2020 was Twitch’s year.
The online streaming service used primarily by gamers was at the epicenter of so many aspects of pandemic life. Increased video gaming, a strong desire to connect with others, and a hunger for new forms of entertainment were all dimensions of the dreaded ‘new normal’ facilitated by the platform.
More than two in five (44%) gamers in the United States have watched gaming live streams, and ongoing data collected by YouGov shows Twitch’s decisive dominance in the video-game-streaming arena in this market, even if other offerings are making competition fierce.
YouGov data paints a clear picture of this captive audience. More than half (57%) stream-watchers tune in to Twitch at least once a week and 16% tune in several times a day. Half of this audience is 18-29 (51%) and three-quarters are male (77%). Data shows this is a diverse audience, with Hispanic and Asian Americans over-indexing.
Video game streaming has created an unscripted and interactive relationship between the viewer and the personality, offering an experience unlike any other form of entertainment.
For marketers looking to connect to this audience, it is important to note that according to our data this group of young game-streamers want brands to reflect their personal views and to have a clear point of view on wider social issues. However, this segment is also more likely to be turned off by brands who take things too seriously.
Video ads may be a good first step for marketers to use the platform. Beyond that, brands may also sponsor programming or recruit platform personalities as brand ambassadors.
Online gaming broadcasters are powerful influencers. Our data shows roughly one in five American gamers (19%) get information about new games from gaming personalities on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.
While Twitch is dominated by video gaming, there are other forms of entertainment on the platform, including talk shows, arts and crafts, cooking, fashion, and music. These categories have especially increased their presence on Twitch during the pandemic, when typical methods of audience engagement – most notably, music concerts and festivals – were suspended, and there was a strong need to find alternative formats and platforms to reach fans who were hungry for live, original content.
YouGov BrandIndex data shows the platform is also capturing the attention of non-gamers. The brand saw a 17% increase in Awareness in the last quarter alone, which shows the potential of the service as a general-purpose live-streaming destination.
Brands are taking notice. Recently, Lexus unveiled a special edition of the IS sedan on the platform that was designed by Twitch community members. The NFL simulcast Thursday Night Football coverage on the site, with plans to deepen its presence.
Methodology: Sample size of US gamers is 14,139 and includes both PC and console gamers. Sample size of US adults who live-stream (watch) games is 1,658. YouGov Profiles data was collected between February 2020 and February 2021. Learn more about YouGov Profiles.
Twitch’s Awareness score is based on a 4-week moving average with an average daily sample of 393 US adults who do not play games on console or on PC. Learn more about YouGov BrandIndex.