Just three days ago Amazon’s acquisition of videogame streaming site Twitch was officially closed, so we thought it was a good time to take a closer look at one of Amazon’s biggest ever acquisitions. To help us take an in-depth look at Twitch we used SimilarWeb PRO to explore exactly where Twitch sat in the marketplace and it’s potential for growth. This would hopefully explain why Amazon had purchased it and what it meant for them.
Twitch – The Global Phenomenon
Videogames have always been about the interactive experience. Grasping a controller in your hands you can suddenly be playing football as Ronaldo or hunting down zombies in an abandoned city. Waiting your turn for that controller, though, can be frustrating as you watch others have all the fun. However, public opinion is now changing as videogame streaming is quickly becoming a powerful industry. At the forefront of this charge is Twitch. It’s a platform which allows gamers to sign up and demonstrate games and their own skills to viewers all over the world. It’s a great arena not just for promoting games, but also brands which run e-sports competitions.
Twitch launched in June 2011 and has since experienced a wild growth in traffic that most websites can only dream of. SimilarWeb PRO shows that, in September 2012, Twitch received around 45.6 million desktop visits. It’s certainly an impressive figure, after only a year in business, but it was only the beginning. Fast forward to August 2014 and Twitch is comfortably pulling in a huge 252.3 million visits per month.
Gaming is a universal language, so it’s no surprise to learn that Twitch has a powerful international reach. Over a quarter of all their visitors originate from the USA, but all four corners of the globe are represented in the 10 biggest senders of traffic. This proves that a firm grasp of English is not essential for immersing yourself in the Twitch experience.
The Power Of Unique Content
Twitch has quickly become an integral part of the internet and its power to deliver content is already beating that of more established video streaming sites. We decided to use SimilarWeb PRO to measure Twitch’s strength in providing content against Hulu and ESPN. Twitch, although being run close by ESPN, proved to be the most visited video streaming site out of our selection.
The Twitch brand has been carefully built and this is reflected by the dominance of direct sources for their incoming traffic. SimilarWeb PRO shows that 58.1% of their traffic originates from direct sources – this is more than double the next traffic source of Referrals with 23.45%.
Being such a niche website it’s no surprise that the brand has become very strong. With little to no competitors, Twitch has been able to grow their brand quickly and effectively over the last two years as SimilarWeb PRO illustrates. The growth of direct traffic shows how the brand is becoming more and more stronger and visitors are becoming increasingly more loyal.
Which games get gamers itching to pick up their controllers and hammering buttons or simply watch? With SimilarWeb PRO we were able to look at the most popular pages. By filtering for results only containing the /game subpage, we were able to discover the top 10 games. The most popular game was League of Legends followed by Dota and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Genre wise, the most popular games fell into categories such as ‘online battle arena’ (League of Legends / Dota), ‘first person shooter’ (Counter Strike: Global Offensive / Call of Duty: Ghosts) and ‘online role playing game’ (World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria / Diablo III: Reaper of Souls).
How Twitch Helps Amazon
Until recently, Google had looked the favorites to buy up Twitch, but instead Amazon managed to land it; they can now add this exceptionally strong brand to its growing roster of media services which include Amazon Instant Video. Video game streaming is in its infancy, so Amazon have ensured they control the major player very early on. We’ve shown that the power of Twitch to pull in traffic is very strong and shows no signs of slowing up. The competitive nature of Twitch means that new gamers are sure to join in order to fight it to become recognized as the best gamer. Amazon, therefore, have acquired a huge, expanding unique audience. This acquisition signals Amazon’s deeper investment into diversifying out of online retail and playing a larger role as a content producer. Twitch will join Amazon’s existing instant video services and Kindle related content distribution services. In a crowded marketplace, where foreign competitors such as Alibaba and Mercado Libre are rapidly expanding, this new audience should provide a new revenue channel that Amazon can tap for growth.