Advertising on Twitch has reportedly increased engagement with fast food brands, according to a study done by Penn State. The findings suggest that the platform may be an effective marketing tool for the fast food industry, which has faced scrutiny for its impact on public health.
Interactive live streaming service Twitch remains largely untapped by advertisers. In an attempt to explore this domain, researchers at Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Science studied how and whether fast food advertisements on Twitch influenced viewers.
The research, led by graduate student Keally Haushalter and mentored by assistant professor Travis Masterson, was conducted in collaboration with the fast-food restaurant chain Wendy’s and began in 2020.
During the research campaign, the chain partnered with five popular video game streamers. Each streamer designed their own Wendy’s meal, temporarily available at the chain’s franchise across the U.S. In turn, ads for the chain appeared on the individuals’ channels and during their live streams.
In a more organic attempt at advertising, the chosen streamers also consumed the limited-edition Wendy’s meals and talked about them while streaming. They also encouraged viewers to interact with the fast-food chain by typing “Wendy’s” in the stream chat.
To measure the effects of the campaign, Haushalter tracked mentions of the brand five days before the campaign, during the five days of the campaign and five days after the end of the campaign, as well as the context in which the restaurant chain was mentioned.
The results, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, proved astounding.
Out of a total of more than 85,000 mentions collected through the research experiment, a total of 50,000 were acquired during the campaign itself. Viewers’ engagement with the brand increased by more than 300% and while the context that the chain was mentioned in was mostly neutral, the number of negative mentions decreased following the campaign.
“This research shows that advertising on Twitch is not only prevalent, but it also drives engagement. We also saw that it improved the attitude people expressed towards the restaurant in chats. These campaigns are unregulated and appear to be highly effective. This research is important to understand the impact of advertising on Twitch and other emergent platforms,” Haushalter said.
This is simply one example of how Twitch could be utilized for advertising purposes, as well as the unique selling point it has in successfully driving engagement between viewers and brands. The multifaceted nature of the platform offers a versatile approach to digital marketing that is currently not available elsewhere.