Although still relatively small in the livestreaming business, Microsoft's Mixer has gained publicity recently thanks to the popular gamer, Ninja's defection to the platform. Since Ninja's arrival, Mixer has experienced unprecedented growth on its social channels already . Many of Ninja's fans have joined him on the trek from Twitch, increasing the number of people with Mixer accounts dramatically.
It may still be early days for influencer marketing on Mixer, but it is beginning to increase in popularity. As you would expect from a Microsoft-owned property, Mixer has started adding features to help its streamers and influencers. There are probably not many brands operating exclusively on Mixer yet, but many firms are learning the benefits of spreading their influencer marketing across the range of social platforms that their target customers use.
Influencer Marketing on Mixer:
What is Mixer?
Mixer is Microsoft's answer to Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Live. It is a live-streaming platform, specializing in video gaming.
It officially launched as Beam in January 2016, before being rebranded as Mixer in May 2017. Microsoft bought the platform in August 2016, announcing that it would integrate into both Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Mixer distinguishes itself from its competitors by emphasizing interactivity between streamers and their viewers. It advertised that there would be latency of less than a second between the original broadcast and when users receive it, rather than a typical 10–20 seconds elsewhere.
In November 2018, the site unveiled a significant update they called "Season 2", including many new features.
Mixer has a virtual currency its users can spend on their favorite channels called Embers (much like Twitch's Bits). Channels can receive revenue from Embers paid by their viewers.
Mixer also allows viewers to earn Sparks for watching and participating in streams. Users can spend Sparks to activate various interactivity features.
Microsoft's ownership of Mixer has led to one notable difference between it and Twitch. Mixer doesn't support arch-rival Sony's PS4. It does offer a built-in encoder, though, making it easier for plug-and-play streaming. It allows co-streaming and cross-platform support, useful for co-op gaming.
It has relatively low requirements for entry to its partnership program. You can qualify with just a 2-month account age and 2,000 followers.
Who Currently Watches Mixer?
Mixer has a similar demographic to Twitch. Its users are predominantly relatively young male gamers. Unlike the typical stereotype of gamers being pimply prepubescent boys, though, most are in their twenties and thirties.
Mixer still has far fewer users than Twitch or YouTube Gaming. As a comparison:
- Mixer has 10 million monthly active users
- Twitch has 100 million monthly active users
- YouTube Gaming has 1.5 billion monthly active users
There has been a significant spike in Mixer's viewership recently, however, almost totally due to Ninja beginning streaming on the platform. He recently became the first Mixer streamer to reach 1 million subscribers, and that was within a week of his leaving Twitch.
Today we hit 1,000,000 active subscribers on mixer ^-^ thank you for all the incredible support. I haven't felt this good in a long time. pic.twitter.com/kdLgBJk0Ud
— Ninja (@Ninja) August 6, 2019
Mixer also has fewer streamers than the opposition (although notably Twitch and YouTube Gaming reverse their positions here):
- Mixer has 69,000 streamers
- YouTube Gaming has 750,000 streamers
- Twitch has 1.5 million streamers
Why Did Ninja Change to Mixer?
Ninja had been live streaming on Twitch for some time, and at his peak had over 14 million followers on that platform. On Aug 1, 2019, he stunned his supporters by announcing that he was moving to arch-rival, Mixer, beginning the next day.
To assist with the change-over, Microsoft announced that viewers could get a free paid subscription to Ninja's channel if they signed up before Sept 1.
Gaining Ninja's streaming has had a significant impact on Mixer. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates the Mixer mobile app saw its first-time downloads double. In mid-August 2019, Mixer was the No. 1 ranked non-game app on Apple’s platform, up from a position nearer 750. Indeed, compared to the weeks before Ninja's announcement, uploads are currently running 4,000 percent higher.
It's not clear why Ninja chose to make his move. It appears, however, that Microsoft was the catalyst for the push to stream exclusively on Mixer. Nobody has publicly stated how much the deal is worth. However, it must be worth more than Ninja was earning via Twitch, estimated to be in the realms of $317,000 per month (which was well down from his heyday when some estimated he earned up to $1.75 million per month).
It is also possible that Ninja was sick of the intense competition between streamers on Twitch, particularly near the top. He will undoubtedly be aware of creator burnout and will want to avoid reaching that point himself.
Ninja has built a reputation for his Fortnite streaming on Twitch but has expressed views that that game is beginning to stagnate. His move to Mixer allows him to vary his streaming to include other games, if he chooses, without upsetting a massive audience of Fortnite fanatics. There are also rumors that he intends to shift to playing Halo Infinite on Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scarlett.
Monetization Options on Mixer
Mixer is supporting its broadcasters with a range of monetization options similar to those available for Twitch streamers.
Viewers can follow and subscribe to their favorite channels on Mixer for $7.99 per month. They can also tip with Embers. They do this by buying digital emoticons, which they then use in their favorite streamers' channel chats. The broadcaster receives a proportion of the value of the Embers used in their channel.
Viewers earn Sparks, a digital currency when they watch streams. They can choose to transfer their Sparks to their favorite streamers, who can cash them in.
Mixer doesn’t yet have third-party advertising capabilities, but it does offer its streamers “synthesized ad revenue” from showing display ads on their page.
Mixer Allows Streamers to Recommend and Sell Games
Mixer added another income source for gamers in late 2018 when they introduced the ability for people to buy videogames directly from within the app. Streamers need first to enable Mixer Direct Purchase. Once they have done so, viewers can purchase the game currently being streamed on either Xbox One or Windows 10 PC.
Streamers can even select the version of the game they wish to promote – for example, a special edition of a game, a selected piece of DLC, or an add-on. The viewer doesn't even have to leave the stream to complete the purchase. The title will automatically be added to the viewer’s games library.
Sales made via this method earn the streamer in question a five percent cut.
Common Types of Streaming Sponsorship
You can't yet advertise directly on Mixer, but that hasn't stopped brands working with streamers to endorse brands. Influencer marketing has great potential on Mixer. It may not have as big a user base as Twitch or YouTube Gaming, but its users fit a defined demographic and actively support the streamers they follow.
There is a variety of different ways that you can sponsor streamers. These include:
- Full sponsorship – usually a contract for a year or more. Brands will usually pay streamers a monthly sum in exchange for certain promotional activities
- Partnership – these are typically one-off or on a more casual basis than a full sponsorship. Partnerships may often relate to one event or one influencer marketing campaign
- Affiliate programs – these usually involve streamers doing particular activities to drive sales to a company, receiving free products and sales commissions in return
Strategies for Mixer Influencer Marketing
Product Placement / Showcasing
You can arrange with a streamer to use your product on-air (if relevant) or at least make mention of it if it isn't suitable for physical product placement. Depending on your arrangement, you could donate a product to the streamer to help with product placement.
Product placement is particularly useful if your goal is to build familiarity with your brand.
Technically, this is one stage more advanced than product placement / showcasing. In this case, you will arrange with an influencer to make positive comments about your product, and recommend it to his or her followers.
Reviews can also be like a product endorsement, although you may not have as formal an arrangement. Reviews are probably less common on gaming live streams than on a more generic video network, like YouTube. However, they may work if your product is inherently suitable for a gaming streamer's audience – a videogame or item of gaming hardware, for instance.
Although perhaps less relevant to such a specialist platform as Mixer, some firms should be able to work with streamers to create unboxing videos. This could be particularly useful if you sell gaming accessories, for instance.
You might consider contracting a streamer to appear offline at some relevant special event. In some cases, the event may even occur online; for example, you might pay a well-known gamer to enter a gaming tournament that you've sponsored. If you a game developer, you could plan a game launch event or a suitable charity event, including your preferred streamers.
Giveaways and Competitions
You could provide some free product to your preferred streamers, which they can use as a prize for some form of competition or giveaway.
Giveaways are excellent for creating a buzz about your product. Of course, you need to make sure that you've correctly targeted your streamer. There is little point providing products for giveaways if the streamer's audience doesn't resemble your target customer.
How Influencers Can Promote Their Mixer Streams
Ninja, of course, has such high visibility that he has little need to promote himself outside of Mixer. Indeed he has sufficiently popular social accounts on many other social platforms to qualify as an influencer there, as much as he does on Mixer.
Other streamers, however, can improve their Mixer viewership (and therefore audience size for influencer marketing) by promoting their Mixer streams on their other social channels.
As always, you need audience types to match up. If somebody is a gaming streamer on Mixer, they will gain little benefit from promoting their stream on a fashion Instagram channel.