Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The growing power of Influencer Marketing on Twitch

By Matt Woods, CEO and founder of influencer marketing agency AFK Digital 

Twitch is known as an exclusive gaming platform, however its growth over the last number of years means this couldn’t be further from the truth anymore. Twitch provides an outlet for creatives from all backgrounds, in turn attracting more and more brands who want to invest in influencer marketing.

When speaking to people about Twitch, I am often surprised by people’s perception of the platform; yes gaming is a huge part of the offering but there is so much more to it. It will therefore come as a surprise to many people that American Eagle is one of Twitch’s recent official marketing partners. As part of this partnership, American Eagle is creating a five part docuseries in which the featured creators wear the clothing of Twitch’s official apparel partner.

You might be wondering why American Eagle has chosen Twitch as partner? We all know how much the pandemic impacted our consumption behaviour; spending many hours at home means that live-streaming platforms experienced a massive growth in the past two years. The live-streaming platform exploded, with an 82% increase in the amount of hours people spent watching in the first year of the pandemic.

Today, more than 30 million visitors click through the portal’s versatile channels every single day and over seven million creators live stream every month (Twitch, 2022). As mentioned Twitch is no longer just about gaming; so-called IRL (In Real Life) channels now also cover cooking, music, food and fitness. Following the takeover by Amazon in 2014, the lifestyle section has gradually developed further to include shopping channels. This marks a huge transformation from 2011 when Twitch was originally an offshoot of the Justin.tv streaming platform for e-sports broadcasts.

This explains how American Eagle’s new Twitch sponsorship is a tactical move beyond the well-known social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube to reach new, youthful audiences. The creators who are featured in the docuseries will help the retail brand create a limited edition clothing line and the creators are also asked to put together outfits using American Eagle’s existing clothing items. And it doesn’t stop there, the release date of each creator’s docuseries marks the day the limited edition clothing line will be purchasable in the American Eagle shops.

Brands eye Twitch

Seeing the recent developments, it is easy to see how Twitch is becoming even more popular than Instagram and YouTube. When a platform suddenly becomes so popular, brands are quick to refocus their attention in a bid to reach new audiences in a cost-effective way. 

Twitch also has another advantage: above-average user engagement. The reach and engagement you can achieve with Twitch is a new level for the industry. This has been proved by previous influencers. American YouTube beauty influencer Michelle Phan, for example, introduced her new foundation of her own label EM Cosmetics during a stream on Twitch. She programmed a bot to add links-to-purchase to the chat, while a commercial for the foundation ran during the breaks in the game. This product launch was reportedly 278% more effective than campaigns on other platforms convincing many other beauty brands of the platform’s potential. Even luxury fashion label Burberry livestreamed a fashion show on the platform.

At the start of the pandemic, we started working with Clear Start by Dermalogica. The brand wanted to work with Twitch influencers to see whether the audience would be receptive to their products. Within our partnership of almost 2 years, we extended Clear Start’s reach to the Twitch community testing a wide-range of categories and ways of activating with influencers on the platform. 

In order to find the right type of influencers our team leveraged our internal database with historical performance data alongside our social listening tool to discover streamers that importantly had a demonstrated interest in skincare products and an affinity for the brand’s values across their social media platforms. Having successfully found, negotiated and contracted the right influencers, our team led and managed the day-to-day execution of the campaign and communication with influencers. This included collaborating on creative strategy, tailoring the brief and deliverables to each influencers’ unique needs, providing creative direction and ensuring they are aligned with the key performance objectives of the campaign. 

Thanks to our close collaboration with the Clear Start team, we were able to test and optimise a number of different influencer marketing strategies on Twitch, developing from one-off sponsored streams to monthly partnerships with influencer bundles; and even a Minecraft Ultimate charity event.

Tips for starters

Many brands are yet to discover the potential of utilising Twitch. If you want to get ahead of the game, here are some key tips and facts on how to approach influencer marketing on Twitch.

Let’s first talk about all the perks. Compared to other social media platforms, the livestreams drive consumers to stay on the platform for significantly longer which gives creators more time to talk about products in-depth. 

Twitch also allows for fans to engage directly with the creators. Key, as always, is to find the right influencer to promote your brand, brand values and the product. From experience, this is more important for Twitch than any other social media platform. The fact that content cannot be pre recorded but is done in livestreams gives the creator more freedom and more responsibility to promote the brand and product adequately, it also increases authenticity and trust from the consumer. 

The spontaneity which can bring the product so much closer to the consumer is a double-edged sword so brands must be aware of this when planning. You also need to be aware that Twitch chat doesn’t allow the pinning of sponsored links and so requires regular posting by automated chatbots and unlike other social media platforms, Twitch doesn’t really use an algorithm to push specific creators’ content in the same way discoverability works on TikTok.

It’s fair to say Twitch is one of the fastest growing social platforms and one that brands must get to grips with and include in influencer marketing strategies going forward. Over the last number of years, the results and growth of Twitch speaks for itself and puts the platform alongside social media channels including Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter.

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