As people searched for ways to be entertained during quarantine and sought connection as in-person socializing was suspended, gaming became a powerhouse.
Enter Twitch, Amazon’s live streaming platform for gamers. Fans have flocked to the platform to watch their favorite creators play games and engage with them — and each other — via chat. Users could also support their favorite creators by purchasing a subscription to their channel.
Twitch’s popularity skyrocketed in 2020. The platform had 9.9 million active streamers in January 2021, up from 3.9 million at the start of 2020. In the same month, viewers watched over 2 billion streams. hours of content on the platform. On average, 30 million users visit Twitch daily, up from 17.5 million at the start of 2020, according to Twitch.
The NBA capitalized on Twitch’s growth with a brand campaign for the 2021 Playoffs, bringing its “That’s Game” campaign, focused on basketball’s cultural impact, to the Twitch community. Twitch has partnered with eight creators, including BigCheeseKIT, GoldGlove, and TSM_Viss, to share their “game” stories with fans in sponsored influencer streams. The NBA also gave fans channel subscriptions from their favorite creators.
Twitch fans watched over 17.2 million minutes of content from these streams, totaling over 4.2 million viewers. Engagement was also high, with over 66,400 messages sent in Twitch’s chat function during streams.
“Sports is a growing part of the service,” Sarah Iooss, head of sales at Twitch, told Campaign US. “It’s the same notion of a community coming together to interact and be with each other. Except that instead of around a certain game, it’s around a sport. As we grow beyond the game, it’s to see that the sport has cemented its place on Twitch.
The NBA is also bringing its brand partners, especially those looking to reach Gen Z and millennial audiences to the platform. 71% of the Twitch community is between the ages of 16 and 34, according to Twitch.
DoorDash and American Express, the NBA’s Official Marketing Partners, have tapped into the Twitch community with innovative NBA Playoffs campaigns, in partnership with Twitch’s Brand Partnership Studio.
DoorDash has sponsored its first-ever live original content series on Twitch called Match day at your doorstep. The series, created with record agency Wavemaker, featured Twitch creator Dom2K and NBA legend Channing Frye highlighting the best NBA playoff performances.
“Sports is a natural DoorDash opportunity that we continue to invest in, and as the NBA’s official on-demand delivery platform, we strive to create unique and memorable experiences for fans,” said Vanessa Carr, director of partnerships marketing for DoorDash, told Campaign. WE. “With Game Day At Your Door, we’ve combined sports, food, and culture to create a one-of-a-kind series that has truly resonated with basketball fans and the Twitch community.”
American Express, the official card sponsor of the NBA, rolled out its Triple-Double offer when a player scored a Triple-Double in a playoff game. The next day, card members could get 32% off the online NBAStore for 24 hours. To promote the offer, Twitch hosts Devin Williams and Marcelas Howard triggered the Triple-Double Watch Alert, American Express’ personalized Twitch alert, to notify fans of the benefit. Viewers could also participate in the chat for a chance to win prizes, such as Twitch gift cards.
In total, Twitch viewers watched over 11 million minutes of content, including Amex’s triple-double watch alert.
“Triple-doubles have become an important part of modern NBA play and we’re always looking for ways to bring our card members into the action,” said Jill Hamilton, vice president of global media at American Express. “Because Twitch is all about capturing the most exciting moments in real time, we’ve teamed up to help our map members feel part of the experience in a way that can only happen on Twitch. “
Although Twitch is known for its video game streams, the platform is growing communities in other areas. Non-gaming content has quadrupled in the past three years, with particular growth in music and sports, according to Twitch.
Twitch has strong competition on the live-streaming front (see: YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok), but it’s the community and monetization tools, including paid subscriptions, the ability for viewers to nurture creators, and the direct sharing of ad revenue with creators sets it apart. Twitch’s real-time chat feature allows fans to interact and creators to monetize at the same time.
“Twitch is first and foremost a community,” Iooss said. “Advertising is a creative and emotional field. Twitch creates a great canvas for this, as people play a role in entertainment. It has some of the hallmarks of television, as you can expect to see your favorite streamer return at the same time on the same days. This creates a meeting point for communities to come together.