Twitch’s daily users nearly doubled in 2020, from 17 million to 30 million, thanks to pandemic lockdowns and the digital nature of online gaming. Experiential marketers, in turn, have jumped at the opportunity. Lexus asked the Twitch community to design a tricked-out version of its new IS model. Honda launched its new Civic exclusively on Twitch. And Dunkin’ hosted a live tournament with challenges, prizes and streamer head-to-heads.
Amid all the fresh brand activity within the service, we spoke with Twitch CMO Doug Scott about the role of experiential in the gaming space over the last year and how he sees IRL events evolving amid reopenings.
Event Marketer: As parts of the country continue to open up, do you have any retention efforts in mind?
Doug Scott: We’ve found that helping people find the right content within our service is an important tactic. From a marketing standpoint, we’re driving people to specific pieces of content and then connecting them to creators and/or other channels that they are likely to find interesting based on their content preferences. We’re building a multi-step marketing process to help drive deeper engagement, particularly among segments of users who engage with us infrequently.
Overall, we’re looking forward to being able to engage our communities IRL again. We throw TwitchCon every year, which is a huge moment for the community. We know that the experience people have at our events helps bond them to the service and deepens their commitment to Twitch.
EM: How have you kept the Twitch community engaged over the past year? What experiences were the most successful?
DS: One of the things I think I’m most proud about over the last year is the strength and importance of IRL events to Twitch. Obviously, that disappeared when we went into lockdown and we immediately pivoted to thinking about how to fill that hole for the community with virtual events. Within a matter of two to three weeks after the initial lockdown, we set up something called StreamAid, which was designed to raise money for COVID treatment and relief. It was one of the first fundraising events in the wake of the lockdown when the world had been thrown into chaos. It was an amazing day that raised many millions of dollars to help the COVID pandemic relief.
We built on that with something called Summer Games Fest. Once E3 got canceled, we created Summer Games Fest. It allowed us to collect over 40 different announcements from different publishers and platforms relevant to the gaming universe. We had this consistent drum beat of content for the gaming community to rally around.
And then when fall came, at a time when we would traditionally be doing TwitchCon, we created our own event called GlitchCon, which is a pun that Twitch users would get because our mascot’s nickname is Glitch. And it’s also a play on the state of the world in 2020. Seven million people attended. It was an all-day multiple channel production that was a love letter to the Twitch community.
EM: What’s a recent brand experience that has shown strong engagement?
DS: One of my favorite examples was when Lexus leaned in and partnered with Twitch partnership studios and a streamer to design a new version of their IS. The “Gamers IS” became this custom, tricked-out version that they designed in collaboration, live on Twitch, with the streaming community. It’s a great example of a brand leaning into what makes livestreaming and Twitch interesting in the first place, which is the participation. You’re not a passive, leaned-back receiver of what’s happening. You have a role to play. It was a great example of how a brand can do that—and do that at scale—on Twitch.
For the full Q&A, head over to Chief Marketer, Event Marketer’s sister pub.