With linear TV numbers dwindling, advertisers and brands are falling over themselves to reach audiences that don’t engage with traditional forms of media.
One such platform that attracts this demographic is Twitch. In APAC, the majority of Twitch’s audience – 54 per cent – doesn’t watch more than one hour of traditional TV a day. If they do, its usually on a second device.
With the influence of platforms such as Twitch increasing – hours watched in APAC was up 16 per cent year-on-year – it’s becoming more important than ever for brands to understand how to engage with users on these types of platforms.
For Lewis Mitchell, Twitch’s APAC Content Director, it all comes down to being authentic.
“It’s authenticity and partnering with people that understand the concept and the language,” he told B&T.
He likens it to advertising to sports fans.
“One of the best examples I can think of in Australia, is the KFC bucket, where you’ve got a bunch of people sitting at the cricket with the KFC buckets on their head. That’s a really authentic way of entering into that space”.
“It’s no different in gaming,” he goes on.
“You need to match the community at that level because then what you’re doing is you’re actually supporting their space, rather than coming in and telling them this is how it’s been done for years.”
The power of engaging with this demographic in their own language was evident during the US election, when Twitch was the number one traffic driver at the time to get younger viewers to vote.
US democrat politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became one of Twitch’s most-watched streamers, playing well-known games with established creators.
With a wider demographic of people using the platform, Twitch is under increasing pressure to show how it keeps all of its users safe. In recent years the shocking harassment that female gamers face on online platforms has gained more attention.
According to research quoted by Campaign, 77 per cent of women gamers experience gender-specific discrimination including inappropriate sexual messages and gatekeeping.
With so many gamers using Twitch, I ask Mitchell what the platform is doing to keep all gamers safe.
“We take this incredibly seriously. We have, I would say, the best moderation team in the world. I think one of the things that we’re very clear about is that we are not a free speech platform, we have our policies, if you break those policies, then we have no problems with administering suspensions.”
“We build tools, things like AutoMod, which essentially allows people to have different settings to allow them what they see and what they perceive is okay for them.”
“We’ve implemented more tooling, things like two factor authentication before you’re allowed to speak in a chat. And just making it harder and harder for trolls to interact with our creators”.
Mitchell adds that, whilst Twitch has traditionally been associated with gamers, this is something rapidly changing due to the platform’s “just chatting” category.
We’ve really seen just a huge, huge increase of non gaming content”.
Categories that creators talk about include everything from art, to makeup to wood carving.
“You can tag anything you want in there,” Mitchell says.
Whatever the category, authenticity remains key.
“Something that you need to understand is that because people spend so much time with their streamers, they know when they’re being inauthentic or authentic, right? So if you spend an hour a day with somebody, you know, when something’s not quite right, like you can just pick up on those social cues.”
“Because it’s not edited, it’s all live you cannot hide behind edits to make things look authentic when they’re actually not. So on that side of things, it really is about getting to know the personality.”