In a fascinating case of life imitating art, more traditional sports teams are joining the NFL in taking a leaf out of the eSports playbook: online streaming channel Twitch just announced a new partnership with the NWHL and will be live streaming all games through 2022.
Pundits reckon eSports will be a $3.2 billion dollar industry by 2022, prompting many major tech players to get in on the action with strategy designed to both make the player experience better while creating new revenue streams of their own. But while eSports is an exhilarating arena for brands and marketers to play in, gamers are a sophisticated lot. When you’ve got EDM superstars putting on virtual concerts in Fortnite, the bar has been set high for an incredibly savvy audience.
For those who don’t have Marshmello’s star power and budget, there are some highly effective tech integrations that can be leveraged to increase brand awareness on major streaming channels. One of the most accessible empowers Twitch users to leverage the Snap Camera and play with the platform’s massive library of AR lenses as they live stream their next epic battle.
The Snap Camera and Twitch integration—which launched last October—opened up new ways of connectivity among users. By adding the interactive power of Snapchat’s AR lenses, marketers have an opportunity to both enhance the fan experience and increase engagement with their messaging. Twitch is the domain of a hard-to-reach demographic of 18 to 34 year-olds who consume all of their content on PC or laptop, making them an incredibly valuable marketing partner for both gaming and non-gaming related brands.
Before we get into what this partnership means, let’s cover just what exactly Snap Camera and Twitch are:
The Snap Camera is basically Snapchat for your laptop. The webcam acts just like Snapchat on your smartphone, and users can interact with AR lenses just as they would on the mobile app. Snap Camera responds to the same things that trigger interactivity on mobile—opening your mouth or raising your eyebrows will prompt 3D content to appear or animate.
Twitch is a streaming platform that shows video of what the user is doing in real-time, and offers massive audiences the ability to watch eSports gameplay with the player’s face overlaid in the corner of the screen. This gives the audience intimate proximity to the eSport player—just like a spectator in a stadium watching their favorite athlete compete, right down to color commentary.
The Twitch x Snap integration allows streamers to use lenses in their face feed while they stream. Simple, yes—but by integrating your brand messaging into a custom lens experience, you can create a deeper level of fan engagement just as with traditional sports. By creating interactive and/or gamified lenses and coupling them with a strategic digital marketing campaign, brands and marketers can create a journey for each individual player. Being able to access users/fans through multiple touchpoints that intersect with real and digital worlds can provide a deep level of understanding of the fan lifecycle and behaviors.
Let’s not forget that everyone who has tuned in to watch a player using your lens will see your brand messaging, too (popular players regularly boast viewers in the hundreds of thousands). Integrate your brand colors into unique 3D assets that can either float around or be placed directly onto the user, or create a transformative lens that blends your brand messaging into a key character-inspired costume.
eSport’s potential with digital merchandising, fan engagement analytics, data, and cross-platform expansion has yet to be fully realized. Snap Camera and Twitch offer teams, leagues and marketers an accessible entry point into this domain, but it’s not just about creating a one-off lens and hoping for the best; marketers need to develop a media plan that takes into account eSport player and fan behaviors.
Looking to learn more about AR lenses and filters? Check out our full list of resources here.