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Aaron Marsden

Marketing AMA: Aaron Marsden, Twitch Influencer Marketing Specialist

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Hey everyone! 

My name is Aaron and I’m a writer, gamer, and marketer/campaign manager for PowerSpike, a startup in the Twitch space. For the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to build and run professional Twitch influencer marketing programs for some great brands (a few clients include Soylent, Camp Mobile, CreativeLabs, and more). 

I’ve been obsessed with Twitch as both an entertainment and marketing platform since 2014. Before entering the world of marketing, I was a broadcaster and a content creator myself and made YouTube videos in my spare time. 

Recently many game developers have shown interest in collaborating with Twitch streamers to promote their games -- and I think I can help! 

I’ve learned so much about entertainment and community development from studying the growth of popular streamers since then, and my current position has allowed me to learn an incredible amount about the process of promoting a product/game/service’s message to a large audience with the help of Twitch streamers. 

I’d love to share what I’ve learned with anyone who has questions. Ask me anything! 


If you’d like, you can follow me on Medium at https://medium.com/@aaronmarsden -- that's where I'll be posting both personal and PowerSpike articles on game dev marketing. I also just released my first article, "The Ultimate Guide for Promoting Your Game with Twitch Influencers," here on GameDev.net! You can check it out here:

Thanks everyone!

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Great article, thanks for also doing the AMA! :)

 

In your experience, have you noticed much negative reaction to sponsored streams? I can imagine that some small portion of viewers might be unhappy to view what they consider to be (and I suppose essentially is) a paid advert. Do these people tend to object vocally and cause any backlash?

I would assume working the a relevant streamer where your game fits in with other content would help to mitigate such objections?

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As a streamer myself I found great success in self promotion. However, I have hit a wall at the 2000 follower count. Getting more people to view the game that I am making has been increasingly difficult. I have a dedicated group of people who will be there when I do stream, but breaking into new ground seems impossible. What would you suggest?

Are other people use to this same wall? I hear once you get to 4k subs its really easy to get further on. You hit another wall at the 10K mark.

How much work do you have with getting people partnership? I know twitch just came out with a path to success but that seems somewhat limited and almost archaic in design. What do you tell people who wish to make it further should be some goals?

How important is schedule? If I dont have a set schedule, or cant keep one should I just avoid streaming?

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1 hour ago, riuthamus said:

How important is schedule? If I dont have a set schedule, or cant keep one should I just avoid streaming?

I have a friend that is streamer and usually has 4+ digit viewer count per stream. The #1 thing he said that helped was being consistent by having a regular stream schedule otherwise he wouldn't be able to grow because people would just come and go. I find you build a connection with that streamer as part of your daily viewing routine. :) 

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Do you think it's more beneficial to do your own streaming (about development for example), or to get other established streamers to play your game?

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, jbadams said:

Great article, thanks for also doing the AMA! :)

 

In your experience, have you noticed much negative reaction to sponsored streams? I can imagine that some small portion of viewers might be unhappy to view what they consider to be (and I suppose essentially is) a paid advert. Do these people tend to object vocally and cause any backlash?

I would assume working the a relevant streamer where your game fits in with other content would help to mitigate such objections?

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. 

In my experience (especially with game devs), there hasn't been much vocal backlash regarding sponsored gaming streams. It's funny you mention it -- in the streaming community, every streamer is known to have a few "problem viewers" who complain about the games they're are playing, no matter what they are (sponsored or unsponsored). These guys are commonly banned in the chat once their negative messages appear. As of late, streamers have been very vocal in denouncing the "game suggestion viewers," so it's common to see both streamers and their viewers rally against those who are making the viewing experience worse for everyone. Other than that, It is common to see a bit of a drop in viewer count when sponsoring streamers who only play one game (e.g. League of Legends), just because some of their viewers are only there to see LoL gameplay and improve their games, but that's really it.  

I have seen a bit of negative feedback in non-gaming sponsored streams; however, I can almost always attribute this to a lack of alignment in the stream and the product like you mentioned. If a streamer is sponsored by SteelSeries or Blue Microphones, for instance, both the streamer and their viewers are excited and accepting of the deal since those products are high-quality and they make sense for the stream. But if they were to accept a deal from some unknown company that allows you to place bets on horse races, there'd be negative feedback. 

I hope that helps! 

9 hours ago, jbadams said:

Do you think it's more beneficial to do your own streaming (about development for example), or to get other established streamers to play your game?

It depends on your goals. 

If you're looking to make a splash in the industry and spread your game to as many people as possible, you'll have to start working with larger streamers who have the audiences to accomplish such tasks. If you're just trying to grow a starting community or get feedback for your alpha or beta, however, streaming your development can be an awesome way to bring in those early adopters and convert some players into fans. 

I'm a big fan of live streaming your game development. When I was deep into video games last year, I'd always think to myself, "is there any reason I shouldn't stream these? I'm playing them anyway, so I might as well." I feel the same way about streaming coding, design, etc. Give it a try! 

Edited by Aaron Marsden

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Posted (edited)

@riuthamus

12 hours ago, riuthamus said:

As a streamer myself I found great success in self promotion. However, I have hit a wall at the 2000 follower count. Getting more people to view the game that I am making has been increasingly difficult. I have a dedicated group of people who will be there when I do stream, but breaking into new ground seems impossible. What would you suggest?

1

I know many streamers who are at this wall right now. It's a tough thing to get past. The advice I would give to any other streamer would be this: 

Focus on entertainment and differentiation. 

The reason people watch any streams is to be entertained. For game developers or people who are interested in coding, this entertainment comes naturally from the act of coding and the streamer's personality (which is huge); however, those are fairly niche groups. To achieve growth, I think you have to figure out ways to include more people. And that's where differentiation comes in. 

Differentiation is simply the act of giving viewers a good reason to watch you over someone else. It's what sets your stream apart from others and creates defensibility in your viewer base. It's the number one reason for growth -- you just have to find what it is that makes you different. 

It's a lot of experimentation. Take some time to brainstorm some ways you can increase entertainment and differentiate your stream every day, then slowly integrate the best of those ideas into your stream and test which ones resonate with your audience. Perhaps you could start purposely coding ridiculous, funny, intense, emotional, interesting scenes within your game to showcase its flexibility and give viewers something to laugh at or be in awe of. A great example of this off the top of my head would be The Coding Train on YouTube. I don't code myself, and I don't know what the hell this guy is saying when he starts coding -- but I f**cking LOVE the end products of his coding. It's incredibly interesting to watch him build out geometric shapes and fractal trees and auto-generated infinite terrains, and that's why he's built an audience of both coders AND people who find the end product of that code mesmerizing. 

Once you start building these interesting, funny, etc. moments, you can start sharing them in different communities on reddit or in Discord servers to show people the interesting shit you're working on, and that will attract more people to follow. 

...

As for partnership, I think it's just a matter of growing your stream. Keep focusing on entertainment and differentiation and more people will come, then you'll reach your goals. 

Lastly, schedules are really important. I would recommend finding a time in your day -- even if it's only 2 hours at 1 AM -- to consistently stream. Like @Rutin said: building that routine within viewers is essential in keeping them coming back day after day. 

I hope that helps! 

Edited by Aaron Marsden

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8 hours ago, Aaron Marsden said:

@riuthamus

I know many streamers who are at this wall right now. It's a tough thing to get past. The advice I would give to any other streamer would be this: 

Focus on entertainment and differentiation. 

The reason people watch any streams is to be entertained. For game developers or people who are interested in coding, this entertainment comes naturally from the act of coding and the streamer's personality (which is huge); however, those are fairly niche groups. To achieve growth, I think you have to figure out ways to include more people. And that's where differentiation comes in. 

Differentiation is simply the act of giving viewers a good reason to watch you over someone else. It's what sets your stream apart from others and creates defensibility in your viewer base. It's the number one reason for growth -- you just have to find what it is that makes you different. 

It's a lot of experimentation. Take some time to brainstorm some ways you can increase entertainment and differentiate your stream every day, then slowly integrate the best of those ideas into your stream and test which ones resonate with your audience. Perhaps you could start purposely coding ridiculous, funny, intense, emotional, interesting scenes within your game to showcase its flexibility and give viewers something to laugh at or be in awe of. A great example of this off the top of my head would be The Coding Train on YouTube. I don't code myself, and I don't know what the hell this guy is saying when he starts coding -- but I f**cking LOVE the end products of his coding. It's incredibly interesting to watch him build out geometric shapes and fractal trees and auto-generated infinite terrains, and that's why he's built an audience of both coders AND people who find the end product of that code mesmerizing. 

Once you start building these interesting, funny, etc. moments, you can start sharing them in different communities on reddit or in Discord servers to show people the interesting shit you're working on, and that will attract more people to follow. 

...

As for partnership, I think it's just a matter of growing your stream. Keep focusing on entertainment and differentiation and more people will come, then you'll reach your goals. 

Lastly, schedules are really important. I would recommend finding a time in your day -- even if it's only 2 hours at 1 AM -- to consistently stream. Like @Rutin said: building that routine within viewers is essential in keeping them coming back day after day. 

I hope that helps! 

Great stuff, however I do have a point of argument with this. You can make your stream as different as you want, but if you are not getting page views they wont find it. I have 40+ dedicated viewers who will show up and watch, but unless I pull into a new market zone I am getting 0 new traffic. This is where the issue is. I would argue the content I provide is 90% better than most mid tier streaming. You can check for yourself by watching one of the past streams. I have clean huds' with solid notifications and we plenty of chat interaction. The problem is exposure, I have captured everybody I can capture at the current timezone and market. How to break into more people? Very few gamedev streamers break more than 100 concurrent viewers. Even established people like Quazi have a tough time getting past the 50 person mark now that the new algo's have taken place for viewership and category movements. This is kinda what I was getting at, how to get more exposure?

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1 hour ago, riuthamus said:

How to get more exposure?

 

Apart from sharing funny or interesting moments of your stream in different communities, networking with other streamers, and doing "stunts" that gather attention, there aren't any real ways to give boosts to your view count. The reason I mentioned differentiation is because it's a long-term growth strategy -- when you're different, you keep more viewers that discover your stream than you would as an "average joe" streamer. When they stay, they become fans, and they're more likely to share your stream with others. This is what allows for sustainable growth. I hope that helps a bit more. 

(p.s. Streamers have attained crazy growth numbers in short periods of time. It's not impossible. But if you look at each of them, 99% of the time it's the same narrative: "insanely good player gets into an insanely popular game before it became popular and harvests all the new attention." Unfortunately, that massive popularity level hasn't hit the creative section yet, but let's cross our fingers! :D)

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