More than 15 million users spend an average of nearly two hours a day watching Twitch livestreams. The sheer amount of time users dedicate to the platform makes it an excellent avenue for advertising.
Here, we’ll examine how five top brands partner with Twitch influencers to drive traffic and purchases, and offer clear takeaways for marketers.
Apart from its enormous audience, why is Twitch so valuable to marketers? The platform offers three specific and significant advertising advantages: its audience type, engagement type, and influencer sponsorship support.
To start, 81.5% of Twitch users are male and 55% are between the ages of 18-34. By executing influencer marketing campaigns on the platform brands gain access to a highly targeted demographic. In regards to engagement, the unfiltered and often lengthy duration of Twitch livestreams makes for highly authentic content and in turn highly authentic partnerships.
Studies have also found that Twitch users are supportive of sponsored content. In fact, 80% of users are open to brands sponsoring games and teams and 82% agree that sponsorships are good for the gaming industry.
Guy Beahm — aka DrDisrespectLive — is one of Twitch’s biggest personalities. His two million followers know him for his flashy appearance — a mullet wig, red tactical vest, horseshoe mustache and sports sunglasses — and his unique disregard for video game etiquette. “The Doctor,” as he’s known to fans, streams a number of Battle Royale games, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and League of Legends.
On Twitch (and most social media), authentic relationships with followers are key to a streamer’s success. Despite acting as The Doctor, Beahm conveys a sense of authenticity that resonates with his followers and allows him to solicit donations during his streams. Additionally, his authentic rapport with followers makes him an appealing influencer to brands like Razor, Turtle Head, and Discord.
In keeping with his usual content style, Beahm partnered with Daybreak Games to market its H1Z1 Auto Royale game during a three-hour livestream. At the beginning of the livestream, Beahm dramatically introduces the game with his usual idiosyncratic flair saying, “Trickle in ladies and gentlemen because today we’re playing an all-new game mode in H1Z1 called Auto Royale.” In doing so, he delivers critical branded messaging points in a format his audience has come to know and love. This introduction sets the precedent that the sponsored content will be presented like any other video on his channel.
During the livestream, Beahm plays the game and addresses questions and concerns that might prevent viewers from making a purchase. By actually playing the game he encourages viewers further along the buying process by giving them a comprehensive demonstration of the game. Therefore, viewers already know what they’ll receive if they buy the game.
Results: To date, the sponsored livestream has garnered 39,346 views.
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LIRIK, the notoriously faceless Twitch streamer and gamer, has two million followers and over 232 million views. Without a webcam, LIRIK engages his followers by adding original commentary and comedic audio clips to livestreams. He streams six hours per day, six days per week and regularly attracts an audience of 20,000 to 40,000 viewers.
The German-born American goes by Saqib Zahid in everyday life and regularly plays Steep, Rust, and Fortnite on Twitch, in addition to new VR games like Stand Out. Because fans trust his opinions on a wide range of games, brands use LIRIK’s followers and authority to promote their products.
To advertise its first-person shooter game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft partnered with the Twitch powerhouse to create one sponsored livestream. In the resulting stream, Zahid plays the game while interacting with audiences using Twitch’s live chat feature.
During the livestream, Zahid earnestly endorses the game and creates an interactive sponsored experience by answering viewer questions. At the 23:12 mark, an audience member asks if Zahid recommends the game. He responds candidly by saying, “Do I recommend this game? Are you asking sponsored Lirik or unsponsored Lirik? Yes, sponsored Lirik says this is a good game and so does non-sponsored Lirik. It’s a fun game.” The candor LIRIK maintains with his viewers makes for highly authentic sponsored content.
Zahid’s decision to answer questions in real time is also advantageous to his viewers and Ubisoft. Sponsored livestreaming content can be both compelling for audiences and valuable for brands because messaging (copy points, CTAs, Q&A, etc.) is delivered in real-time. This allows brands to gauge reception and audiences to experience and engage with a product by way of their favorite influencer.
Results: Zahid’s livestream with Ubisoft has amassed upwards of 15,093 views.
25-year-old Tucker Boner streams to almost one million followers under the alias iiJeriichoii. He’s perhaps best known for streams featuring multiplayer games like Minecraft, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Boner has also made a name for himself through song parodies, vlogs, and comedic sketches. According to his YouTube bio, he’s “just a guy who loves to play video games and make people laugh.”
Early in his career, Boner saw the benefit of partnerships in streaming and created “The Gamer Shore,” a group of streamers who moved to LA to collaborate on projects. The endeavor was largely unsuccessful — it only aired one livestream — but he continues to collaborate with other streamers like ChampChong and Syndicate as well as brands like Discord and Monster Energy.
To advertise its game South Park: The Fractured But Whole gaming giant Ubisoft partnered with Boner to create one sponsored livestream. Boner successfully executes the sponsored content by remaining transparent with viewers and creating excitement around the game by playing it for the first time during the stream.
At the beginning of the (12:15) Boner says, “Thank you guys for watching! This is a sponsored stream. If you guys do want to pick up South Park or learn anything about South Park: The Fractured But Whole, there is a link in the info panel.” The statement serves to drive website visits and game purchases by encouraging viewers to click a link.
Additionally, Boner’s explicit disclosure of the sponsored content serves to increase the credibility of his recommendation. If audiences see that he’s extremely open to disclosing sponsored content they may be more likely to trust his endorsement of the game.
Boner’s decision to play the game for the first time also functions to heighten excitement around the livestream, making for highly memorable sponsored content. The initial reaction format serves the interests of Ubisoft because if viewers remember the livestream and the game they’ll be more inclined to make a purchase.
During the livestream, Boner tells viewers he’s never played the game before, nor has he watched gameplay of others playing it. This means that on top of being exposed to the game, audiences get to witness his immediate reaction.
Results: To date, Boner’s unique livestream has garnered 5,027 views.
Full-time Twitch streamer Ben “DrLupo” Lupo has enjoyed an extensive career with eSports team Rogue — the same team as Twitch’s most followed account, Ninja. As a professional Destiny player and sponsored Fortnite streamer, Lupo has created an intimate community of 518,000 followers.
Over the past year, two distinct events earned Lupo the love and support of his fans. In March 2017, he helped a dying man achieve his dream of reaching the Lighthouse in Destiny (a feat few have the skill to accomplish) — and raised $40,000 for Make-A-Wish in the process. In March 2018, Lupo’s own father passed away and the support that his followers shared on Twitter illustrates the intimacy influencers foster with their followers.
American fast food chain KFC partnered with Lupo to advertise its chicken wings, a departure from the previously discussed Twitch gaming sponsorships. To showcase KFC, Lupo teamed up with fellow Twitch influencer Anthony Kongphan to play the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — aka PUBG — and run an interactive livestream contest.
At the beginning of the single sponsored livestream, Lupo explains that each time he and Kongphan win a PUBG round viewers should type the phrase “winner winner” in the video chat to enter to win a KFC gift card. The phrase “winner winner” produces a unique KFC emoji and cleverly references the phrase “winner winner chicken dinner,” popular among PUBG gamers. Apart from giving away KFC gift cards, Lupo and Kongphan also gave away free Loot Crate prizes to viewers during the stream.
KFC’s decision to market on Twitch in the context of the popular PUBG gaming phrase “winner winner chicken dinner,” demonstrates the brand’s awareness of social media and gaming trends. By giving away actual chicken during a livestream featuring PUBG, KFC fosters a connection between its brand and online gaming culture. If viewers play PUBG in the future they’re likely to remember KFC because of the new association between the brand and the game.
Throughout the livestream, Lupo also keeps KFC top of mind by uttering humorous brand references like, “Gotta get that chicken. KFC! KFC!” at the 1:27:15 mark. The periodic mentioning of KFC during the livestream serves to continually raise brand awareness among viewers.
RoryPlays is an anomaly in the Twitch world. In addition to being a female thriving in a hypermasculine, male-dominated industry, she generates massive engagement despite having a relatively small following. She has only 14,000 followers — less than one percent of peers like DrDisrespectLive. Despite her small audience, she generates incredibly high engagement. In total, she has 605,000 total channel views on 158 videos (averaging almost 4,000 views per video).
RoryPlays streams gameplay from several popular titles, including first-person shooter BioShock and Electronic Arts’ The Sims 4. Her Twitch success is a reminder that brands should look at engagement as much as followers in choosing collaborators.
To advertise its game The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs, EA partnered with RoryPlays to create one sponsored livestream. During the two hour stream, she plays the game and discusses its notable features.
Of all the Twitch sponsorships discussed, RoryPlays’ is perhaps the most traditional. She features the EA logo at the start of the livestream and also provides a link users can click to buy the game in the video description. In contrast to the highly interactive sponsored stream from Lupo and KFC, viewers can easily watch RoryPlays’ sponsorship with little effort. The relaxed format may be preferable to some, especially those interested in an open-ended simulation game like The Sims.
During the stream, Rory frames EA positively though statements like, “They [EA] invited me to an event called Sims camp. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Sims camp. Guys, they invited me out so I could capture this content for you!” The gratuitous statement positions EA as interested in supporting Twitch influencers, which is advantageous to the brand given that 82% of Twitch users feel sponsorships are good for the gaming industry.
Results: To date, more than 1,236 have viewed RoryPlays sponsored stream.
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