Gemma Battenbough
Apr 2, 2024

How to stand out in an attention economy

Even as consumer attention spans dwindle and the popularity of short-form videos reaches unprecedented levels, livestreaming has surfaced as a surprisingly effective countermeasure. Gemma Battenbough of Twitch explores.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

If you have stayed informed on content development strategies in the past few years, you’ll have seen advice like “keep it short” and insights around shriveled attention spans across the globe.

Short-form videos (ranging between 30 to 60 seconds) are dominating the landscape of daily content consumption, with studies showing the average human attention span decreased from 12 to 8.25 seconds between 2000 to 2015. This decline is attributed to social media trends, as well as the overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips. In such an environment, short-form videos have emerged as a popular content choice, with consumers looking for quick and addictive bursts of entertainment.

So then, you might be surprised to learn that one video category has bucked this trend to grow in prominence and command enduring attention for longer than 20 minutes—livestreaming. Livestreaming fulfills our longing for human connection and engagement in the digital space.

Last year, we saw an average of over 2.5 million people tuning in to Twitch at any given moment, the viewers being primarily Gen Z and Millennials, with nearly 70% of Twitch audiences between the ages of 18 and 34. Unlike shorter videos, which provide immediate gratification leading to “doom scrolling”, livestreams offer an immersive experience that allows viewers to engage deeply with content for extended periods.

It is particularly popular among what we call “Generation Twitch”, an audience spanning Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, all connected by a set of shared cultural and social values and a passion for live experiences.

In today’s attention economy, more marketers have turned to livestreaming as curated content is starting to be seen as promoting a lifestyle that is unattainable. On the other hand, the instant and collective nature of the livestreaming service allows brands to be part of a community-led experience where diverse audiences can enjoy both genuine emotion and spontaneity; offering a higher level of engagement.

Live content generates 27% more watch time per viewing than on-demand video, and a huge part of this is credited to streamers, who always interact in real-time, offering a connection that short form content cannot offer. This engagement is crucial in keeping viewers invested and returning for more.

The live format also allows for different types of content. For example, a brand can have a streamer dedicating entire streams to showcasing their product or service. Streamers can also bring a brand to life in fun and creative ways, weaving reviews into gameplay and creating original content that highlights the features and benefits of the product while still being as genuinely entertaining as organic content. In order to build more loyalty, brands should learn to give creative freedom to the creators who know their audiences best, involving them through interactions to create new experiences together.

By leveraging the influence and credibility of streamers, brands can effectively reach their target audience and drive engagement and conversions. This in turn helps streamers monetise on the service, allowing them to develop their own careers based solely on how they entertain and interact with their audiences, effectively continuing the growth of the livestreaming ecosystem. The network of streamers and viewers play vital roles in fostering the sense of an open community and long-term commitment unique to the format, captivating audiences for extended periods of time and providing entertainment value.

The livestreaming market is projected to reach a staggering value of over $247 billion by 2027, indicating not only sustained but also growing demand for long-form, live content. The average global livestream viewer spends over 25 minutes watching a live video per session, contributing to the growth and popularity of live streams that offer unparalleled levels of engagement and sense of community to users.

Despite studies saying that human attention spans have shrunk significantly, we continue to have over 35 million daily visitors on average. This attests to the enduring relevance and appeal of long-form content—specifically livestreaming.

Livestreaming offers that unique and immersive experience which captivates audiences in ways that shorter videos struggle to achieve. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, livestreaming serves as a powerful tool for building communities and satisfying the innate human desire for connection in the digital age.

Gemma Battenbough is the Brand Partnership Studio lead, for Twitch (Amazon) International.

Profile photo of Gemma Battenbough

Campaign Asia

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