As the world begins to return to normal, 2021 continues to be a momentous year for gaming & esports. Our esports & influencer newsletter highlights best practices, wave-makers, and latest trends in the sector, with the aim of helping our brand partners stay abreast in this fast-moving space.
This time around we explore Twitch’s top non-gaming categories, and how brands can take advantage of the surge in foodie, art, indie music, and athletic culture on the site.
Sleeping. Cooking. Showering (in swim trunks!). Lifting weights. Watching TV. Getting a haircut.
These are some of the activities that Ludwig Ahgren, aka Ludwig, engaged in during an incredible, nonstop, month-long subathon that made him Twitch’s most subscribed to and celebrated live-streamer last month. Of course, he played games too, but a curiously large viewership tuned in to watch him do non-gaming-related stuff.
Twitch — the seemingly unstoppable, live-stream juggernaut that grew another 16.5 percent from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021 — is best known as a gaming site: a place where gamers go to stream esport matches and watch their favorite personalities play trending games.
While all that is true, it’s also a bit of a misnomer. The platform is home to a ton of content that has very little to do with gaming. Many exciting opportunities await brands willing to explore these nooks. Best of all, you don’t have to be a gaming brand to play in them.
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Ludwig, for example, spends the vast majority of his time streaming in the Just Chatting category, shooting the breeze with other Twitch personalties and interacting with subscribers. Twitch’s most popular category by a fair margin, Just Chatting accounts for 12 percent of all hours watched on the site, with 44 percent YOY growth in Q1 2021.
This isn’t the only channel where non-gaming content is flourishing. All around Twitch, young, talented, creative individuals are streaming themselves cooking gourmet meals, creating hand-drawn works of art, dropping funky beats, and rehabilitating wildlife.
So what kind of opportunities are out there? Let’s take a look at some trending non-gaming categories and how brands can best position themselves within them.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is permitted on Twitch and some respectable mixology influencers swim in these waters.
For instance, the streamer TheStacyRoy (17K followers on Twitch; 22K on Instagram) shakes up craft cocktails during her streaming show The Nerdy Bartender and has worked with a variety of spirits brands including Tequila Tromba, Kraken Rum, Patron, and Westland Whiskey. While spirit brands are well known for partnering with Instagram personalities, teaming up with an Instagramer who also streams on Twitch can multiply your brand’s visibility.
As for the “food” portion of this category, it largely consists of amateur chefs preparing foods of all skill levels, from flipping burgers in the backyard to difficult and exacting baking exercises.
The channel HappyChefTV (27K Twitch followers) has a unique reality show vibe, as viewers peer in on the chef-turned-full-time-streamer Sven Groenendijk’s daily life. He cooks fusion fare for his wife and daughter, whips up pre- and post-workout meals, and occasionally goes fishing. At present, he has joined forces with Drya, a Netherlands kitchen appliance company specializing in dry-aged meat gear.
Other cooking streamers making waves of late include MissMollyMakes, whose Food Network-style race against the clock to bake beef Wellington and chocolate eclairs netted an audience of 350K.
With 5.5 million followers and approximately 32K average concurrent viewers, the Music category is one of Twitch’s more popular off-topic viewership generators. The category is a melange of hyperactive DJ sets, turntable tricks, guitar solos, and people generally flexing their musical talents.
Some recent high profile additions include the Malaysian R&B artist Yuna — probably best known for her luscious vocal performances in her hit singles Crush (featuring Usher) and Castaway (featuring Tyler, The Creator). On her channel YUNAMUSIC, she uses the audio workstation Ableton Live to lay down tracks as she workshops new music.
You can spot evidence of other brands scattered throughout her streaming room setup. A Channel logo peeks out from her bookcase, and a framed copy of her gracing the cover of Vogue Singapore is on prominent display. Lately, she’s been making headway on the platform, with her latest stream hitting 184K views.
The Art category does lower numbers cumulatively, but viewership is steadily growing, and there are plenty of gems to be found.
Some genuinely impressive artists reside here, and the space presents a solid opportunity for brands who cater to creatives. Working with a Twitch streamer is a great way to showcase both software applications and traditional artist materials.
When she’s not busy cosplaying or combing her insanely fluffy cat, the art streamer Quqco (76.2K Twitch followers) hosts a channel where she mainly does drawings of anime characters in watercolors and marker. Sometimes she also draws digitally. She cross-posts her content on multiple platforms, and has already represented several high profile, non-endemic brands including Reebok and NewNew, the social voting startup founded by Drake’s former personal assistant.
Koumoo, another popular artist on Twitch (24K followers), regularly streams his digital creative process as he painstakingly recreates plucky characters from Japanese superhero manga.
As far as marketing opportunities, the Sports category is primarily used by sports brands to capture younger generations who may be more inclined to open Twitch than turn on the television.
Currently the NBA is trending, as they are using the category to promote their Top Shot brand of NFT collectibles, which feature the best moments throughout NBA history. (We know non-fungible tokens can be confusing. Just think of Top Shot as a digital version of trading cards that have a unique identifier built in to give them scarcity.) It’s a pretty deft move on the NBA’s part to build out such a fully realized campaign around the NFT trend so quickly.
Meanwhile, throughout April, the National Women’s Soccer League has been streaming matches and analysis of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, a pre-season tournament presented by Secret Deodorant. Sponsoring a league or individual athlete with a presence on Twitch certainly is an interesting approach to making inroads with young consumers.
Interested in exploring the other side of Twitch? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s strategize!