Kick Decoded: Is Kick Brand Safe?

July 10th, 2023 by

Selling itself as the “most rewarding gaming and live streaming platform”, Kick’s integration into the gaming and streaming industries has been nothing short of head-turning. 

Backed by the co-founders of the popular gambling site Stake.com, Kick was started in response to Twitch’s ban of gambling ads. In October 2022, streaming giant Twitch stated:

As such, starting October 18th we are further tightening our rules to also prohibit any streaming of listed sites that contain slots, roulette, and dice games and are unlicensed in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that offer consumer protections like deposit limits, waiting periods, and age verification systems.”

Prior to this decision being made, Twitch streamers were free to post videos of themselves playing slots, roulette or dice games on unlicensed gambling sites and refer their viewers to said sites for their own entertainment.

The decision to tighten community guidelines stemmed from a wide-ranging scandal among top-tier streamers after British Twitch streamer, ItsSliker, admitted to scamming other hosts out of thousands of dollars to fuel his own gambling addiction. Though Sliker openly communicated that he intended to pay people back for the sums on his livestream, victims of his scam have since shared screenshots on Twitter of the payment “mishaps” on Sliker’s end, meaning no one has yet received what they are owed. 

While the new Twitch community guidelines have banned users from actively referring their viewers to gambling sites, it has done little to prevent the spread of sponsored streams. Sponsored streams traditionally bring in large amounts of money for the streamer, and gambling site-sponsored streams can bring in even more. In July 2021, one streamer confessed to earning roughly £26,500 per hour for sharing footage of themselves gambling. 

With Twitch’s recent shakeup, a path has opened up for gambling sites to run their marketing on Kick with nowhere near as many restrictions. In fact, this is what Kick has to say about its community guidelines surrounding gambling:

“Gambling on Kick with other users is strictly prohibited. This includes any form of ‘buy in’ from users using Kick as well as sweepstakes and lotteries. Whether you may stream gambling games online depends on the laws in your country”.

Since its launch in January of this year, Kick has proved it is the go-to streaming platform for gamblers and gambling enthusiasts alike, offering an entire gambling category which branches off into sectors such as Slots & Casino, Poker, Sports Betting, Dice, Table Games etc. However, thanks to its less-moderated early days, Kick now upholds an unsavoury reputation filled with brand safety challenges. 

Kick Top Categories

The sheer popularity and number of gambling categories on the platform suggests that a lot of viewers turn to kick for an adrenaline-filled experience – further suggesting that they’re looking for excitement rather than casual viewing. This not only leaves little room for marketers to integrate ad campaigns and attract the attention of engaged viewers, but also pushes them to think twice about running marketing campaigns on a platform associated with controversial industries.  

As of July 2023, Kick has more than 12 million active users – not bad for a new streaming platform. Of this 12 million, the top 20 most followed Kick channels consist mostly of converted popular Twitch streamers, with xQc, adinross and trainwreckstv occupying spaces within the top 5. 

It begs the question, why are streamers with millions of followers leaving Twitch for Kick?

With the majority of these former-Twitch streamers earning revenue from gambling-related content, or just generally being deemed controversial, Kick’s relaxed community guidelines allow them to operate in a less-scrutinised space. However, a less-scrutinised space for creators does not always equate to an ideal environment for marketers looking towards marketing on Kick.

If still opting to run marketing on Kick, you stand the best chance of reaching the small percentage of the platform’s engaged users through the Just Chatting category, although this is already available on Twitch with bigger streamers, larger audiences and overall less risk. 

On top of this, Kick’s viewership still has a long way to go if it’s to truly compete with Twitch’s numbers. Though popular streamers xQc and trainwreckstv receive the most views when streaming (roughly 25K), regular streamers receive less than 1K viewers. These numbers aren’t enticing enough for brands to risk association with gambling and irresponsible spending by marketing on Kick

On the contrary, Kick’s “edgy, bad-boy nature” is being sold as one of the platform’s endearing qualities, as head of Kick’s strategic partnerships, Andrew Santamaria states, “we are not interested in, say, the Sour Patch Kids of the world. We just feel like the Rolex’s of the world should have a place too. Those are the people we’re interested in, because we offer just a slightly more adult and sophisticated experience in live streaming”. In other words, Kick acknowledges its controversial stance in the gaming realm, and is, instead, planning on using it to its advantage rather than bend at will to the brands wanting to try and change its face.

With Kick still being a relatively new platform, its advertising efforts span as far as a banner ad for the Italian luxury car brand, Alfa Romeo, on its homepage. Though there is still time, Kick must look to increase its ad revenue efforts soon, as their 95-5 revenue split for creators reveals this method to be one of the most promising for generating sustainable revenue. 

Final thoughts on marketing on Kick

Kick is a creator-first platform, offering enticing platform contracts and considerable content freedom. Though still miniscule in comparison to gaming behemoths Twitch and YouTube, it is still proving to be the “fastest-growing application for live streaming”, securing the likes xQc, adinross and trainwreckstv to help boost its viewership – even though this is still a drop in the ocean compared to the others. 

Regarding marketing on Kick, there is still a lot of baggage for brands to unpack if looking for their next opportunity here. A multitude of factors – from currently low viewership all the way to controversial association with the gambling industry – contribute to the uncertainty surrounding Kick’s marketing capabilities. Brands – outside of the gambling industry – still opting for marketing on Kick have little scope to do so if not via the most followed streamers. 

With its endearing qualities equally outweighing its non-endearing qualities, the decision to run marketing campaigns on Kick is entirely down to the brand itself and whether the risk of association with gambling and irresponsible spending is worthwhile. 

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@ Socially Powerful

Posted in Industry Trends, Marketing News, Social Media Platforms