What Twitch users really want from a brand campaign
The Drum catches up with Adam Harris, global head of Twitch’s brand partnership studio, who shares advice on creating award-winning work on the platform, following the success of its #SpicyDebate campaign at The Drum Awards 2022.
Twitch and McDonald's Singapore won at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC for #TheSpicyDebate
A month after it spun off from general interest streaming platform Justin.tv in 2011, Twitch was attracting 3.2 million users. 12 years later (and eight years since it was bought by Amazon), it has grown to over 140 million monthly active users, trouncing competitors YouTube and Facebook by hosting 91% of all video game streaming.
Adam Harris has been with the brand for almost seven of those years. In the last three, he’s been building and leading a global team that empowers brands to create on the platform. He describes the gaming platform as “TV 3.0”.
“It’s TV for a new generation,” he says. “Generation one was the regular passive-watching experience. TV 2.0 was OTT and the ability to utilize technology to watch it on your time. And now TV 3.0 is this live interactivity piece.
“We’re seeing a lot more shows and content being developed where it is a two-way conversation. [The content] doesn’t have to necessarily be polished and that’s what we’ve learned from social media. It can be quite rough and ready.”
10 years ago, it was brands such as Monster, Logitech, Intel and Super Noodles that were leading the way in inking lucrative sponsorship deals with gamers. Recently, however, mega brands including Porsche and McDonald’s have entered the streaming space and Twitch Brand Studios is using its clout to help these advertisers reach a new cohort of gamers in interesting ways.
DoorDash Australia approached Twitch in 2021 to find a way it could drive awareness and increase consideration of its range of on-demand delivery options beyond just a food delivery service. The resulting campaign went on to win at The Drum Awards for Content 2022.
Twitch and DoorDash told the brand’s story from the perspective of ’Player One’. They transformed Aussie Twitch streamer PlayitShady and a DoorDasher called Jake into video game characters and followed their journey in two custom commercials that looked and felt like an action arcade game. A series of animation disruptions were also created that would enter the stream at random, including an ibis dropping flowers from the sky, Shady’s cat on a robot vacuum and DoorDasher Jake driving across the screen to collect a power-up.
The campaign clocked over 2,000 live chat mentions of DoorDash and Harris says it is a clear example of how audiences are no longer satisfied with one-way ’push’ experiences. “Let them play a part in the brand. Let them roll around and have a bit of fun.
“That’s a new skill set that a lot of brands will find hard to come around to but, as with anything in the information age, it is more decentralized and more inclusive than it has ever been. Brands need to be far more inclusive in their approach to working with communities.”
For Harris, a key message to advertisers is that the Twitch community is not necessarily driven by products and promotions – they want brands on the platform that represent what they believe in enough for them to support it.
L’Oreal brand Maybelline took this point on board when launching its new mascara, the Colossal Curl Bounce. Twitch presented the brand with an original opportunity to not only engage popular streamer Fasffy for a dedicated make-up stream, but also to create an interactive community experience where viewers could choose every part of their look, from the colors to the style, using Twitch’s poll feature. A custom chatbot was also created to allow viewers to click through directly to purchase the mascara.
With almost 85,000 minutes watched, an 86% video completion rate and 100% of products sold out on the stream, the campaign won at The Drum Awards for Content in the Most Innovative Use of New Social Platforms category.
The biggest challenge for brands
While measurement on the platform is becoming far more sophisticated, with live content the metrics by which marketers measure success are shifting. It’s not as simple as follower count or views quantity that reflects value any more, says Harris.
“What we’ve got is a legacy of metrics that are associated with the legacy social media platforms such as follower count. In a live environment, the follower count is irrelevant. It’s more about engagement and viewing it as a single moment in time.
“Those metrics need to be created because the old metrics don’t measure what the new audiences are actually doing in these environments. At the moment, we have a hybrid model where we’re working with the likes of Nielsen and ComScore to establish brand studies that can measure sentiment, engagement and things that are the crux of what you get out of doing a live activation.”
Twitch is taking the necessary steps to produce metrics that will bring more value for brands, which includes building an insights team to further develop new approaches.
“It’s meme culture. And a lot of it is tacit behaviors that can’t be picked up through a questionnaire or a brand study. We want to move to a far more sophisticated model with technology solutions that measure sentiment tracking and engagement. Traditional brand studies don’t measure the full capabilities of what you’re actually achieving with this audience.”
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