TikTok and Twitch: New Media and Formulas to Impact the Generation Z
Ainhoa García Rivero, Eva Citlali Martínez Estrella, Gema Bonales Daimiel
TikTok and Twitch: New Media and Formulas to Impact the Generation Z
ICONO 14, Revista de comunicación y tecnologías emergentes, vol. 20, no. 1, 2022
Asociación científica ICONO 14
TikTok y Twitch: nuevos medios y fórmulas para impactar en la Generación Z
TikTok e Twitch: novas mídias e fórmulas para impactar a Geração Z
Received: 30 June 2021
Review: 14 July 2021
Accepted: 04 November 2021
Published: 01 January 2022
Abstract: The loss of interest of young people in traditional media and their replacement by video-on-demand platforms and social networks has led TikTok and Twitch to become the main sources of information and entertainment for them, demanding an evolution in the content of brands (IAB, 2021). The aim of this research is to know the perception that Generation Z in Spain has about the commercial communication of brands with higher presence in TikTok and Twitch, as well as to establish their level of recognition. It also determines the usability of these networks and which communicative actions are the most accepted by this age segment. For this purpose, a mixed technique was used, based mainly on a focus group of eight young people, five interviews with experts and a survey (n=420). The main conclusion is that the advertising industry is lacking in transforming its communication strategies aimed at Generation Z. Also, young people remember more brands that appear as sponsors in Twitch events; moreover, brands are better valued on Twitch than on TikTok. Regarding usability, these platforms no longer only provide entertainment, but have become tools for studying and socializing.
The aim of this research is to know the perception that Generation Z in Spain has about the commercial communication of brands with higher presence in TikTok and Twitch, as well as to establish their level of recognition. It also determines the usability of these networks and which communicative actions are the most accepted by this age segment.
For this purpose, a mixed technique was used, based mainly on a focus group of eight young people, five interviews with experts and a survey (n=420). The main conclusion is that the advertising industry is lacking in transforming its communication strategies aimed at Generation Z. Also, young people remember more brands that appear as sponsors in Twitch events; moreover, brands are better valued on Twitch than on TikTok. Regarding usability, these platforms no longer only provide entertainment, but have become tools for studying and socializing.
Keywords: Generation Z; TikTok; Twitch; commercial communication; sponsorships; advertising.
Resumen: El desinterés de los jóvenes por los medios tradicionales y su sustitución por plataformas de vídeo bajo demanda y redes sociales ha provocado que TikTok y Twitch se conviertan en las principales fuentes de información y entretenimiento para ellos, exigiendo una evolución en los contenidos de las marcas (IAB, 2021). El objetivo de esta investigación es conocer la percepción que tiene la Generación Z en España sobre la comunicación comercial de las marcas con mayor presencia en TikTok y Twitch, así como establecer su nivel de reconocimiento. Asimismo, se determina la usabilidad de estas redes y qué acciones comunicativas son las más aceptadas por este segmento de edad. Para ello se ha realizado una técnica mixta, basada principalmente en la realización de un focus group a ocho jóvenes, cinco entrevistas a expertos y una encuesta (n=420). La principal conclusión es que a la industria publicitaria le falta transformar sus estrategias de comunicación dirigidas a la Generación Z. También, los jóvenes recuerdan más las marcas que aparecen como patrocinadoras en eventos de Twitch; además, las marcas son mejor valoradas en Twitch que en TikTok. Respecto a la usabilidad, estas plataformas ya no solo proporcionan entretenimiento, sino que se han convertido en herramientas para estudiar y en medios de socialización.
El objetivo de esta investigación es conocer la percepción que tiene la Generación Z en España sobre la comunicación comercial de las marcas con mayor presencia en TikTok y Twitch, así como establecer su nivel de reconocimiento. Asimismo, se determina la usabilidad de estas redes y qué acciones comunicativas son las más aceptadas por este segmento de edad.
Para ello se ha realizado una técnica mixta, basada principalmente en la realización de un focus group a ocho jóvenes, cinco entrevistas a expertos y una encuesta (n=420). La principal conclusión es que a la industria publicitaria le falta transformar sus estrategias de comunicación dirigidas a la Generación Z. También, los jóvenes recuerdan más las marcas que aparecen como patrocinadoras en eventos de Twitch; además, las marcas son mejor valoradas en Twitch que en TikTok. Respecto a la usabilidad, estas plataformas ya no solo proporcionan entretenimiento, sino que se han convertido en herramientas para estudiar y en medios de socialización.
Palabras clave: Generación Z; TikTok; Twitch; comunicación comercial; patrocinios; publicidad.
Resumo: O desinteresse dos jovens pelos meios de comunicação tradicionais e a sua substituição por plataformas de vídeo a pedido e redes sociais levou a que o TikTok e o Twitch se tornassem as principais fontes de informação e entretenimento para eles, exigindo uma evolução no conteúdo das marcas (IAB, 2021). O objectivo desta investigação é conhecer a percepção que a Geração Z em Espanha tem sobre a comunicação comercial das marcas com maior presença em TikTok e Twitch, bem como estabelecer o seu nível de reconhecimento. Também determina a usabilidade destas redes e quais as ações comunicativas que são mais aceites por este segmento etário. Para este fim, foi utilizada uma técnica mista, baseada principalmente num grupo focal de oito jovens, cinco entrevistas com peritos e um inquérito (n=420). A principal conclusão é que a indústria publicitária não consegue transformar as suas estratégias de comunicação destinadas à Geração Z. Além disso, os jovens lembram-se mais das marcas que aparecem como patrocinadores nos eventos Twitch; além disso, as marcas são mais valorizadas no Twitch do que no TikTok. Quanto à usabilidade, estas plataformas já não fornecem apenas entretenimento, mas tornaram-se instrumentos de estudo e de socialização.
O objectivo desta investigação é conhecer a percepção que a Geração Z em Espanha tem sobre a comunicação comercial das marcas com maior presença em TikTok e Twitch, bem como estabelecer o seu nível de reconhecimento. Também determina a usabilidade destas redes e quais as ações comunicativas que são mais aceites por este segmento etário.
Para este fim, foi utilizada uma técnica mista, baseada principalmente num grupo focal de oito jovens, cinco entrevistas com peritos e um inquérito (n=420). A principal conclusão é que a indústria publicitária não consegue transformar as suas estratégias de comunicação destinadas à Geração Z. Além disso, os jovens lembram-se mais das marcas que aparecem como patrocinadores nos eventos Twitch; além disso, as marcas são mais valorizadas no Twitch do que no TikTok. Quanto à usabilidade, estas plataformas já não fornecem apenas entretenimento, mas tornaram-se instrumentos de estudo e de socialização.
Palavras-chave: Geração Z; TikTok; Twitch; comunicação comercial; patrocínios; publicidade.
The rise of digital communication and, in particular, social media has transformed consumer habits (Martinez, Garcia and Gutiérrez, 2013). One of the consequences is that video-on-demand platforms are now the most widely used as a source of information and entertainment (IAB, 2021; Suarez-Alvarez and Garcia-Jiménez, 2021). Consequently, the use of platforms causes the audiences' perception of companies and their communication to change, causing users to make the content they like most their own and to generate new messages based on the brands' publications (Mir, 2016; Keller and Swaminathan, 2019; Lacasa, 2018; Tur-Viñes et al., 2018). Users have the power to decide whether to consume what appears on their social network profiles and therefore innovation and creativity become essential elements in new communication formats (Karbaum, 2018; Toffler, 1980).
TikTok and Twitch are considered new social networks and mainly target a younger audience between the ages of 16 and 24 (Epsilon Technologies, 2020). Moreover, Generation Z shows "a clear preference for visuals in social media" (Alvarez, Heredia, & Romero, 2019, p. 2) and that is one of the main characteristics of the platforms analyzed in this study.
This research aims to study the advertising industry's view when designing and planning commercials on these social networks and follow the perception that Generation Z in Spain has concerning the commercial communication of brands. Furthermore, the aim is to identify the usability of these networks, highlighting whether there is a correlation between gender and the consumption of certain types of content, and what communicative actions are the most accepted by this age group on these platforms.
1.1. Commercial Communication on Social Networks
Social networks are spaces on the Internet where people and organizations maintain active communication and interact (Mir, 2016). Among other things, consumers share information online. They are no longer spectators but content producers and their behavior is independent from the actions implemented by brands (Pedroni, 2013). Fernández de la Iglesia, Casal, Fernández, and Cebreiro (2020) suggest that young people's high use of social networks is due to the fact that the Internet has become a site for leisure and entertainment (García-Jiménez et al., 2018) and "a place where not only friendships are maintained, but also where new ones are made" (Martínez, García and Sendín, 2013, p. 120).
According to Soler (2016), teenagers find attitudes of trust in social agents such as family and school as well as in social networks. These attitudes are evidence of an evolution in social practices through communication on these platforms. For young people, social networks are socializing spaces where they build their identity and communicate with their peers and other members of the virtual community (Segovia, Mérida, Olivares, & González, 2016; Álvarez, Heredia, & Romero, 2019). Thus, “ICT has become a new context of interpersonal relationships among young people” (Espinar, Zych and Rodriguez-Hidalgo, 2015).
However, digital advertising is perceived by many users, especially by the age group in this study, as something annoying that slows down browsing speed and/or prevents them from accessing content, especially on mobile devices (Martínez-Costa, Serrano-Puche, Portilla, Sánchez-Blanco, 2019). Galvez (2017) notes that 59% of Internet users over the age of fourteen know of adblockers and that 28% use them regularly.
In this context, it is essential to talk about prescription among young people. As Varona (2013) points out, the opinion and prescription of friends is an essential aspect to take into account when working with teenagers. According to Varona, young people find a friend's opinion about a particular brand more credible and sincere than the brand's own message. This finding is also shared by Cooley and Parks-Yancy (2019). The fact that brands entrust the dissemination of their message to streamers is particularly relevant. Elias (2021) assures that this generation “looks to Twitch streamers for a long-term ‘relationship’.”
Ferrer (2020) adds that content starring influencers generates the highest peaks of attention among young audiences. He also states that content with more hidden advertising, such as branded content, attracts more attention from young people than advertising spots starring an influencer. According to Castelló and del Pino (2015), these actions should be "understood as part of the brand's integral communication strategy in an era in which advertising has to be transmedia and multidisciplinary."
1.2. Generation Z, TikTok, and Twitch
The reality is that “there is no definitive consensus on start and end dates for naming younger generations” (Marinas, 2019; Francisco and Rodriguez, 2020). This study focuses on young people born between 2000 and 2007 (ages 14 to 21), as main users of the social networks selected for the analysis.
Thomas (2020) describes this generation as being digital and socially minded and he defines it as being the most diverse. While Castello-Martinez (2020) stresses the importance of brands’ corporate values and social responsibility in their communication when addressing this target group.
According to Martin and Medina (2021), “The members of Generation Z spend over three hours a day on social networks” (p. 72). Alvarez, Heredia, and Romero (2019) point out that young people are experts in the use of ICTs as they are self-taught. Vilanova and Ortega (2017) consider the Internet as a defining element of this generation, along with irreverence, immediacy, and uncertainty.
This generation's typical immediacy and impatience has led them to gradually move away from television and migrate to other types of VOD (video on demand) platforms such as "traditional television on demand, platforms like Netflix and HBO and video platforms like YouTube and Twitch" (Gutiérrez and Cuartero, 2020, p. 167), something that is also addressed by other authors (Navarro and Vázquez, 2020; Marcos et al., 2020). Moreover, “the users who best value online audiovisual content are young people. This is due to reasons such as spatial-temporal instantaneity, the variety of content, and identification with the video producers" (Navarro and Vázquez, 2020, p. 11). Francisco and Rodriguez (2020) say that people of this generation make “complementary use of the two media” (Internet and television) most of the time (p. 193).
As for the networks chosen for this study, Twitch was initially a platform where videogame players broadcast their games live. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this network has seen a massive increase in its use, especially in categories unrelated to video games. One of the features of Twitch that has increased its popularity is the possibility of interacting with a live audience via chat (Wilson, 2021; Gutiérrez and Cuartero, 2020).
As stated on the website, “Twitch is shaping the future of live interactive entertainment” (Twitch, 2021). Most of its audience belong to Generation Z. According to the study conducted by Wilson for Harvard Business Review, “21% are between 13 and 17 years old and almost half of them are between 18 and 34 years old" (2021).
Gutiérrez and Cuartero refer to "the Twitch paradox" (2020, p. 168), pointing out that it is possible to observe how different figures coming from traditional media (such as television) can transfer "their audience from more consolidated platforms to new ones such as Twitch, mainly through the ability of these content creators to connect with younger audiences" (p. 169).
On the other hand, TikTok is a social network where the majority of users also belong to Generation Z (Li, Xiaohui and Zhengwu, 2019; Shuai et al., 2019; Wilson, 2021) although, during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase of Millennials and Generation X users was reported. Its format is vertical video and its content is mainly humorous and playback (Chaoudhary, Gautam, & Arya, 2020).
TikTok demands fast production and consumption resulting in creative demand that is mostly linked to music (Li, Xiaohui, & Zhengwu, 2019). Branded content on the platform is often not distinguishable from user-created content (Wilson, 2021).
All in all, it can be considered that Twitch and TikTok highlight a trend change in terms of audiovisual consumption by young people and "provoke a broader transformation in the way this audience relates to an audiovisual product" (Gutiérrez and Cuartero, 2020, p. 171).
The overall objective of this study is to compare the advertising industry's view of communication on TikTok and Twitch with Generation Z's perception of it and the brands that perform it.
The specific objectives are to identify the most consumed content on both platforms and their usability, as well as determine whether this consumption is related to the user's gender. Additionally, it is also intended to evaluate the audience's recognition of advertisers' brands on these social networks and to identify the communication and advertising actions with greater acceptance by Generation Z users.
2. Material and Methods
The methodology applied is a mixed approach of an analytical empirical nature (Batthyány and Cabrera, 2011) as the main conclusions are obtained through the interpretation of data. In the absence of a representative sample, an exploratory study was designed based on the young Spanish population born between 2000 and 2007.
The study began with a bibliographic review and was followed by a focus group on the usability of both platforms. Based on this information, interviews with users and experts were prepared. Finally, using the qualitative data collected, a survey was carried out to confirm the opinions of the experts and to design the consumption patterns on Twitch and TikTok. The study is divided into three phases: 1) Generation Z outreach, 2) advertising industry insights, and 3) exploratory survey.
In the first phase, a focus group examined the perspectives and interests of Twitch and TikTok users. The group consisted of eight adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19. According to the theoretical review, the main users of Twitch belong to this age group (Gutiérrez and Cuartero, 2020; Blanco, 2020). As participation requirements, in addition to being in the selected age range, participants had to use Twitch and TikTok on a regular basis.
The second phase included in-depth interviews with four industry professionals regarding brands' communication strategies that target Generation Z on these social networks. The interviewees were Olga Diez and Katty Huerta (CEO and Market Research Analyst at The Onion Inside, respectively), Gaby Rabinowicz (Kidsmedia Co-Founder) and Alvaro de la Cruz (Director of Strategy at The Modern Kids and Family).
Like the interviews, the focus group was done online by members of the research team in March and May of 2021.
The third phase involved the development of a survey based on the information obtained from the previous phases. The sample universe was Spanish women and men aged 14 to 21 who were active users of TikTok and Twitch. The participants were randomly selected and 420 responses were obtained. The online survey was circulated from March 18 to April 18, 2021.
The survey had a thematic development with semi-structured responses divided into four sections:
TikTok/Twitch usage and consumption
Brand perception on TikTok /Twitch
Ideal advertising on TikTok /Twitch
The purpose of this survey was to learn about the user experience on each network, their perception of the brands advertised on these social networks, and to identify the content they consume most on each platform.
Respondents of the survey were also asked to rate the communication of the brands with the greatest presence in these social networks based on the selected rankings. Brand ratings were made using the Likert scale. These five options were used: Very good, good, fair, bad, and very bad; considering the first three as “good” and the last two as “bad.” Additionally, there was the NS/NC option (do not know/do not answer).
To determine brand recognition and brand valuation on both platforms, two rankings featuring the brands with the highest visibility, interaction, and paid advertising on TikTok and YouTube in Spain in 2020 were used. In the absence of a brand index that was exclusive to Twitch, the one for YouTube was used given that this social network is the predecessor of Twitch (Scully-Blaker, Begy, Consalvo, & Ganzon, 2017) and that they are interconnected platforms, as the results will later show. It should be noted that both networks, YouTube and Twitch, are often studied together (Pires & Simon, 2015; Sidhu & Carter, 2020; Pollack et al., 2021; Jung & Phoa, 2021).
In the case of TikTok, the report Trends and Rankings of Top Brands on TikTok Spain, prepared by the big data agency Epsilon Technologies (2020) was chosen. The report established that the Top 10 brands on TikTok Spain according to market share of their interactions was made up as follows: Red Bull, LaLiga, Movistar+, Telecinco, El Chiringuito de Jugones, Cosmopolitan, As, Cruz Roja, Sport, and Mundo Deportivo. The ranking prepared by the digital media agency 2btube (2020) was used to choose the brands on Twitch, where Red Bull leads the YouTube Top 10, followed by BBVA, PlayStation Spain, Fornite, Ubisoft, Myprotein, Vodafone, Nintendo, L'Oréal, and Sports FIFA.
Finally, an open-ended question was asked to find out what features users consider essential to ensure that advertisements do not become a nuisance to them.
Once all the data was obtained, a thematic analysis was carried out using the Atlas.ti program. The first step was to summarize and cross-check the information gathered from the focus group and the interviews in order to produce conceptual maps that show the relationships and thematic interdependencies between users and experts. This separation was useful in establishing consumption patterns and the relevance of TikTok and Twitch in commercial communication. The consumption pattern of these platforms was then assessed and the chi-square statistical formula was applied to establish whether gender determines the type of content consumed, with a 5% error margin and a 95% confidence level. The variables used were gender (male or female) and the content typology of both platforms (Table 1).
3.1. Focus Group
Figure 1 shows the relationships between the five main categories of the study. Throughout the session, participants were enthusiastic and willing to share their experience by giving examples of interesting experiences and opinions about these social networks, as well as mentioning their favorite content and streamers.
3.2. In-depth Interviews
The previous focus group is complemented by interviews with experts. The main conclusion obtained from these interviews is that not all brands can have a presence on Twitch since their usability peculiarities result in the fact that streamers are the main spokesperson for the messages and not the brands themselves. Professionals also agree on the fact that it is a social network that represents a higher cost for the brand.
Professionals insist on the fact that brand communication strategies have evolved and the current priority lies in making the user a key element in any strategy, with the brand's message taking a back seat. In addition, they also refer to the need to have a clearly defined strategy and to adapt messages, formats, and tones to each communication channel. Magaña (2021) points out that Twitch is "a space of opportunity for brands, although not all of them have to be everywhere for the sake of it." This statement perfectly reflects the opinion expressed by the experts interviewed when they stated that, before communicating on these platforms, it is necessary to consider whether the brand (or its proposal) fits on this platform and whether it will be beneficial for the brand and its audience.
On the other hand, one of the most relevant aspects of communication on these social networks, especially on Twitch, is the fact that brands lose control of the message. As Katty Huerta mentioned during the interview, on platforms like Instagram, brands determine the type of content that influencers can publish. This represents a change in the advertising paradigm since nowadays the prescriber is more important than the message, which generates greater freedom and spontaneity in commercial messages on Twitch.
In order to gain a better understanding of the information related to advertising strategies on Twitch, Figure 3 shows the weaknesses and opportunities provided by this platform according to the experts interviewed.
3.3. Exploratory Survey
The online survey received 420 responses from men and women ages 14 to 21. It is evident that teenagers use TikTok more than Twitch with 63% of young people claiming to use TikTok, while 34% prefer Twitch. However, if the data is segmented by gender, there are notable consumption differences in both platforms. With regard to Twitch, 18.7% of women in this generation claim to use it compared with 62% of men. However, for TikTok the opposite is true with more female users (68%) than men (54%).
3.3.1. Content Consumption on Twitch and TikTok
In terms of the type of content consumed, there are differences depending on gender. The application of the chi-square test determines that there is no gender association with the type of content consumed on any of the platforms.
For TikTok, the chi-square value found was x2=38,741, p=>.001. Assuming a degree of freedom of 5 and a critical value of x2=11,070 for both platforms.
On Twitch, the chi-square value found was x2= 15,647, p=>,01. Therefore, the type of content consumed on Twitch is not directly associated with the user's gender, so the results cannot be scaled to a generalized conclusion.
In addition, it is important to mention the importance of the "For You" section on TikTok. The survey confirms that 95% of young people consume the content listed in this section over the videos shared by people they follow.
As for Twitch results, Generation Z has a clear preference for video game related content and for Ibai's Twitch channel, one of the most widely known and consumed streamers in Spain. The third type of favorite content is reactions to YouTube videos, confirming that Twitch and YouTube are interconnected platforms. Therefore, it was correct to use YouTube's brand ranking and apply it to Twitch in the absence of this social network's own ranking.
Another finding occurs in the type of content consumed. For example, women claim to look for videos from study groups (an aspect that had already been mentioned in the focus group) and to a lesser extent chatting and ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos.
3.3.2. Brand Valuation and Awareness
Regarding the Likert rating of the brands on both social networks, the most highly rated communication of the brands in the Twitch ranking is that of Red Bull, as it is the one that most respondents consider "good" and the one that accumulated the least number of "bad" responses. In contrast, the AS brand has the highest percentage of "bad" ratings among all the brands, as well as the highest percentage of "NS/NC." This may indicate that the communication proposal of this brand does not reach young people sufficiently and, therefore, they do not remember its messages and are unable to evaluate the brand.
Taking into consideration men's responses, the most valued brands are Red Bull (coinciding with the general results) and LaLiga, while for women they are Red Bull and Telecinco. Interestingly, while for women Telecinco is the second-best rated brand, for men it is the worst rated of all. The NS/NC responses denote a strong gender bias given that the least recognized by men is Cosmopolitan and, in the case of women, the least recognized correspond to the three sports newspapers included in the list and the sports current affairs program El Chiringuito de Jugones.
As for the brands that users remember most, a spontaneous response was required. For the evaluation of TikTok, the brands with the highest paid presence do not match the brands most remembered by the users and again there are differences between men and women.
The brands spontaneously seen on Twitch can be seen in Table 5. Unlike TikTok, three of the top five brands match those of the ranking used for brand valuation. This means that the brands with the greatest presence on the platform are also the most remembered and recognized. Thus, their communication practices are effective.
In terms of brand ratings on Twitch, the top-rated companies are PlayStation, FIFA and Fornite respectively, all surpassing an 88% rating. In contrast, L'Oreal, BBVA, Myprotein, and Vodafone are the worst rated brands because the "bad" option is higher than 25% for all of them. They are also the least appreciated by young people, especially Myprotein.
3.3.3. Advertising on TikTok and Twitch
In relation to the type of advertising that users remember most, it was found that the sponsorship of events or videos is the formula that most impacts Generation Z users on Twitch, since this is how most brands appear on this social network. Young people also point out that they often see brand logos during streams. A further difference between the two social networks is the insertion of products in the videos. This strategy is more prominent on TikTok.
The most common way young people recall seeing these brands on TikTok is through advertisements, followed by the insertion of a particular product in a video, and for being featured as a sponsoring brand. Men remember more brands that appear in advertisements and/or filters or effects created by companies, while women remember more comparisons/reviews/product evaluations. Those surveyed also point to the collaboration of brands with TikTokers as way of seeing brands on TikTok.
One outstanding difference is that a brand logo is remembered more on Twitch than on TikTok and women have higher logo recognition on both platforms.
On the other hand, men use Twitch to know or evaluate a product, while women use TikTok.
Finally, those surveyed were asked how they would like to see brand advertising on these social networks. Their responses are shown in Figure 10. Users emphasized that the most important thing for brands' communication is to not be annoying and to be brief, humorous and, especially, that the advertisement can be avoided. In addition, they are interested in brands offering some kind of reward, such as gift codes.
4. Discussion and Conclusions
According to the information gathered, it is undeniable that in 2020, platforms such as TikTok and Twitch became a global digital trend, resulting in brands becoming interested in adapting their content to these networks. Furthermore, it is clear that brands are interested in reaching a more diverse audience and, to do so, they must change their communication strategies.
In the specific case of Generation Z, as Martin and Medina (2021) point out, social media are presented as being their main means of communication and a place where they spend much of their time. Users say they dedicate over three hours daily between TikTok and Twitch. It should be noted that when there is a live event on Twitch that is of interest to them, they can spend up to six consecutive hours on this platform. Beyond the fact that these social networks are a source of entertainment, their consumption has also changed. Half of the participants surveyed claim that they use these platforms to study in groups and to follow study, cooking, and decorating tips, particularly on TikTok. ASMR videos from Twitch are very much related to the use of these platforms for educational purposes. The sound is the main element in these videos, with image occupying a secondary role. In the videos, the streamer retransmits certain sound patterns aimed at inducing a sense of relaxation and tranquility in the viewers.
The fact that members of Generation Z are interested in this type of content shows that young people are not only looking for entertainment on these platforms, but they are also looking for tools to improve their academic performance and to care for their mental health or their day-to-day life. This was evidenced by TikTok's results showing that the second most preferred type of video was study, decoration, or cooking tips. In connection with this, and as was revealed in the focus group, it is important to remember that Generation Z does not consume content produced by members of its own generation, unless they are their friends. Renés, Gozálvez and Berlanga (2020) made reference to this in their work.
Experts and users alike agree that the most successful and followed publications on TikTok are not only humorous but also include life diaries. These stories of someone's daily life are an opportunity for brands as they can have a subtle presence in these videos to reach young people. According to the results of this study, young people do remember and recognize the brands that appear in these videos.
Although TikTok offers brands the possibility to have their own account, users reported that they do not usually follow these profiles and only consume the videos that appear in the "For You" section. This leads to the need for brands to correctly choose the hashtags for their posts so that they appear in the “For You” section of their target audience.
It should be noted that, in the case of Twitch, as it does not have its own dedicated channel, brands do not have full control of their message and depend on the prescriber to mention/use their product. Thus, a strong image and reputation that cannot be undermined by these uncontrolled collaborations is essential. This requires offline and online planning.
Mir (2016) and Costa (2013) point out that companies need to be present on social networks in order not to lose interaction with their audiences. However, as these two platforms are highly changeable and can be ephemeral, the most important element for brands should not be the commercial message but the user. It is necessary to focus on the target rather than on the advertising discourse. The brand must not be the protagonist.
It is also essential for companies to be aware of the fact that they cannot pretend to sell their products through advertisements but must evolve their discourse and focus on creating attractive content for their audience such as participating in trending challenges.
Needless to say, brands must adapt their message to the different platforms and offer quality content according to the medium in which they are present, although experts emphasize that brands should not necessarily be on all channels
Additionally, according to the results obtained, users demand that advertisements be more creative, brief, and provide benefit. Conventional paid advertising becomes annoying for young people, causing a subsequent rejection of that brand. This is also stated by Ferrer (2020).
Members of Generation Z value Twitch brand communication more than TikTok, despite being the lesser used of the two and accounts for a greater investment for brands. It can therefore be concluded that an appearance on a Twitch stream is more effective than having presence on TikTok. Pollack et al. (2021) already mentioned the effectiveness of advertising on Twitch versus asynchronous platforms, such as YouTube. Actions on Twitch increase brand recognition, even if the brand is not of interest to the user. Similarly, low brand recognition can be related to low brand credibility.
In conclusion, brands need to establish specific strategies for each network and be aware that not all products fit on all platforms nor in all types of videos and streams. Generation Z seeks personal and innovative content that does not have selling as its sole purpose. For them, interacting with brands on these platforms is not important, so they demand content on current topics and topics related to their personal interests. This valuable content will help build loyalty among young users and make them future consumers of these brands.
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To cite this article
García Rivero, A., Citlali Martínez Estrella, E. y Bonales Daimiel, G. (2022). TikTok y Twitch: New Media and Formulas to Impact the Generation Z, Icono 14, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.7195/ri14.v20i1.1770
Ainhoa García Rivero, Eva Citlali Martínez Estrella, Gema Bonales Daimiel