Since launching in 2011, Twitch has rapidly grown to become the foremost video game livestreaming platform in the world. 2.2 million creators stream to an average of 15 million daily active users and over the past two years the gap in popularity to its closest competitor, YouTube Gaming, has widened dramatically. Though competitors such as the 21st Century Fox-backed Caffine.tv are venturing into this expanding market, Twitch remains the business to beat.
Twitch influencers can command enormous, loyal audiences and have been shown to have a significant impact on the sales of products within the gaming industry. Top streamers have become extremely valuable assets to marketers, with Twitch sponsorships providing highly lucrative deals for top streamers, some of whom earn up to $20 million a year from various revenue streams on the platform.
While Twitch sponsorships have typically come from within the gaming industry, the rate of the network’s growing popularity has caught the attention of non-endemic brands—that is, companies who would not typically seek to market their product in a given field. This has led the food industry to become the most active category of Twitch sponsorship this year and the likes of KFC to snap up the platform’s top streamers.
The opportunity for non-endemic brands to be successful with Twitch sponsorship is more apparent than ever. With the platform’s consumers receptive to advertising and its biggest ambassador, mega-influencer Ninja welcoming collaborative sponsorships, it is no surprise that industries outside gaming sought representation not just at TwitchCon 2018, but beyond it as well.
Below we feature a selection of the best non-endemic Twitch sponsorships.
In the week leading up to TwitchCon 2018, Hershey’s collaborated with Ninja and DrLupo to promote its new Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces mashup bar. The duo livestreamed for 12 hours to help promote the product, mentioning it infrequently and using on-screen graphics for awareness.
— DrLupo (@DrLupo) October 23, 2018
In addition to their livestream, they cross-promoted on Twitter and Instagram, uploading highlights of the stream to their near 21 million combined subscribers. Ninja and DrLupo’s easy-going personalities and their huge, engaged audience allowed Hershey’s to enter the Twitch sponsorship scene with relative ease. In this way, Hershey’s made a clever branding and awareness move by highlighting two of the most popular Twitch streamers in tandem with their highly anticipated combination of two of the most-loved chocolates.
Japanese food manufacturer Nissin has been collaborating with Twitch for over a year now, since sponsoring a Twitch-exclusive TEKKEN tournament late last year. The company has since expanded its involvement with Twitch by targeting star influencers such as Pokimane and OMGitsfirefoxx to promote its cup noodles on their streams.
Pokimane’s sponsored stream was a largely individual promotion, featuring her making noodles during her stream and engaging viewers with a ‘Slurp Meter’ graphic appearing on-screen, humorously measuring the noise-level of her eating the noodles. OMGitsfirefoxx’s sponsorship featured an interview and a collaborative stream—both working as part of a brand marketing exercise to establish the product as a natural component to streamers playing games and having fun. This angle allows Nissin to project its popularity and convenience among the gaming community.
Watch Doritos Bowl – Live from TwitchCon Esports Stage presented by Doritos from TwitchCon Esports Stage on www.twitch.tv
Frito Lay sought to market Doritos at this year’s TwitchCon with an extravagant activation, sponsoring four Twitch streamers (the aforementioned Ninja and DrLupo, as well as second-most followed streamer Shroud and CouRage) to participate in the Doritos Bowl, a competition showcasing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s new Blackout mode.
As Twitch’s most followed streamer, Ninja is a sought-after commodity for brands getting in on the livestreaming market. Typically using models for promotion and lines endorsed by professional athletes, sponsoring Ninja marks a profound change in strategy for PSD Underwear.
— PSD Underwear (@PSDunderwear) October 25, 2018
PSD used TwitchCon as a key component of promoting the collaboration towards the end of the year’s campaign, using Twitter and Instagram to raise awareness. PSD’s ‘Ninja Bus’ post achieved an impressive engagement rate of 15.7%, while Ninja’s own Instagram post scored a rate of 4.4%, in addition to self-promotion of the product through his livestreams.
— Ninja (@Ninja) October 26, 2018
Not shy of endorsements, Ninja again is the streamer of choice for this Twitch sponsorship. The beverage giant teamed up with him over the summer, with the first activation being a night-long Fortnite streaming tournament in Chicago, with Ninja pulling in over 150,000 concurrent viewers. The collaboration continued at TwitchCon 2018, with Ninja announcing a 12-hour marathon stream on New Year’s Eve.
Unlike several of the other brands, Red Bull has been considerably involved in eSports, so making a concerted effort to campaign more on Twitch represents a very reasonable and logical step for promoting the brand. This type of partnership is a natural fit, as streamers often log hours upon hours of livestreaming action and could use a jolt of energy.
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Clothing brand GUESS took a different route than the other brands highlighted here, instead opting to sponsor actress and small-scale streamer Adelaide Kane as opposed to the common strategy of collaborating with the top Twitch performers.
Kane streamed Day 3 at TwitchCon, and GUESS featured her on their Instagram story the same day. She has since promoted GUESS on Instagram to her 1.6 million followers on the platform, but the clothing brand’s move to promote at TwitchCon seems to indicate that reaching out to the female demographic on Twitch is a realistic and valuable opportunity for brands.
— Ninja (@Ninja) September 23, 2018
Not to be forgotten, Ninja again is in the limelight with another sponsorship, this time with meal delivery service UberEats. Shroud, meanwhile, endorsed rival Postmates.
— Michael Grzesiek (@shroud) July 20, 2018
Ninja promoted UberEats on his livestream, ordering through the service, and cross-promoting on Twitter. The company’s promo with him was so successful they ran out of codes for the promotion. Shroud announced the promotion to his 821,000 followers on Twitter, along with a 12-hour stream with the brand name in the title for his 34,000 viewers.
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yo broys looking forward to meeting all of you this weekend at #TwitchCon2018! I’ll be having a Meet and Greet with @zumiez and @JINXDOTCOM on Friday 10/26 from 6p-8p at the Zumiez store in the Valley Fair mall. there will also be some prizes a Q&A and we can all hangout Make sure to stop by the @hyperx booth to pick up your wristband to get some free stuff from the event you all get a chance to win prizes from @Madrinas, @Zumiez, @JINXDOTCOM, @Hyperx, @pubg and more! More info: https://www.jinx.com/page/shroud
Shroud makes another appearance here—this time for Zumiez, another clothing brand looking to enter the Twitch sponsorship arena. He cross-promoted on both Twitter and Instagram, and wore the brand during his livestream broadcast. In addition, Shroud had a meet and greet at TwitchCon with Zumiez and Jinx.com, which proved to be a success.
Zumiez’s approach is similar to several other brands on Twitch; closely associating themselves with an influencer and taking a low-key approach to marketing their product to Twitch’s audience, relying on the viewers’ loyalty to the streamer to propel interest in the brand.