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Twitchers and YouTubers: what’s all the fuss about ?

Twitch streamers and YouTubers are gaining in popularity and power, reaching ever-larger audiences with elaborate livestream, in-person and long video content formats. Events including GP Explorer, an F4 motor race held earlier this year in France, or Spanish boxing tournament La Velada del Ano II (Night of the Year II), are notable for the participation of dozens of streamers, YouTubers and big name sponsors. The more important hallmark of these events, however, is the level of online and in-person audience participation which demonstrates the particular bonds between streamers and their communities. Founder of streamers influencer marketing agency Madi Stream Jérémy Cabrier explains the drivers behind the rise of these new content formats and how streaming personalities can be harnessed for influence marketing campaigns.

Jeremy Cabrier
Jeremy Cabrier

What’s driving the resurgence in popularity of long-form video on YouTube?

YouTube has become the dominant media for many people. Young people especially are moving away from TV and on to YouTube. For young people, YouTube is like what TV was 15 or 20 years ago. They are taking the time to watch a constructed and longer content format. It’s going to evolve more in that direction because there are more resources going to make bigger productions on YouTube.

There are two things that flow from that: the need for a budget to cover production costs, and more partnerships. It’s not new, but long formats are more refined. Content creators want to change. Those that started 10 or 15 years ago with very short formats want to evolve as creators.

Can influencers of any size be successful at long format content?

To create a good quality, long format you need a budget, and you need to be confident that people will watch it. This means it’s more likely that long formats are done by established people, at least for those that require a certain level of production. I’m not talking about people who do a 90-minute livestream and post it on YouTube.

How does influence in this sphere differ from influence on platforms like Instagram or TikTok?

It’s the differentiation between influencers and content creators. Content creators, by definition, are influencers because a lot of people follow them. But a content creator’s job is to create content, to create information, to create animation. Content creators on YouTube and Twitch have a platform of creativity where they can do what they want.

Each platform equals one type of partnership. Twitch is a completely different format to Instagram. On Instagram, you see a product presentation where the product or service is clearly explained. On Twitch, it’s more about embedding the brand in the livestream, in the concept itself.

What does the success of the GP Explorer event staged by Squeezie (17.4m YouTube followers) tell us about the evolution of streamers on these platforms?

It shows that it’s a professional production. [It was organized] with people from the highest level of television who handle the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It respected Formula 4 and motorsport in general. The streamers did a lot of training, a lot of preparation. It was very professional, staged and respectful, while keeping the values of the internet, of proximity. It highlights two things: it legitimizes the internet, and it legitimizes the platforms and especially Twitch. There have been other big events, but the production level of this one, this way of working — the highly professional level — legitimizes the content creators. As Squeezie said, it’s like putting a big stamp on it that says ‘OK, we are capable of doing it’.  

So it brought streaming into the mainstream?

A little bit in the sense that everyone could watch it. But it’s very important for a lot of people that we really keep those [online] community values. [The community] talked about it a lot before, during and after the event. It’s about the connection with people. We watched it together and debriefed a lot on streams like Domingo’s Popcorn. It was very much done in the community spirit that is Twitch’s identity. Some people on Twitch will say: ‘Yeah, it’s just like TV’ but the values of sharing and community communication that are unique to Twitch were maintained.

How are the community connections on Twitch different from on other platforms?

On Twitch, there’s something special in terms of community. It’s why Twitch is so authentic and genuine. A streamer’s authenticity is one of their big strengths. It’s live, you can’t cheat on Twitch. If you’re in a bad mood, it’s going to show. For the big streamers, people gather before the live, during the live in the chat and we meet on other platforms like Discord. The community is engaged with the streamer but also within the community.

That community aspect is ultra-important and is the strength of streamers. It’s why, in terms of influencer marketing, it’s absolutely mandatory to work in total respect of the community and its players. To respect the people who have subscribed [to the streamer]. Twitch subscriptions are a brand of the streamer’s support and show how strong the community is.

Are brands willing to accept such conditions?

For it to work, they have to. Generally speaking, content creators on Twitch are the best people to talk to their community. At Madi Stream, our policy is not to work with brands that don’t accept those conditions.

Of course, there are rules that are established beforehand, but the freedom of tone, expression, creativity, must be retained. There are brands that have completely understood how it works, and even those that go further and participate. That go into the chat and answer questions. The feedback is there, and the community says ‘OK, they understand us, maybe we will make the effort to support them’. That’s why influencer marketing on Twitch, when it’s done right, generates more loyalty than other channels. It’s not just one purchase, it’s another and another.

How do you measure performance of influence campaigns on Twitch?

Twitch provides all the data, the numbers are accessible by everyone. The number of people that watch live, for how many minutes, the number of replays, etc. So in terms of KPIs you can’t cheat. Everything is verifiable and that’s very important.

There are different objectives in any influencer marketing campaign so the KPIs will be different depending on the objectives. In general, the most important KPI for a brand is to be seen, so the number of unique views is going to be the main KPI. The number of minutes people watched the live can also be interesting in terms of return on investment.

There is a lot of talk about Twitch no longer being only for gamers…

Five or six years ago I would have said that clearly, Twitch is a gamer thing. Today there is still as much around gaming, except that it’s not only that. There’s music, art, drawing, history, politics, sport.

All that evolved with Covid. Sometimes Twitch was the only place where people had human contact every day. It made people go on Twitch who would not naturally have gone on Twitch. Suddenly content creators who didn’t make gaming content saw their viewing populations evolve and increase, and the kinds of shows diversified.

There is everything on Twitch, you just have to know how it works. That is more difficult and that’s why we created our agency: to enable brands to get to know the streamers and therefore the communities that will correspond best.

How do you see Twitch evolving over the year ahead?

In terms of streaming, Twitch is well ahead of YouTube which still leans very much towards video. There are fewer streams and the platform is not completely designed for it.

But the internet moves quickly. Twitch has a policy that scares a lot of content creators. Some content creators have seen their share of subscription income reduced from 75% to 50%. Twitch has complete control which scares content creators because they can change anything at any time.  

For the moment, Twitch has no reason to make decisions that drive content creators away. But we know that Twitch is in the red in many places. France is one of the few places where Twitch makes money because French streaming is very well-developed and very community-based.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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