What role will Twitch have in 2021?

2 February 2021, By Inés Pérez, Account Manager at Canela

So far 2021 is turning out pretty much how everybody expected it to but it still feels full of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted the pace of our lives, all the while we are realising that a lot of those changes are here to stay. This will most likely be the case with working from home and also the way we engage with entertainment. Online events have become universal and the consumption of streaming video continues to grow with formats that diverge from traditional television.

Twitch, the live video platform owned by Amazon, is one platform that has taken off during 2020 and is aiming for further growth this year. The Spanish streamer TheGrefg recently hit the world audience record by surpassing 2.4 million viewers. His live stream, in which he revealed his Fortnite skin, demonstrated once again the possibilities of the platform along with its high user engagement. But TheGrefg’s success, though record-breaking, is not an isolated case. On 31st December the popular streamer Ibai Llanos decided to celebrate the arrival of 2021 with a New Year’s Eve clock striking stream, which gathered more than 550,000 viewers. He managed to surpass the audience of major traditional Spanish TV channels such as Cuatro (269,000 viewers), demonstrating that the trend in favour of these formats is unstoppable. According to data from TwitchMetrics, users consumed more than ten million hours of content by Ibai, seven million by Auronplay and five million by TheGrefg or Rubius only in December.

Source: TwitchMetrics

An opportunity to connect with the audience in a personal and interactive way

Twitch emerged as a streaming platform primarily specialised in video games, but it has grown and evolved a lot since then. In a market like the Spanish one, where the sector is so strong (according to AEVI the video game sector turned over 1,479 million euros in 2019) the good reception of the platform is not surprising, nor the fact that several of the audience records achieved belong to Spanish streamers. It is constantly evolving and responds to current trends. Only a few months ago there was Fall Guys, then Among Us and now it is the turn of Rust (with Valorant’s permission, among others). Many non-gaming content creators, however, have started to see Twitch as an opportunity to connect with audiences in a much more personal and interactive way (we already told you about this in this other article). As a result, an increasing number of streamers are focusing on dissemination (Scenio), politics (Nanisimo – Emilio Doménech) or news (Ángel Martín).

So which opportunities does Twitch’s present for brands and where will its growth lead to? For years now, we have witnessed how large companies – many of them not initially associated with gaming or sports, such as Vodafone, Mapfre or Chips Ahoy- are getting involved in esports. Does this mean, however, that there are real possibilities for all non-gaming brands?

Should all brands be on Twitch?

Probably not. Anyone who has created a communication plan or a marketing strategy understands that we are dealing with something tremendously complex. Indeed, 2020 has been a year of expansion for Twitch, and it wouldn’t be surprising if many other brands decide to jump on board in 2021. However, that doesn’t mean that their arrival on the platform will be successful or long-lasting. By its very nature, Twitch demands creativity, perseverance and continuous adaptation. Not everyone is cut out for that.

If there is one thing we have learned so far from Twitch, it is that personalised content, originality, an engaging personality and an involved community are fundamental. Each streamer embodies this in their own way and here lies one of the most attractive (and also challenging) aspects of the platform. There is no magic formula. What is clear at the moment is that we will have to wait to find out what role this platform will play in 2021 and we will be certainly keeping an eye on it.