Engaging your fans and why you should consider Twitch

Engaging your fans and why you should consider Twitch

Credit: Phounius, Unsplash

A key thing to consider when your organisation reaches out is which marketing channels you use to ensure you hit the right audience with the right messages. Your approach should be based on what you want your interaction with the receiving audience to achieve:

⦁ Engagement versus promotion

⦁ building brand awareness

⦁ develop lead generation

⦁ drive the purchase of your goods or services

One platform which is increasing in importance is Twitch, a social media platform that specialises in live streaming and gaming. Beyond the gaming sector, more traditional brands and rights holders are increasingly using Twitch for sponsoring or staging live events; its chat functionality being used for discussions, asking questions, and interacting with the streamer’s community. It also allows for gamification to be included in a campaign as well as being used for branded content or paid advertising.

Let’s take a look at Twitch in more detail and see how you could incorporate it into your marketing campaigns, something that IPSEM Squared can help you maximise the effectiveness of.

What is Twitch and why it is so popular?

Launched in June 2011 as a subsidiary of the general interest streaming platform, Justin.tv, Twitch’s initial focus was on video games, but it has since broadened its scope to include streams of artwork creation, music, talk shows, comedy, and more. It is increasingly being used by sports brands and their sponsors to engage with their communities.

Twitch has gained immense popularity for several reasons:

⦁ Ease of Access: Twitch is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Whether you’re a viewer or a streamer, getting started on Twitch is simple.

⦁ Interactive Entertainment: Twitch enhances the user experience by making it interactive. Audiences can interact in real time, which personalises the experience and makes them feel more connected.

⦁ Economic Opportunities: For content owners, Twitch provides economic/monetary opportunities through subscriptions, donations, and advertising revenue.

⦁ Community Building: Twitch enables users to become part of communities with shared interests. These communities often revolve around specific games or topics.

⦁ Educational Value: Twitch serves as an excellent learning platform. Viewers can watch skilled gamers in action and learn strategies and tips to enhance their own gameplay.

⦁ Diverse Content: Although Twitch started with a focus on video games, it now hosts a diverse range of content, including sports, creative arts, music, talk shows, and more. This diversity appeals to a wide audience.

Why Twitch is an excellent platform for sports fans’ engagement activities

One of the key features that makes Twitch stand out is its real-time interaction. Fans can watch their favourite sports events live and interact with other viewers through the chat feature. This fosters a sense of camaraderie among viewers, thereby enriching the overall spectator experience.

Moreover, Twitch boasts an extensive audience reach. With an average of 175 million daily viewers and 1.5 million concurrent viewers at any given time, it provides a vast platform for the sports industry to connect with a diverse audience.

In terms of content delivery, Twitch offers remarkable flexibility. Sports organisations can stream live games, host Q&A sessions with athletes, or broadcast behind-the-scenes content, providing fans with a more immersive experience.

Finally, Twitch has a predominantly young user base with more than 70% of the audience under the age of 35. This is a key factor for traditional sports entities as they strive to connect with this demographic who represent the future supporters and participants of their sport. Early engagement with this audience can foster enduring loyalty and passion for a specific sport or team.

Examples of sports fan engagement on Twitch

1. NBA G League
Credit: NBA

In 2017, the NBA G League started broadcasting games on Twitch, marking the first time a major sports league had partnered with the platform.

During these broadcasts, viewers use the chat feature to discuss the game in real-time. They also use special interactive features such as loyalty points and virtual goods to engage with the stream.

Moreover, some broadcasts feature co-streamers - popular Twitch personalities who provide their own commentary on the game. This adds an extra layer of entertainment and attracts a wider audience to the stream.

2. Amazon’s Premier League coverage

In 2020, the Premier League had just lifted its coronavirus-enforced suspension, bringing relief to fans, despite their being shut out from venues. Amazon came into focus as it simulcast four of the Premier Leagues’ remaining 2019/20 fixtures via its Twitch streaming platform, as part of an extension to their existing UK rights deal.

This approached allowed fans to interact with each other during the game in real-time, creating a new level of engagement, as they discuss the game, react to events, and feel more connected to the sport.

3. Football teams and Twitch

In 2020, Twitch announced a collaboration with four popular soccer clubs: Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain (some of whom are also actively involved in supporting esports initiatives).

These teams have used Twitch’s live streaming feature to provide fans with real-time coverage of games, with popular streamers providing commentary. This not only allows fans to feel like they’re part of the action but also provides an opportunity for interaction and engagement in a new and exciting way.,

All the clubs utilised the platform to expand their live content, with Twitch collaborating with the clubs to produce behind-the-scenes content. The deals also have the scope to be expanded to broadcast live youth and first-team friendly matches along with club press conferences on the platform. This has helped the teams to reach out to younger audiences which populate Twitch (its strong under 35 base) and who may not be as present on other social media platforms.

4. Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Season
Credit: Jed Jacobsohn, Athletes Unlimited

Starting in February 2021, 44 of the best volleyball players on the planet — including Team USA captain Jordan Larson, top-ranked Brazilian superstar Sheilla Castro and world-class Dominican standout Bethania de la Cruz competed in an innovative, athlete-centred season for four weeks in Dallas.

in addition to the league's partnerships with CBS Sports Network and FOX Sports, eight of the league's 30 games were streamed for free on Twitch. In these streams, fans were able to enjoy a unique viewing experience featuring social posts, live polls, bench mics, and camera angles that take spectators onto the court.

The Future of Sports Fan Engagement

With its interactive features and growing popularity, particularly amongst younger demographics, Twitch is set to play a significant role in the future of sports fan engagement. As more sports leagues and teams recognise the potential of live streaming platforms, we can expect to see even more innovative ways to engage fans in real-time.

Engaging audiences using Twitch

So, whether you’re a sports fan looking for a new way to engage with your favourite team or sports organisation or brand seeking to expand your reach, Twitch offers exciting opportunities for real-time interaction and community building as well as reaching younger generations.

Remember that engagement comes in all varieties on the platform (donations, merchandise, exclusive content, etc) and not all engagement is equal. Tuning in and commenting on a feed of some of your content may be very different to having your audience pay to watch exclusive elements of your most valuable content.

A few tips for to consider when implementing your content strategy:

⦁ Understand your channel metrics. 500k followers is an impressive statistic but, if your active engagement is 200k you need to consider how to increase your campaign’s effectiveness.

⦁ Ensure that your engagement tactics, whether awareness or monetisation, are focused on the right audiences and the right channels. Should you be using a brand channel or an influencer channel?

⦁ As always, content is key. Twitch may allow you to utilise influencers to help promote your channel, but without the right content, engagement will be low, or fleeting.  

⦁ Any channel, be it Twitch or another, should be used as part of a larger multi or omni-channel campaign, e.g. social, email, direct marketing, to create a marketing mix which has the best impact.

⦁ Remember that while the Twitch platform is mature, its audience is still evolving so it may not be suitable for all of your channel activity.

To get the most out of all your marketing activities, it’s best to speak to the experts. Get in touch with us today to discover how your campaign, including Twitch, can be structured for maximum effectiveness.

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