We need to talk about the Ninjas of the world. Why? Because advertising just got this fun.
For many marketers, the rise of eSports to date may have seemed a somewhat peripheral affair. With so much taking place in the arena shared by Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Twitter, it’s easy to see how a trend revolving around a selection of professional gamers might have been mistakenly skipped in the Monday morning meeting.
However, the movements of Ninja – the pseudonym under which gamer Tyler Blevins operates – should put eSports right to the top of the agenda. Blevins, who controls an audience in excess of 14 million subscribers announced this week he would be departing his account on Twitch and moving to Microsoft’s new platform, Mixer.
For context, Twitch, a streaming platform Amazon purchased for $970 million in 2014, has become widely recognised as the home of eSports with 15 million daily active users. By comparison, Mixer, which launched in 2016 – five years after Twitch – has been playing catch-up at an equally astonishing rate with a reported 10 million monthly active users.
With the addition of Ninja, the race between these two platforms and YouTube Gaming is well and truly on. The result is a new competitive landscape running in parallel to the social platforms we digital marketers dote on.
The crucial nuance is the audience eSports opens up for marketers. Appealing largely to the elusive demographic of men aged 18-34, several high profile brands including Nike and Adidas have already begun experimenting with campaigns on Twitch. One of the most celebrated examples from Old Spice saw the brand create a real-life version of the platform’s mass gameplays – with users able to bid in for the next action to be completed.
These exercises prove the value some of the world’s greatest advertisers see in the new crop of digital publishers. Not only that, but the amazing array of interactive options brands can employ to drive completely new kinds of engagement. There’s opportunity for real creativity and fun in this new ecosystem, underpinned by the lessons learned from the early days of influencer marketing.
Ninja has made his streaming debut on Microsoft's Mixer after leaving rival platform Twitch.