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Amazon Ads: Building deeper connections with Gen Z and gaming audiences

Amazon Ads explores the new rules of the game that marketers need to know as we head into 2023

Young middle eastern woman streamer playing video game using smartphone at gaming room

Twitch is ahead of the game with its ability to reach ‘Generation Twitch’ – a growing community predominantly made up of Gen Zers.

And the numbers are impressive. This community now has over 3 billion members – that’s over a third of the world’s population.

Amazon Ads helps connect brands with this audience on Twitch. To better understand how advertisers can do this in the most impactful way, the Twitch Insights and Measurement team conducted a global research study. The research covered 12 countries and featured research with the Twitch community, creative focus groups, a global survey, and a semiotic review. What is a semiotic review? Well, it explores the ways in which meaning is communicated and understood over time, and for a generation which predominantly communicates in memes, GIFs, and emotes, this is vital to understand – especially for brands.

Five emerging shifts in behavior came out of this research. Here, Amazon Ads explores the new rules of the game that marketers need to know as we head into 2023.

From curated to authentic

In order to build trust, brands have to show their authentic human side, welcome spontaneity, and embrace the candor of live streaming. There is a growing realization that influencers, however relatable they may seem, use technology to cultivate a ‘projected life.’ They do this by selectively curating and sharing only the moments of their lives that are tailored to their specific online identities. This creates a false and inauthentic representation of life and therefore an unattainable picture of happiness.

Today’s emerging audiences are gradually moving away from these constructed or polished online identities, and are instead seeking out far more raw, real, and authentic experiences. According to the study, 75 per cent of Twitch viewers agree that what’s happening on Twitch is authentic due to it being live and unpolished, which creates real moments of genuine emotion and drama. Generation Twitch reflect their true selves in the content they share online, and they want brands to follow suit. To trust brands, they must first understand what they stand for before they commit and become a loyal customer.

Going from fluid to fixed

Until recently, the vast majority of our entertainment consumption could be categorized as one-way experiences with minimal opportunity for spontaneity. Thanks to technology, distinctions between the virtual world and IRL (in-real-life) are now becoming less pronounced. The ability to interact with, and influence, live content is highly unique. Our research shows that seamless and worthwhile interactivity creates the fluidity this generation is after, and enhances the whole consumer experience. By integrating your brand in a way that takes advantage of the creative opportunities available through immersive and emerging tech, brands can pull the audience into a fluid and adaptive narrative, building strong engagement with customers. And, as a note for brands, 72 per cent of Twitch viewers think that interactive tools make advertising more interesting.

From exclusivity to inclusivity

In the past, there was always hype around the notion of exclusivity, where access was only limited to certain groups of people, the concept of fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) was at its peak, and VIP was the ultimate thing to boast about.

Generation Twitch is moving from exclusive to inclusive. It shouldn’t matter where you are in the world, what you look like, or how much money you’ve got – everyone should be able to take part, particularly when it comes to art, culture, learning, and entertainment. The welcoming support of the online community shines through with more than three quarters of viewers agreeing that Twitch is a diverse community for everyone. Again, it’s the power of technology that can bring opportunities to us all, allowing everyone to feel represented, and creating a genuine feeling of belonging to a community that we can call home. Build brand recognition by being open, and feature diverse voices that reflect the diversity found within the Twitch audience.

Case study: Adidas

Adidas collaborated with Twitch and Amazon Ads to highlight trailblazer women in the Twitch Women’s Alliance brand campaign. Founded in 2021, Twitch Women’s Alliance program focuses on addressing the need for women content creators to feel safe and supported by, and on, Twitch. The campaign helped encourage positive conversations and further solidified their stance of “Impossible is Nothing.”

From passive to collaborative

Today’s audiences know and expect that entertainment can be more than just passively watching content from afar. They want a collective community experience that generates a real sense of unity, where everyone is able to meaningfully contribute and support one another. Generation Twitch connects and builds communities around shared values, interests, and passions, with 74 per cent of the audience that was surveyed agreeing that interaction on Twitch with the community is everything. Brands that take a community-first approach and actively encourage participation will set themselves up for success. To really build loyalty, brands need to align their values and also add value to a community.

From disengaged to purposeful

A lot of thought goes into what Generation Twitch consumes. According to the Value of Twitch study, the Generation Twitch audience feels money should only be spent on something worthwhile, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price or the most popular brand seen in ads. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and they are looking for brands to be engaged with fulfilling, stimulating, and purpose-driven causes.

The study showed that Generation Twitch expects brands to not just virtue signal but authentically stand for something, and it is important their values align. This cultural shift is evident in the gaming world too. To give some context for our region, the UAE, Saudia Arabia and Egypt are home to some of the most active gamers in the world. In the MEA region, gaming took up 1hr 29mins per day for internet users across MEA last year, outpacing the North American average by 7 minutes. This large audience cares and are using their love of gaming for good – from growing awareness of environmental issues to positively facilitating inclusion. Brands can build loyalty and brand love when they show how they share this same sense of purpose – and building connections and engagement through collaborations with streamers and their communities is a great place to do this.

Case study: Lexus

Lexus wanted to recognize and celebrate people who hustle for what matters to them. With Twitch streamers being the epitome of this, Lexus took a hugely purposeful stance, embracing the powerful part a brand can play in supporting streamers who make a living doing what they love. Lexus, Twitch and Amazon Ads produced “Next Level,” a live streamed game show created to support up-and-coming talent. The winner, chosen by the Twitch community, took home a $20,000 cash grant from Lexus.

Curious about Amazon Ads? Here’s everything you need to know about advertising on Twitch.