With a global turnover of US$175.8 billion predicted in 2021, gaming has become by far the most valuable entertainment industry by a long margin. Naturally, the content around gaming has also become one of the largest categories in online entertainment, such as live streams and videos. Twitch, launched in 2011, is a live streaming platform that began as a gaming & eSports site and evolved to hosting more diverse content such as cooking, fitness, music, and other areas of pop culture. This article is expressly a guide on what Twitch is as a platform, an overview of user demographics, its state in Asia, and how to market on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is what happens if your television could speak to you. Imagine a platform where Don Draper could respond to your comments live or a platform that allowed you to interact with Conan O’Brian while he was interviewing a guest. That is what Twitch is – an online platform that broadcasts live content to millions of ‘chatters’ who interact with their favorite content creators. Here are some Twitch global statistics:
- As of today, Twitch has 140 million monthly active users (MAUs).
- League of Legends is the most-watched video game on Twitch, with 42.55 billion view hours.
- Twitch generates US$1.54 billion in annual revenue.
- A total of 9.2 million Twitch streamers are currently active.
- On average, Twitch has 7.4 million streamers that upload content every month.
- Twitch has received over 1.14 trillion minutes of video views – which is 1.86 billion hours every month.
Why market on Twitch?
As a result of the pandemic in 2020, the Amazon-owned platform has seen a surge in viewership. It also boosts fan appetites for Twitch-owned and runs esports programming such as Twitch Rivals. Twitch’s value as a platform is derived from the interaction and engagement between the audience and the creator – it is what sets it apart – and as a result, we can see that:
- Twitch is ranked 37th in the world for overall internet engagement in 2021.
- 58% of Twitch viewers are likely to buy a brand that a streamer has recommended.
- With the decline of traditional television, live streaming platforms such as Twitch are beginning to replace standard live and recorded entertainment in the same way YouTube has.
- Twitch’s non-gaming content has quadrupled in the last three years.
Twitch is tailor-built to cultivate tight-knit communities, which drive up the engagement rates to incomparable levels. While the overall reach may be less than Facebook or YouTube, the quality of the engagement and viewer retention for your ads will be far higher than those other platforms.
The state of Twitch in Asia:
Did you know that there are four Asian countries that are among the top 10 largest gaming markets: China, Japan, South Korea & India. Despite being blocked in China, Twitch is emerging as the cultural center of gaming in the Asia Pacific. This year, it has already hosted Rivals events in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, and it will continue to grow with both local and international content. Additionally, Twitch has made a big shift in their business model earlier this year by adjusting global prices for subscriptions on their platform, including APAC markets, especially in Southeast Asia. As subscriptions become more affordable, viewers will support creators and grow their favorite creators’ communities.
- Japan, in rank three, continues to be an exceptional market for video games. Its revenues are expected to reach $24 billion in 2025, four times that of South Korea or India.
- In APAC, 86% of Twitch viewers are receptive to online ads.
- In 2021 June, the total number of active broadcasters in Asia-Pacific doubled from a year ago.
Twitch is gaining traction in Asia, with South Korea being one of the top five countries worldwide with the highest viewership. Twitch faces competition from regional and local live streaming players, as well as global competitors such as Facebook and YouTube. Yet, Twitch remains a popular outlet for gaming-related live streams and the Asia-Pacific market is predicted to generate more than $78 billion in-game revenue this year.
Who is on Twitch?
The unique nature of Twitch means the community and culture are quite particular. Despite Just Chatting, a non-gaming category, now being the most popular category on Twitch, gaming is a part of the DNA of Twitch. Asia-Pacific is made up of dynamic communities, especially gaming communities. Twitch’s ability to cultivate the most sought-after viewers in the modern age makes the platform ideal for brands to activate marketing in Asia.
73% of users are between 16-34. The majority of its users are either gamers or are gaming-adjacent in terms of their interests. That is likely how they found the site to begin with, though they can branch out after joining Twitch. Furthermore, while most users are male, the percentage of female users grows year on year in tandem with Twitch’s growth. In fact, some Asian countries like Thailand show almost 50/50 splits between male and female users.
Though the users may primarily be gamers, the most-watched categories now are no longer gaming ones. Variety/just chatting content is the booming category, which means anything outside of gaming, such as cooking, sport, music, and live shows.
How does Twitch work?
Twitch chat box appears on the right side of the screen. It is usually referred to as a single entity by the streamer and chat itself. Chat is where a lot of content and most of the real-time interaction happens. Audiences can subscribe to their favorite streamers to support them and be rewarded with special emotes and badges. Subscriptions cost anywhere between 5 USD to 25 USD a month.
From left to right along the bottom of the video section: the streamer’s name, the follow button, the viewer count (in red), and the subscribe button.
The streamer’s about section appears below the video. It is where you will find the streamer’s socials, sponsors, and typically their business email. Viewers can also donate to their favorite streamer here, which will usually show up on the stream itself with an accompanying message. Some streams even have text to speech of said donations which forms a part of the stream’s content.
This is another example of an about section with the different social media platforms the streamer is active on.
What solutions are available to me on Twitch?
So what are the next steps? Say you have a relevant product for the audience on Twitch in Asia, how do you market it? There are two routes you can take:
- Work directly with Twitch and advertise in-platform, or
- Work directly with a streamer (though they are not mutually exclusive).
The first and most obvious avenue is working directly with Twitch, which opens you to the brand solution: ‘Twitch Premium Video’. This is essential to any collaboration with Twitch themselves. It is a requirement for brands to commit to Twitch premium video before using other Twitch brand solutions. There are two Twitch video ads categories: pre-roll ads or mid-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are 30 seconds long, and mid-roll ads can be up to 60 seconds long. All ads on Twitch are un-skippable, and all ads, excluding pre-roll ads, are run at the behest of the creator.
Comparatively, Twitch has a much lower ad per minutes of video ratio than YouTube, for example – much lower in fact. However, the trade-off is much, much higher engagement and information retention levels than the other platforms. Therefore, if you want to convey a specific message or key piece of information to your audience, then Twitch is the perfect platform. Furthermore, having a relationship with Twitch opens up more tailor-made product solutions, like streamer partnerships and sponsored live Twitch events.
Alternatively, you can work directly with a streamer to activate a campaign and promote a product. Most streamers will have a business email in the ‘about’ section of their stream or on one of their social media, most often Twitter. This makes the process of accessing your chosen influencer very simple.
Tip: Weekends are the most active days for streaming. Meanwhile, on Mondays, the average number of viewers for live streams is the lowest.
In the next article, you will learn more about what Twitch has to offer to brands as a marketing tool. We will also share recommendations on how to pick a suitable streamer and some creative advice. Stay tuned!