How Twitch Is Appealing to Advertisers

How Twitch Is Appealing to Advertisers

Advertising Gaming

Twitch, the popular streaming site owned by Amazon, is expanding marketing partnership opportunities beyond its competitive esports channel, Twitch Rivals. The gaming platform’s new Official Marketing Partner program creates branding opportunities for /twitchgaming, a Twitch channel dedicated to non-competitive gaming. Already Chipotle and Ally Financial have signed up. Does it make sense for your brand to join the party? Read on.

How Twitch Has Grown during the Pandemic — and Who Likes Twitch

Twitch has definitely enjoyed a growth spurt. The platform exploded in popularity during the pandemic, as gaming and streaming became reliable sources of entertainment in a world locked down against the virus. According to Ad Age, “Twitch has nearly doubled its daily visitors and minutes watched since the pandemic began.” That translates into an average of 30 million visitors daily — up from 17.5 million in 2020. This growth is good news for brands who want exposure. In January alone, according to Modern Retail, Twitch users devoured more than two billion hours of content.

Who are these viewers? Ad Age reports that almost half of Twitch users are 18 to 34 years old; 21 percent fall into the 13-to-17-year-old demographic. That’s a big piece of the Gen Z/Millennial pie. Lou Garate, the head of global sponsorship sales at Twitch, also notes that Twitch followers tend to be online loyalists who seek nearly all their entertainment online, making them hard to reach via more traditional advertising channels.

Twitch Expands Marketing Opportunities

Given the elusive nature of that demographic, perhaps it was inevitable that Twitch would grow as a branding destination. At first, only brands with a clearly defined tie to gaming tested the waters: headphone companies like Hyper X, for example, and energy drink brands like Red Bull and Monster tested out promotion with campaigns that proved popular. Doritos also was in this vanguard, in 2018 sponsoring a Twitch competition called the Doritos Bowl.

But while headphones and snacks make perfect sense when it comes to partnering with a gaming platform, brands in other arenas are starting to explore how they might connect with Twitch users. Understanding that Twitch actually supports an increasingly diverse array of niche communities has been key. Chess, for example, is popular on the platform. So is anime.

As a result, any number of brands are starting to think about partnering with Twitch. Consider Lexus, which in January recruited the Twitch community to create a custom version of its 2021 IS sedan. Twitch streamer Fuslie hosted a livestream in which viewers could vote on modifications to the car, including gaming consoles and car wrap; more than half a million viewers showed up. A second livestream on February 17 disclosed the car’s design.

Brands like Chipotle have certainly seemed to do their homework in order to find a home on Twitch. According to a 60,000-person user panel called the Twitch Research Power Group, a whopping 97 percent of Twitch users eat at quick service restaurants — 57 percent of them on a weekly basis. In addition, arbiters like McKinsey & Company have identified Gen Z (a significant percentage of the Twitch audience, as noted above) as the “True Gen,” a generation dedicated to, among other things, ethical concerns. Chipotle speaks to these factors in a Twitch campaign that reaches out to Gen Z in particular in a meaningful way. As Ad Age reports, Chipotle will in coming months sponsor custom segments in /twitchgaming show The Weekly, including a “Chipotle Build Your Own PC” segment in which guests build their own PCs —much as customers build custom burritos at Chipotle. After the segment, Twitch and Chipotle will give the equipment to a nonprofit.

Twitch’s expanded Marketing Partners Program

Let’s take a closer look at the new Official Marketing Partner program. The Chipotle campaign is part of this effort, which essentially has meant Twitch opening up sponsorship opportunities on its /twitchgaming channel. “With the launch of this new Official Marketing Partner program, we’re taking a unique approach in sponsoring non-competitive content, to reach a new audience of elusive gaming enthusiasts on /twitchgaming,” Garate explains. The new program demonstrates Twitch’s desire to work with brands and connect them with gamers across the platform — not just those interested in Twitch Rivals’ esports content.

What Brands Should Do

 Interested in exploring opportunities to partner with Twitch? We recommend the following:

  • Understand your audience. As noted above, the demographic skews young, and they don’t necessarily respond to traditional advertising. Take a page from Chipotle’s book and get to know the Twitch audience — and how to speak their language.
  • Understand the nuances of Twitch. As Jamin Warren, the founder of the gaming-focused consultancy Twofivesix, notes, “Of all the platforms that we look at, Twitch is really one of the most interesting, and it’s the most complicated as well.” One reason? Part of Twitch’s draw stems directly from the appeal of its streamers. Brands launching channels must find authentic, identifiable streamers to run their accounts. Otherwise, they may find themselves speaking into the void.

Brands also need to get comfortable with the nature of this beast: livestreams are by definition hard to script, and the best content tends to be spontaneous. Maintaining that spontaneity while keeping things from going off the rails can be an art — and one that brands need to learn in order to thrive on Twitch.

Contact True Interactive

Does it make sense for your brand to reach out to the Twitch audience? Contact us. We can advise.

Why In-Game Ads Are Popular

Why In-Game Ads Are Popular

Advertising

In-game ads are hot! According to a new study conducted by The Drum/YouGov, 37 percent of mobile gamers say that in-game ads have predisposed them to make a purchase during the past three months. Moreover, almost a quarter (23 percent) of those polled indicate that in-game ads have inspired them to make multiple purchases. Let’s take a closer look at what this news might mean for your brand.

What Is an In-Game Ad?

In-game ads have evolved to the point where, as discussed in Business of Apps, “we are referring to ad content that seamlessly blends into the gaming environment.” What does this look like, exactly? Essentially, in-game ads can be incorporated into the same places you might see ads in the real world. Sports games like Madden NFL, for example, might feature ads on in-game stadium signage or player jerseys; other games might showcase ads on billboards or storefronts. It’s important to note that “blended” in-game ads like this aren’t meant to be clickable, any more than one can “click” on a billboard when driving by on an expressway. They exist, in the game environment, solely to create brand awareness and affinity. The idea is that intent gamers, presumably hyper-focused on every detail on the screen, will also absorb the ad content.

Brands are already capitalizing on the opportunities inherent in in-game ads. Consider Mastercard, which in a move mimicking real-life exposure, placed its branding on digital banners in Riot Games’ League of Legends Summer Split tournament. As Naz Aletaha, Riot Games Head of Global Esports Partnerships, notes, “SR Arena Banners put our partners’ brands directly on the field of play, creating an immersive experience that echoes the energy found in major sports arenas.”

How Much Money Do In-Game Ads Generate?

Art imitating life in this way can be lucrative. As reported by Technavio research, the in-game advertising market is set to grow by $10.97 billion during the 2020-2024 time window. The study cites an increase in the number of gamers, plus the affinity growing between advertisers and video game companies, as driving the projected growth over the next few years.

In-game ads are certainly poised to capitalize on the growth of the stay-at-home economy as digital, even post-pandemic, becomes a bigger focus of our lives.

What Did the Drum/YouGov Study Say?

For some context, let’s look more closely at The Drum/YouGov study mentioned earlier. The poll of 1,200 U.S. adults, conducted on May 19, 2021, revealed some interesting stats: of those who were inspired to spend because of an in-game ad, half were male, half were female, and the most likely demographic to make a purchase was the 30- to 35-year-old bracket. Although some gamers are still disinclined to succumb to an actual purchase, nearly two in five (39 percent) of mobile gamers say they at least remember the brands they saw, very well or fairly well. (Again, the Millennial market dominated this response, with 53 percent recalling an ad.)

Nicole Pike, YouGov’s global sector head of esports and gaming, sums it up: “In-game advertising, especially on mobile, continues to be a severely undertapped ad medium relative to the time and money investment we see from gamers.”

What Should Brands Do?

What to make of this intel? We recommend that you:

  • Know your audience—and where to find them. As we’ve blogged, gamers are a diverse audience. Know their habits and their passion points. Above all, understand what games your target audience enjoys. Are you reaching out to moms looking to relax with a game like Monument Valley 2? Teens invested in the worldbuilding aspects of Minecraft? Knowing where to find your audience is key.
  • Know your gaming opportunities. It’s important to understand how and where your in-game ad will appear. And make sure the game is a good fit for your brand overall. You may not want, for example, your ad to appear in a game like Grand Theft Auto if its content (violent adult themes) is in direct conflict with the brand your company has created.

Contact True Interactive

Eager to learn more about the opportunities gaming—and in-game ads—can afford your brand? Contact us. We can help.

Gaming: a Golden Marketing Frontier

Gaming: a Golden Marketing Frontier

Marketing

As reported by VentureBeat, a new Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study indicates 70 percent of Americans aged 13 to 64 play games. That’s a whopping 192 million U.S. consumers, a number that reflects the way gaming has been informed in recent years by social phenomena like increased smartphone use. Brands who understand this demographic shift can only benefit.

Gamers: Who Are They?

The 2019 Future of Gaming study defines gamers as anyone who played video games for at least one hour in the past three months. And according to the study, the aforementioned 192 million gamers—playing on consoles like Xbox One or PlayStation 4; smartphones or tablets; and PCs—embrace gameplay as entertainment, but also as an active social channel. Perhaps because of this, the classic stereotype of the typical gamer—young male—no longer applies. Games are drawing a much bigger demographic.

“Not only is the classic teenage-boy-gamer stereotype untrue today, but it’s even less accurate when it comes to mobile games,” notes Tom Simpson, vice president, brand and exchange, APAC, AdColony. “More than one billion Asian consumers of all ages and genders play games every day on their smartphones. In fact, across many markets in APAC we see a larger number of female gamers than male.” Consider games like Candy Crush and its successor, Candy Crush Soda Saga: the archetypal player is a woman aged 25 to 45.

What Gaming Means to You

Because the gaming demographic is so large and varied, gaming represents a golden opportunity for brands. According to The Drum, projections indicate the global mobile gaming market will be worth $174 billion by 2021, for example. Advertisers can target a niche audience in that market, or deliver brand awareness at scale. It’s ultimately up to the brand, its budget, and advertising objectives.

Examples of Brands Killing It with Gamers

So who’s already doing it right? Look no further than Coca-Cola, which rolled out a mobile game app targeting teens and young adults. In the Crabs & Penguins game, developed by Coca-Cola’s Content Factory in partnership with McDonald’s, users guide a crab character through races and dangers, coming into contact with other animals, such as polar bears, along the way. The ultimate goal? Returning a soccer ball to a cast of penguin characters. The stated goal of the game is to “spread happiness,” which also happens to be Coke’s tag line; characters and products in the game are also branded with the Coca-Cola logo. Bottom line: the Coke brand is on the user’s mind as they play the game.

Meanwhile, brands like Gatorade and Asos are succeeding by matching product to game. In a digital recreation of how the sports drink fuels real-life activity, Gatorade offered players a digital “electrolyte boost” via energy refills in EA’s Madden NFL Mobile; gamers could then play longer. Clothing brand Asos, in turn, paired with The Sims Mobile game, introducing branded clothing and timed quests to Sims players. The real-world experience of shopping for clothing online proved a good match to the customization options within the game.

Three Key Takeaways

So what does this mean for your brand? Consider these takeaways:

  1. Gamers are a diverse audience. Identify your demographic; chances are that group plays games in some form. What games does your target market like to play? Understanding what games your customers enjoy helps you know where (and how) to reach them. Are you targeting busy moms who relax over a game of Candy Crush? Teens likely to be snacking (or craving a snack) while playing Fruit Ninja?
  2. Consider what games might be a good one-on-one match for your actual product. Are there games that digitally recreate the universe your product occupies in real life?
  3. Finally, consider whether your brand (and budget) are best served by targeted outreach, or more of a universal awareness blitz.

Contact True Interactive

Need help navigating the opportunities afforded by the gaming market? Contact us. We can help.

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash