Twitch Marketing: Key Performance Metrics Advertisers Need to Know
Twitch marketing is your next big advertising channel. Although gaming and Twitch are synonymous, overseeing a successful game marketing campaign on this live streaming platform isn’t easy. But by utilizing Twitch’s key metrics, your brand can explode.
Just like YouTube, Twitch has its superstars—and the biggest brands in the world know their worth. Twitch streamers are idolized, with manic superfans hanging on their every word. Live streams aren’t short. 5 hours, 10 hours, 31 days. This depth of content creates a connection that’s difficult to match on Instagram or TikTok—even YouTube. Twitch streamers are your best friend. And when your best friend talks… you listen.
Twitch influencer marketing isn’t like other platforms. Live content is a world apart from on-demand. Your successful influencer strategy for YouTube won’t work here, but we’ve got you covered.
Twitch marketing metrics brands need to know
Let’s break down the essential Twitch marketing metrics advertisers should keep in mind.
Let’s start with the foundations of your Twitch influencer campaign. While these metrics are far from the whole story, they offer a useful high-level overview to understand more complex Twitch streaming stats.
The follower count of a Twitch channel is your default starting point. Twitch users ‘follow’ their favorite channels to bookmark them, get notified when they go live, and generally show support. Truthfully, follower count is a vanity metric. It provides no indication of live viewership, which is problematic on a live streaming platform. It’s possible to find channels with 300,000 followers who can’t pull 1000 views. From February 2020 to May 2020, 95.1% of all streams had less than a tenth as many views than their follower count. That’s all you need to know about follower count.
Next, we have live views. This is the number of total unique visits to a channel’s home page. Like follower count, channel views offer little beyond a nod to lifetime interest in a channel. Your focus needs to be on its current and future status. But there is one positive. Channel views can expose a channel which is view-botting, i.e. generating fake live viewership. Most view-botting methods don’t load the channel home page directly, but real people do. By comparing a channel’s view count to others of similar size and age, you can spot the fakes.
Video on demand (VOD) content is where you should begin to pay attention. VOD content is found under a Twitch channel’s “Past Broadcasts” tab—and it’s exactly that. For each VOD you’ll see how many people viewed it (specifically VOD viewers, not live viewers), when it happened, and how long it was. This VOD archive is useful. Let’s say a Twitch streamer primarily plays shooting games. But every two weeks, they play a sports game. If VOD viewership drops significantly for the sports game sessions, there’s clearly less interest. What does this mean for your brand? Don’t advertise your game on a channel when there’s no audience for it. We’ll talk about this in more detail later.
VOD’s downfall is in the name. VOD has its uses, like in our aforementioned sports game example. But Twitch is a live streaming platform first. And you can’t learn everything about a channel’s live audience from VOD.
Let’s talk live. Peak concurrent viewers is a good place to start, defined as the highest number of simultaneous viewers a stream had over a single stream. Peak concurrent viewers is therefore a high-level indicator of a channel’s live reach. But like VOD, its problem is in the name. The peak is merely a snapshot; we’re missing data on who left before and who joined after. It’s simply not an average, and we’ll explain why this is problematic later.
The basic metrics we’ve covered so far aren’t useless, they just don’t tell a complete story. Let’s dig deeper.
Average concurrent viewership (ACV) is where things really get interesting. ACV is an important metric for advertisers as it often determines influencer sponsorship rates. ACV—accessed through a Twitch creator’s internal dashboard—is the average number of viewers watching throughout a whole stream. Twitch calculates ACV by repeatedly sampling viewership throughout a stream. Post-stream, these viewership figures are summed up and averaged over the total stream duration.
What makes ACV so useful? It’s an engagement metric. ACV tells us how much attention a streamer maintains when streaming. If people join a stream and leave two minutes later, ACV will be lower. But if a channel’s peak concurrent viewership and ACV are pretty close, you know the audience is highly engaged.
ACV also highlights a key flaw of peak concurrent viewership. Twitch raids are a helpful way of understanding this. In one example, popular Twitch channel LinusTechTips raided another channel: PlantyTime. PlantyTime’s viewership peaked at 1,816, but ACV only hit 60. In other words: shortly after the raid most of the audience left. Twitch giveaways also influence peak concurrent viewership. There are many benefits associated with giveaways, but be wary of their ‘artificial’ impact in this context. If you solely look at peak viewership, you’ll miss the bigger picture.
But ACV is also dangerous in isolation. Let’s say an hour-long stream has an ACV of 100. 100 ACV could mean 100 unique viewers watched for the full hour. But it could also mean 200 watched for 30 minutes. Plus, ACV logically decreases as stream duration increases. Twitch streams last five, six, seven hours—or more! It’s hard for anyone to watch that long consecutively. As a result, shorter streams usually have higher ACV.
ACV doesn’t tell us a lot about overall reach. That’s where you can utilize viewer-hours. Viewer-hours indicate how much a stream was watched. It’s calculated by multiplying ACV with the stream’s duration in hours. Viewer-hours will show you whether viewers watched for five minutes or five hours. Where viewer-hours fall short is engagement. It can’t differentiate between a small number of highly-engaged viewers versus a large number of lightly-engaged viewers. Plus, high viewer-hours may not be a priority for you. If user acquisition is your focus, targeting new viewers via shorter streams can be an effective strategy when you’re advertising your game on Twitch.
Audience health is an indication of whether a channel is growing or stagnating. Has ACV doubled in the last two months? Has it flatlined? Looking at audience health historically is also valuable. This helps you determine whether a flatline is ‘routine’ and the channel will grow again… or if you should hold off. Again, looking holistically is imperative. Utilizing the VOD archive, you may notice stagnation only happened when a certain genre of game was played.
Stagnation is also relevant to campaign type. If you’ve worked with a channel before and want to build engagement by partnering again, keep stagnation in mind. Perhaps counter it by emphasizing a new gamemode you recently added—something the audience hasn’t seen before. Or are you targeting user acquisition? Going back to a channel you previously partnered with could be a pointless exercise, since the audience has probably already made up their mind.
Let’s say a channel’s audience health is encouraging—their ACV and viewer-hours are up significantly. But how sensitive is their audience to the specific game being played? Audience loyalty measures this. Many streamers are closely associated with a particular genre of game; their fans want to see them playing that genre exclusively. So if those streamers suddenly try a different genre, engagement can drop significantly. Conversely, there are variety streamers where no genre of game is off-limits—their audience watches regardless of the game being played. When finding a receptive audience for your brand, consider this viewer drop-off. It’s calculated as a percentage of viewership lost when a channel streams a similar game to yours that’s outside of their primary genre.
Measuring the success of a Twitch influencer campaign
We’ve discussed what metrics to utilize when identifying potential streamers. But what about analyzing the performance of your Twitch marketing efforts? Advertising on Twitch, like any platform, needs to drive results. Due to the nature of live streaming, exact metrics are difficult. So what’s the answer?
We can’t stress this enough: the bigger picture is key. One metric in isolation may seem appealing. As we saw, a high peak concurrent viewers figure looks great. But if it was the result of a Twitch raid where 95% of viewers left straight after… that number is a lot less impressive. If you’re targeting awareness, analyzing ACV and viewer-hours is a great starting point. These metrics inform audience health.
If your focus is driving clicks to your site, you’re in luck! Clicks and conversions are trackable, so you can provide streamers with a unique code to push users to your site. You can also track site visits during a partnered stream generally since you can reasonably infer any data spikes are driven by your Twitch marketing. For example, when popular Twitch streamer Shroud mentioned Cougar Gaming, the brand’s site was instantly flooded with traffic.
Twitch’s ability to generate huge buzz around a game is only just beginning. But to successfully generate that buzz, an understanding of the platform’s unique metrics and ecosystem is essential. Once your Twitch influencer campaign goals are identified, the right combination of metrics will position your brand for success. Getting that combination right is easier said than done, however.
It’s not straightforward to choose the right analytical tools (both Twitch-owned and third party) and then have the expertise to separate the relevant from the irrelevant. CloutBoost is a Twitch marketing agency driven by data. Armed with our unique expertise and essential tools, we can transform your Twitch marketing strategy today.