At LuckyTamm Digital Marketing, we’re constantly tracking trends, delving into research, and running focus groups. We want to understand the current trends and consumers’ mindsets, as well as predicting what’s next. As we look ahead to 2022, we see two software platforms ready to crest.
Upcoming Trend: Twitch
Twitch is a live streaming service that rose to prominence on the backs of gamers and thanks to esports competition broadcasts. More recently, it’s become popular for “in real life” streams. During IRL streams, viewers watch influencers do mundane tasks like eating dinner or reacting in real time to a movie. (There’s also a fair number of hot-tub streamers.) This evolution largely took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the platform progressed into a lifestyle platform.
Its reach is, as Twitch says itself, massive. Twitch reports 30 million average daily users. Viewers watched one trillion minutes of streaming in 2020. A majority of these viewers are young: 73% of the users are under 34 and over 60% are between the ages of 13 and 24. For young people, Twitch isn’t an alternative. It’s a mainstream platform to interact with their favorite influencers, whether they be gamers, athletes, or representing brands.
Live, instant interaction is the name of the game on Twitch. Beyond the influencer streaming, there are numerous built-in-ways for the audience to respond. They can join in via polls, emoji reactions, and/or appear in the stream live like a Facetime call. Each channel develops its own community, with its own insider jokes, lingo, and ways to interact. These interactions and the sense of community have galvanized the platform’s growth.
What Twitch Means for Marketers
Brands have been dipping their toes into the live-streaming waters. In January 2021, White Claw hosted a live event on the platform with its White Claw Winter Games. White Clawed channeled old-school arcade games when they invited participants to control a crane “claw” to compete for prizes. Soon after, Lexus tapped Twitch event attendees to design a Lexus IS concept car.
Younger people have notoriously short attention spans. Millennials are thought to tune in for 12 seconds, while Gen Z members can only pay attention for 8 seconds. However, Twitch streams demonstrate the opposite. Younger viewers will not only tune in, but they will stay tuned in. What’s the difference? Twitch offers a live environment where the attendees feel connected to the host, receive instant interactions, and experience a sense of community.
That’s an incredible opportunity for brands seeking to connect with younger audiences, but the platform isn’t without its perils. Brands will encounter savvy audiences. “Audiences on this platform can be wary of brands, especially big brands,” Dan Beer, group director of strategy for Deloitte Digital, said in an article for “Marketing Dive.” “In some ways, they know your brand better than you do. They read your reviews and they can quickly learn what you really stand for.” The key, especially on this platform, is brand authenticity and humanity.
Upcoming Trend: Discord
Discord also excels in interactivity and has roots in gaming. The voice-over IP software allows users to communicate directly with influencers and celebrities with voice and video calls, text messaging, and/or the exchange of media files. Users can do so over private chats or within topic-based public channels known as “servers.” It’s a digital third space. During the pandemic, when physical third spaces were closed, it grew exponentially. Discord had 350 million users in 2021.
Gen Z enjoys the platform because of its privacy. While other social media platforms, like Facebook, track their activity to target them, Discord provides a place where they interact naturally without fear of data siphoning.
What Discord Means for Marketers
A handful of brands have established servers and hosted events, such as Q&As, on Discord channels, including AllSaints, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box. Discord isn’t a traditional social media, like Instagram and TickTok, that are primed for viral posts and explosive user growth. Members of Gen Z aren’t afraid to share their opinions, so be prepared for honest conversations.
However, if brands can master the art of building community, they can tap into the power of Discord. Public servers are perfect for building fandoms, while private servers are well-suited to building exclusivity and cultivating future influencers. Thus far, most brands have used the software to establish their own servers and connect with their audiences in real time. It makes the most sense for brands who already have fans using Discord to funnel their activity into a dedicated channel.
Short-Form Video is Here to Stay
Short-form video isn’t new, but it gained new popularity during the pandemic. It’s base audience began as younger users. Gen Z’s tendency toward short attention spans and proclivity to jump between five screens at once is well suited to the short-form video platform. However, the audience has expanded well beyond this generation to become the seventh most-used social media platform. Short-form video is impossible to ignore thanks to its creativity and easily digestible content.
What it Means for Marketers
While social connections drive virality and growth on platforms such as Facebook, content’s discoverability on TikTok provides a great opportunity for brands. The platform’s algorithms deliver content to users looking for similar content, so they are primed to enjoy and engage with those videos. Trends emerge and evolve constantly on the platform, from sounds of sea shanties to the latest dog videos. That offers both creative possibilities and challenges for brands who seek to keep up, remain relevant, and contribute to today’s cultural conversations.
How LuckyTamm Can Help
LuckyTamm stays up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends and can direct you to the most powerful forms of engagement for your brand and audience. As the new year approaches, if you’re ready to set your marketing strategy resolutions, we offer free consultations. Connect with us, today!