Partner Spotlight: Twitch

With over 150 million monthly users, live-streaming platform Twitch unlocks massive audience potential for brands. Essentially a community-driven ESPN for gaming (though its offerings go far beyond), Twitch has the largest attention share of any online platform behind Netflix— and by far the largest scale of any live video platform.

Brands have been slow to adopt Twitch, owing to its gaming-centric audience and innovative live-streaming approach. However, now that apps such as Meerkat and Periscope are household names, Twitch needs to be added to the conversation that television and online video have occupied for years.

What is Twitch, and why do so many users visit it?
Twitch emerged from (one of the first live-streaming destinations online) when its creators realized gaming companies were, uniquely among content owners, actually in favor of users streaming their content. Fast-forward to last year, when Amazon purchased the network for nearly $1 billion.

How did that happen? It turns out gamers really, really like watching and sharing video games. Twitch essentially pioneered an entirely new user behavior, and millions of visitors joined in. The platform became known as the most comprehensive destination for the gaming community, including user gaming videos, e-sports tournaments, electronic music, and more.

Twitch has totally upended the way gamers consume content, but is diversifying into other areas as well. This month, HBO will air the pilot of its “Silicon Valley” property on Twitch before the new season premieres, and host Q&A sessions with the cast. Twitch is also pursuing premium relationships in music, film, and poker.

What should I know about Twitch’s audience?
150 million global users visit the platform monthly, with 6.9 million uniques daily. As its audience is so massive (and enduring — the average consumption is over 100 minutes per person, per day), Twitch represents an entirely new channel to reach young, male consumers in particular. Although gaming is at the core, Twitch’s offering goes far beyond, and the platform should be considered as a network in itself.

How can brands use Twitch?
Twitch is employing innovative advertising solutions: the company offers traditional activations (display and video inventory), but also native advertising and sponsorship (activations with its highly developed influencer network, sponsorship of e-Sports events, and social engagement).

Examples of native activations include the 7UP-sponsored Twitch stream of Ultra Music Festival, and a Mountain Dew platform takeover, which garnered 8.5 million views over six days. Along with HBO, Discovery has launched a property on Twitch and YouTube. Labels such as Rhymesayers have uploaded music on the site’s growing streaming library. And while an April Fool’s Day channel of Darude’s inane “Sandstorm” playing nonstop may not be so interesting, the 10,000 followers gained in that one day speaks to its centrality as a platform.

Image courtesy of Twitch

Partner Spotlight: ZEFR

ZEFR is a video platform that creates data-driven stories with YouTube content. When YouTube users create content involving a brand, ZEFR can identify it, analyze its impact, and monetize it effectively. Effectively, this uses the video giant as a social network, and creates engagement between brands and users.

That’s a big deal for advertisers, and explains why the company is reportedly valued between $250 million and $500 million, raising $30 million this year alone. And with the September acquisition of social influencer startup Engodo, ZEFR is now poised to expand beyond YouTube.

Why would I use ZEFR? Can’t YouTube tell me when my content is used?

There’s no shortage of content on YouTube, yet for every video from a brand’s official channel, there are ten more user-generated videos about that brand. YouTube’s internal Content ID system can look for ripoffs and copyright issues, but not how much people actually talk about a brand.

That’s where ZEFR comes in. Through its platform, brands can identify related UGC, analyze it, compare it to a brand’s competitors, and then monetize it. ZEFR understands who’s talking about a brand, how, and who’s listening — but also allows the brand to take control of its own story.

ZEFR isn’t just a social listener. Its marketing platform can launch a campaign toward those engaged users, enabling brands to buy against media that’s already related to them. That’s a moneymaker for brands like Universal and Sony Music, but more importantly, it’s a meaningful connection between a brand and its fans.

What are the implications beyond YouTube?

ZEFR’s platform goes beyond pure analytics. By evaluating content, ZEFR can show a brand which pieces of their content have traction, and what those fans look like. Brands can use that information to mold their content strategy across social to better leverage those conversations. By clearly identifying what fans respond to and where they spend their time, ZEFF enables brands to create better-crafted, better-received media campaigns at a potentially unprecedented level.

Lastly, through its acquisition of the influencer-focused Engodo, ZEFR can understand how brands’ video stories permeate across multiple channels — and vice versa. And once a brand knows the story, it can write the next chapter.

Image: TechCrunch

Partner Spotlight: Placed

There’s a reason VentureBeat calls Placed the “location-analytics standard”: it tracks over 175,000 users worldwide via a series of opt-in apps, and catalogues their movement through over 200 million locations daily. That staggering amount of intelligence netted it $10 million in its latest round of funding this summer.

How does it work?

To acquire the data, Placed uses a variety of approaches. One notable system is Placed Panels, a mobile app that offers rewards through location-based surveys. Users, known as “Panelists,” complete surveys throughout the day, as their devices are continually tracked in the background. The Panelists are then entered to win gift cards, sweepstakes, or other incentives. There are also opportunities to use the Placed data on mobile sites or partnered apps, and with other publishers.

What happens with the data?

Placed tracks the location data from its users and packages it in helpful, easy-to-understand analytics. Retailers and advertisers can measure locations based on how many users visit, and which sort of user goes where. The data can also measure ad campaign effectiveness by counting how many users walk into a physical store.

The goal is to provide real-world information on movement, identifying which consumers move where, when, and how often. Placed has even published research connecting its data to categories like television network preference, and half of the 25 largest ad networks use Placed data.

How does Placed address privacy concerns?

Given its large and far-reaching collection of data, Placed commits to privacy best practices, early and often:

  • Explicit consent is always obtained before any data is tracked. Users may opt-out easily by uninstalling the app.
  • Placed creates a value exchange by offering incentives in return for location and device information. That way, users get something in exchange for their data.
  • Placed also anonymizes each user. It only understands the info collectively, and third parties are not able to glean specifics on any aspects of the user pool.

So users always have to opt-in, are never revealed to third parties, and get something in return. It’s a good way to ensure their data gets used correctly, and keeps everyone happy.