Sahail Ashraf posted on 21 November 2016
We all know that social media has its share of juggernauts, of big names. Even someone completely detached from the industry knows what Facebook is, or Twitter. And as the last few years have shown us, for a newcomer to have an impact it often has to be considerably disruptive (like Snapchat) or incredibly slick (Instagram).
Now and then though, that same industry throws a huge curveball, delivering a surprise that knocks us all back. Right now, there’s a social platform that no one would bet on. But it’s gaining in popularity, and it has some very dedicated users.
Twitch is a gaming social media platform. It is for gamers, people who invest a lot of time in playing video games. The platform exists, so that same group of people are able to watch other gamers play. The concept must have sounded a little weird when the platform was finding its feet, but it was, and is a success.
Twitch has a huge audience, and an audience that is incredibly focused on the content that streams through at lightning speed. So that audience is basically foaming at the mouth for the content the platform delivers. And the audience is predominately male too, and in the 18-49 age bracket. So far, so gamer.
If that audience sounds like one you need to speak to, or one your client needs to be in front of, now could be the time to get focused on Twitch. We would go so far as to say that if the 18-49 male market is yours, you’re being handed an incredibly captive audience on a plate. You just need to advertise on that plate now. In a creative way, of course.
Snickers is perhaps the very best example of a brand that has taken advantage of the very specific audience on Twitch. Not all Snickers bar eaters are 18-49 year old males, but gamers do snack during gaming sessions. And they are generally most responsive to fun, disruptive marketing. The eye-popping stuff that melds seamlessly into their cartoonish video games.
The ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign from Snickers focused on the idea that hunger simply stopped you from performing at your best. Enter some of the top celebrity gamers on Twitch, recruited by Snickers to literally transform (through the magic of snazzy special effects) during their stream. They returned to their normal selves after eating a Snickers bar on the screen.
Netflix also got in on the act by getting some of the top gamers on Twitch to play from the set of one of the new shows the broadcaster created. It allowed Netflix to show a few minutes of the new show at the end of the stream.
These two brands are strong examples, but perhaps indicators too, of how the platform is still very much in the early stages of growth in regards to marketing. Not everyone has the budget of a Netflix.
The simplest way to get involved with advertising and marketing on Twitch is by using the pre-roll functionality. You will understand what pre-roll advertising is if you think of those videos you see on YouTube, where a short ad runs before the main video and you have a chance to either watch the ad to the end or go straight to the main video after five seconds. Twitch has this functionality, and it is quite easy to set up an ad here for any brand.
Using pre roll ads is great, as long as you are able to create an ad that is disruptive enough to ensure that the Twitch audience stops and engages. This is never as simple as it sounds, and is generally a question of having a quality creative team.
There are also mid roll options. But as we all know, disrupting in a good way does require a lot of skill and experience. And chances are, if you’re a social media agency, you’re not looking at simple advertising as the way forward for your client.
The ‘way forward’ is all about using marketing campaigns that have that special sauce, that something extra that ensures your brand or your client gets noticed and engaged with. We reckon that if your target audience is on Twitch (and we have to add here that it is not all male gamers from 18-49 years old by the way), then a combination of pre roll and high quality campaigns such as the one that Snickers created will get results.
But focus on the Twitchers themselves, the celebrities. Because if anything, Twitch is the most ‘influencer led’ platform out there. Forget Twitter or Instagram. Twitch is practically run by influencers. It’s the perfect influencer platform, in fact.
Bear in mind that the two examples of successful marketing campaigns highlighted in this piece (Snickers and Netflix) were both not about pre roll or mid roll work. Instead, they were about creativity, and tapping into the influencers.
It’s proof that influencer marketing is not dying. It also means that there is a platform here that, with the right approach of pre roll and influencer work, will provide brands with a huge amount of engagement. If this is your audience, strike while the iron is hot.
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