In-person entertainment is largely at a halt right now, opening the door even wider for online entertainment. Streaming, once a niche market, has boomed over the past few years as a way for viewers to watch people play popular video games, quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of entertainment. These days, live streaming content is running the gamut ranging from board games and video games watching, to live musical performances and anything else that can be performed over the internet in real-time.

Actors, politicians, comedians, and musicians have all flocked to the live streaming market to connect with their fans through a variety of streaming platforms. The largest of these platforms, Twitch, has seen a massive increase in traffic due to Covid-19.

According to Stream Elements, Twitch garnered over 3.1 million hours watched in Q1, 65%+ of total video game platform viewership share. Twitch also has the highest number of hours streamed with over 121 million hours, which is 72% of the streaming market. So far in 2020, Twitch has recorded 277 billion minutes watched, which is already almost half as many minutes watched in the entire 2019 year (660 Billion).

 

What is Twitch?

The Amazon-owned streaming platform, Twitch.tv, or “Twitch” is where millions of people can interact, chat, and create communities primarily focused on video games. From professional athletes such as Portland Trail Blazers’ Myers Leonard to politicians such as Bernie Sanders, Twitch has quickly become the top platform for live streaming just about anything.

Streaming on Twitch isn’t just for video games, as many streamers have found success through simply live chatting with their viewers. As of March 2020, Twitch had over 5 million active streamers across a variety of video games, talk shows, game shows, and a popular segment called “Just Chatting.” As of April 24th, 2020, the “Just Chatting” category is averaging 204,440 viewers across all the channels in that category, which is 8.1% of the total viewership.

 

What’s in it for the brands?

Brands are using Twitch for a number of reasons including brand awareness, reaching niche audiences, and leveraging influencers to extend reach. Several food delivery services and some brands, such as WildEarth, live stream content focused on the preservation of animals in the wild to raise brand awareness (HubSpot). The fast-food chain Wendy’s piggybacked off the recent release of the game Animal Crossing by creating their own character named…Wendy! For those streaming Animal Crossing, they will see Wendy’s character prompting them to order free delivery from Wendy’s, never leaving their stream.

Streaming influencers like, Tim “TimTheTatMan” Betar who has a Monster Energy Drink cooler behind him during his streams, are promoting brands similar to what you would find on other social platforms like Instagram. Other influencers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who became the first-ever streamer sponsored as a Red Bull Athlete, also recently had a collaboration with Adidas for his own pair of shoes. Brands can equip popular streamers with their own promotional codes to influence a purchase.

For brands who want advertising options, Twitch currently offers pre-roll video ads appearing before and/or during an individual’s stream. Brands can also find streamers to partner with on twitch’s Bounty Board, a turnkey platform used to partner brands with streamers. By posting these bounties, streamers would apply to be a part of your campaign kind of like a job posting. Other advertising options are available for brands, such as Twitch’s homepage carousel and the super leaderboard.

 

Should your brand make the jump to Twitch?

Twitch is a platform meant to create community, so brands should be strategic in how they approach the streams and viewers. If you want to venture onto Twitch, know the audience you want to reach. Twitch’s community is largely made up of males between the ages of 18-34. If you are thinking of going the influencer route, most streamers want an organic feel to their streams because their viewers don’t want to feel as if they are sitting through a sales pitch. Make sure your brand has a similar vision to that of the streamer you plan on partnering with and those who you want to reach. The future of live streaming has been on a steady rise, making a strong case for brands to get involved now more than ever.