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When you power on the radio to hear the new Taylor Swift song, turn on the TV for your weekly fill of The Bachelorette, or open Candy Crush on your smartphone, you’re faced with the same thing: an advertisement from a brand featuring a new product, service or upcoming event. It’s the world we live in, and it’s the reason brands spent almost $600 billion dollars in advertisements worldwide in 2015.
With the evolution of social media, we’ve seen a drastic change in strategic ad buys from brands. Most brands have adapted various forms of ad buying, including cost-per-impression (CPM – cost per 1,000 impressions), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and cost-per-view (CPV) for video content, which all have different rates and are designed to achieve specific results.
In this post, I’m going to focus on one of the top leaders in online streaming, Twitch.tv, as a new platform to consider for advertisements. Twitch is a live streaming site with over 100 million visitors per month, up from a few hundred thousand just years ago. Twitch was created in 2011 to focus on video games and play throughs as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming website, Justin.tv. As the digital age grew, Twitch and Justin.tv became one, branding itself as Twitch Interactive before being acquired by online powerhouse, Amazon (who other than Google, basically owns almost everything with an online presence), for just shy of $1 billion in 2014.
With Amazon’s purchase, Twitch has begun to brand itself as a platform for advertising that marketers can utilize to help reach their audience (lets not forget the immense amounts of money they’ll make). According to a recent Twitch survey, the video gaming community is home to a highly-coveted audience of millennials, as 75 per cent of Twitch users are male, and 73 per cent are between the ages of 18-49. Admittedly, this is a fairly large age gap, but it’s worth noting the age of the audience is heavily influenced by the game they’re watching, as generally 40-year-old men aren’t interested in League of Legends or Runescape (*insert nostalgia here*).
Twitch’s survey also outlined the main characteristics of it’s audience, highlighting that gamers are social, family oriented, educated, optimistic, successful and socially conscious people. A total of 61 per cent of gamers felt they were natural leaders, compared to 35 per cent of non-gamers. Almost three quarters (67 per cent) of gamers feel positive about their career aspirations, compared to 42 per cent of non-gamers. This audience is perhaps some of the most engaged and consumer-focused group on the planet and they’ve all gathered in the same place.
How marketers can take advantage
Here comes the interesting part – what exactly does live streaming and gaming have to do with brands and marketing? Why would a brand want to advertise on Twitch instead of Google/YouTube or other mediums? How could a brand possibly integrate itself into the likes of a Twitch channel operated by a 20-something guy or girl? A lot of brands have already figured this out. While these streamers are just individual entities, their channels amplify to so much more. They’re essentially brands, just like the social influencers who run blogs and high-profile Instagram accounts that have evolved over the last few years. Marketers capitalized on those opportunities by paying influencers (in product or money) to promote the brand and post about it their own way. The same opportunity exists amongst Twitch streamers.
Old Spice, a male grooming brand, took things to the next level when they opted for a specialized Twitch campaign that relied entirely on audience engagement. Twitch has taken things to the next level and included brands such as Coke, T-Mobile, Red Bull, Pizza Hut and Foot Locker to boost its advertising roster.
Brands such as Intel, ASTRO Gaming (a gaming headset manufacturer), Monster Energy Gaming (energy drinks), G2A (an online video game code generator), CyberPowerPC (computer manufacturer) and Savage Jerky (jerky manufacturer), have all taken advantage of these popular streamers in the form of sponsorship’s or products in return for their logo and website link being featured on the streamer’s channel. Doritos got their fingers dirty a few years ago when they partnered with Call of Duty to offer codes for in game content. While the costs of these sponsorships vary from streamer to streamer, one can attribute value in sponsoring a channel that receives tens of thousands of viewers on a day to day basis. Marketers could explore the possibility of CPM or CPC ads to drive traffic to their website, or consider sponsoring a specialized stream.