eSports Influencer Promotion and Twitch Marketing are the future (and the present) of digital.
eSports are booming. It capitalizes on the ascent of video games from “nerd” culture to something everyone can enjoy. Furthermore, eSports, and more particularly, Twitch Marketing, can help your brand. If you’re not sure about what exactly eSports are, read on. Your marketing efforts will certainly thank you. Let’s dive in.
eSports, or competitive video gaming, is a relatively new phenomenon. But what it lacks in age it makes up for in stratospheric growth. Millions of people today attend live video game competitions, and tens of millions more watch online. It’s a truly international affair, with individuals and teams participating from all over the world.
Prize money for competition winners bests some of the greatest conventional sport competitions in the world. The International, a world championship competition for the game Dota 2, featured a total prize pool of $24.7 million in 2017, according to the Visual Capitalist. Compare that to the $13 million prize pool for the 2017 NBA championships, and $11 million for the 2017 Masters, which is the greatest and oldest golf competition in the world, and it’s clear that eSports is a force to be reckoned with.
Twitch is the top platform for eSports consumption
Twitch, the live video game streaming platform that now competes with and beats major cable networks in total number of viewers, is an offshoot of the eSports movement. Twitch allows individual gamers to broadcast themselves playing video games live, and then make money from sponsorships and advertising placed on their stream.
Twitch has 2.2 million broadcasters using the platform to share their gameplay videos with the world. But it’s the Twitch influencers that advertisers are really concerned with. Twitch influencers represent the top 5% of all broadcasters on the platform. These people command very large audiences, with subscribers ranging from hundreds of thousands into the millions, and video views in the hundreds of millions. These are the taste makers on Twitch. Twitch influencer marketing leverages the audiences the influencers have built to help build your brand and drive new customers.
eSports are trending towards an eclipse of regular sports
eSports’ ascendency is happening at a time when viewership in classic ball sports is declining. Statista reports that between 2010 and 2017, average viewership of an NFL regular season game declined by 3 million viewers, from 17.9 million in 2010 down to 14.9 million in 2017. Other sports aren’t immune, either. Baseball, reports Axios, saw its lowest game attendance numbers in 15 years in 2018. The numbers seem to suggest that millennials are eschewing standard sports in favor other forms of entertainment, and eSports makes up a sizeable percentage of their viewing time.
According to Forbes, the latest annual report from the eSports research firm Newzoo predicts that eSports revenue will crack the $1 billion threshold this year. This represents nearly 200% growth from 2017’s $655 million in revenue. And Statista estimates that eSports will see over 400 million frequent and occasional viewers in 2019. According to NewZoo, more than half of the total eSports viewership comes from North America and China.
What does that translate to in terms of actual, constant viewership? Influencer Marketing Hub reported that in 2018, just over 725 million hours of content were consumed PER MONTH on Twitch. Business Insider published a report recently which put current daily Twitch viewership at roughly a million people. That, according to the figures they published, puts Twitch on par with the major cable news networks, like Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and ESPN.
That is monumental viewership for a platform that launched in the form we know it only eight years ago. It has since developed a veritable monopoly on the gameplay streaming video market. Today Twitch has over 9 million channels, a large percentage of them welcoming advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Twitch, and eSports in general is the new gold rush for marketers looking to capitalize on the viewing habits of the 18-34 demographic.
How Effective is Twitch?
The next frontier for your business or brand
The pivotal 18-34 demographic doesn’t consume media the way previous generations have. They’re “cutting the cord”, leaving standard cable TV providers, in record numbers. Most of the content they watch is consumed through streaming services. They’re much more comfortable with a fragmented, a la carte style of media consumption than older demographics.
If you want to reach them you can’t follow business-as-usual approaches. You need to be bold and expand your marketing efforts into the spaces where young people are spending their time. On average users spend one and a half hours a day on Twitch.
Twitch is video. It’s also social.
Twitch is an extremely social platform, with multiple ways for viewers and creators to connect, and it’s this personal engagement that brings people back to their favorites broadcasters. Creators narrate, and crack jokes live as they play their games. This adds a level personalization that can make every player’s channel vastly different, even when they’re playing the same game.
And it’s this layer that distinguishes influencers from lower level creators. These players are charismatic and funny. They engage, not just with the game they’re playing, but with their viewers. It’s a conversation. If you can get yourself placed into this conversation, get the right influencers talking about your brand, you can build a level of engagement with your target audience that is, in some ways, unparalleled in the marketing world.
Compliment outreach with YouTube
YouTube has a vibrant eSports community as well. Many Twitch gamers have their own YouTube channels, and many tournaments are broadcast live on the platform. Particularly if your brand is interested in sponsoring a specific team or player, engaging with consumers on Twitch and YouTube is a smart play.
YouTube doesn’t have the level of social engagement that Twitch does. For one, it’s not live. It’s a more general video sharing platform not designed specifically for gameplay sharing the way Twitch was, but it’s still an important part of the eSports ecosystem. A holistic eSports marketing campaign should include engagement on YouTube gaming as well.
eSports marketing and Twitch influencer marketing share commonalities with other types of marketing efforts you might be engaged in. However they require an agency versed in the practices, customs, eccentricities and strategies that work in the eSports space. eSports is still fairly new, and a lot of agencies are dragging their feet getting involved.
Not us. Nativ3 embraces all forms of media, and eSports and Twitch marketing are just the next two notches in our belt. We’re content and marketing experts, and we’ve put quite a bit of thought and resources toward working out how to maximize our clients’ exposure in the world of eSports.
How Nativ3 does it
We help you determine which Twitch influencers are appropriate for your brand. Remember that influencers banter with their audiences, and you need to be certain that the banter fits your brand identity. We help make certain you target the best influencers, those best suited to communicate your message to their audience.
As well as specific influencers, it’s important to target the right games. Are you okay with game violence? How much is too much? Do you want your brand associated with it? Do you prefer non-violent platform games? Does your brand engage better with fans of first person shooters or top down adventure games? Choosing the right games helps narrow your focus and craft more targeted messages.
We design a campaign strategy that takes advantage of what Twitch and YouTube make available to marketers in terms of advertising and media placement. We know what works and what doesn’t. We understand the best ways to integrate your message into what Twitch influencers are already doing so that your campaign feels organic, as if the influencer decided, entirely on their own, to talk about and promote your product or brand.
Twitch in particular, because of its strong social angle, rewards brands that feel as if they “get it” and format content in a way that feels appropriate to the context. We know how to make that happen. We have the relationships in place to create dynamic marketing content that audiences will welcome. Our campaigns don’t feel like marketing campaigns. The feel like valuable bonus content that consumers want.
We also work to identify up-and-coming influencers. We’re talking about the mid-tier broadcasters that haven’t quite cracked the elite ranks but have a very good chance of doing so. If we can identity these players early, we can get our clients powerful sponsorships before other marketers move in to leverage these prized relationships. You want to be known as the brand that “discovered” player X before he or she became extremely famous so that your brand is associated with their ascendency from the beginning.
Your brand. Your audience. Redefined.
We analyze your brand and your messages, looking for ways to powerfully connect these to specific influencers. We examine ways in which influencers have promoted products and brands in the past, and leverage these proven strategies for your brand. We work to create a synergistic relationship between broadcasters and our clients.
When both parties get something useful out of the relationship, something other than money, you get your best returns because it gets the influencer excited. The more excited they are, the more authentic the message will feel to their audience, and the more frequently your brand will be mentioned organically in the influencer’s stream. It’s about creating the most value possible for both parties so that everyone wins.
eSports sponsorship is similar to sponsorship deals in more conventional sports marketing. We leverage our extensive knowledge of both to get our clients optimal placement during events and on team channels and pages.
Twitch Marketing examples
How are some of today’s most forward thinking companies using the influential Twitch broadcasters to build their brands? They leverage the live nature of Twitch streams to create fun, memorable, engaging content.
Uber Eats teamed up with Ninja, the most popular Twitch influencer of 2018. Throughout his streaming activities he would surprise his audience with discount codes and free giveaways.
Summit1G is another heavy in the Twitch streaming world. His animated, frenetic game play style makes him the perfect candidate for a Monster energy drink sponsorship. He frequently mentions the products on his stream, and wears Monster-branded apparel.
Nissin, the company famous for Cup O’ Noodles, partnered with influencer Pokimane. During the campaign she was frequently seen eating Nissin products, and humorously engaged her audience with an on-screen “slurp meter”, with funny sound effects matched to the current noodle slurp level.
Twitch and gamer influence marketing. The Future.
The growth in these areas continues to amaze analysts, year after year. At a time when cable TV engagement is flagging, standard sports viewership is dropping, and, in general standard “business-as-usual” marketing practices are losing relevance, marketers need to reexamine how they’re reaching their desired audience.
We already know social media is an area our clients should be focusing on, and eSports marketing, particularly focused on Twitch influencers, fuses social media with traditional sports sponsorships, video advertising, brand awareness campaigns and direct consumer engagement.
Imagine having a leading Twitch influencer talking directly to their sizeable audience about your brand, giving away free samples, convincing people to visit your site and getting people excited about some new product you’re releasing.
eSports and Twitch marketing is trust marketing. People trust their favorite Twitch influencers. If we can help you get those people talking about your brand, consumers will assume that your message is trustworthy, simply because of the trust they already have for the messenger.
Let us help you develop a strategy for taking full advantage of the amazing opportunities available to bold marketers ready to take a leap into the unfamiliar. You may not be comfortable in the eSports, Twitch influencer marketing space, but we are. We will be your teammate, forging you a strong, lasting, and lucrative spot in the explosive world of eSports marketing. Give us a call or drop us an email today and we’ll get you started down the path towards eSports dominance.