How to market your video game with Twitch influencers

Anyone in the online gaming community knows how important Twitch has become over the last few years. As a game developer, you know better than anyone how mission critical Twitch will be to video game marketing in 2021 — and beyond. But with so much peer to peer interaction going on, how exactly can you market on Twitch? The secret to success lies in Twitch influencers. 

On average more 15 million viewers tune in to this platform every day, with three million streamers on Twitch going live every single month, many of whom are speaking directly to your target audience of players. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through:

  • Which gaming categories, tags, and teams to look out for on Twitch
  • The most important gaming influencers on Twitch 
  • How influencer marketing works on Twitch
  • How to get started marketing via Twitch influencers

By the end, you’ll be ready to effectively approach Twitch influencers on your own. But first…

What is Twitch?

In case you’ve just come out from under a very heavy rock, Twitch is a super popular live streaming platform, commonly used by gamers looking to broadcast their gameplay of viral titles like Overwatch and Fortnite. Because of its highly engaged audience of young gamers, Twitch is also ripe for video game marketing. 

Twitch was founded in 2011 and since its very inception, it’s helped gamers build a personal brand and a loyal audience of followers to tune in and watch them play all sorts of games  in real-time. Twitch’s value to this huge community was so noticeable that even Amazon had to get involved, dropping $970 million in order to buy the platform. 

There’s no two ways about it — when it comes to live streaming video games, Twitch is one of the leading social platforms for reaching gamers. And unlike YouTube, which attracts and serves more of a general interest audience, Twitch’s audience is full of avid gamers — who are especially logged on and engaged. Twitch users spend over an hour and a half on the platform every single day, making Twitch more of a lifestyle than other social media platforms. 

Some would say Twitch is actually more than just social media — with due cause, as it outperforms all other streaming platforms, and accounts for about 72% of all live streaming hours consumed on the whole internet

The good news is that working with gaming influencers has never been easier, and it’s especially easy to accomplish on a platform like Twitch. As long as the influential gamer of your choice has a console, computer, or a phone, they can easily create live streams tailor made for the intersection of your two audiences.

So, when it comes to getting your message out to the online gaming community, never forget: no one can talk to gamers quite like a trusted gaming influencer can.  

If you’re trying to promote a video game in 2021 and beyond, look no further than the influential gamers on Twitch to help you increase exposure, without breaking the bank. In the last year alone, Twitch users viewed about 560 billion minutes of content on the platform — and with the majority of this content focusing heavily on gaming and esports, this is the year to use Twitch as an integral part of your social media and influencer marketing strategy

gaming categories, tags, and teams to look out for on Twitch

Gaming categories, tags, and teams to look out for on Twitch

Twitch categories and tags were created in order to help viewers discover new streamers relevant to their interests, which are often broken down by game title.

As of August 2020, the most popular gaming tags were as follows: 

  1. League of Legends
  2. Fortnite
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  5. Valorant
  6. Minecraft
  7. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  8. Dota 2
  9. World of Warcraft
  10.  Apex legends

Understanding trending Twitch categories and tags is mission critical if you want to effectively approach your target audience on this platform — but that’s only half of the picture. Game developers hoping to market on Twitch also need to understand the power of Twitch teams.

On top of making it easy to find great new gamers to follow, Twitch has appealed deeply to its millions of gamers around the world by also fostering peer to peer engagement between players and making it easy to form esports teams. In turn, this has helped Twitch users flourish into nuanced streaming segments, linked by a specific game title or genre.

One team to look out for is Twitch Streamers and Networking, especially if you want to keep tabs on the popular streamers of tomorrow. The community runs weekly contests where people can get excellent visibility — and while game developers may not be inducted into the team officially, it’s still a great roster to keep your eye on if you want to spot up and coming streaming talent. 

On top of that, this community comes with a chance to build a cross-platform connection with streamers thanks to their Discord channel. Chances are, you’re already hanging out there too in hopes of growing your social media following — so you might as well explore its networking potential for making inroads with the next generation of streamers. 

The most popular gaming influencers on Twitch 

When it comes to identifying the most popular gaming streamers, keep in mind that viewership and engagement numbers mean nothing if your chosen influencers’ niche doesn’t line up well with your own. 

Not only that, but the numbers change all the time — so it’s always best to do your own research relative to your own marketing needs.

That being said, below are some of the perennially popular streamers out there today — think of their popularity and clout metrics as a benchmark for you to be aware of as you consider the right streamers to suit your influencer marketing needs. 

Ninja 

  • Meet Ninja, a professional video gamer and Twitch influencer who mostly streams his impressive live Fortnite game performances on Twitch
  • More than 800 videos published
  • Expert player of titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends
  • According to TwitchMetrics Ninja is also 
    • #64 most watched overall
    • #1 most watched VALORANT channel
    • #39 most watched English channel
    • #1 most watched English VALORANT channel

Shroud

  • Meet Shroud, often referred to as one of the best “aimers” out there
  • As of December 2020, his Twitch channel raked in 8.5 million followers, making him the third most followed channel on the platform
  • Known for expert gameplay of titles like Realm Royale, Fortnite, and Lord of The Rings
  • According to TwitchMetrics Shroud is also
    • #19 most watched overall
    • #6 most watched Variety channel
    • #12 most watched English channel
    • #3 most watched English Variety channel

Some other Twitch influencers you might want to keep an eye on include, but are not limited to: 

how influencer marketing works on Twitch

How influencer marketing works on Twitch

Working with influencers on Twitch is pretty similar to working with influencers on any other social platform. The main difference is that on Twitch, the influencer content format is more or less constrained to live streams and video content. Given that your audience of gamers is hungry for this type of content, this is a great thing for you as a game developer.  

As it turns out, influencer marketing could very well be most effective in the video gaming niche. Whether you’re promoting your own video game or your esports team, you can collaborate with some of the top streamers and gaming influencers on Twitch in order to reach out to your target audience — and actually be heard. 

As long as your product (and message) is a good fit with the community you target on Twitch, they’re likely to be a receptive audience, especially if your message is being delivered by a trusted streamer.  

And even though you can’t publish pre-recorded videos on Twitch, you can still get creative within the constraints. If you want to take a more unique approach than just asking an influencer to live stream their gameplay of your latest creation, you could always organize a streaming session where they unbox your product, run a giveaway on your behalf, or give you some other kind of creative shout out. 

The best way to reach out with a professional inquiry or to pitch your content idea to a Twitch influencer is generally via email. If all parties agree on the details of the promotion, it’s common for both the influencer and the sponsor — that’s you — to sign a contract outlining the terms of the partnership. From there, you’re off to the races. 

Step-by-step guide: How to get started influencer marketing on Twitch 

By now, we can all agree that Twitch is where you should focus your energy if you want to work with gaming influencers to promote your new game or esports team — but we’re the first to admit that mileage can vary, especially if you’re new to marketing in general. 

The following considerations will set you up for success — or at very least, the ability to draw meaningful conclusions and learn from your initial influencer marketing results so you can make improvements in the future.

Step 1: Clarify your goals for influencer marketing 

Whenever you begin a new marketing campaign, we suggest putting pen to paper to document your goals. Influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch are no exception. 

While there are probably several reasons you want to work with Twitch influencers, it’s in your best interest to focus on a single improvement or metric you want to hit as a result of your influencer marketing efforts. 

So, the first step towards clarifying your goals is identifying the KPI you’ll use to measure this campaign’s success, and then benchmarking that KPI based on your baseline level of activity (or if applicable, your historical data from past campaigns).

Let’s say you want to grow your esports team’s brand awareness, so you decide to partner with an influencer to help you run a giveaway. On top of the engagement you get from the giveaway, you might want to quantify your brand awareness through new social follows or social media impressions on whatever platform you run the giveaway on. 

If you have a professional or “business” account on that social media platform, it should be easy to access your insights and come up with a baseline number of social follows and impressions you get in a usual week or month. From there you can set an intelligent goal for the brand awareness you hope to get through having a Twitch influencer run your giveaway. 

Step 2: Set a realistic budget for marketing your game

Once you have your KPI figures in mind, the next step is to determine how much money you can reasonably spend promoting your game on Twitch. Setting your budget can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be — ask yourself “how much is more brand awareness worth to me?”, and more concretely “how much can I afford to spend based on my financial reality?”.

The reality is, the amount you spend on influencer marketing will depend on the rest of your marketing budget. If you have other marketing initiatives planned, consider saving about 25% for your influencer campaigns.

And if you want to make sure you’re getting the most mileage for your budget, try to focus on results-based pricing models like cost per engagement. This type of agreement means you pay based on the number of views, likes, comments, the content gets, so you only spend more of your budget if the influencer is delivering good results. 

However, if the influencer cares very much about their own personal brand, they may not be comfortable taking a chance to work with you if they can’t guarantee their payment amount up front. In that case, it’s best to work with an upfront payment model, where you propose a set amount for each stream or content collaboration — for amounts that play nicely with your overall budget. 

Step 3: Brainstorm promotion ideas

The best thing about Twitch is that despite the relatively constrained media format, there’s no shortage of ways you can creatively promote your games on the platform — or even make the most of your Twitch influencers’ following on other platforms. 

If you want to take it up a notch from commissioning some live game streaming, you could sponsor a gaming event between some popular streamers from your gaming niche and have them both promote it on Twitch. 

You can also partner with Twitch influencers to have them run giveaways or contests on your behalf, or even collaborate with them to put together an exciting virtual event.  

Step 4: Build a shortlist of streaming influencers

Finding the right gaming influencers or streamers to work with on Twitch can be challenging. Although there are many gaming influencers out there, keep in mind that only the right fit will help you get closer to your marketing goals. If you’re looking to reach a specific demographic, focus on streamers who have a direct line of communication with that type of audience. 

When it comes to finding the right streaming influencers for your project, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. Sites like TwitchMetrics can help you get a bird’s eye view of performance and engagement metrics from top streamers, and if you need a bit more hands-on assistance you can always reach out to the experts at Loopr

Step 5: Reach out with a sponsorship proposal 

Proposals sound scary and potentially off-brand for a gaming influencer, so let’s define a proposal in this case as a simple email. 

Your email proposal should introduce yourself (or your brand, or your product) to the streamer and succinctly outline the nature of the collaboration you’re envisioning, and what you hope to get out of it. 

You should include as many details as you can, especially if those details will be enticing to the streamer — if this could be the beginning of an ongoing partnership with the potential for more opportunities, say so. If you’re open to the influencer’s creative insights and suggestions, say so. If you’re open to negotiating, say so. If the opportunity is paid (which it really should be), definitely say so.

And please, don’t ask influencers to work with you for free or for some kind of bartering arrangement. Not only will they likely not answer, but you could inadvertently make a bad name for yourself within your gaming community. 

There will likely be some back and forth before both you and your influencer of choice agree on the proposal. Once you reach an agreement,, it’s best to put everything in writing and circulate it for signatures so all parties can focus on what matters instead of worrying about whether the other person will do their part as planned. 

Think of this proposal as a first impression that you definitely want to get right. If you’re not a PR or communications expert, send it to a friend to make sure you’re coming across how you mean to. You can thank us later.

Step 6: Tune into the sponsored stream

It might sound obvious, but it’s super important that you actually attend the sponsored stream. This is important in case you need to help troubleshoot anything, but also so you can take notes and figure out ways to improve the experience for everyone should you continue to iterate on your influencer marketing activities. 

Plus, since Twitch users can easily pop into the chat window, you can capture and reply to helpful feedback or questions about what you’re offering. This is a valuable opportunity that you don’t want to miss as a sponsor. 

Step 7: Measure your results

The day has come and gone, and now it’s time to check out how effective your influencer campaign was. While it might be tempting to circle back to the goal you set the second the stream ends, we recommend you actually wait 2 or 3 weeks before you draw any major conclusions about the campaign’s performance — especially if your KPI was more open-ended than time constrained.

The reason being that there’s often a halo effect when it comes to brand awareness campaigns (and influencer marketing in general) — which means that Twitch users might not take immediate action towards your brand but might do so within a few days or weeks of engaging with the influencer’s branded content promoting your offer. You wouldn’t want to discount those late-comers just because they didn’t follow you on social media while the live stream was going on, would you?

And if your KPIs are more straightforward, here are some other tactics you can use to make it crystal clear to measure your results.

  • If you’re trying to drive traffic to a certain site page, create a tracked link with UTMs. 
  • If you’re growing an email list, make sure your signup form is configured to populate a brand new list of subscribers segmented just for your influencer campaign.
  • If you’re tracking purchases or downloads, create a custom code for your streaming influencer’s followers to use, and then track its usage.

Conclusion

It’s no secret that Twitch has won over the vast majority of the gaming community, and it appears to be here to stay. Make no mistake — even though it’s pretty saturated, there’s still plenty of marketing opportunities left for gaming brands of all shapes and sizes. The earlier you figure out your Twitch influencer marketing strategy, the better.  If you need help fine tuning your approach to influencer marketing, or even getting a text back from your streamer of choice, just get in touch with the influencer marketing experts at Loopr. From strategizing to campaign execution — to getting you the best results for your buck — we’ll work with any budget to deliver ROI on your influencer marketing campaigns.

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