Twitch is a live video streaming platform that was launched in June 2011 and then later acquired by Amazon in 2014. It initially focused mainly on livestreaming eSports competitions and videogame-related content, but the platform is diversifying and starting to attract different content creators. Whether it’s social eating (or Mukbang), live art creations or just discussions, Twitch continues to attract people thanks to both its social and interactive sides.
Understanding Twitch and its audience
The way the Twitch platform works is quite simple. A streamer broadcasts live video content on their channel. On the other side are viewers who can interact directly with the streamer as well as the whole community through a chat. This makes it possible to react in real-time with the broadcasted content, to ask questions, etc. By being interactive, Twitch is able to create highly engaged and supportive communities that collectively create their own entertainment. Viewer engagement is at the heart of the Twitch community. The livestream platform also offers the opportunity to reach an audience that is sometimes difficult to reach: millenials and young people in general.
In France, more than one million users visit the platform every day. About 70% of the audience is made up of 16-34 year olds who are used to watching lengthy content. The average viewer spends 95 minutes a day on Twitch. This is a long way from Instagram’s 32 minutes per day and YouTube’s average 40-minute viewing time. This means it’s a very young and loyal audience!
The rise of Twitch with the coronavirus
The COVID-19 health crisis has impacted the Twitch platform in many ways. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, the social platform has seen a spectacular increase in use! In the second quarter of 2020 alone, the total number of hours viewed rose by 56% compared to the same period last year. In total, 1.5 billion hours of videos were viewed.
The “Just Chatting” category has officially become the most viewed category on the platform since May 2020. It has grown by 202% in one year, which proves that the Twitch platform is no longer a place solely dedicated to gaming. Due to the health crisis, many have turned to this category to find a place to connect and exchange with people.
Knowing how to use the platform
The platform’s rise in popularity during the coronavirus was the perfect opportunity to reach young voters during the 2020 American presidential campaign. Donald Trump opened a Twitch channel on the platform that has since then been suspended indefinitely. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an icon of the American progressive left, also broadcasted several rounds of the game “Among Us” with other streamers already known by the viewers, such as Pokimane. Her goal of encouraging the public to vote on November 3, 2020 was made clear through her “We are here to vote blue” statement during the game. The initiative was a great success and almost broke Twitch’s total audience record.
In 2019, the French government had already been invited on the platform through a variation of the Grand Débat National named “Le Grand Débathon”, which was co-organized by the channels Accropolis and HugoDécrypte. However, the program was criticized for being too similar to a TV debate; repeating the television industry’s codes of conduct is not welcome on the platform! “It’s very important to understand Twitch if you want to be successful on the platform. It’s a live, interactive platform with a lot of communities, so you have to follow Twitch’s rules if you want to succeed,” stated Melissa Simoni, Twitch’s Sales Director.
Adhere to the codes to ensure your success
Twitch is becoming a highly valued platform in the communication strategy of public figures as well as by the media, which are slowly trying to establish themselves little by little on the platform. The television industry sees it as a way to reach an audience that is ditching television in favor of a smartphone and its other more attractive formats. The French news channel BFMTV was recently launched on the platform and the Twitch community did not take well to this. The chat was beset by hostile and insulting messages. Both the moderators, who play an important role during the broadcast of a live show and have the power to ban users who do not comply with Twitch’s rules, and also the filters in the settings were not enough to stop the flood of comments.
To create a place for yourself on Twitch, it is important to understand the platform’s codes of conduct. The essence of the platform is its strong capacity to mobilize a whole community. For example, in October 2020, 5,724,377 euros were raised in one weekend for Amnesty International during the 5th edition of the Z Event charity, which was an event organized on the platform. Because videos are live, it’s difficult to censor content. Twitch offers unfiltered content that appeals to its users who are looking for more authenticity. It helps create a strong connection and closeness between the streamer and the viewers who give life to the content through non-stop dialogue. In order to be part of the platform, it is crucial to be flexible and adapt your content. The success of this social platform is based on real time interaction.