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Streaming kings - The growing power of influencer marketing on Twitch

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Matt Woods, CEO and founder of influencer marketing agency AFK Digital explains the power, potential and reach of influencer marketing on Twitch.

Twitch is known as a live-streaming platform for gamers, however its growth over the last number of years means this couldn’t be further from the truth anymore. Twitch provides an outlet for creatives from all backgrounds, in turn attracting more and more brands who want to invest in influencer marketing.

It's a lifestyle now

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When speaking to people about Twitch, I am often surprised by people’s perception of the platform; yes, gaming is a huge part of the offering but there is so much more to it. It will therefore come as a surprise to many people that American Eagle, the lifestyle clothing brand, is Twitch's newest official marketing partner. As part of this partnership, American Eagle is creating a five-part docuseries in which the featured creators wear the clothing of Twitch’s official apparel partner.

You might be wondering why American Eagle has chosen Twitch as their official partner? I will give my best to explain this. We all know how much the pandemic impacted our consumption behaviour; spending many hours at home means that live-streaming platforms experienced a massive growth in the past two years. The live-streaming platform exploded, with an 82% increase in the amount of hours people spent watching in the first year of the pandemic.

Today, more than 30 million visitors click through the portal’s versatile channels every single day and over seven million creators live stream every month (Twitch, 2022). As mentioned, Twitch is no longer just about gaming; so-called IRL (In Real Life) channels now also cover cooking, music, food and fitness.

Following the takeover by Amazon in 2014, the lifestyle section has gradually developed further to include shopping channels. This marks a huge transformation from 2011 when Twitch was originally an offshoot of the Justin.tv streaming platform for e-sports broadcasts.

This explains how American Eagle’s new Twitch sponsorship is a tactical move beyond the well-known social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube to reach new, youthful audiences.

The creators who are featured in the docuseries will help the retail brand create a limited-edition clothing line and the creators are also asked to put together outfits using American Eagle’s existing clothing items. And it doesn’t stop there, the release date of each creator’s docuseries marks the day the limited-edition clothing line will be purchasable in the American Eagle shops.

The partnership between the popular American clothing brand and Twitch is evidently a smart move to focus on a new target market. Seeing Twitch’s recent growth and rise in popularity, it is easy to see why brands are quick to refocus their attention.

Engaged to be engaged

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Twitch also has another advantage: above-average user engagement. The reach and engagement you can achieve with Twitch is a new level for the industry. This has been proved by previous influencers. American YouTube beauty influencer Michelle Phan, for example, introduced her new foundation of her own label EM Cosmetics during a stream on Twitch.

She programmed a bot to add links-to-purchase to the chat, while a commercial for the foundation ran during the breaks in the game. This product launch was reportedly 278% more effective than campaigns on other platforms convincing many other beauty brands of the platform’s potential. Even luxury fashion label Burberry livestreamed a fashion show on the platform.

Another example is male grooming brand Manscaped. The brand wanted to work with gaming influencers to see whether the audience would be receptive to their products. Within our partnership of almost 2 years, we extended Manscaped’s reach to the Twitch community which goes beyond English speaking countries.

In order to find the right type of creators we put together a sourcing team that used our internal discovery software to look for and identify creators that were the right fit for the campaign. As the partnership developed, a team was assigned for day-to-day activation and communication with the client.

This includes collaborating on strategy, identifying charismatic content creators that fit the brand and the campaign, providing creative direction and ensuring they are aligned with the objectives of each campaign. In the process, we developed the activation method through a 30-day test and one-off 1-hour dedicated stream into the hybrid model we use today.

The perks of Twitch

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Many brands are yet to discover the potential of utilising Twitch. If you want to get ahead of the game, here are some key tips and facts on how to approach influencer marketing on Twitch. Let’s first talk about all the perks.

Compared to other social media platforms, the livestreams drive consumers to stay on the platform for significantly longer which gives creators more time to talk about products in-depth.

Twitch also allows for fans to engage directly with the creators. Key, as always, is to find the right influencer to promote your brand, brand values and the product. From experience, this is more important for Twitch than any other social media platform.

The fact that content cannot be pre-recorded but is done in livestreams gives the creator more freedom and more responsibility to promote the brand and product adequately, it also increases authenticity and trust from the consumer. The spontaneity which can bring the product so much closer to the consumer is a double-edged sword so brands must be aware of this when planning.

You also need to be aware that Twitch allows sponsored links with UTM tracking in chat command and timer as well as in Twitch panels. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitch doesn’t use an algorithm to push specific creators’ content.

It’s fair to say Twitch is one of the fastest growing social platforms and one that brands must get to grips with and include in influencer marketing strategies going forward. Over the last number of years, the results and growth of Twitch speaks for itself and puts the platform alongside social media channels including Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter.

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