Much like film, television and social media, gaming has transformed culture and become part of consumers’ lifestyles. With most adults and youth gaming at least once per week, brand marketers are waking up to the potential of reaching consumers on the gaming platforms they love, like Twitch. However, matching brand messaging to the moment and developing the right long-term strategy to connect with consumers can be complex, even for seasoned marketers. For game publishers, a long-term Twitch marketing strategy is essential—long before a game moves from ideation to development. As a game develops, publishers need access to granular insights on shifts in consumer preferences and gameplay behaviors—insights that can be difficult to glean without access to a powerful analytics suite.

Helixa, an audience intelligence platform, has partnered with Ayzenberg to deliver a webinar on Nov. 16 on how to understand what motivates audiences on and off Twitch, as well as how to build a powerful marketing strategy—or game—that engages consumers and meets their expectations.

Ahead of the meeting, we sat down with Laia Pescetto, VP of global marketing at Helixa, and Alex Lawson, senior research analyst, to hear some of their thoughts on why Twitch is central to audience engagement for brands and game publishers.

Gaming is not just a pastime anymore—it is as essential to our lives as texting or social media. So how did gaming shift from a pastime to a cultural force and lifestyle?

Laia Pescetto: Film, TV and music all had a way of reaching large audiences almost from conception, and with the rise of streaming platforms, we’ve seen an insane increase in content consumption and creation, providing pockets of niche interest to the most passionate audience segments.

Gaming has had the direct inverse journey, starting with a smaller niche and siloed audiences, with no way to easily connect with other gamers at scale. Not to mention the various gaming categories drew extremely loyal fanbases, people identified via the types of games they play, whether first-person shooter or fantasy, etc. The expansion of the gaming universe into online gaming and streaming platforms provided the scale that made it possible to connect with other gamers from anywhere in the world.

Platforms like YouTube and Twitch also allowed gamers to make themselves part of the cultural zeitgeist by playing games for an audience. Combining that with the ability to host esports and game tournaments in a public space like a stadium has made gaming a true cultural force by making it easier for like-minded individuals to connect and share their passion. Now brands have caught up and are creating relevant experiences via partnerships or their own products to connect with this audience that is growing in influence by the day.

What can brands and marketers learn from looking at gaming insights, and what might those insights tell us about how people will relate to media and/or advertising in the future?

Alex Lawson: Product placement has been popular in film, television and advertising for a long time now. For example, many of us remember the iPod commercials and how the songs featured in them would often reach the top of the charts. So if you look at another massive cultural phenomenon in the FIFA games, you can use insights to know what genres of music that audience loves, and if you’re managing talent that would resonate with this audience, it would be a great platform to be included in next year’s game.

The same approach is true for the gamers that stream on Twitch and YouTube as well as the esports teams that play in front of crowds of thousands. Esports teams like FaZe Clan are rebranding themselves as creators and doing brand partnerships that live outside the constraints of digital gaming. We can now do this with everything ranging from what clothing brands our characters could be wearing to what beer should be on the tap heads in a game’s bar to furniture brands in home-building games. The options are nearly limitless for partnerships between game developers and brands/marketers.

We can use those insights to inform campaigns relevant to the passion of every segment under the gaming umbrella. Deeper audience intelligence can also inform game design and marketing to develop new gaming experiences.

The Nov. 16 webinar will cover:

  • Who are Twitch users?
  • Twitch users’ interests, lifestyles and favorite videos games
  • How Helixa can assist with game design and development

Click here to learn more and register for the webinar.