make sure you are checking in with them as often as possible and working to make changes according to their feedback. If something goes catastrophically wrong, build a plan to address it in the next stream and explain how things will improve. Twitch audience’s are some of the most loyal (and forgiving) fans you can find on the internet and honesty is the best policy by far.

Leveraging Live

Build around the medium. Twitch is a live and highly interactive platform, which opens up incredible new ways to inspire audience activity and create new call-to-actions.

Be creative, take risks, and work with the streamer to think of new ways to leverage their unique activities they’ve created for their channel. Most streamers have games or things that they do on stream to stand out that are uniquely theirs, enhancing these experiences with giveaways is an easy way to build a seamless partnership on Twitch.

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Parting Words

There are incredible personalities on Twitch with very loyal followings and with proper research and creative marketing ideas, live-streaming can be an incredibly rewarding medium.

We’ve seen activations go terribly wrong on stream that we felt were the end of partnership just for the streamer to come back the next day, explain what went wrong and have the audience forgive them and accept the sponsor with open arms.

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Will Pazos

Will Pazos

Esports Marketing Analytics at Slash 2. We operate in the background; behind all the cool activations and mini-fridges. We look at things like audience/chat reaction, campaign effectiveness, and finding interesting links between the most effective influencers and specific data points.