How to use Twitch to grow your brand

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After managing hundreds of influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch for dozens of influencers, one thing is clear: many brands don't know how to activate influencers on Twitch. Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok are better understood and utilized by brands. These go-to platforms provide your brand the coveted opportunity to review content before it is published. Posts on these platforms have a longer shelf life, and greater potential to reach a large number of impressions over the life of a campaign. Something that cannot be done in the live environment on Twitch. These items, coupled with the fact that Twitch provides very little data about a streamer's audience makeup (only viewer location is disclosed), and it's no wonder many Twitch campaigns fall flat.

So why does anyone invest in a Twitch campaign? Put simply, live content has so much potential to reach a highly engaged audience. Unlike Instagram or TikTok fans that are scrolling furiously through a feed of endless content, Twitch viewers lock their attention on their streamer of choice. It's this focused and highly engaged audience that gives Twitch an edge in influencer marketing. Twitch is also home to the hard-to-reach young male demographic. It's a goldmine of highly engaged Millennial and Gen-Z men.

Twitch has a viewer monetization culture that centers on unlocking "emotes" for paid subscriptions and tipping your favorite streamers. Twitch streams are completely free to watch, but viewers will spend the equivalent of half a month's Netflix subscription on a single streamer's channel, just because they want to support the creator. Monetization on other major social platforms pales in comparison. Twitch has created a culture where viewers are encouraged to spend on the creators that they watch. It's a natural extension for these viewers to spend on the brands these creators work with.

Twitch excels at providing a wide range of passive and active integration options for your brand. Unlike other platforms, integrations don't stop at verbal calls-to-action, overlays, and underlays. On Twitch, automated "chatbots" allow the streamer to configure text to appear in the live Twitch chat when a viewer enters the corresponding chatbot command (or on a set timer). Over the course of a long stream, a short and catchy chatbot command can generate loads of impressions, clicks, and conversions. There's nothing like it on any other social platform.

Unlike post-driven platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, streamers captivate their audience over long streams, typically several hours at a time. In fact, most full-time Twitch streamers are live anywhere from 80 to 120+ hours per month. This long-form content allows a brand to reach its target audience multiple times over a stream. And since the integrations are so tightly woven into the video player and streamer's live chat room, it's nearly impossible for a dedicated viewer to "skip" sponsored content.

No platform does event-based influencer marketing campaigns than Twitch. Twitch's rise to popularity was accelerated by eSports tournaments, and it still holds some of the biggest events around. Some of the biggest impact (and fun!) campaigns I've worked on are gaming tournaments sponsored by a brand or gaming publisher. Events are fun, generate a lot of buzz, and are guaranteed to capture the attention of a large audience. You can even partner with a 501(c) charitable organization and meet your company's corporate social responsibility objectives through a Twitch fundraising event! Twitch creators raise millions of dollars a year for charity through their channels. Even modestly sized Twitch channels can raise thousands of dollars in a short period of time through their generous audiences.

As with any platform, the number one predictor of campaign success is picking the right creators. No matter the platform you choose for your brand, if you pick the wrong content creator, or audience, your campaign will fail. Make sure your team or agency vets the creators. A simple scan through their Twitter timeline or a couple minutes in their live chat on Twitch reveals much about the creator and their audience. Before you blame the platform, make sure you've selected the right creators. At GG Talent Group, we believe in the value of a diversified influencer marketing portfolio. Instead of putting 95% of your budget into one or two mega creators, spread those dollars around multiple macro and micro creators. It requires more vetting, but it minimizes your losses on poor performing creators. It also helps you discover new creators that might just be your brand's new favorite ambassador!

About the Author. Eric Harper is the CEO of GG Talent Group, a full-service talent management agency for gaming and music content creators on Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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