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Conducting market research for an audience like Generation Z can be quite a challenge. This tech-savvy group moves fast to get to the information they want. And they’ll go out of their way to avoid giving their data to the many brands fighting for their attention. All the same, brands need to know how to engage with and win over this valuable audience.

That’s one of the reasons we invited Twitch, the world’s leading social video service and community for gamers, to share their story at our recent Customer Intelligence Summit. Twitch is also the winner of the 2018 Visionary Award for Business Transformation. The company engages Gen Z members every day through its Research Power Group (RPG) community of 50,000 opted-in gamers and broadcasters.

Colan Neese, senior manager of audience insights at Twitch, shares his tips on how the company gathers and uses customer insights to engage this audience at scale.

1. Deliver authentic experiences.

One of the biggest challenges researchers face when trying to engage their community members is to make their interactions as authentic as possible, while driving quality insight and revenue. Twitch made a commitment early on to deliver experiences that were as authentic to their brand and as close to the Twitch community as possible.

Here’s how you can do the same:

Reward members in a way that’s authentic your brand: While Twitch started out rewarding community participation with custom merchandise, they found it difficult to keep up. Now, survey participants are rewarded with Twitch bits—emotes members can use to “cheer” streamers. Not only does this help partners get to know their most enthusiastic users, but they also get a revenue share of the emote value. Other brands could translate this lesson into custom community swag, behind-the-scenes snapshots, access to experts, sneak peeks and more.

Match the tone of your audience: Remember that you’re talking to real people, so keep your tone conversational. Use easy-to-understand language, cut out the jargon and keep your surveys short and to the point.

Asking members to share photos and details about their lives lets them express who they are and gives you more context and understanding.

Let members express their unique and authentic selves: Give members a way to show they’re contributing to research or other important initiatives. This provides members the recognition they crave, and helps them feel like a more integral part of the community. Asking members to share photos and details about their lives lets them express who they are and gives you more context and understanding.

2. Don’t ask the same questions repeatedly.

The Twitch team realized that asking people about their gaming habits, or which game consoles they own again and again was frustrating to their members. If you find yourself asking the same questions every time you send out a survey, it’s time for a different approach.

Once Twitch integrated their audience data using APIs, they were able to link their community activities to user behavior. This meant they got to know more about their members, and could use those few minutes of captured attention to ask different kinds of questions, and gain new insights.

3. Find new ways to engage with customers.

Get to know where your community is so you can communicate with them in the best way possible. For example, Generation Z customers are more likely to be on WeChat or Facebook than use email. Twitch found that email is ineffective for these audiences, since email isn’t even on their radar until they enter the workforce.

Once you’ve found your audience, and have started engaging with them, be sure to provide a feedback loop so they can see their ideas transformed into action, and will be more willing to share insights next time.

Authenticity counts

With Generation Z, a little authenticity goes a long way. If you can speak their language, get to know their behaviors, and engage them where they are, they’ll be much more willing to  exchange the insights you need to strengthen your customer relationship, and make their experiences even richer.

Watch the Twitch video story to learn more about how Twitch RPG is helping to transform and grow the Twitch brand.

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