Twitch creators partnerships: How brands can get started

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"Twitch is an untapped reservoir for doing good."

Maya Higa is a Twitch streamer of another kind: She doesn’t play video games. 

Now known as a conservationist and falconer, Higa started her Twitch channel in 2019 after a few friends saw her singing videos on Instagram and encouraged her to start live streaming. Now, as of this writing, she has 418,000 followers without having played a single video game.

Now known as a conservationist and falconer, Higa started her Twitch channel in 2019 after a few friends saw her singing videos on Instagram and encouraged her to start live streaming. Now, as of this writing, she has 418,000 followers without having played a single video game.

Instead, you can catch her podcast, Conservation Cast, which she live streams to collect donations to animal conservation organizations while interviewing wildlife experts and science communicators. The first episode raised $3,000 for the American Eagle Foundation. 

Higa is one of many Twitch streamers who stream to the platform’s Just Chatting category. In December 2019, people spent 81 million hours watching Just Chatting content, which is 7 million hours more than League of Legends and 23 million more than Fortnite.

While some Twitch purists don’t take kindly to non-gaming content, it’s clear that the Amazon-owned platform has expanded its reach beyond gamers, strengthening the business case for brands to get in on Twitch brand sponsorships.

Non-endemic sponsors and esports: Why this matters for Twitch 

First, a quick rundown on some terminology:

Endemic sponsors are brands whose products are associated with esports. So, video games. 

Non-endemic sponsors offer products and services that have nothing to do with esports. This is what we’ll be focusing on when we talk about DTC sponsorship opportunities for Twitch creators. 

You can’t talk about Twitch brand partnerships without knowing a little about esports sponsorships. 

Twitch is partially responsible for the most recent explosion of live esports tournaments, which means a rise in esport sponsorships is likely to track with Twitch brand partnership growth. 

While non-gaming and gaming Twitch creators present massive advertising opportunities for smaller DTC brands, it helps to know more about how larger brands think about esport sponsorships.  

In Q3 2019, the Esports Observer saw a 74% increase in non-endemic brand sponsorships.

Esports isn’t new. Video game competitions have been happening since 1972 when the earliest known video game competition was hosted at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. 

But more recent growth of esports is credited to South Korea, which saw a mass expansion of broadband internet access after the 1997 Asian financial crisis. People were unemployed––they needed something to do. 

Fast forward to 2019, and more people watched the 2019 League of Legends World Championship than the Super Bowl (100 million vs. the 98.2 million). That same year, Nike sponsored the League of Legends Pro League for $144 million.


Some of the largest non-endemic esports sponsors are:

  1. Intel, Overwatch League, $200 billion
  2. U.S. Air Force sponsors, Cloud9 CSGO team, $161 billion 
  3. Mountain Dew, Team Dignitas, and Splyce, $100 billion
  4. Mercedes-Benz, ESL One Hamburg, $77.8 billion
  5. Coca-Cola, League of Legends World Championship, $70 billion

How are esports sponsorships linked to Twitch brand partnerships?

Esports sponsorships have socialized the idea that advertising on Twitch is acceptable. 

When you cross-reference this socialization with Twitch’s key demographic––younger people who are notoriously resistant to advertising––the opportunity for brands becomes all the more compelling.  

Twitch’s audience data found that:

  • 82% think sponsorships are good for the gaming industry
  • 78% want to see more charity in gaming
  • 80% are open to brands sponsoring a specific gamer or team

Twitch demographics

You can find reports from a few years ago that state the vast majority of Twitch users are young males, but that’s changing quickly. 

65% of Twitch users were male, and 35% were female. In 2017, that ratio was 81.5% versus 18.5%. 

Twitch viewers tend to skew younger, but that’s also changing. The current age breakdown looks like this:

  • 16 to 24-year-olds: 41%
  • 25 to 34-year-olds: 32%
  • 35 to 44-year-olds: 17%
  • 45 to 54-year-olds: 7%
  • 55 to 64-year-olds: 3%

Product categories best suited for Twitch creator partnerships

Not every product category is right for Twitch creators, but three, in particular, stand out.

Food & beverage

Notable sponsors: Brickhouse Nutrition, Rogue Energy, JerkyPro

Fashion

Notable sponsors: Meta Threads, Nerdvana, J!NX

  


Technology

Notable sponsors: Playbudz, NVIDIA, HyperX



How to identify the right Twitch creator for your brand

We recommend doing extensive research before settling on a roster of Twitch creators to partner with. 

Don’t just look at the data––watch a wide variety of livestreams to understand a creator and their audience, namely what they talk about, the emotes they use, and what motivates subscribers to support streamers with donations. 

That being said, data due diligence is still important––check out Twitch statistics and analytics site SullyGnome to learn everything you can about channel metrics for every creator. 

Quick tip: Have a look at the fastest-growing channels over the past 30 days for up-and-coming creators.


Qualitative data

Genre: Are you even looking for gamers? If not, check out the Just Chatting category and extend your search to other genres. 

Game audience: If you’re a non-endemic DTC brand looking to target a gaming audience, take the time to understand the audience culture of each game. They vary widely, and audiences are passionate about their differences!

Creator audience: Creator audience will likely overlap with game audience, but some creators play multiple games––which will affect the audience they attract. But especially if you’re looking for non-gaming creators, map their subject matter with audience data and research. 

Sentiment: Pay attention to a creator’s chat panel––are most of the comments positive or negative? Make sure to track sentiment over a longer period to make sure people aren’t hate-watching a creator that invokes overall negativity. 

Quantitative data

Average concurrent viewership (AVC): AVC is the average number of users watching a stream at any one given time. Consider partnering with streamers who have lower but increasing AVC––you may be able to get a deal on a partnership before their channel blows up! 

Stream frequency: Work with streamers who broadcast frequently and on a regular schedule because that’s how they’ll cultivate a community for your brand.

What does a successful brand partnership on Twitch look like?

So you’ve chosen a Twitch creator to boost your brand. Now what?

First, a reminder: A key difference between, say, an Instagram creator and a Twitch creator is that Twitch creators represent your product live. 

Yes, you can sponsor Instagram live content, but livestreaming likely won’t be the primary driver of your strategy. With Twitch creators, live content comes first––which means you need to feel comfortable relinquishing some control. 

This is why vetting creators is so important. When you front-load your Twitch brand partnership strategy with research, you're protecting your brand from potential missteps in a live setting. 

Here are some of the core elements of a successful Twitch brand partnership. 

Livestream mentions

“I’ve had like seven of these already.”

The week before TwitchCon 2018, Hershey’s partnered with Twitch’s number one creator, Ninja, and DrLupo, to promote its new Reese’s Pieces mashup bar. 

The two streamers live-streamed Fortnite for 12 hours and mentioned the product every once in a while with on-screen graphics for awareness.

If you watch the video, you’ll notice they mention that it’s sponsored, but that doesn’t stop them from expressing genuine enthusiasm for the product. And since the content is live, people can’t fast forward through the sponsored content like they can with YouTube. 


Quick reminder: Don’t forget the offer code! While not perfect for tracking ROI, offer codes can entice users to click away from the stream for a hot minute to take advantage of offers exclusive to each streamer. 

Live product demos

If you’re looking for a more focused approach, consider partnering with a streamer to create a live product demo broadcast. 


One of Twitch’s top streamers, Pokimane, made instant noodles during a stream. She added a “slurp meter” that measured the volume of her slurps while eating the meal!

TwitchCon and other tournaments

If you want a bit more of a wide reach splash, consider sponsoring streamers during TwitchCon or other live tournaments. 

Frito Lay was featured heavily at TwitchCon 2018 by sponsoring four Twitch streamers Ninja, DrLupo, Shroud, and CouRage, in the “Doritos Bowl.”

Tournament sponsorships, even through Twitch, are considered more of a large-scale esport sponsorship, but they can work for brands who have already seen success with Twitch creators on a smaller scale. 

Suppose you’re noticing high ROI with individual creators. In that case, tournament sponsorships are a great way to reinforce brand awareness with a larger audience who like similar kinds of Twitch streamers to the ones you’re sponsoring individually.  


Cross-promotion

Don’t forget your channels. GUESS sponsored Adelaide Kane at TwitchCon, and the clothing brand featured her on their Instagram story on the same day. 

Odds are, Twitch streamers have a following on platforms besides Twitch. Look for streamers who also have large audiences on YouTube and Instagram, as you’ll be able to repurpose livestream content or buzz on evergreen channels. 

Adelaide, for example, promoted GUESS on her Instagram account with what was at the time 1.6 million followers.


"Twitch is an untapped reservoir for doing good." Maya Higa is a Twitch streamer of another kind: She doesn’t play video games. 

Share

Twitch creators partnerships: How brands can get started

Listen to this article


"Twitch is an untapped reservoir for doing good."

Maya Higa is a Twitch streamer of another kind: She doesn’t play video games. 

Now known as a conservationist and falconer, Higa started her Twitch channel in 2019 after a few friends saw her singing videos on Instagram and encouraged her to start live streaming. Now, as of this writing, she has 418,000 followers without having played a single video game.

Now known as a conservationist and falconer, Higa started her Twitch channel in 2019 after a few friends saw her singing videos on Instagram and encouraged her to start live streaming. Now, as of this writing, she has 418,000 followers without having played a single video game.

Instead, you can catch her podcast, Conservation Cast, which she live streams to collect donations to animal conservation organizations while interviewing wildlife experts and science communicators. The first episode raised $3,000 for the American Eagle Foundation. 

Higa is one of many Twitch streamers who stream to the platform’s Just Chatting category. In December 2019, people spent 81 million hours watching Just Chatting content, which is 7 million hours more than League of Legends and 23 million more than Fortnite.

While some Twitch purists don’t take kindly to non-gaming content, it’s clear that the Amazon-owned platform has expanded its reach beyond gamers, strengthening the business case for brands to get in on Twitch brand sponsorships.

Non-endemic sponsors and esports: Why this matters for Twitch 

First, a quick rundown on some terminology:

Endemic sponsors are brands whose products are associated with esports. So, video games. 

Non-endemic sponsors offer products and services that have nothing to do with esports. This is what we’ll be focusing on when we talk about DTC sponsorship opportunities for Twitch creators. 

You can’t talk about Twitch brand partnerships without knowing a little about esports sponsorships. 

Twitch is partially responsible for the most recent explosion of live esports tournaments, which means a rise in esport sponsorships is likely to track with Twitch brand partnership growth. 

While non-gaming and gaming Twitch creators present massive advertising opportunities for smaller DTC brands, it helps to know more about how larger brands think about esport sponsorships.  

In Q3 2019, the Esports Observer saw a 74% increase in non-endemic brand sponsorships.

Esports isn’t new. Video game competitions have been happening since 1972 when the earliest known video game competition was hosted at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. 

But more recent growth of esports is credited to South Korea, which saw a mass expansion of broadband internet access after the 1997 Asian financial crisis. People were unemployed––they needed something to do. 

Fast forward to 2019, and more people watched the 2019 League of Legends World Championship than the Super Bowl (100 million vs. the 98.2 million). That same year, Nike sponsored the League of Legends Pro League for $144 million.


Some of the largest non-endemic esports sponsors are:

  1. Intel, Overwatch League, $200 billion
  2. U.S. Air Force sponsors, Cloud9 CSGO team, $161 billion 
  3. Mountain Dew, Team Dignitas, and Splyce, $100 billion
  4. Mercedes-Benz, ESL One Hamburg, $77.8 billion
  5. Coca-Cola, League of Legends World Championship, $70 billion

How are esports sponsorships linked to Twitch brand partnerships?

Esports sponsorships have socialized the idea that advertising on Twitch is acceptable. 

When you cross-reference this socialization with Twitch’s key demographic––younger people who are notoriously resistant to advertising––the opportunity for brands becomes all the more compelling.  

Twitch’s audience data found that:

  • 82% think sponsorships are good for the gaming industry
  • 78% want to see more charity in gaming
  • 80% are open to brands sponsoring a specific gamer or team

Twitch demographics

You can find reports from a few years ago that state the vast majority of Twitch users are young males, but that’s changing quickly. 

65% of Twitch users were male, and 35% were female. In 2017, that ratio was 81.5% versus 18.5%. 

Twitch viewers tend to skew younger, but that’s also changing. The current age breakdown looks like this:

  • 16 to 24-year-olds: 41%
  • 25 to 34-year-olds: 32%
  • 35 to 44-year-olds: 17%
  • 45 to 54-year-olds: 7%
  • 55 to 64-year-olds: 3%

Product categories best suited for Twitch creator partnerships

Not every product category is right for Twitch creators, but three, in particular, stand out.

Food & beverage

Notable sponsors: Brickhouse Nutrition, Rogue Energy, JerkyPro

Fashion

Notable sponsors: Meta Threads, Nerdvana, J!NX

  


Technology

Notable sponsors: Playbudz, NVIDIA, HyperX



How to identify the right Twitch creator for your brand

We recommend doing extensive research before settling on a roster of Twitch creators to partner with. 

Don’t just look at the data––watch a wide variety of livestreams to understand a creator and their audience, namely what they talk about, the emotes they use, and what motivates subscribers to support streamers with donations. 

That being said, data due diligence is still important––check out Twitch statistics and analytics site SullyGnome to learn everything you can about channel metrics for every creator. 

Quick tip: Have a look at the fastest-growing channels over the past 30 days for up-and-coming creators.


Qualitative data

Genre: Are you even looking for gamers? If not, check out the Just Chatting category and extend your search to other genres. 

Game audience: If you’re a non-endemic DTC brand looking to target a gaming audience, take the time to understand the audience culture of each game. They vary widely, and audiences are passionate about their differences!

Creator audience: Creator audience will likely overlap with game audience, but some creators play multiple games––which will affect the audience they attract. But especially if you’re looking for non-gaming creators, map their subject matter with audience data and research. 

Sentiment: Pay attention to a creator’s chat panel––are most of the comments positive or negative? Make sure to track sentiment over a longer period to make sure people aren’t hate-watching a creator that invokes overall negativity. 

Quantitative data

Average concurrent viewership (AVC): AVC is the average number of users watching a stream at any one given time. Consider partnering with streamers who have lower but increasing AVC––you may be able to get a deal on a partnership before their channel blows up! 

Stream frequency: Work with streamers who broadcast frequently and on a regular schedule because that’s how they’ll cultivate a community for your brand.

What does a successful brand partnership on Twitch look like?

So you’ve chosen a Twitch creator to boost your brand. Now what?

First, a reminder: A key difference between, say, an Instagram creator and a Twitch creator is that Twitch creators represent your product live. 

Yes, you can sponsor Instagram live content, but livestreaming likely won’t be the primary driver of your strategy. With Twitch creators, live content comes first––which means you need to feel comfortable relinquishing some control. 

This is why vetting creators is so important. When you front-load your Twitch brand partnership strategy with research, you're protecting your brand from potential missteps in a live setting. 

Here are some of the core elements of a successful Twitch brand partnership. 

Livestream mentions

“I’ve had like seven of these already.”

The week before TwitchCon 2018, Hershey’s partnered with Twitch’s number one creator, Ninja, and DrLupo, to promote its new Reese’s Pieces mashup bar. 

The two streamers live-streamed Fortnite for 12 hours and mentioned the product every once in a while with on-screen graphics for awareness.

If you watch the video, you’ll notice they mention that it’s sponsored, but that doesn’t stop them from expressing genuine enthusiasm for the product. And since the content is live, people can’t fast forward through the sponsored content like they can with YouTube. 


Quick reminder: Don’t forget the offer code! While not perfect for tracking ROI, offer codes can entice users to click away from the stream for a hot minute to take advantage of offers exclusive to each streamer. 

Live product demos

If you’re looking for a more focused approach, consider partnering with a streamer to create a live product demo broadcast. 


One of Twitch’s top streamers, Pokimane, made instant noodles during a stream. She added a “slurp meter” that measured the volume of her slurps while eating the meal!

TwitchCon and other tournaments

If you want a bit more of a wide reach splash, consider sponsoring streamers during TwitchCon or other live tournaments. 

Frito Lay was featured heavily at TwitchCon 2018 by sponsoring four Twitch streamers Ninja, DrLupo, Shroud, and CouRage, in the “Doritos Bowl.”

Tournament sponsorships, even through Twitch, are considered more of a large-scale esport sponsorship, but they can work for brands who have already seen success with Twitch creators on a smaller scale. 

Suppose you’re noticing high ROI with individual creators. In that case, tournament sponsorships are a great way to reinforce brand awareness with a larger audience who like similar kinds of Twitch streamers to the ones you’re sponsoring individually.  


Cross-promotion

Don’t forget your channels. GUESS sponsored Adelaide Kane at TwitchCon, and the clothing brand featured her on their Instagram story on the same day. 

Odds are, Twitch streamers have a following on platforms besides Twitch. Look for streamers who also have large audiences on YouTube and Instagram, as you’ll be able to repurpose livestream content or buzz on evergreen channels. 

Adelaide, for example, promoted GUESS on her Instagram account with what was at the time 1.6 million followers.


"Twitch is an untapped reservoir for doing good." Maya Higa is a Twitch streamer of another kind: She doesn’t play video games.