Marketing Insights

Twitch and Social Media Marketing: Will It Survive?

As social media marketing emerged as a foothold in digital marketing, the persistent question that all brands have had to ask themselves is: what channels are worth investing in? Picking the wrong emerging social media channels means a waste of time and investment– but early investment in the right channel can mean explosive growth and … Continued

As social media marketing emerged as a foothold in digital marketing, the persistent question that all brands have had to ask themselves is: what channels are worth investing in? Picking the wrong emerging social media channels means a waste of time and investment– but early investment in the right channel can mean explosive growth and an engaging new audience. So in 2020 and beyond, what channels can brands invest in safely? This post explores the emerging channel of Twitch and how brands can leverage video marketing in social media to maximize their social media ROI and investments.

Video Marketing Becomes a Staple in Social Media Marketing

Recently, it’s become apparent to most brands that video in social media is here to stay. That said, it’s not always clear which video social media platforms are worth the investment. So what are the signs of a thriving video social media channel? As of this year, key features in successful video marketing include live videos, quality video, length of content, and authenticity. In fact, “if you thought video was important in the past, you haven’t seen anything yet. Video is getting bigger, longer and more authentic with the launch of FB live to all pages and groups,” (Demers, 2020).

Finding a channel that includes all of these trends and features is key to a successful strategy, but it’s not always easy to find. For example, live videos were first introduced in 2008, but didn’t start gaining traction until 2016. Now, “95% of marketers were planning to add live videos to their social media marketing strategies, ” (Barker, 2020).

One such channel that allows for all these features and trends is Twitch. Built on the premise of video marketing, authenticity, and community, this channel checks all of the above boxes. However, those aren’t the only qualities that mark a successful social media channel. The others are covered in the sections below.

Influencer Marketing Continues to Evolve

Influencers are now a major part of every social media network, and understanding how to correctly leverage them for your brand is key. In fact, “Influencer marketing has become popular on social media very quickly. It has even beaten print marketing in terms of popularity on Google Trends. People with thousands of followers can leverage their audiences and collaborate with brands,” (Barker, 2020). So how can you effectively partner with influencers on social networks? The key in maintaining brand and content “authenticity,” providing value to consumers, and partnering with the right influencers.

Twitch enables effective partnerships with micro and macro-influencers through its 1:1 communication channel and focus on fostering connection. The network accomplishes this because all broadcasts and interactions with influencers are live and the social channel’s streamers make use of their ability to hold direct conversations with their audience. “This live aspect creates affordances of closeness between the audience (as individual and collective) and the streamer; this means that the streamer must seek to foster authenticity in various ways to build a close community, ensuring that the relationship with the audience is two-way and reciprocal. Taking on opinions from the audience remains an important part of the process, rather than only seeking to put forward the streamers’ opinions (and therefore influence),” (Woodcock & Johnson, 2019). Based on just this partnership and communication focus, Twitch is well-positioned to become a major channel for social media influencers, and any brands looking to adopt an early social media channel should look for similar qualities.

Personal Connections are Key to the Future of Social Media

Influencers aren’t the only members of emerging social media channels that need to stay authentic and in touch with their consumer base. Emerging social networks (and brands that seek to become early adopters) need to understand the fundamentals of personal connection in order to find long-term success. “Social ecosystems” are one of the keys to what marks the difference between a “trending” social media network and a long-lasting innovation, (Atherton, 2019). Twitch is completely focused on community. “It’s about people, not marketing. Twitch has no algorithms so you see only the notifications that you ask for by following someone. On each person’s channel is a Follow button at the top. After you click that button to follow someone, notifications are turned on by default, which arrives via email or the mobile app if you install it.

With its focus on community, Twitch has some cool community features that YouTube doesn’t have, like clipping and chat rooms,” (Stelzner, 2018). With these community features, Twitch, therefore, innovates on the concept of video-marketing giant Youtube and focuses on what draws in their committed audience.

And Twitch’s innovations don’t end there. “Over the past year, Twitch has seen a significant rise in its ‘Just Chatting’ channels, which see popular streamers interacting with fans, without gaming. Just Chatting streams now rival its biggest gaming categories, while Twitch also signed a deal in June to stream Premier League games in the UK, moving from virtual sports into real matches. And now, Twitch is adding another ‘beyond gaming’ option, with the full launch of its Watch Parties, which enable users to stream selected movie and TV content that can be viewed with their fans,” (Hutchinson, 2020).

The focus on personal connections marks the significance of Twitch’s opportunity, and as the platform continues to expand, so do the opportunities for advertisers to reach audiences via Twitch, and other similarly innovative platforms.

What Makes a Video Social Media Network Survive (or Not)?

So as exciting as these upcoming networks and their possibilities are, the question for brands remains: Should a brand jump on a new social media platform, or should they wait until it’s been proven success? The key here is to understand what signals a platform that won’t last long term. Take, for example, take Vine, an early adopter of video in social media. The video app was acquired by Twitter prior to its official launch and ended up becoming the most downloaded free app in the U.S. iOS App Store at its peak in 2013. Back then, it was the most popular video app ever to come out in social media history. But it didn’t last. “Vine was unable to adapt as other rivals (e.g., Snapchat) emerged and adapted. Plus, Twitter’s own business fluttered, which forced Twitter to close Vine in late 2016,” (Hollingsworth, 2019).

Emerging social media channels must, therefore, understand how to continue to adapt as channels and rivals evolve. Twitch does this with continuous new feature launches, research, and focus on its users. And it’s vital that brands consider their partnerships with all innovative, emerging channels as the investments they are: considering the immediate benefits as well as the longevity of their usage.

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