Twitch Hits A New Milestone With 1.7 Billion Hours Watched In November

Amid a pandemic-driven rise in usage, Twitch keeps breaking its own record. This time, the platform hit a new viewership milestone, with nearly 1.7 billion hours watched in November—a five percent increase from October. That’s according to new data from, StreamElements’ analytics partner.

Twitch’s non-gaming Just Chatting category maintains its position as the most popular category on the platform since May. In November, the category set a viewership milestone with 228 million hours watched—a 246 percent increase year-over-year.

The second most-watched category on Twitch was League of Legends, followed by Among Us in third. While most games declined in hours watched, Minecraft and World of Warcraft saw a huge jump in viewership—60 percent and 64 percent, respectively. also reports Twitch’s Beauty & Body Art category, which encompasses everything from traditional makeup tutorials to cosplayers and body painters, continues to see significant growth. As of the first two months of Q4, the category jumped to over 466,000 hours watched, marking a 441 percent increase in watch time from the pre-pandemic period. The category peaked in October when it saw 349,000 hours watched as a result of Halloween cosplay.

“Women are more than 40 percent of the gaming lifestyle scene, making live streaming platforms the next frontier for beauty products. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the beauty category on Twitch grow over 260 percent in terms of hours watched with cosmetic brands like L’Oréal, MAC, Em, Hero, and e.l.f. already dipping their toes in the water,” said Doron Nir, chief executive of StreamElements.

Among the top Twitch streamers in November were Gaules with 15 million hours watched, followed by HasanAbi in second and xQcOW in third.

Facebook Gaming also had a strong month, with 100 percent YoY growth–part of its continued momentum from Q3 when it surpassed 1 billion hours watched for the first time.

Comparatively, YouTube Gaming says it saw 100 billion hours watched this year, double the amount of hours watched in 2018. 

Listen In: Happy Holidays To A Brave New World In Media

We used to hear folks say ‘content is king,’ meaning if you had good content the eyes would follow (and where the eyes go, the brands go). But things are changing.

Ayzenberg media director Leo Hernandez helps us understand the accelerated evolution we’re seeing and how changing habits like screen-time have led to an ‘overpowering’ of the consumer. We also try to answer the following questions: What does the broadcast media landscape look like during the pandemic? How are media consumption habits changing?

There’s a lot to unpack, including what happened on Black Friday, a moratorium on Quibi and which sports managed to avoid tripping up in 2020.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

How To Choose The Right Marketing Budget For Your Video Game

Early in my career I was a brand manager and very infrequently was privy to how the marketing budget I managed had been derived. As I got promoted and got more responsibility, I started witnessing how budgets were being allocated. I’ve worked at more than seven game companies now over the course of 24 years and have been exposed to a few methods. These include a percent of revenue approach, a top-down budget, a share of voice/market budget and zero-based budgeting. Below I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each method as well as the kind of video games that typically use them.

Percent of Revenue Budgeting 

This is a simple method that includes a forecast of total revenue that the product or division is expected to make in the next time period. To arrive at your budget, you multiply the total revenue by the percent allocated toward marketing.

Pros: It’s very simple, very straightforward and it’s equitable. Assuming the same percentage is given to all the products, all of the titles and all the marketing goals, no single game gets more share than another, thereby preventing the need for complex analysis and saving a lot of time. The other good thing about it is that it scales. So if a product has a very large revenue forecast, the marketing budget is equitably raised because of that percentage of revenue.

Cons: It really has no recognition for differing strategies and budgets that may be required based on those strategies or differing product external factors. It doesn’t consider whether or not your product is in a very hotly contested genre or category where your competitors are trying to outspend you to make up market share.

It also doesn’t take into account a particular unique idea or marketing strategy that may be interesting to invest in. For example, let’s say you set your percentage of revenue budget and a new social media platform explodes onto the market like TikTok. When you set those budgets, you had no idea because TikTok didn’t exist. But now a massive amount of your player base is consuming content and you’ve got an amazing strategy to launch your next TikTok presence. In the percentage of revenue budget, if your forecast isn’t changing, you need to borrow that money from some other marketing tactic that you had allocated funding to. So you need to make one part of your marketing campaign suffer to be able to afford this new marketing tactic.

Typically used for: Premium AAA console blockbuster game launches where marketing campaigns are relatively short and spending is compressed.

Top-Down Budgeting

Top-down budgeting is when senior management from a very heavy finance background dictates how much you have to spend.

Pros: It’s fast and fairly predictable, which means your marketing team can plan for it and be ready to execute it very quickly. This method is advantageous when your competitor is slower to agree upon budgets because it enables you to get to market quicker than them, thus allowing you to take share of voice.

Cons: This approach removes any of the agency that marketing team members might have. They are not given a voice in the process and thereby could become discouraged from doing their best work because they feel their input wasn’t taken into consideration.

It also really doesn’t change with goals. Let’s say your goals change midstream, you have to ask the people that are doing the top-down budgeting for more money. For instance, let’s say the game is outperforming three months after you’ve been given your budget and it’s 20 percent over forecast. You then have to go back to the senior management team and beg, borrow and steal, or say, my games taking off and I need more money to fuel the fire. But you’re not the one that necessarily has a voice in that process.

Lastly, like with the percent of revenue model, the other negative is that it’s a fixed amount of dollars. If a new tactic that you wanted to exploit emerges, you have to borrow money from other tactics that you were planning on spending to be able to afford it.

Typically used for: Self-contained games that don’t have a live-ops or post-launch monetization strategy.

Share of Voice/Market Budgeting

This is a goal-driven method using benchmarks as targets. It requires good competitive data that deeply analyzes where your competitor is spending, how much they’re spending, the tactics that they’re using and what media mixes they’re spending against. It aims to erode market share against the category leaders through impression generation and all sorts of marketing tactics to make you look bigger than you actually are. 

Pros: This is really good for products that are trying to catch up or for products that are early in their lifecycle, especially if you’ve got a really high-quality product that’s only suffering because it’s not as mature as its competitors.

Cons: It’s definitely a slower process than the percent of revenue and top-down approaches, respectively. It takes a good deal of analysis and amazing competitive intel that some teams may not be able to gather. Though one of the best tools you have for the share of voice analysis and figuring out budgets is to look at search volume, specifically on Google and YouTube. And if you’re on mobile, looking at the iTunes store search data would be important.

It also doesn’t take into consideration outliers, such as other competitors that you’re not including in that competitive analysis.

Typically used for: A game in a category where you’re not the market leader.

Zero-Based Budgeting

In this scenario, the budgeting process begins from scratch, so marketers start from $0 and build a budget that fits the strategy needed to make their product successful. This requires a very seasoned and well-rounded marketer that deeply understands their product and what is needed for their product to be successful.

Pros: It provides great agency to the marketers and the teams who created the budget. They feel responsible for the marketing dollars that they have to deploy because they were the ones that decided what that dollar figure should be.

This method can be effective for gaining market share, driving brand awareness or winning back customers, among other goals. Maybe you’re marketing a product that’s older and you’ve moved away from the acquisition phase of the product, so now you’re trying to win back loyal customers. 

Cons: This is a 100 percent forward-looking process that doesn’t take into consideration anything that happened in the past; whereas some of the aforementioned budgeting techniques take a look at historic performance and spend and make decisions based on incremental increases to historic data.

Another con here is it’s a lengthy process that requires a great amount of debate between the marketers, the product owners and other people that have interest in that product on what goals should be set as the marketers’ goals may not be aligned with overall business goals.

This is a really challenging approach, but if done right, can be a very rewarding process.

Typically used for: Free-to-play business models, subscription-based business models and games with multiplayer online liveops support where there’s additional content being generated all the time.

WARC: Global Ad Spend Will Decline By 10.2 Percent, Or $63.4 Billion, In 2020

It will take at least two years for the global ad economy to fully recover from the pandemic as the year’s events will cause it to contract by 10.2 percent, or $63.4 billion, in 2020. Excluding US election campaigning, ad spend worldwide is set to decline by 11 percent to $552.3 billion this year.

That’s according to WARC Data’s “State of the Industry 2020/2021” report, which anticipates this year to be worse than the 2009 recession when ad investment fell by 12.9 percent, or $61.3 billion. Taking into account inflation and exchange rates, real ad market decline this year will be double that of 2009.

In 2021, global ad spend will increase by 6.7 percent, meaning only 59 percent of this year’s losses will be recovered, reports WARC.

Sectors that are hit the hardest include automotive, retail and travel and tourism. A full 17.4 percent of global losses stemmed from the automotive sector, where spend is down 21.2 percent, or $11 billion. Next is retail, with spend down 16.2 percent, or $10.5 billion. Travel and tourism brands cut ad spend by nearly 40 percent.

Next year, automotive will see a 14.1 percent increase, retail will see a 5.9 percent increase and travel and tourism will grow by 19.5 percent.

Marketers expect to invest the most in digital channels next year, with 70 percent of respondents planning to increase spend on online video, 64 percent planning to increase spend on mobile, 59 percent planning to increase spend on online search and 49 percent planning to increase spend on online display.

Traditional channels will continue to wane in 2021 as just 19 percent of marketers intend to up spend on television, 16 percent on radio/audio and 15 percent on out-of-home (OOH). Over half (54 percent) of marketers will decrease spend on print.

Year-over-year, online video is expected to be the fastest-growing format in 2021, with spend expected to rise by 12.8 percent. The second-fastest growing medium will be OOH, with ad spend rising by 20.2 percent. Social media is projected to grow by 12.2 percent in 2021.

Though investment is down for linear television, cinema, linear radio and paid search, next year all formats will see some growth. Newspapers and magazines, however, will remain down or largely flat.

Ad spend is down the least in the US at 4.3 percent, or $9.9 billion, to $221 billion. In 2021, spend there will grow by 3.8 percent, enabling it to recoup 89 percent of this year’s losses.

Though most ad money will be transacted by machines for the first time next year, just 15 percent of marketers name brand safety as one of their top concerns, followed by 10 percent for ad fraud.

Listen In: Search Is The New Advertising

One part of advertising is changing emotions to create desire for a product. The other part is getting the right product in front of consumers at the right time.

Sarah Whedon, Content Marketing Manager at Teikametrics, joins Matt Bretz in our 24th episode of Listen In to talk about the latter.

Sarah defines the Amazon ad ecosystem and articulates the challenge for enterprise brands: to strategize, build and optimize around where most shoppers make their purchasing choice. In other words, to ensure advantageous placement on the first search results page on Amazon. Sarah also shares details about her varied career path, including her background in academia and as a doula, among other roles. 

The conversation also covers how Teikametrics uses their Flywheel software to optimize ads on Amazon including structuring campaigns, automating bids and identifying keywords, as well as the Amazon marketplace’s new ad offerings in this unpredictably shifting media landscape.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Nearly Half Of Brands Will Increase Facebook Ad Spend Next Year

More than half of businesses (60 percent) plan to increase their Instagram budget next year, and almost half are planning to do the same for Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, according to Hootsuite’s 2021 social media trends report.

In July, hundreds of brands halted Facebook ad spend in a show of solidarity against the platform’s inaction toward hate speech and misinformation. Socialbakers’ research shows the boycott led to a 32 percent decrease in spend in North America in the first week of July. But it appears the hiatus was short-lived as Hootsuite found that 46 percent of marketers are going to ramp up Facebook spending next year.

Marketers have plans to increase investment in YouTube (45 percent) and LinkedIn (44 percent) too. Despite TikTok’s surge this year, just 14 percent of respondents said they’ll increase spend on the platform next year, indicating familiar favorites will remain a go-to over nascent tactics.

As the pandemic accelerates the shift to ecommerce, marketers’ top outcome for social media in 2021 is to increase the acquisition of new customers—this is true for 73 percent of respondents compared to 46 percent last year. Many are also seeking to increase brand awareness (64 percent) and drive conversions (45 percent).

Only 23 percent of respondents are concerned with improving the customer experience through social media. But it’s important to note that in the absence of in-person experiences and events, brands must recreate the online customer experience with social media at the center, be it through live-streaming events or social commerce.

After being forced to close its stores amid the pandemic, Clarins tapped a beauty expert to share curated videos via the brand’s Instagram Stories. Story completion rates surged from a previous average of 20 percent to 75 percent.

“If you don’t have the impulse moments at the checkout anymore, where people grab something spontaneously off the shelf, recommendations from trusted creators can become that source of inspiration,” said Jim Habig, global head of business marketing at Pinterest.

Hootsuite anticipates the addition of short-form video to product detail pages (PDPs) will also be key, as 42 percent of Taobao’s PDPs already include such videos.

Another trend Hootsuite anticipates will emerge next year is an increased awareness around how much people actually want to interact with brands on social media. In 2021, the smartest brands will understand where they fit into their audience’s lives on social, then find creative ways to be part of the conversation, rather than try to lead it.

To implement this trend, marketers should bolster social listening data in addition to search analysis and utilize user-generated content (UGC) more heavily to inspire trust in consumers.

With new forms of digital literacy growing among baby boomers, brands can’t afford to overlook older generations on social media as Hootsuite’s 2020 data revealed that 70 percent of internet users aged 55-64 have bought something online in the past month, and 37 percent plan to continue doing so more frequently when the pandemic is over.

Instead of stereotypically targeting baby boomers by age alone, brands should target them by passions or hobbies through a platform like Pinterest, which serves as an outlet for passion projects and has the greatest penetration among boomers of any non-Facebook social network.

With the collapse of traditional strategies comes a newfound appreciation for social media among executives. But 54 percent have said they aren’t confident that their social media followers are more valuable customers than those they don’t engage with.

A lack of data integration is one reason brands fail to quantify social media’s return on investment (ROI), as only 10 percent of marketers feel they have mature practices around implementing social data into enterprise systems. 

Those who have integrated data are reaping the benefits, as 85 percent who have done so reported being confident in their company’s ability to accurately quantify the ROI of social media.

Brands should tie vanity metrics such as impressions and reach back to their web traffic sessions and bounce rate to understand if their social media efforts are resonating with their audience. Doing so starts with setting up manual workflows to enable collection of quantifiable data from engagements with organic and paid campaigns.

Successful brands will remember that creating an authentic reputation starts in the boardroom, not on social media, as statements there alone can’t make up for a lack of true brand purpose across a company. 

More than half (55 perfect) of respondents say it’s important that a business operates according to its values/principles, followed by proactively making the world a better place (53 percent).

The findings are based on a survey Hootsuite conducted among 11,189 marketers in Q3.

Mobile Ad Spend Will Reach $290 Billion in 2021

As media consumption continues to surge, App Annie’s latest report reveals five key mobile trends marketers need to know as mobile continues to function as a portal to the outside world.

First up, TikTok’s user base is set to soar. App Annie expects the app will reach 1.2 billion average monthly active users (MAUs) next year. Hitting that milestone will position TikTok alongside competitors who have already exceeded the 1 billion MAUs mark, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and YouTube.

TikTok’s projected surge will come on the heels of its strong Q3 performance, when it ranked the number two non-gaming app by consumer spend.

Next, App Annie anticipates time spent in key “at-home” mobile categories will exceed 1.3 trillion hours on Android phones alone in 2021. Business and education apps will see a four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57 percent and 62 percent, respectively, as people continue to work and learn remotely.

At a 43 percent CAGR, global time spent streaming on mobile will also surge, topping 1 trillion hours on Android phones alone next year.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, consumers turned to mobile to use finance apps, in which time spent globally will surpass 31 billion hours annually on Android phones in 2021—representing a four-year CAGR of 35 percent.

US consumers will set a new record for mobile shopping at 1 billion hours spent on Android devices in the holiday shopping season, taking time spent in shopping apps in 2021 to a four-year CAGR of 40 percent.

Consumers are feverishly spending on mobile games. According to App Annie, average weekly downloads of games worldwide were up 15 percent year-over-year in Q3. With increased demand for casual and core gaming, consumer spend on mobile games will surpass $120 billion in 2021.

App Annie says 2021 will be the year of the hybrid mobile game genres, a result of mobile phones delivering more sophisticated experiences previously only available on console or PC and hyper casual games adopting midcore elements. During the first half of the year, hyper casual games saw 5 billion downloads worldwide.

This hybridization will also occur in multiplayer games, which are becoming more casual and will continue to be in high demand as consumers seek to stay connected with friends and family.

In Q3, overall time spent in apps globally was up 25 percent YoY. During the first half of 2020, App Annie observed a 70 percent increase in mobile ad placements despite reduced budgets. It’s due to this resiliency that App Annie predicts mobile ad spend will jump to $290 billion, a two-year CAGR of 21 percent.

Consumers in the US will have an average of 9.5 video streaming apps downloaded on their phones in 2021—up 85 percent from 2019. As competition in the space intensifies, App Annie advises companies capitalize on features that cater to today’s socially distant consumers, such as those that encourage socializing, connection and shared experiences.

How Consumers And Marketers Plan To Spend In Q4 And Beyond

Both marketers and consumers plan on increasing their spend in Q4 and into the new year, according to a new report from OpenX and The Harris Poll, “The New Normal: Marketing in 2020 & Beyond.” The survey was fielded from July 20-29 among 1,000 adults aged 18 and over—16 percent of which lost their job or saw reduced hours due to COVID-19, as well as 502 marketers—mostly business-to-consumer marketers and some business-to-business marketers.

The research shows that 40 percent of consumers have increased their time spent on desktop sites, mobile sites, social media apps and connected television (CTV). To capitalize on this shift, 54 percent of marketers said they changed their strategy to reach consumers who are streaming more.

More time spent in digital channels resulted in 44 percent of consumers increasing their online purchases during COVID-19, with 37 percent saying mobile shopping has increased. Of the marketers who offer direct-to-consumer, 76 percent have updated their strategy to facilitate more online shopping. Even among marketers who reported a slump in total sales for the year, 29 percent said their online sales are up.

Despite more online shopping, 54 percent of consumers said they’re spending less money in 2020. For 61 percent of marketers, this new behavior meant cutting their budgets by at least 10 percent, and in some cases, by more than 25 percent. But as of July, 46 percent of marketers plan to add money back into their Q4 budget and 70 percent expect their 2021 budgets to be larger than their post-pandemic budgets.

The decline in consumer spending has enabled 28 percent of consumers to save money during the pandemic, with most savings acquired from not going out to restaurants. As a result, more than 50 percent of shoppers expect to increase discretionary spending this holiday season or in 2021.

Indoor dining may have ground to a near halt, but consumers are still spending money on food delivery. In fact, 58 percent of respondents who have used a delivery service like Uber Eats or Postmates said they’ve used the services more during the pandemic.

Consumers will spend some of their savings during the holiday season and in the new year, as 40 percent expect to spend the same amount compared to recent years and 51 percent plan to make a big-ticket purchase of over $500 in 2020. Looking ahead, 36 percent of consumers said they already plan to spend more in 2021 than they did this year.

The report also touches on consumer sentiment toward COVID-adjacent ads and how marketers responded to the social justice and health crises. A majority of consumers (80 percent) said they wouldn’t view a brand negatively for being associated with COVID-19 yet 40 percent of marketers reported taking proactive measures to ensure their brand wouldn’t be next to pandemic-related content.

A little over half of consumers (57 percent) are more likely to buy/use a product if a brand takes a position on a social issue similar to the consumers’ views. That figure was 77 percent for Gen Z and millennial respondents.

Of marketers that took some action around the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, 52 percent said it had a positive impact.

If a second wave of COVID-19 comes, 80 percent of marketers feel they’re ready, though 71 percent said their strategy would differ from the first wave. In addition, 37 percent said they wouldn’t cut as much of their budget, or at all. 

Lastly, most marketers said that some of the strategy changes they made during COVID-19 will continue and will focus more heavily on digital channels.

Benchmark Study Shows 90 Percent Reduction Of Ad Fraud In TAG Certified Channels

The pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital business initiatives, making the digital supply chain more susceptible to fraud, but new research shows some of that fraud is effectively being blocked. 

According to the latest US fraud benchmark study from The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and The 614 Group, the invalid traffic (IVT) rate across TAG Certified channels was just 1.05 percent this year—a 90 percent improvement over the average industry rate of 10.83 percent.

To calculate the findings, The 614 Group teamed with six agency holding companies and their MRC-accredited measurement vendors to gather all impressions for campaigns that ran between January and August 2020, including desktop, mobile web, mobile in-app and connected television (CTV).

The IVT rate found in TAG’s analysis reflects a combination of both sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) and general invalid traffic (GIVT) to achieve a “blended rate.”

Upon examining 353 billion impressions that traveled through TAG Certified Channels, TAG measured an overall IVT rate of 1.05 percent, down from 1.48 percent in 2017.

Based on TAG’s calculation of multiplying the average cost per thousand (CPM) for each inventory type, advertisers spent nearly $1.6 billion on inventory that flowed through TAG Certified Channels.

For the first time, the study includes fraud analysis across CTV, where IVT is harder to combat than it is in the desktop and mobile ecosystems due to lack of measurement standards and server-side insertion. In CTV, TAG Certified Channels have just a 0.6 percent, according to the report.

To date, 148 companies worldwide have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal, which means multiple entities involved in the transaction—including media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform and/or publisher—have achieved the TAG Seal.

This year digital ad fraud will hit $35 billion, overtaking credit card fraud at $27 billion, according to new data from Cheq.

Total Media Ad Spend Will Rebound To Pre-Pandemic Levels In 2021

Total media ad spend worldwide will decrease by 4.5 percent this year to reach $614 billion, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

Though the figure has slightly increased from the researcher’s 2020 projection of -4.9 percent, it’s a sharp decline compared to its pre-pandemic estimate of seven percent.

With the exception of China, the 37 ad markets that eMarketer tracks will report negative growth in total media ad spend this year. China will post a growth of 0.3 percent.

Emarketer says it revised growth downward for 27 markets this year because their Q2 performance was worse than expected and countries like France, Spain and the UK went into a second lockdown. Spain will be hit the hardest, at -14 percent growth.

In the US, ecommerce advertising compensated for losses seen in travel-related search advertising, which resulted in better-than-expected performance in Q2. Therefore, eMarketer expects total media ad spend in the US will decrease by 4.1 percent this year, up from its June forecast of -6.8 percent.

The US will rank eighth this year among the markets covered by eMarketer, up from 24th place in its previous forecast. In terms of digital ad spending, the US will place second with 7.5 percent growth, up from eMarketer’s previous projection of 19th place with 1.7 percent growth.

Emarketer expects total media ad spend worldwide will rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 to reach $691 billion. Helping drive the rebound will be a boost in digital ad spend globally, at 16.4 percent in 2021—more than double the 7.9 percent growth that traditional media spend will see next year.