To help marketers understand the most effective way of attracting audiences on gaming platforms, Stream Hatchet’s latest report, Brands in Gaming and Esports, analyzed the presence of nearly 2,000 brands in video game streaming across the top 500 channels on Twitch. 

The most popular campaign activations used by brands in esports and livestreaming, it found, include esports tournaments, team organizations where brands utilize jersey patches to capture impressions or create sponsored content around the team and in-game activations where brands are creating characters or virtual versions of their product. 

Key takeaways include:

  • Advertising in livestreaming and esports is quickly growing yet still provides advertisers with somewhat untapped potential to reach the elusive 18- to 34-year-old demographic.
  • The best livestreaming campaigns are those in which the advertisements are creative and engaging, so making connections with content creators around authentic activations is key to earning the trust of gamers and gaming fans.
  • As opposed to simply adding a logo where livestream viewers will see it, brands should work with livestream influencers to activate on their social media platforms and have them use the product live whenever possible.
  • Chatbots offer context to viewers who are interested in learning more about a product. Utilizing QR codes, surveys and banners can usher potential customers to the right pages.

Hours watched of sponsored video game streams grew 211 percent over the last two years. There were 1.2 million sponsored streams in 2021 and 571 minutes watched. Additionally, 2.34 percent of Twitch’s hours watched were of sponsored streams. There were 153 million sponsored streams in Q1 2022 and 130 million in Q2 2022. 

As livestreaming and esports have grown, brands have started to take notice and as a result, the number of content creators sponsored by brands has increased substantially since Q1 2020, the report found. 

Given gamers and streamers use computers and peripherals to play games, electronic hardware brands have become active advertisers in the livestreaming space. The top categories on Twitch by logo presence in Q1 2022 were electronic hardware (8.8 percent) with 3,000 appearances, followed by apparel (7.3 percent) with 2,500 appearances, household goods (4.3 percent) with 1,500 appearances, beverages (4.2 percent) with 1,400 appearances and automotive (3.3 percent) with 1,100 appearances.

The top categories on Twitch by chat engagement tell a somewhat different story of the top brand categories on the platform in Q1 2022. Electronic hardware (22.4 percent) maintains its position in first place with 20.3 million mentions, marketplace (18.7 percent) with 17 million mentions, web browser (7.3 percent) with 6.6 million mentions, beverages (6 percent) with 5.5 million mentions and payments (4.4 percent) with 4 million mentions.

Gamers and streamers often resort to fast food during long nights in front of their computers. Brands like KFC and Wendy’s have activated with gamers in the past, creating in-game characters and events, and the former even building its own console. During Q1 2022, McDonald’s led the way with 1.3 million mentions, KFC with 878,000 mentions, Subway with 381,000 mentions, Wendy’s with 360,000 mentions and Burger King with 151,000 mentions.

Long hours of gaming and streaming require constant fuel. For gamers and streamers, that means a consistent supply of snacks. In Q1 2022, Doritos (42 percent) held the top spot as the most-mentioned brand with 458,000 mentions, followed by Cheetos with 273,000 mentions, Pringles with 212,000 mentions, Cheez-it with 53,000 mentions and Ruffles with 40,000 mentions. 

Doritos stood out with a mix of highly produced esports tournaments and the creation of a custom chip emote that streaming fans are able to use when talking about snacks. According to Stream Hatchet, there’s still plenty of room in livestreaming’s snack category for more brands to activate and nurture greater brand affinity.

The automotive industry also increased its gaming presence dramatically over the last few years. Many of the more prominent streamers have used their new incomes to purchase luxury vehicles that they discuss with fans on the platform. Esports teams and creators have also partnered with car brands for promotions around upcoming events.  

Along with fast food and snacks, comfortable clothing ensures gamers and streamers can be online for several hours per day. Sportswear brands have recognized and capitalized on this, positioning their logos onscreen for livestreaming audiences around the world to notice. Some brands have even embarked on creative collaborations such as Cloud9’s lifestyle clothing line with Puma. The brands mentioned most on Twitch in Q1 2022 were Nike (45.5 percent), Adidas (23.4 percent) and Puma (15 percent).

In the last year and a half, NFTs were increasingly discussed on Twitter with 290 million mentions. Coinbase partnered with esports league Blast Premier to engage with Counter-Strike players and fans, a collaboration that saw 141 minutes of exposure time and 676 million impressions. 

Sponsoring streamers to promote a new game or chapter release is a surefire way to increase awareness on livestreaming platforms, according to Stream Hatchet. The top three in-game event streamers, the report found, were: Nickmercs (57,815 hours watched), Swagg (48,642 hours watched) and JusKerrs (21,417 hours watched). 

Call of Duty aimed to drive engagement for its Warzone game by releasing a King Kong vs. Godzilla crossover event on Twitch. From May 11 to May 18, 2022, “Godzilla” was mentioned on Twitch over 30,000 times, while “King Kong” was mentioned 17,800 times.