Sales & Marketing Tech

Why Your Ecommerce Business Should Care About Twitch Advertising

By | 8 min read | Published

If you’re not advertising on Twitch, you’re falling behind. We’ll tell you why and show you where to start.

As a marketer, if Twitch isn’t on your radar, it really, really should be right now.

The audience on Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game live streaming platform, has grown at a record rate. In 2020, average concurrent viewers on Twitch increased by 114% — five times the average growth rate of the previous five years. In September 2021, Twitch had approximately 8.07 million active streamers, and each one of those streamers has an audience of between 1 and 16.6 million followers.

Ecommerce brands who can ship products all over the country or world are in a unique position to leverage Twitch advertising to reach audiences they might not otherwise be able to reach by partnering with content creators who align with their brand and target audience.

We’ll do a deep dive into what Twitch is (and isn’t), talk more about why you should care about Twitch as an ecommerce business, and end by giving you some concrete advice about how best to advertise on Twitch to maximize your marketing budget.

What is Twitch, anyway?

Twitch is a live platform where creators can stream video content directly to their audience as a form of entertainment to monetize their content.

Streamers broadcast live, whether it’s just chatting, opening Pokemon booster packs, playing a video game, or live streaming a walk through a park. A chat box allows a Twitch user to interact with the streamer as well as other Twitch users.

Streams live on the Twitch.tv website via desktop, laptop, and mobile devices with the mobile app. Additionally, Twitch is available on nearly all streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku, as well as many Smart TVs and game consoles.

A screenshot of a Twitch streamer and his chat (Source)

Viewers can support their favorite streamers by “subscribing” to their channel. The viewer pays for an upgraded experience which gives them access to exclusive emotes (custom emojis that are unique to that creator). While the emotes are a plus, many viewers simply like supporting their favorite content creators.

In fact, generous viewers can donate directly or even gift subscriptions to other viewers at random.

Twitch isn’t just a gaming site, though. The site offers four main directories: Games, IRL, Music, and Esports.

If you’re worried about lending your brand to something gaming related, you have anything from live podcasts, stand-up routines, interviews, live music, and more to focus on building brand awareness through engagement.

Why you should care about Twitch

If it wasn’t obvious already, there are a lot of eyes that can see your advertisements on Twitch. A lot of them. According to Twitch’s own data, over 1 trillion minutes of live content was watched, and they had an average of 30 million daily visitors from across the globe each day in 2020.

Further, 70% of Twitch’s audience is between the ages of 16 and 34 which is and always will be an audience marketers are actively trying to engage with.

If you’re having trouble attracting your desired audience through more traditional channels, you should consider Twitch. Especially if you’re interested in attracting males between the ages of 16 and 34 because 67% of Twitch viewers are male.

Another benefit that advertising on Twitch provides over traditional online media platforms is that your business reaches a captive audience in real time—if you opt to partner with a streamer over buying banner ads. At best, a potential customer glances at your banner ad, and at worst they don’t see it at all because of their ad blocker.

With a partnership, you have someone who is advertising and promoting your product to a group of people who enjoy that person enough to spend minutes or hours a week watching them, which means they likely respect what they have to say.

Marketing options on Twitch

Marketing opportunities on Twitch fall into two buckets: video and display advertising, and creator partnerships and sponsorships. Marketers can also create their own branded channels, where they can stream brand content and host brand events.

The platform offers ad units that marketers experienced with YouTube and other video advertising environments will find familiar. Twitch offers unskippable video ads that appear within live broadcasts and above the fold on channel pages. The site also offers display ads that appear at the top of the homepage and on other pages across the site.

Example advertisements on Twitch’s browse page (source)

If your marketing budget isn’t enormous, though, you might be priced out of these options. However, Twitch also offers unique opportunities for smaller brands to dip their toes in with streamer partnerships.

On the partnership side, there are multiple avenues for partnering with creators. Marketers can post sponsorship offers on Twitch’s Bounty Board, where creators can browse and accept branded deals that best fit their audiences. These deals are mediated by Twitch.

Marketers can also pursue more extensive partnerships with creators, such as product collaborations, or sweepstakes. It’s not at all uncommon for brands to provide a partnered streamer with free products they can giveaway to their communities if conditions are met.

 Tip
Track ad revenue by offering discount codes that live on your content creator partner’s stream to see where new purchases are coming from.

You can also pay a streamer to keep a stream display ad on their screen while they stream. They’re usually small and placed around the webcam feed. More popular streamers have a slideshow that will cycle through their various different brand affiliates while they stream.

Brands can also buy advertising space on a streamer’s “About” section, where a link to a product page can be visible.

An example of brand advertising on a streamer’s about section (Source)
 Tip
Use display ads to establish a presence on Twitch within communities you want to target and build partnerships with streamers to form a deeper connection within that community.

Ecommerce brands should focus on partnering with streamers instead of paid ads

Smaller ecommerce brands that don’t have an enormous marketing budget would be better served partnering with content creators who align with their brand. If you’re just dipping your toes into Twitch advertising, start small.

Consider partnering with a smaller streamer who has a modest-sized, engaged audience. Even streamers with a regular audience of 50 viewers are worth engaging with because those 50 viewers trust and interact with that streamer in a much more intimate way than a streamer who has 10,000 viewers.

 Tip
Target specific audiences that are relevant to your brand and effectively engage with them on Twitch either through targeted Twitch ads, influencer endorsements, or banner advertisements.

We mentioned it earlier, but it’s important to reiterate that the Twitch audience can be fiercely loyal to the channels and creators they engage with regularly. Remember, these streamers aren’t simply content creators—they’re influencers, and we all know how important it is to have a handle on influencer marketing these days.

A relevant Twitch influencer who is excited about your brand and happy to share it with their audience carries a lot more weight than a simple banner ad.

It’s also important to remember that effective Twitch streamers are essentially small business owners themselves. They’re there to monetise their Twitch profile, skills, and personality through Twitch, so they’re almost always willing or eager to consider monetization opportunities through affiliate Twitch marketing or channel/stream sponsorships.

 Tip
Take initiative and reach out to creators who might be interested in your brand to try to come up with a partnership that’s mutually beneficial even if that creator doesn’t have a huge following.

Twitch advertising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon

Twitch ads are one of the new frontiers for reaching a young, engaged audience, so it’s important to at least begin thinking about your marketing strategy sooner rather than later.

That said, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to advertising on Twitch. You can, and should, use tried and true marketing techniques. Stick to your best practices, find the right partners, reach the right audience, and deliver the right message at the right time. It’s the same strategy for any other marketing avenue.

With some effort, research, and a little luck, you’ll be seeing great results by marketing your ecommerce brand on Twitch.

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