With Twitch, is Amazon making another native ads play?

Kunal_GuptaWith Amazon’s recent purchase of Twitch, the video platform and community for gamers, the implications and speculation for the online retailers’s native advertising plans have become quite clear.

As we’ve waxed on in the past, Amazon’s already shown a propensity for native purchasing within their apps; the Fire TV and Tablets with X-Ray show Amazon has figured out a way to present their catalog to a passive audience – media viewers. It’s easy to Imagine Amazon presenting their technological expertise and vast catalog to a traditionally tech-savy audience of early adopters like those viewing Twitch.

As we’ve learned in the past few days, the service isn’t simply gamers watching games; instead it’s meticulous, engaged, passionate fans looking to learn from the best – a sentiment perhaps best summarized on Twitter by Ars Technica’s Peter Bright []

Sports networks like ESPN attracts huge advertising dollars because marketers know the exact demographic they’re buying when they purchase airtime. Marketers would salivate at a new direct line to an audience like this, and with Twitch, Amazon has just purchased one it gets to keep to itself . Product placement, media tie-ins, and even the games themselves are all fair game for Amazon to peddle in this private market they’re creating.

And don’t forget mobile! As of late Amazon has been positioning itself as a maker of quality video games, purchasing major studios like Double Helix and developing their own Amazon Game Studios. Paired with their focus on gaming with the Fire tablets and phone and Fire TV, and the tight integration between the two device sects, it’s clear Amazon sees the mobile and home-based media consumption as a seamless experience and Twitch.

Big acquisitions in tech are increasingly fuelled by native advertising. Social networks and content producers are boasting huge user-bases and companies like Amazon are increasingly looking for ways to reach these audiences in a non-distruptive way. The opportunity for native advertising and sponsored content within Twitch represents a passive and palatable method of reaching target audiences without angering early adopters or driving away new users. And chances are, like YouTube and Instagram before it, Twitch will grow into a household name with Amazon’s backing.

 Kunal Gupta is the CEO of Polar (formerly Polar Mobile), a computer software firm based in Toronto. Polar originally focused on mobile, but has rebranded to expand its mission, now specializing in native ads. He has been recognized as a Top 30 Under 30, a United Nations Global Citizen and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Look for his post on The Makegood the third Wednesday of each month.