COVID-19 Has Changed the Game for Esports Platforms
Digital Research Intelligence

Corona Has Changed the Game for Esports Platforms

by Daniel Schneider , Content Marketing Manager, Similarweb
April 23, 2020. Updated December 06, 2020

This post was written by Greg Malen, who is VP Solutions at Similarweb.

The Coronavirus outbreak has led brands to reevaluate their media strategy, with many deciding to cut ad spend across digital and traditional channels. Similarweb has covered extensively how retailers, most notably Amazon, have reduced their paid search investment to near zero and recently decided to reduce the commission rates for their associates program.

As AdAge writes, “one area that appears to be immune, and perhaps even booming, is esports.” With consumers stuck inside, streaming services Twitch and Mixer have thrived, both experiencing a 20% traffic increase in March. Advertisers have taken notice, with automotive, food service, and technology brands pushing for consumer attention; however, is this having direct attribution for the brand?

Similarweb evaluated the outgoing traffic (i.e., clicks that bring a consumer off the site) from twitch.tv during Q1 2020. Outgoing traffic in the United States was up 17% from the start of the quarter. Referring links drove a significant share to sub-domains on Twitch, PayPal (a frequently-used payment platform to make donations to streams), Facebook, and Amazon.

The fastest-growing brands on Twitch in Q1 were a combination of food, gaming, and media streaming. Wendy’s, Quibi, and Call of Duty all experienced a >5,000% increase in outgoing traffic. Overall, when you evaluate the categories, social networks and consumer electronics collectively represent 57%, followed by retailers selling consoles and accessories. Surprisingly, food brands only represent 3% of Q1 outgoing traffic in Q1 2020.

When taking a closer look at online food companies, we see that outgoing traffic to their sites doesn’t take off until March, when the pandemic started spreading around the US, and quick-service restaurants’ (QSRs) began promoting “contactless” pickup and home delivery services.

Carlsjr.com receives the most traffic in March, increasing Month-over-Month by 67%. Chipotle.com, who – instead of canceling their Challenger Series – decided to host the event exclusively on Twitch and YouTube on April 25th, experienced a 687% increase in traffic from Twitch in March. We should expect this trend to continue as food delivery continues to be the new norm, both in the US and worldwide. Similarly, traffic to wingstop.com grew by 253%, MoM.

Similarweb continues to focus on keeping markets informed about consumer behavior during the pandemic. We’ve created a minisite that features daily updates on changes in consumer behavior and shopping patterns, and we are hosting weekly webinars to cover industry trends across the globe. Make sure to watch our recent webinar on COVID-19’s impact on the retail, consumer, financial services, and travel industries in the Asia Pacific region.

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