Food ads on Twitch can lead to cravings and purchases

Twitch is a streaming platform that allows viewers to talk while sharing a common video feed. We offer channels on a wide range of topics such as travel, sports, gourmet food, art, and music. But playing video games is the platform’s first (and most common) use.

Twitch usage is growing rapidly, with over 6 billion hours of content watched on the platform in the first three months of 2021. This represents a 97% increase for him over the same period in 2020.

“People can be baffled by Twitch, but anyone old enough to play home video games in their teens probably had a similar experience.” Or if you went to a friend’s house on a Saturday morning and they were trying to get through a particularly difficult part of a video game, you would have sat and watched them play. was certainly true for me: Twitch offers the same opportunities to hang out with friends and community, but now it’s all online.

“Endorsement deals on Twitch are worth millions of dollars, and young people, always attractive to advertisers, are turning away from television to more interactive forms of entertainment, especially Twitch.” added Masterson.

Researchers say that as Twitch has grown in popularity, ads for low-nutrition foods such as candy and energy drinks have become more common on the platform. A research team that included Jennifer Emond, an associate professor of biomedical data science and pediatrics at Geisel College of Medicine in Dartmouth, and Emond’s former graduate student Katherine Pollack, found that advertising on Twitch was linked to viewer craving and buying habits. I wanted to understand how it affected

The team recruited 568 Twitch users through Reddit. Participants were predominantly male and non-Hispanic white or Asian. The researchers sought to understand whether they could predict which people would be more susceptible to food advertising, using his three existing instruments for measuring food cravings.

In a new publication in the journal Public Health Nutrition, researchers find that some Twitch viewers are more likely than others to remember, crave, and purchase brands promoted on the streaming platform. showed. The researchers also found that her three questions from an instrument called the External Food Cue Response Inventory helped identify members of this “highly susceptible” group. Sensitive viewers “want food and drink watching other people eat”, “want to eat when people are talking about food”, “noticing restaurant signs/logos” supported the statement.

Fifteen percent of survey participants reported experiencing cravings when viewing products advertised on Twitch, and 8% reported purchasing the advertised product. Masterson said researchers are concerned that people who are highly susceptible to advertising and spend hours a day on Twitch, he said, may be more likely to buy foods that are harmful to their health. doing.

“Academic research is trying to catch up with food advertisers,” explains Masterson. “There’s a reason advertising is ubiquitous. It works, and companies understand how it works. It’s tempting to think that adults will be immune to the power of advertising once they learn to make their own decisions, but advertising is so ineffective that it hasn’t grown into a $100 billion+ industry in the United States. works well for us, and works especially well for a subset of us.”

Masterson added that academic researchers need to understand consumer behavior as well as advertisers so that society can determine which ads are safe in different settings.

“Although this is a single study and these results cannot be generalized to everyone, the study still has broad implications,” said Masterson. “This study shows that some people are highly sensitive to advertising and that external food cue response inventories can help researchers identify those vulnerable people.

“I’m a gamer. I’m on Twitch and part of these communities,” Masterson continued. “For example, when I watch League of Legends, I get annoyed when I see ads for branded candy in the middle of the game. This study provides researchers with one tool to understand who is most affected and, in the long term, who is exposed to gamers and food ads. It has the potential to promote good health for all.”

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