· 4 min read
I had so much fun clacking away at Twitch. As a senior creative strategist, I worked directly with brands and agencies to build wackadoo creative ideas for our streamers. Even crossed off a few dream brands I’d always wanted to work like the NBA and Monster Energy.
When I wasn’t brainstorming, I’d be in Q&As with brands dipping their toes in Twitch. And inevitably, most brands would ask me the same question:
“Should we start a Twitch channel?”
No. Please don’t. I’m begging you. I’m not saying your brand shouldn’t be on Twitch (they should, I’ll show you how below), but no, do not start a branded Twitch channel.
It’s difficult to repurpose content to win on Twitch
Content efficiency is at an all-time high in 2023. Long-form YouTube videos get cut into short-form content. You can win on Instagram Reels and TikTok with the exact same strategy. I’m netting hundreds of thousands of TikTok views by just standing in front of my tweets. A screenshot of a tweet can do numbers on Instagram.
But Twitch is a live service, with a live audience who expects a live chat. You can’t just toss content from other channels on the purple platform. You’ll need wholly original content at a regular cadence, usually with a human host. You’ll essentially need an entire content team’s worth of resources to run an organic Twitch channel. That won’t make any financial sense for brands, especially non-endemics.
Twitch is a slow-growing platform
That TikTok For You page? That interest-graph algorithm that throws suggested content in front of potential audiences?
Yeah, that doesn’t exist on Twitch.
There isn’t a great share function either—no retweets, nothing like Instagram’s Add Post to Story tag. It’s a video platform that’s largely parasocial in nature—streamers stream, viewers view. Like YouTube, users don’t have their own feed to share content they enjoy. The best way for a user to share a Twitch stream they enjoy: linking to it on a different social network.
That’s all to say growth on Twitch is very hard, even for the most talented creators. Your brand definitely isn’t gonna see the overall organic reach you might have by building on a different social network.
A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby
You probably don’t even understand Twitch content
The most annoying part of the Twitch gig, by far, was consulting for overconfident creative agencies. I usually worked with media agencies who viewed Twitch as an advertising and influencer platform (which is exactly right), but sometimes the big brands would let their creative agencies take a whack at a concept. I’d listen to some beanie-adorned creative director and their 20-person agency team walk me through an idea they loved, that…well, had zero chance of working on Twitch. They’d offer technological ideas that don’t exist, or deeply misunderstand how creators use the platform, or potentially break Twitch terms of service with their concepts. Then I’d have to kindly walk them away from their idea, which was never fun.
If you don’t live and breathe Twitch, you won’t understand Twitch. And your brand probably doesn’t have a good reason to live and breathe Twitch. Your social media manager definitely doesn’t have time to casually learn the platform on top of the countless others they’re already working.
There are better ways to get your brand on Twitch
Now that I’ve popped your brand-channel dreams, let’s get to the two primary ways to toss your brand on Twitch: advertising and influencers.
Like every social or video platform, Twitch has a bevy of great advertising options. The Twitch sales page has a rundown of every unit available, ranging from in-stream ads to the larger homepage takeovers.
The more fun, more social approach is to work with Twitch streamers. Big brands who reach a specific spending threshold on Twitch have access to the Brand Partnership Studio, the white-glove creative team with creative strategists, influencer relationship managers, producers, and more. Brands can also work directly with Twitch creators the same way you’d work with an influencer on any other platform, though I’d advise you negotiate a deal that covers the creators’ other networks as well—remember, Twitch is live and that on-air partnership isn’t forever.