Twitch: What Livestreaming Games and KFC Teach Us about Influencer Engagement

Twitch’s rapidly growing platform for livestreaming video games is revealing powerful insights into ways to enhance influencer marketing campaigns.
We have seen a lot of press in the last two years about live streaming, with projected growth of almost 20% per year, to over $70 billion by 2021. 

Amazon-owned Twitch is a critical player in the industry. Twitch has 15 million active users each day as of this writing, the majority spending well over an hour on the highly interactive platform watching live streaming video games.

For this reason, we incorporated Twitch into our research on gen-Z and millennial social media behaviors and influencer marketing.  You may dismiss Twitch as a bastion of online gaming culture with little to offer outside those marketing to Fortnite-obsessed young men.  But take a look at the following two charts.  Each shows a different way of looking at heavy social media consumption.

Changing Platform Usage

The graph on the right compares the percentage of millennials to the percentage of gen-Zs accessing the thirteen different platforms we surveyed.  A substantial percentage of each generation accesses a distinct “trinity” of platforms.

But when you chart the same platforms on the duration of time spent, you see a very different picture.  Given its sheer scale, it’s no surprise to see YouTube jumps out. But so does Twitch, and far more than the usual suspects from the previous chart.  It’s roughly even for each generation.

First, forget simplistic reports about gen-Z’s shortening attention span.  It’s clear that young people have no problem sustaining long-term interest in what they find interesting.

Second, we need to understand why this kind of long-form content is so appealing.  We took a closer look at what makes for compelling livestream content on Twitch.  We found one feature that confirms our research into what makes influencers most effective, and that was engagement.  Engagement can be complicated to measure, but defined generally as the percentage of a post that all the followers of the influencer have commented on or liked.

The Power of Livestreaming

What makes livestreaming platforms so powerful is that they allow followers and streamers to significantly amplify engagement behavior with a live feedback loop, and in ways that can directly drive purchase behavior.

For example, in March this year, KFC teamed up with Twitch to reward fans of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with a chance to win a free chicken dinner in livestream chat when they recognize a streamer for winning a game by clicking on a KFC bucket emote.  Viewers could win a free meal while watching a game.

And KFC is not the only mainstream brand to exploit the interactive power of livestream. So too are Kelloggs, Old Spice, Duracell and Gillette.  It’s no wonder Amazon, Twitch’s parent company, is looking at ways to derive more revenue from ads.

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