Capital One deepens bet on Twitch to reach ad-averse gamers

Dive Brief:

  • Following Capital One’s official marketing partnership of competitive gaming tournament Twitch Rivals, the bank’s sponsorship of Twitch’s month-long SUBtember event in September 2020 was designed to support creator monetization through a subscription promotion and delivered strong results, per Twitch.
  • Viewers could support their favorite streamers by purchasing discounted multi-month subscriptions that unlocked exclusive content, points, Twitch-specific emoticons and more. Capital One’s sponsorship offset the discount, letting streamers receive the full value of new subscriptions. The initiative was developed with Horizon Media.
  • The financial services brand plans to do more Twitch activations throughout 2021 in a bet that the streaming platform can help it forge deeper engagements with ad-averse consumers and those who prefer community-centered content.

Dive Insight:

As consumers turn to online gaming or streaming for entertainment during the pandemic, brands are following suit and attempting to make themselves relevant on popular emerging platforms.

Capital One’s sponsorship of SUBtember on Twitch appears to have been designed to find a less intrusive way to get in front of Gen Z and young millennials, two key age groups that have all but shunned traditional ads, helping the brand establish some goodwill among potential customers while demonstrating its mission to simplify transactions and financial wellness. This marketing approach requires a heavier investment from brands in understanding the nuances of Twitch’s community, but it’s one that could spur deeper connections with ad-averse audiences and those who prefer community-centered content, Nathan Lindberg, Twitch’s regional vice president East, said in emailed statements. In Capital One’s case, the financial institution took a creator-led method to let individual streamers determine what offerings would resonate with their respective subscribers.

Facilitating viewers’ financial support of creators allowed Capital One to capitalize on the rise in new Twitch users for increased brand exposure. Plus, the SUBtember event’s goal of compensating creators links back into Capital One’s larger brand focus on personal finance and transactions. The company’s partnership on Twitch’s SUBtember event last fall made the fourth-annual event one of the largest “revenue moments” of 2020 for the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform, Twitch claims.

As more non-endemic brands turn to Twitch to reach newer and younger audiences, sponsorships for events like SUBtember demonstrate how marketers in any category can connect with the gaming community through tactics tailored to their behaviors and preferences. Seventy-nine percent of people in the U.S. aged 13 and up identify as a gamer, and the average consumer spends more than an hour a day gaming, per data provided by Twitch. Gamers tend to be especially passionate about supporting their creator community, as subscriptions allow streamers to produce a steady flow of videos, Lindberg said. The branded SUBtember event was one way for Capital One to align with target audiences’ values.

September’s event wasn’t the financial company’s first initiative on the Amazon-owned streaming site. In July, it became an official marketing partner of Twitch Rivals, the platform’s competitive gaming tournament. Capital One’s role promised additional brand visibility and support for streamers. After that, the company saw another opportunity to double down on “being a force for good,” according to Lindberg.

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