Jump aboard the hype train! Advice for advertising on Twitch

Jan 25th '24

Nightbots and moobots, raids and Pogchamp!  It might sound like a different language, but the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code applies to make sure advertising on Twitch isn’t served up to bewilder!


Created 12 years ago, Twitch is still quite a youngster in the world of social media. It’s a platform that offers live streaming of video games, and the homepage features an algorithm that presents the user with their preferences – whether that’s real time strategy games, fighting games, racing games or first-person shooter games.


  • Monetisation Station

As well as paid-for ad space on the site itself (such as banner ads or pre-roll/in-video ads), there are other marketing communications on Twitch that might also fall within the scope of the CAP Code. An advertorial is where a marketer/brand (the advertiser) pays a publisher (the streamer), and that publisher promotes them as part of their usual (editorial) content.


This could be:


  • A whole video about a product
  • A spoken message during a video
  • A banner overlaid on the video
  • A separate ‘video ad’ played in the feed (by the streamer, not the platform)


It’s also worth bearing in mind that streamers might not be selling a product or service themselves. Some video game streamers ask viewers to donate to charity, solicit donations directly and/or make claims about how the money they raise will be used. Although this isn’t marketing a product, it is considered to be advertising.


For more on this topic, see here.


Promotional marketing is also prevalent on Twitch. Often called ‘giveaways’, live streamers may take part in prize draws or competitions whether by themselves or in partnership with a brand. This type of marketing activity is extensively covered by the CAP Code. See here for advice.


  • Preroll? Midroll? Just make it clear!

Whatever form your advertising takes on Twitch – whether it’s a stream from a brand about a product they sell or influencer or affiliate marketing content – you need to make sure that users know it’s an ad. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) haven’t ruled formally on any influencer marketing labelling issues on Twitch to date, but they would cross apply relevant principles from other platforms.


For more detailed guidance on the principles, see the ‘Influencers’ guide to making clear that ads are ads’.


  • Spectator Sport

The audience is key for the ASA when it’s assessing complaints about ads that appear on Twitch. A Twitch broadcast of the League of Legends World Championships was interrupted by a trailer for a film which featured graphic violence and gore.  The ASA took the view that, unless they had previously viewed or sought out content of this type, League of Legends viewers would not expect to come across material that was significantly stronger than the stream they had chosen to watch. There was a big difference between the type of material in the ad and the gameplay content that surrounded it, and so the ad was likely to cause offence and distress and should only have been targeted to users whose previous activity indicated they were comfortable with viewing such content.


Knowing your audience is especially important when it comes to age-restricted products like gambling and alcohol.  We all know children are huge fans of video games, and no-one wants them to be exposed to ads they shouldn’t see. The ASA’s 100 Children Report found that at least 11% of the children monitored had set up social media accounts which falsely suggested they were over the age of 18, highlighting the importance of robust targeting on such platforms.


The ASA will always expect you to use all the tools available to target appropriately on any platform and ensure that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid your ads being seen by someone who (for example) due to their age, shouldn’t. Where specific targeting tools are not available, for example, when working with an influencer/streamer, marketers should take into account robust evidence of the age demographic of the audience.


  • Moderate your ads appropriately

Although content on Twitch can often be informal and even irreverent, it doesn’t mean the CAP rules don’t apply; among other things ads must be responsible and not misleading. There are plenty of general and sector-specific rules and prohibitions that apply to different ads and products, and these apply equally on Twitch.


Source: CAP


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