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Better influencer marketing

EVERYTHING you need to know about Twitch Sponsorships in 2020

Better influencer marketing
16 min
read
June 27, 2019

Twitch sponsorships are rising in popularity and for good reasons. Sponsoring streamers is a staple for big brands like Redbull and Wendy’s. Now it's time for brands like yours to take advantage of this platform too. But how? 

Here's a guide to Twitch . Before you know it, you'll be doubling down and sponsoring Twitch streamers at scale. 

What is Twitch?

Twitch is a live-streaming platform. It mainly focuses on video game live streams, including the fast growing Esports scene. Alongside gaming and Esports, you can find music, art, podcasts, talk shows and In real life content. Think Youtube, but live.

twitch logo in a banner

What is a Twitch streamer?

Streamers ( the content creators of Twitch ) stream video content. These are the people you consider "sponsoring".

They personally engage with the audience through their stream. All of it happening live. Many streamers are streaming full time, spending an up to 10 hours per day 6 days a week. Even 24 hour streaming marathons for special events or charity projects.

A snapshot of some of the top Twitch streamers followers and total view counts.

Many streamers have grown huge audiences of highly engaged viewers and are amongst the international superstars of the internet era. Perhaps more interestingly though, is a huge number of streamers with small, niche audiences. These audiences are very receptive to advertising on Twitch and harness huge buying power.

What audience can be reached sponsoring Twitch influencers?

The user base on twitch is 82% male. The average age of a twitch viewer is 21. They have over 100 million monthly active users and 2.2 million monthly streamers.

For many marketers, this young adult male audience is very hard to reach. Twitch marketing is a strong choice for anyone looking to connect with this demographic.

A collage of twitch stats: watch time, average user, money raised, partners, affiliates, target audience, platform

Why branded Twitch Sponsorships?

We're not just recommending Twitch sponsorships without cause. It's not just because big brands are doing it. In fact that is part of the secret, not everyone is there yet. 

Marketers ruin everything, just as Gary explains below in this old snippet.

That's why it's so important to get on board early, before Twitch sponsorships become too mainstream.

We see bigger brands working together with big streamers. That leaves room for potential working together with and sponsoring Twitch streamers with smaller audiences.

For small brands willing to do something different, it means huge reward. 

Concentrated target audience

With such a concentrated number of young males with clear interests in the topics they follow, Twitch holds the key to an often elusive audience. It’s very difficult to reach. 

Reddit has limited options in ad placements and a community fighting viciously against most branded content. Pinterest reaches a majority female group. Tiktok and others jumping deeper into the teen and child category. Twitch is the perfect place to reach excitable young men with a lot of buying power. 

Highly engaged audiences 

Twitch viewers are highly engaged with the platform. There is an incredible amount of interaction between viewers and streamers, discussions amongst viewers themselves and conversations that carry well into mainstream news and other social platforms. This is a huge benefit to brands, who hope to maximize their reach and potential for acquisitions.

Engaging content

For a streamer to be successful they must make highly engaging content. This is huge leverage for brands, as made obvious by Wendy's Twitch campaigns.

There are a number of unique ways streamers make content engaging. Allow viewers to vote on the type of music that is playing in the background, what games to play, the actions they take within a stream. 

They make surveys about the certain aspects of their streams to gain insight and have the viewers participate. They also do streams where they play the games together with and or against their viewers. These types of things are engaging and create a human connection for the participants.

Another way is by making donations engaging. When someone donates money to a streamer. The streamer will read out the donation text to the stream or has an automated bot read it out. The donation does not go unnoticed. The guaranteed reaction from the streamer creates an initiative for people to engage more.

Think of it as if you tweet something at Ronaldo and he decides to respond to your Tweet. The excitement of someone you follow and admire responding to you will make you want to keep the conversation going.

Known communities

Because of all of these things that I mentioned above. The viewers have a unified identity within the Twitch community. People will know if viewers from a stream are interested in another streamer.

The individual identity creates also a certain reputation of the viewers on the platform. People love spreading their message and displaying their community. Viewers create engaging discussions within the streams and their own created content.

Support of Esports

Twitch’s extreme popularity is driven in part by the esports industry. Since Twitch and esports go hand in hand, they amplify each others growth. Esports has grown from a 130 million dollar industry in 2012 to a 1.1 billion dollar industry in 2019.

This number is expected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2022. Esports is breaking more and more into the mainstream, with the potential of being an Olympic sport one day. They have reached a point where they are selling out massive stadiums, soon adding the 25,000 seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City to the list.

a fully packed stadium of fans watching esports

Building an influencer marketing Campaign for Twitch

Building influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch can be daunting. While it is a world dominated by nuanced terms and tight-knit communities, breaking in could work wonders for your brand. Little as it is known, Twitch viewers seem to be much more responsive to branded content than you might expect. 

I highly recommend this article for how to create a brand ambassador program

Setting Twitch sponsorship goals

We will continue to repeat that there is no sense in running a marketing campaign without a goal. You will never ever know what is working without understanding what you’re trying to accomplish. 

While we spoke about influencer marketing and goal setting at length in our book Influencer Marketing Sprint, here’s a brief rundown of how to set clear goals for influence:

Take a business goal: 

Sell more makeup than any other European Company.

Understand marketing goals associated with this goal: 

Improve awareness of online store measured by an increase of 50,000 new visitors by February. 

Improve recurring online purchases by 15% by improving community engagement and share of voice on social.  

Drive 10,000 new monthly purchases by increasing web conversions by 10%

One of your goals should be addressable using influencer marketing. If not, you have no reason to put in the resources required to do this correctly. Make sure you understand what goal you are contributing to when you start with influencer marketing. This is what drives the success of fast growing brands building influencer marketing campaigns.

Understanding the Twitch community

Venturing into Twitch marketing could leave you doing work in a community you don’t fully understand. If possible, take the time to view some streams, become familiar with streamers in your niche and learn how the community works.

Take advantage of your new found relationships with streamers as well. Ask them what their audience wants to hear about, what brand collaborations seem to have worked in the past and how you can stand out with their community.

Heed their advice and treat them well, it will shine through in your upcoming collaborations.

Understanding who to partner with

On Twitch, it’s best to assume the majority of the audience you reach will be 20-30 year old males. 

The rest is all about understanding the context of the viewers. For accurate and efficient influencer selection, use a tool to find Twitch influencers

Take a look at the content the streamer has posted, the language of the audience and the amount of activity on the streamer’s profile. There are other metrics you can explore using tools like Modash.

The simple, ideal situation looks kind of like this: 

You, the Twitch sponsor, sell a music related app. 

You want to drive acquisitions in Germany. You partner with streamers related to music that speak German while streaming. 

They are willing to work on an acquisition based payment model for equal to or less than your best performing marketing channel. 

Every month, you pay them based on the number of customers who used their unique code/link . 

Over time, you add more and more streamers. You now have a customer aquisition army, built on Twitch sponsorships.

top twitch streamers

What ad formats are possible on Twitch?

Part of the beauty of Twitch is ad placement options. Twitch sponsorship marketing isn’t limited in variety that’s for sure. In stream, out of a stream and a lot of layers in between leaving the door wide open for creative material and super measurable campaigns. 

Twitch marketing with Chatbots

Twitch chats are extremely active. So much so that Twitch had to introduce limiting tools to maintain the conversation quality. Streamers can limit chatting rights to followers or subscribers. Some opt to set the chat to slow mode.

Streamers often interact with their chat as well, even having conversations while they play a game. They answer questions, ask for advice, talk about pop culture and discuss products and brands. 

This conversation is much like that between friends at dinner. There’s also superfan Moderators maintaining order and driving meaningful discussions.

This leaves a nicely organized, high-quality stream of messages and unlike other sites, it’s a two-way conversation. The perfect place for a Twitch streamer to promote your product.

twitch influencer marketin chat bot ad example

Chatbots work great when advertising on Twitch for a few reasons. They can include links, which make their impact trackable. They give you room to leave short explanatory messages. They are native and don’t interrupt the user's experience. They’re also repeatable and customizable. All of the characteristics of a great ad.

How to stand out with your Twitch marketing chatbot?

Keep it concise. Short message, strong copy, value-driven call to action.

Instead of:

Wendy’s is an 88-year-old fast food restaurant your great granddad loved growing up. We’re hip and cool, our tweets are great. But you know what’s even better? Our burgers, always fresh, never frozen. Send us a Tweet with #teamburger for a chance to win.

Go with:

If you wanted frozen, you’d chew ice. We don’t freeze our burgers. EVER. Tweet us with #Teamburger to win. Linkly.link

Preferably, be interesting. Consider 2 example messages:

Instead of:

Buy a Dollarshave club razor today. It’s the best razor you’ll ever use. For 50% off, use code #Streamer at checkout.

Try:

Only suckers shave with a rusty sword. ⚔️ Get a dollar shave club blade today and save 50% with code #Streamer.

Use multiple custom messages.

When you interact with a streamer, have them set up several different messages. Otherwise, your bot will quickly become stale and users will be blind to its existence.

On stream Twitch marketing with banners

If there is one place that eyeballs live during a Twitch stream, it’s the stream itself. 

The content of a stream typically includes gameplay (or other content), a face cam and a custom banner designed by the streamer. Occasionally, some chat messages or other interactions will also be displayed on the screen. 

That being said, there’s still room for branding within a neat and tidy Twitch banner overlay. Since this is where the majority of eyeballs will spend most of the time, it works. This is especially true when you couple your Twitch banner  with other examples of Twitch influencer marketing included in this list. 

The problem with branded overlays is that they are not easily measured. You can look at the number of viewers, consecutive viewers, engagements or other metrics. 

But these don’t really tell you much about the impact of your Twitch marketing efforts. That’s why it’s best to couple these overlays with a promo code or another ad placement like a link in chat or banner below.

twitch livestream with highlighted on stream banner ad

In-stream influencer ad reads or product features on Twitch

Instead of being a layer on top of the stream, what if you were inside of the stream itself? 

Apex Legends, the battle royal game that hoped to fight the powerhouse brands like PUBG and Fortnite reportedly paid streamers up to 1M dollars to play their game live. This is an example of being extremely relevant to the content of the streams. 

The game dominated internet discourse. It was the topic of conversation, the content of the stream and the only thing anyone in the space expected to hear about upon release. 

Redbull, the energy drink powerhouse doing more than 7 billion dollars in yearly revenue also gets in-stream with their Twitch sponsorships. 

This is an example of a giant brand hoping to capitalize on the biggest streamers in the world by having a red bull fridge in the background, a red bull in hand, and a red bull bandana on the streamer. While this is an amazing placement that will get a ton of eyeballs, it is incredibly difficult to measure the value of for most small or medium businesses. Make sure you're working to measure your influencer marketing ROI.  

top twitch influencer ninja

But while Apex legends and Redbull are both spending huge amounts of ad money on the world’s largest streamers; smaller companies can capitalize more efficiently. Being the earrings on a local streamer as a design boutique or getting a streamer to wear your swag as a startup could mean domination of young audiences in niche markets. 

Measure with chatbots, trackable links in banners and promo codes. Support with in-stream content.

Twitch banners off stream and offline

twitch influencer marketing banner examples

There are 2 primary places for out of stream banner placement in Twitch.. 

The first and most common is directly below the stream. This area typically includes links to the streamers other social channels, top donating viewers, details of who the streamer is or other information about the stream. It also includes sponsored banners. 

These can be completely branded, partially branded with logos and taglines but with the streamers styling, or somewhere in-between. The creative can go anywhere when it comes to this ad placement. The true beauty though; banners are trackable. 

The other popular place for a banner is in the waiting area of a stream. When a streamer isn’t live, a placeholder image typically remains where their stream usually is. This often shows their streaming schedule and some stream info. In my estimation, this could be one of the most valuable places for a promo-code place. 

Let’s assume a streamer is live for 68 hours per week. Of course, this is when the most consecutive viewers will visit. However, for the other 100 hours per week, anyone who visits their channel sees the placeholder screen. 

A small, simple brand logo with a promo code can stand out massively here and be potentially catch millions of eyeballs. Since they have visited a stream that isn’t live, it means at the same moment they see your promo code, they have disposable time to potentially leave twitch and go to your site.

twitch streamers using banners in influencer marketing campaigns

There you have it. Chatbots, Overlays, Banners and more opportunities with Twitch influencer marketing. Twitch holds one of the most engaged concentrations of the elusive 20-30-year-old male audience. It could be the perfect acquisition channel for your company and as a marketer, you might be one of the first to identify it as an opportunity. But first, you’ll have to find influencers to work with.

What kind of companies sponsor Twitch streamers and promote themselves through Esports? 

Gaming equipment, Social media sites, energy drinks. You could probably guess many industries who are seeing a rise in Esports sponsors. 

But if you’re not looking closely, you might miss the insurance companies, shampoo brands or unmentionable sites getting serious about their role as Esports sponsors. 

Sponsoring Esports is not only for the computer companies, it’s spreading. Here are 3 big Esports sponsors from brands you would never expect.

Mastercard

Example of Mastercard advertising on esports events

Even for me, seeing a company like Mastercard take such big moves in Esports was surprising. 

Mastercard, the huge multinational financial services company did almost 13B in revenue in 2017. Founded over 60 years ago they aren’t who you might expect to get involved in the nerd uprising as an Esports sponsor. 

But when mastercard builds a partnership, they go all in. 

“Esports is a phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity, with fans that can rival those at any major sporting event in their enthusiasm and energy… Our Priceless platform is built around connecting with people through their passions. We are excited about the experiences and benefits we can bring to the world’s largest esport – both in-game and to the millions of League of Legends fans that watch and attend the tournaments each year.” - Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard

They didn’t just sponsor some events, or do a co-marketing partnership. They sponsored the entire game.

Anytime someone enters their mastercard billing information in the League of Legends platform they have a chance to win exclusive prizes like VIP attendance to events and other goodies. 

Mastercard’s presence as an esports sponsor is definitely noticed. The sport has 14 professional leagues, over 800 salaried athletes and is one of the most popular Esports of them all. 27 million players log in and play every day, esports sponsors are right to get excited about the space.

Mastercard might be out of the box for an Esports sponsor… but would a car washing product be a fit to sponsor Esports?

Turtlewax

If you’re not familiar with Turtlewax, let me assure you it has nothing to do with waxing a turtle. But they do qualify as one of our lists Esports sponsors. 

The interestingly unfitting esports sponsor Turtlewax is a 50+ year company that makes car shines, soaps, scratch removers, etc. According to Ccrunchbase and Owler, the company does a little less than 7M dollars in revenue every year. 

Would they be our first guess of who sponsors Esports? Absolutely not. 

Do they go BIG on Esports sponsorships? Absolutely. 

In their first year sponsoring several players in the major Esports team OpTic gaming. They reported 25% growth across most of their social media channels and saw a revenue boost. All of that success drove them to continue the sponsorship. 

They also took a leap into Eeurope as an Esports sponsor, sponsoring 2 teams from the company Splyce and introducing #Turtlewaxgaming. The nature of their sponsorships include integrations of players in marketing materials, social media content from the players.

Ah, and they parked a sports car in a bunch of the major Esports events OpTic attended.

example of turtlewax using esports gamers to sponsor their brand

Statefarm

state farm sponsors overwatch league esports gaming

Statefarm employs 65,000 people. Statefarm has been around for 100 years. Statefarm sells insurance. Statefarm is an Esports sponsor. 

If there is a more unexpected connection than a century old insurance company spending millions sponsoring Esports, i’m not sure I could name it. But, it turns out that the companies who are earning the most in the world are often the ones who are willing to tip-toe outside of the box. 

Statefarm has far reaching partnerships with League of Legends and Overwatch. 

The vice president of marketing at Statefarm commented on a partnership with Riotgames (the creator of League of Legends) last May:

 “League of Legends, along with Riot Games, are a leader and innovator in the esports community,”

Another representative described their Esports partnerships as multi-faceted. They are broad reaching and have a lot of placements. Social media content, in event placements, Statefarm logos everywhere. They are embedded in a plethera of broadcasts about League of Legends and Overwatch, they have created ESPN style commentary setups brought to you by Statefarm and more. 

Through their major partnerships across the 2 most popular games in Esports, Statefarm has leapt into the scene with no signs of slowing down. 

These brands getting out of the advertising box should be seen as a guiding light for other companies. If it’s not within your budget to sponsor huge Esports events, you can find Twitch influencers. Twitch influencers are hungry for sponsorships, drive measurable ROI and are under utilized by brands today. 

If you would like to discuss if your company could benefit from being an Esports sponsor or sponsoring Twitch Streamers; book a free call today.

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