My thoughts on Numbers
So, thanks to Mr. DizzyDizaster‘s new StreamPulse show, which he is live with every Friday at 7pm EST, I thought about numbers on Twitch a bit.
First of all, it is important to look at your numbers. Not necessarily on the Dashboard while streaming, but afterwards. You gotta know the numbers and check your VODs (every now and then) to see where you can improve, whether there are problems etc.
Thanks to Dizzy, I’ve also realized that I’ve put my priorities on the wrong metrics. I’ve been way too focused on my Follower and Max Concurrent counts, along trying to spot regular viewers. While those are, of course, important, they’re less important than other metrics, and regular viewers aren’t even a real metric, they’re part of your community which is a whole different beast! If we sort the relevant Metrics bt importance, we get the following order (Most to least):
- (Con)Current Viewers are your #1 Metric. Why? Because everything on Twitch is sorted by this number!
- Viewer numbers determine your Directory Placement and therefor visibility!
- How often your channel has been clicked / watched. This is “unique visitors”. It can roughly be translated into your reach.
- Are your least important Metric. Sure, they show your “growth”, are great for Milestones and may end up giving you opportunities like Review Copies, but other than that, it just shows that someone clicked a button.
- Don’t worry about money (imo), unless you want to make a job out of Streaming.
With that out of the way, it is important to realize how one can try to improve each of these Metrics and how they may relate to each other and to other things.
To improve your Viewer Count and Unique Views, you mainly rely on Foot Traffic. Foot Traffic can come as simple as being high up in a directory, having people join your stream because it is in their View, but mostly comes down to marketing. This marketing is done off-site more often than not, since Twitch doesn’t have many good ways to get word of your Stream out there and blatant advertising is frowned upon by many people. Your best bet will be to use Social Media like Twitter and Reddit (Yes, Reddit!) and Youtube can be used to a great extend as well.
For Twitter, learn your Hashtags. Pretty much every game under the sun should have its own Hashtag that is used frequently. If you’re part of a community that uses a hashtag, don’t forget including that. Mention the appropriate accounts! I always try to @ mention the Developers, Game Account, or Publisher, in that order. I also try to mention people like ItsGime when I’m playing a game I got a code for through him, after all they might’ve done a lot of work for you!
On Reddit, use the appropriate Subreddits, and I’m not talking about /r/vgstreams. Keep in mind that many Subreddits don’t like people coming in only to advertise their own stuff, but by bending the rules just a little and showing Respect to those communities, you can get away with quite a bit.
For both Twitter and Reddit, it’s also important to use your accounts for more than just advertising your Stream. Connect with fellows casters, viewers, developers and other people in the Industry! Join Discussions, create them; Become a part of the communities you try to advertise in.
And then there’s Youtube. The VOD platform. So, how can this one help in creating Foot Traffic, if people are on here for VOD content? Easy, think of a Youtube channel as your portfolio! You could simply upload your Past Broadcasts, upload highlights and / or Highlight-Reels or go as far as to create some (lightweight) VOD content. My good pal Belannaer for example has a Steam curator group and does do reviews. He has started to upload them to Twitch as well and drive traffic from his Curator directly to his Twitch channel, since that makes more sense than directing people to Youtube and from there to Twitch, but it definitely is an easy way to gain some exposure on Youtube as well. And since you’re playing games anyway, why not give people your thoughts in an On-Demand way?
Keep in mind that Lurkers are some of your best friends. DO NOT USE GREETER BOTS OR CALL THEM OUT!!! (And if you have onscreen alerts, thank them and move on if they haven’t been active in chat, don’t try to make them talk.)
Mature Mode means extra clicks are necessary to watch your stream. Maybe swear a bit less and turn it off.
Now, to improve your Follower Metric, there are a couple points that can be made:
- Be Entertaining
- Build a Community
- Be Interactive / Engaging / Engageable
- Create Discussions and make people want to participate
YOU HAVE LESS THAN 10 SECONDS TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION WITH YOUR STREAM!
Now, I got to admit that I don’t have a very entertaining personality. I’m ambivert, but leaning a little more towards Introversy. This obviously doesn’t make for the most entertaining streams and can’t really give you any tips on this other than that Gimmicks can be entertaining, if done right. See people like FutureManGaming whose gimmick is the persona he uses on Stream, ExcessiveProfanity whose gimmick literally is him getting salty and throwing profanities around.
When it comes to community building, on the other hand, it can help to set Milestones and to celebrate them. Nothing screams community building as much as having a party, after all! And if you are a variety caster and experience a growth spurt in a specific game or genre, it is always a good idea to maybe dedicate a day to that game or Genre as long as it is fun for you without burning you out in a short amount of time. It shows your community you care about them by playing stuff they like and that’s always a good thing, right?
Having a good hook or Discussion Starter can make engaging you a lot easier and get more people to actively participate in Chat, which in turn might persuade other viewers to stay and participate themselves.
Furthermore, consistency is important. If you need to change stuff around, be open about those changes, give warning and reminders ahead of time to make the transition easier, if that is possible. This is especially important when you change your Streaming times or want to branch out from a single game or a small subset from games into something larger.
So, what could I personally improve on? I think I need to do more about marketing my stream. i’m using Twitter to a good extend, I think; That is especially true since I have a custom Twitter Video Card for my Stream that allows people to watch my Stream directly on Twitter. Reddit, on the other hand, I barely use to promote my stream since it is usually frowned upon, but I might have to give that a shot. I am also planning on doing some First Impression and Review Videos to upload on Twitch, which I could then link to the respective communities.
As for Youtube, I don’t do much with it. Like, nothing. There was a phase when I uploaded my VODs, but I didn’t see an increase in viewers and stopped. I might upload my Impressions and Reviews to Youtube, though. I don’t like having to re-watch my own streams to find highlights, especially since I am somewhat picky and never think that something is good enough to be a highlight, which means Highlight-Reels aren’t really a thing either. I know that having a Highlight-Reel or two can help to show people at a glance what your channel is like, but I just don’t find anything highlight-worthy, ever, pretty much.
Which brings me to the next thing I could improve on: I don’t think of myself as that entertaining. I think the most entertaining bits of my streams are, when I get salty about a stupid death and blame some game mechanic or something despite knowing it’s pretty much my own bloody fault I died. I also tend to get absorbed into the games I play a bit too much. I will respond to chat, but I don’t think I’m all that engaging myself, which leads to my chat being slow, or completely dead more often than not. This is what I said earlier about being an Ambivert trickles back in, I think. Given time and the desire to talk about something I can whip up things like this Blog Post in under two hours, but I’m not someone who takes the initiative in conversations usually. I am more of a listener myself. I tend to lurk more than being active in chat for example.
A gimmick and/or Hook might do me good, but finding one isn’t easy, because that stuff is outside my comfort zone or doesn’t really work with the vision I have of a gameplay- and community-centered stream. Oh and highlighting stuff. Or finding a friendly soul who highlights stuff for me.