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Twitch Purpose Brand Purpose

Livestreaming’s authentic interactivity connects brands with purpose-focused audiences

By Ian Darby, journalist

December 16, 2022 | 7 min read

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In the fifth and final part of our ‘Generation Twitch’ series, we look at how brands can benefit from connecting with gaming culture that is increasingly purposeful and engaged with the world around it.

The focus on purpose is intensifying within the gaming world too

The focus on purpose is intensifying within the gaming world too

The pace of change is relentless. Evolving technology, together with the rise and democratization of media and education, have brought many complex societal issues to the fore. As a result, today’s emerging audiences expect brands to stand for something, and to make an effort to match their own values.

That’s highlighted in recent evidence, from UK agency body the IPA, concerning the effectiveness of purpose-led advertising. Research shows that 50% of “strong purpose” cases achieved “very large customer acquisition effects”, versus just 30% of non-purpose cases. It also demonstrates that 41% of strong purpose cases drove “very large market share growth”, versus 26% of non-purpose cases. This was also reflected at Cannes Lions 2022, where 28 of the 32 Grand Prix awards given out touched on purpose or sustainability in one way or another.

This focus on purpose is intensifying within the gaming world too. The old stereotypes that video games are a frivolous way to kill time are being shattered. Increasingly, large swathes of the population understand the positive impact that gaming and streaming can deliver, from growing awareness of climate change through to facilitating inclusion.

For example, in March 2022, Twitch streamers collaborated in a bid to catch one million Pokémon to raise funds for a children's cancer charity. They were able to participate through the use of a Twitch-integrated app, which recorded the live-streamed capture of characters in any Pokémon game and added these to the total.

To make raising money for good causes easy and transparent, Twitch has launched a charity tool that provides a built-in fundraising stream feature. This allows streamers to set up and run a stream for charity in just a few clicks.

The charity tool builds on the positive impact that livestreaming has as emerging generations strive to make positive changes, and it’s never been more important that brands embrace this in their digital marketing activity.

That’s emphasized in the recent Generation Twitch research. This is an audience that has only ever known a digital world, has always been connected, and who are taking center stage. ‘Generation Twitch’ embraces gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) and those most swayed by their influence, namely millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and, soon to come of age, generation alpha (post-2012).

The research identifies an important emerging behavior among younger audiences that involves a shift from “disengaged to purposeful” experiences. This follows four trends in the report identified previously, ”curated to authentic”, ”fixed to fluid”, “exclusive to inclusive”, and “passive to collaborative”.

Gamers want to be part of something bigger

A central finding from the research is that 74% of viewers agree that Twitch is a supportive community, providing a positive and receptive environment for branded experiences that offer a stronger sense of purpose.

Adam Harris, global head of brand partnerships studio at Twitch, says that ‘Generation Twitch’ puts a great deal of thought into what they consume, and “won't necessarily grab the lowest item on the shelf or the most popular brands seen on ads. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and are looking to brands for fulfilling, sustainable and purpose-driven causes.”

The high level of authenticity offered by Twitch can support advertisers in meeting this demand. For instance, one Twitch viewer says: “The content on Twitch is more authentic. Creators have greater freedom to say, and do, what they want, they are more themselves than on other platforms where they have to cultivate a persona. On Twitch people are more real.”

Therefore, it’s vital for brands to be authentic in their own digital presence to meet these expectations. Harris adds: “Today's audiences expect a brand to not just virtue signal but authentically stand for something, and it’s important that their values match. This cultural shift is evident in the gaming world too, with more of the wider population coming to understand that game streaming can have.”

One route that advertisers can take to achieve this level of authenticity is through building audience engagement by collaborating with streamers who share the same sense of purpose.

The strong potential for this collaboration is demonstrated with the annual ZEvent in France, which sees French streamers joining forces. In 2022, the initiative raised a record breaking €10 million for non-profit organizations committed to defending the environment and the climate.

Drive positive change with live interactive experiences

This type of initiative harnesses the behavior of Twitch’s audience of young adults which has a natural propensity to donate via technology to their favorite streamers and causes. Online communities make a big effort to drive positive change, and the live experience and high levels of interactivity offered by services such as Twitch provide genuine support for this.

As one Twitch viewer says: “I believe that people love Twitch due to how interactive it is, and how easy it is to get started. You can interact with the streamer with donations, subscribing, chatting, and extensions that let you click on your screen.”

This level of interaction is shown each year in Germany, where elite Twitch gamers get together to encourage donations for good causes through Friendly Fire, a 12-hour stream that combines gaming with a range of fun activities.

Brands who play a part in this type of event, by gifting subscriptions for example, are looked on favorably for their support of streamers and the community as a whole.

It’s clear that the open and interactive nature of livestreaming services are having a positive impact as emerging generations attempt to drive societal change. This is great news for brands too as long as they understand the motivations of these audiences, and build connections by collaborating with causes and communities that share the same sense of purpose.

For more insights on Generation Twitch, download Twitch’s ‘Generation Twitch: Leading Cultural Change – Advertising in an Emerging World’ report.

Twitch Purpose Brand Purpose

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