Twitch went through huge structural changes in March, as it laid off 400 employees and saw CEO Emmett Shear step down and Dan Clancy succeed him.
On Wednesday, Campaign US sat down with CMO Rachel Delphin to talk about how the streaming platform is showing marketers that it remains a stable business through a focus on live events such as TwitchCon and new tools for creators.
She also shares her thoughts on how AI’s relevance to Twitch’s ad offering and how it differentiates itself from other gaming platforms such as Discord.
Last month, amid Twitch’s executive shuffle, new CEO Dan Clancy talked about restructuring the business. How is that affecting the marketing function? How are you continuing to communicate that you’re a stable platform to advertise on and partner with?
As Dan said when he announced those changes, it was really about rightsizing the business. We lost great colleagues, and that part is quite rough to overcome.
In terms of the business, I’m greatly optimistic. I think these kinds of events force focus in a way…it takes you out of your pattern and makes you reassess, which is maybe not as much of a normal business practice as it should be. I think we’re in a good and stable place.
Big things are coming, too. In the summer, in particular, we’ve got quite a bit of activity around [streamer discoverability, safety and sponsorships]. And then we have TwitchCon.
Last year, some brands sponsored TwitchCon that are not super experienced in gaming. Are there any sponsors or new brands that you’re excited to work with this year?
We definitely do. I can’t tell you what they are yet, but there are some really exciting ones having their first time at the show and first-time sponsors of certain areas.
This is my seventh TwitchCon, maybe eighth, and it has meaningfully changed in the kinds of brands that show up, but also the level of investment they make in their presence.
Gaming agencies often talk about gaming creators and streamers as being a good introduction to the space for brands. Are you still finding that to be the case?
What’s interesting is that gaming is a facet of [a Twitch user’s] personality, but it’s not their whole personality. Unless you’re a gaming company or a peripheral, then it actually matters that you’re selling to the gaming facet of their personality.
What’s happening is, [when] a makeup or car brand comes in, it’s not necessarily about games, but interactivity.
For Twitch, in terms of uniqueness, you get that live interactive response. Creators find that meaningful. I think brands do as well.
Creators are not unique to Twitch; brands can tap into creators to access gaming communities on Discord, as well as other platforms. How do you see Twitch differentiating itself from other gaming platforms where creators are?
We want this to be a place where communities thrive and are formed and creators can also thrive, which includes making a living, if that’s what they want.
Live streaming is our whole thing. From a differentiation standpoint, that focus and that determination are pretty rare. It’s not our side thing, it’s our whole thing.
I’ve been here for five years. There are competitors that come and go and other businesses who experiment in the space, but we have never derived from that singular focus of live streaming and that’s really our big differentiating factor.
Everyone is talking about AI. How do you see incorporating the technology into Twitch’s marketing activity or its offerings for advertisers? Are there products that you’re working on now?
It’s still pretty nascent. In terms of the marketing opportunity, I can imagine that the utility of our tools gets a lot more efficient and maybe decision-making gets faster. I’m still in the realm of, you can see it will get there, but it’s probably not quite there yet.
The most immediate opportunity I see is creators using generative AI. We’ve seen “WatchMeForever,” a channel that used AI to write a never-ending script inspired by Seinfield.
Content creators are, at their heart, creators. I suspect we’ll probably see creativity there.
Gamers, in particular…they’re really good with technology. So I would imagine generative AI will present some really interesting ideas and opportunities there and that would probably be more immediate than from a marketing perspective.
This interview has been edited for clarity.