Getting More Out of Twitch Sponsorships – Product Placement & Ads
We've already posted an email template for sponsorship requests, useful for getting in the door and relationship building with potential partners. Now that you've gotten a few relationships going, the next move is to flesh-out the opportunities offered to sponsors of Twitch.tv and YouTube content. The idea is to get enough money and products rolling in that you can begin the transition to full-time work with Twitch.
Decide What You're Trying to Be: Don't Accept All Sponsors
Entertainers and reviewers must abide by slightly different – but similar – standards. For this content, we'll be focusing on the entertainment spectrum of media creation; reviewers have different sets of ethics that separate them from the games/products being reviewed.
You've still got ethical considerations as an entertainer, though. A good first step is to endorse only products which you feel are legitimately good and will legitimately be useful to the audience. There are a few reasons for this.
First, a product with low interest among viewers will receive fewer click-throughs and discussion. This drives down ROI (Return on Investment) for the sponsor, and will reduce the chance of their return sponsorship in the future. Short, one-time gigs can be useful for a pick-me-up infusion of product or cash, but build a bad habit of relying on one-timer customers in a limited pool of sponsors. Besides, the gaming industry is connected; sponsor representatives talk to one another and compete with one another. You want to make sure you're leaving a good impression, and that sometimes means turning down a sponsor if there isn't a good fit.
There's also the issue of ethics. An entertainer using or endorsing a product will reflect on their manner of running the Twitch or YouTube channel. Endorsing “scammy” products and allowing ad placement by questionable companies (e.g. get-rich-quick schemes, gambling sites) may be against TOS on some websites, and are just ethically dark. Don't devalue (and potentially even threaten) your upstart channel for a few bucks – it's not worth it.
Sincerity & Product Placement
Instead, try finding products you legitimately like first, then pursue that manufacturer as a sponsor (use our email template for that). Once you've picked them up, evaluate the product personally, determine if you actually like it, and begin making decisions on how to promote the product. Try not to over-endorse a product – there's a cross-over point where it begins to sound too much like an ad, and viewers will get turned off and leave the stream. Just be sincere.
Remember, simple product placement is valuable in and of itself. That's a service you can sell – using a product on stream, like a controller or headset is advertising. Consider using OBS or XSplit (see our other guide for those) to manage two cameras for the stream. As an example, one camera could be pointed down at the WASD keys (keyboard) to help promote a keyboard sponsor while simultaneously providing viewers with valuable cues (seeing your APM/movements). Agreements and concessions with sponsors notwithstanding, this helps limit explicit call-outs to sponsors and sounding “bought,” but still shows a product that you trust as an entertainment figure. That's a sell-able service, though do be sure to research local laws and regulations as to what disclosures must be made.
And, just to reiterate, avoid promoting products that you dislike.
Ad Breaks During “Bio Breaks”
During long streams, there are inevitable “bio breaks” for quick bathroom trips or fridge raids. Try picking up a sponsor for those segments. Ask the sponsor for “b-roll” or a promo video to run during those breaks. Let viewers know that you'll be right back, then throw to the ad during the few minute break in the stream. This could be done as simply as screen-capping a media player running the ad, which is natively embedded in the stream and will be seen by all viewers.
Come back quickly, close the ad, and resume play. Sell this service to a sponsor with a fixed run duration and promised view count (impressions delivered), then implement natively and naturally in the streamed content.
Below Stream Links
Use the Twitch.tv stream view page to list links to your relevant social media accounts and to sponsors. Use this section as leverage when making arrangements with potential sponsors, and offer placement in the below-stream box to promote related products or product web pages.
Talk to Your Sponsors
Keep in touch! Follow-up and ask sponsors how you can improve your services to them, improve their ROI, and work together to deliver quality sponsored content. This is a make-or-break rule, and will prove willingness to collaborate. That's not common in the streaming world, and will set your channel apart.