- Facebook last month boosted viewing times of gaming livestreams by 210% from a year earlier, outpacing the growth for Amazon's Twitch, Google's YouTube Gaming and Microsoft's Mixer, per a study by StreamElements and Arsenal.gg. Facebook Gaming generated 102 million hours of total livestreaming time in December, up from 32.9 million hours a year earlier.
- Facebook Gaming last month expanded its share of livestreaming to 8.5% from 3.1% a year earlier, maintaining its spot as the No. 3 platform. Twitch was still the most popular platform with 61% of the gaming livestream market, although its share slipped from 67% in 2018. YouTube Gaming maintains its share at about 28%, while Mixer hovered near the 2% to 3% mark.
- Livestreaming platforms have evolved into social networks for videogame fans, with "just chatting" being more popular than videogame content as people watch others have conversations and post comments. Chatting last month generated 80.9 million hours of livestream time, ahead of games such as "League of Legends," "Fortnite," "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," "Grand Theft Auto V" and more, per the study.
Facebook's big jump in viewing time of livestreamed gaming content points to a growing new opportunity to advertise on the platform. That's especially true for brands that seek people who like to watch others play videogames and participate in online chats with gaming influencers. The social network started Facebook Gaming in 2018, and its growth likely reflects the company's parlaying its dominance in social media into a market that Twitch pioneered a decade ago.
Facebook Gaming's recent growth spurt also reflects its recruitment of gaming influencers in the past two months. The social network in November lured Jeremy "DisguiseToast" Wang, a streamer of online card game "Hearthstone" and battle game "Teamfight Tactics," away from Twitch to bring his followers into Facebook Gaming. The platform followed that deal with agreements with vlogger and Instagram model Corrina Kopf and streamer Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios to carry their livestreams exclusively.
Facebook Gaming's strong growth from a smaller user base hasn't become a significant threat to market leader Twitch just yet, but the Amazon-owned platform needs to keep taking steps to broaden its appeal to maintain its dominance. Twitch in October hired Doug Scott as CMO, a title he previously held at social game developer Zynga, and other marketing executives to oversee the platform's monetization strategy.
Twitch is estimated to have about 15 million users, according data compiled by Influencer Marketing Hub, and is taking steps to broaden its reach with a greater variety of livestreamed programming. Twitch was included in a deal between Amazon and the NFL to stream "Thursday Night Football" for the third straight year, and saw strong audience growth during the regular season.