Polina Haryacha is a Founder at CloutBoost, a data-driven, acquisition-focused marketing agency that unites brands with like-minded gamers. Polina is a noted expert in product marketing, user acquisition, and marketing analytics featured on TechCrunch and other industry media.
Twitch represents 91% of all video game streaming, with YouTube lagging distantly behind. With 26 million daily visitors, Twitch is the world’s largest forum for authentic interactions between gamers, their audience, and the games. This makes partnering with Twitch streamers the major force that drives player acquisition for the games featured on Twitch’s most well-trafficked channels.
Knowing that working with Twitch streamers is a winning strategy for improving user acquisition, game developers and publishers still need to know how to form this connection. The right social strategies can weaponize Twitch influencer marketing for the developer that knows how to recruit gamers to their side.
Rather than view Twitch as a backdrop to a game’s popularity, developers should shift their focus to Twitch as the platform that fuels authentic interactions with their game, using these strategies to take advantage of its growing audience.
How to Incorporate Twitch Influencer Marketing into Your Player Acquisition Strategy
While Twitch integration sounds simple, Twitch influencers are not all alike – neither are all player bases. User acquisition for video games may require experimenting with multiple methods.
Having Twitch streamers play your game in sponsored streams represents the most reliable user acquisition strategy. The stream gives potential players an authentic glimpse of the gameplay, as well as the social interaction of what it’s like to be a player of your game.
Since video games are an immersive experience, user acquisition needs to adapt to that experience. A sponsored stream allows players to interact with a famous player in an engaging way, generating positivity that becomes associated with the game that created the interaction. The runaway hit Among Us sold slowly until the popular Twitch streamer Sodapopin (aka Chance Morri) streamed the game. It was up to 4-6 million installs in the US alone in just a couple of weeks.
Giveaways represent another way to sponsor interaction using Twitch influencers. Streamers can share beta/game keys, give out discount codes, or even share extra features with their followers. This was how Fall Guys garnered popularity before it was even released. They put the beta keys in thousands of gamers’ hands before the game was out, generating enthusiasm for the game that preceded its actual reputation.
Developers need to remember that discourse does not only result from a game’s release anymore – it can be used to fuel that release.
Of course, successful social media campaigns rely on taking advantage of trends. None is as essential to the art of Twitch influencer marketing as the world of esports, through which sponsorship and ad campaigns can optimize a game’s reception for the modern age.
Twitch currently represents 70% of esports viewing, which makes them a vital tool for acquiring live, customizable ad space through sponsorships with Twitch streamers. Professional competitions surrounding games like Dota-2, Call of Duty, and Fortnite accounts for a huge financial draw for players, which creates the buzz that drives Twitch acquisitions for the game’s publishers. Dota-2 alone sponsored $40 million in prizes in 2020.
In addition to these methods, conventional advertising can also integrate with Twitch to drive player acquisition on multiple fronts. Shout-outs and integrations can be helmed by influential streamers, who can also make money from affiliate deals that pay back to game developers. Reviews and unboxings go a long way towards turning games into hands-on shared experiences that can then be simultaneously endorsed by the influencer.
Regardless of the chosen methods that make up a modern game developer’s game plan for acquiring players through Twitch, the acquisition is an art.
How to Get it Right
Effective player acquisition relies not only on creative video game marketing but on accurately planning the insights that will attract gamers to your game.
Using a variety of metrics, including patterns of engagement and the game genre preferences of your intended audience, can help a developer choose the right Twitch streamers for their campaign. This requires clearly defined player acquisition goals that prioritize certain traits among influencers.
In other words, the campaign must decide on an audience to influence. This includes age, gender, and a prediction of the types of games they play based primarily on the Twitch streamers they follow. Use online tools to search Twitch streamers by demographic and popularity so you can take your Twitch influencer marketing to a far more specific, and effective, level of audience integration.
The Takeaway for Game Developers
Twitch influencer marketing takes old ideas of audience acquisition and propels them forward with 21st-century social media marketing. There’s no doubt based on the analytics that Twitch represents an influential social ecosystem that a developer or publisher can harness to create an audience for their game. Many runaway hits of the past decade owe their fame to Twitch marketing.
To properly define and use Twitch influencers to sell a game to a player base, however, companies need to know how to make the interaction authentic. Authenticity drives the modern gamer’s brand loyalty, as well as their participation in streams. This means using streamers that cater to the potential audience for a specific game with advertising strategies that speak to that audience.
Whether through a sponsored stream, endorsement or unboxing, giveaway, or esports-affiliated event, Twitch influencer marketing entails experimentation. This means measuring a streamer’s potential for your brand, gauging their participation in your campaigns, and establishing long-term partnerships with the ones that perform the best.