Over the last year, live-streaming and virtual interaction on platforms such as Twitch have become an integral part for millions around the world. There has been a significant increase in the consumption of online media among all age groups.
The livestreaming sector witnessed a growth of 45% between March and April. From cooking to home workouts to virtual concerts, live-streamed content and the platforms associated with it have established themselves as a culturally important space within the mainstream. For generation Z this form of virtual interaction and entertainment isn’t an alternative, but it is viewed as a vibrant and engaging environment through which they can further enhance their interaction with their favourite streamer, athlete, or brand. Amazon owned Twitch grew and benefited the most during 2020. The daily visitors on the platform increased from 17 million to 27 million with an increase in retention as well since the beginning of 2020. Furthermore, there was an increase of 69% in the average concurrent viewers and minutes watched (over 2 million avg. concurrent viewers and over 1000 billion minutes watched) compared to 2019.
The Audience and how can brands engage with them
The platform is home to a relatively young audience with more than 73% of its users being under 34 and over 60% being between the 13-24 age demographic. The regular viewer on Twitch spends 90 minutes a day on the platform. Furthermore, 62% of the viewers engage with streamers on a daily basis and 64% purchase products recommended by them. The audience on the platform don’t come on the platform to just sit and watch, they come to interact. The Twitch chat acts as the home for this interaction between the streamer and the viewers. Every Twitch chat has its own ecosystem which consists of inside jokes, lingo, emotes, rules and guidelines which are unique to that channel. The generation Z audience want to consume content on their own terms and prefer to be a part of the experience rather than consuming the content in a passive manner. The platform’s features like the chat, channel points, predictions and raids allow for an authentic interaction where the viewers feel a part of the community and experience. This results in the viewers being able to find their tribe and continue to engage on the platform for a relatively longer time.
Twitch is home to a hard to reach audience with more than 40% barely even watching traditional TV. The key for brands is to think about interaction when it comes to working with influencers and how their campaign fits the ecosystem of that channel. Brands need to ensure the campaign fits in and doesn’t disturb the equilibrium that exists. Doug Scott, CMO of Twitch stated, “we have traditional video ad options, but the real power is in building more custom campaigns and acknowledging what makes the community unique”. Earlier in the year, Uber Eats partnered up with streamers Miniminter and Manny where the streamers played FIFA Pro Clubs with their viewers against each other and also raided other smaller streamers on the platform. This creator led and community powered #bringit campaign perfectly fit the ecosystem of both the channels which allowed for a great interaction and an authentic experience for the viewers.
How does sport fit into the Twitch dynamic?
The pandemic saw athletes across different sports embrace the platform and provide fans a sports replacement through playing a number of different games. The streams allowed for fans to connect with their favourite athletes in a more interactive and unfiltered manner. One of the best examples of this was seen within the F1 community which saw a number of young drivers stream on the platform. This also led to the formation of the ‘Twitch quartet’, a term coined for Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and George Russell who streamed a wide variety of games together. This provided the perfect base for the Virtual Grand Prix series hosted by F1 which saw a number of drivers and athletes from other sports compete against each other on the F1 2019 game. The series generated over 94 million video views of which 22 million were on live streams. Furthermore, the funniest moments and memes created as a result of these livestreams allowed for engaging content across F1’s different social channels. The Virtual Grand Prix series highlighted the power of athlete driven content. The success of this also indicated the adjacency between fans of F1 or sport in general and the audience on Twitch. The audience on the platform isn’t just a gaming audience but it’s an audience that has multiple interests which can include gaming. Twitch acts as the perfect platform to facilitate the interaction between the crossover that exists between the gaming and sports audience. This is where sports brands can work with streamers or athletes and use the uniqueness of the platform to engage with the generation Z audience and create a long-term connection.
Twitch launched its standalone sports category in July 2020 which will see a number of different sporting events/content being streamed on the platform. It also announced collaboration with four major football clubs (Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and Arsenal) to provide exclusive content on Twitch. A number of other clubs since then have launched their own Twitch channels. The key for sports properties to maximise the potential of the platform is to create an ecosystem through the content, chat, channel points, emotes and predictions that allows for an authentic experience and a community feeling. The more these channels are able to generate organic interaction that fits the Twitch mould the more percentage of the audience will be able to connect with the club.
All in all, Twitch provides sports brands and properties with the perfect ingredients to reach and engage with the generation Z audience. Feel free to get in touch if you want to give any feedback or further discuss the topic.