When it comes to social media marketing, there are always new and emerging platforms that brands need to be aware of.
While there are the traditional standards with Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, other platforms like Snapchat and TikTok are taking over the space, especially with younger users.
Brands that want to be relevant to Millennials and Gen Z need to advertise in the places where those audiences spend their time. That allows brands to get in front of their key demographics without needing to draw those users onto their website.
One emerging platform with millions of active users that brands need to keep an eye on is Twitch.
If you are unaware of what Twitch is, then there’s no better time to learn. Twitch has highly engaged viewers who often spend over an hour and a half on the platform at a time.
That means that there are plenty of advertising and brand deals that can be made to get in front of audiences.
- But what exactly is the Twitch platform?
- Why does it matter in marketing?
- How do you market on a Twitch channel?
In this article, we’ll answer those questions as well as give you an idea of the cost of Twitch marketing and what you need to get started on your Twitch marketing strategy.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is, at its core, a streaming platform.
Rather than static posts and videos like other social media platforms, Twitch uses live streaming channels.
Viewers log into their accounts and watch live feeds of their favorite content creators. Audiences can comment on streams with a communal chat feature and the creator can reply in real-time.
While the platform is primarily used for video game streaming and esports, it has evolved in recent years to include other types of live streams, including music, sports commentary, talk shows and podcasts, and even creative arts like drawing, crafting, and cooking.
While streams are free to watch, viewers can choose to become a subscriber for a monthly cost or gift things to the streamer as a show of support for the content and the creator.
This is one of the primary ways in which creators make money off the platform.
Why Does Twitch Matter?
The biggest appeal of Twitch marketing is the sense of community and strong ties between creators and their audiences.
Viewers, followers, and subscribers are extremely loyal to the content creators they support, which means that if creators support and promote your brand, their audiences are more likely to purchase your products or services.
Twitch is also an incredibly popular platform, with 40 million monthly viewers and over 2 million creators.
While the demographics show that viewers tend to be younger males, the wide variety of streaming channels provides many opportunities for brands to get in front of target audiences.
Twitch Terms that Marketers Should Know
Twitch truly is an example of a tight-knit community.
Not only are the audiences tight with each other and dedicated to their content creators, but Twitch users have their own sets of terminology that you’ll need to understand before you start thinking of marketing on the platform.
Here are some of the key twitch terms that marketers need to know:
When a creator reaches Affiliate status, they are now eligible to get monetary rewards from their viewers like bits and subscriptions. They can also start offering unique emotes and badge rewards to their subscribers.
Badges are icons that appear next to user names in the chat that indicate different levels of achievement or specific roles they might have, like an affiliate status.
A ban is an action taken by a channel to stop individual users from looking at or interacting with the chat.
Bits are virtual rewards that viewers can gift to creators once they have reached Affiliate or Partner status. Bits have monetary value and get recognition in chats with animated gem animations.
A type of homepage for creators that includes their current live streams, recordings, user profile, and chat.
Community can refer to either the follower base, subscribers, and moderators of specific creators or to Twitch users as a whole.
A general term like “streamer” or “broadcaster” that refers to the person who is producing the content on the live stream.
A behind-the-scenes person who helps the stream creator with a number of tasks, which can include running ad breaks, editing video information, uploading live stream recordings, managing clips, playing reruns, and managing the channel information.
Twitch doesn’t use typical emojis like other social media platforms, but instead has platform-specific emojis that users can customize once they have hit Affiliate or Partner levels.
A follow is a free way to support creators instead of subscribing. Following allows you to track your favorite creators and opt-in to notifications from their channel like when they start streaming or when they are planning to stream.
Viewers can additionally support creators beyond their own subscription by gifting subscriptions to other channel viewers. They can be given to individual viewers or to a large group in the chat. Gift subs have the same benefits of traditional subs, but don’t automatically renew after the month has passed.
A person who is appointed by a creator to monitor chats. They make sure that channel rules are followed, answer questions, and ban viewers who aren’t respecting guidelines. Moderators can also be bots.
A Partner is the next step up from an Affiliate. They are identified with a purple verification mark on their username and gain additional benefits.
Subscriptions support Affiliate and Partner channels. They can be one-time or recurring on a monthly basis. Subscribers get access to emotes and other benefits, which follow a three-tier program set up by the creator.
Also referred to as donations, tips are monetary gifts given through a third-party application like PayPal or Venmo as thanks for creating content.
Videos on Demand or VODs are recordings of streams that can be viewed after the live stream has ended. VODs automatically expire after 14 days, but allow viewers to catch up on anything they missed.
Whispers are private messages sent between two users in chat that can’t be seen by the other viewers of the channel.
In addition to these somewhat official terms, there is a whole language of colloquialisms and special terms that are used in chats by users. Always check to see what a term means before responding to it. You can even start a dictionary among your internal team of Twitch terms.
How Do You Market on a Twitch Channel?
There are two main avenues in which you market on a Twitch channel: video advertisements and influencer marketing in the form of brand sponsorships.
Let’s break down the two options to see which is going to be the best approach for your brand.
Video advertisements are one of the biggest ways brands get involved in Twitch marketing. While streams are free to watch, they do play three types of advertisements that non-subscribed viewers are typically subject to:
These video ads play before a viewer is able to join in and start watching a stream.
These play during the stream and are inserted by the streamer as they choose. The stream goes on, as paid subscribers don’t watch the ads, and unpaid viewers will see the stream player mute and minimize until the ad is through playing.
End of Stream Ads
These ads play after a stream has ended. Because many viewers are likely to leave the channel once the live stream has ended, these ads need to be even more engaging to keep audiences watching.
Just like any other type of video ad on platforms like YouTube or TikTok, your ads need to be engaging and directed towards the audience they play for.
Influencer marketing on Twitch works very similarly to other types of influencer marketing on other social media platforms.
You create a contracted brand deal with an individual streamer with specified details. After the contract is signed, the streamer is obligated to meet the terms of the contract.
The streamer will need to disclose the fact that this is a paid brand deal with their audience, but will promote your brand to their audiences on their channel during a live stream.
The type of promotion can change but might include shout-outs, product giveaways, or even product demonstrations and item unboxing on live streams.
This type of Twitch marketing works particularly well since audiences on Twitch are extremely loyal to the creators they follow or subscribe to.
They are strongly influenced by the creator’s promotions and supported brands, which can help your marketing efforts take off.
How Much Does it Cost to Promote on Twitch?
Unlike other social media platforms, Twitch doesn’t offer an ad manager tool or virtual studio to run your campaigns from.
Instead, you submit a form and wait for the Twitch team to reach out to you with more information.
Because your ads aren’t run by your own team, they can become fairly pricey.
While there is no clear formula for how much Twitch ads will cost you, it can be a high price tag per impression.
Smaller brands, in particular, can find it hard to break into the Twitch game as they are competing with big brands.
Instead, brand deals with individual creators can help brands get in front of audiences and keep costs down much more than traditional video ads.
What Do You Need to Get Started on Twitch?
Getting started on Twitch is dependent on a few different factors.
Because Twitch is such a unique platform compared to other social media sites, the biggest tip to get started is to understand exactly what you are marketing on, who you are marketing to, and who you are marketing with.
1. Know the Platform
The first thing you need to understand is the Twitch platform itself. It’s hard to market on a platform you don’t know.
If you go to Twitch, do you know how to find different streams, subscribe to channels, or gift bits?
In order to reach your audiences, you need to understand the experience they are having on the platform.
2. Know Your Audience
Speaking of your audience, you need to have a deep understanding of who exactly you are marketing to.
Spend time fine-tuning your buyer personas and diving into the demographics of Twitch and the specific channels you want to partner with.
What types of streams do your audiences like? How long do they spend watching streams? What types of products are they interested in seeing?
3. Know Your Partners
Finally, you need to understand the creators you partner with.
You need to make sure they can accurately promote your products and services, and that they can do it with enthusiasm.
You’ll also want to partner with reputable channels that aren’t attached to any scandals or crises.
Twitch is a growing platform with millions of active users who are engaged, highly interested in the channels they support, and stay for long periods of time.
That means that brands that market on Twitch have unique opportunities to target specific audiences with niche interests.
Twitch marketing requires companies to have a clear understanding of the platform and the behaviors of the audiences who spend time on it.
However, once you have the foundation set, you can start marketing on Twitch using the unique content format and create a strategy that brings in a high ROI and gets your brand new leads.
While Twitch can certainly help you with that, a well-rounded social media marketing plan will be able to find new leads across all social media channels.
To learn more about how to leverage your social networks, check out our blog on social media lead generation!