So you’re look to start streaming but you’re wondering where is the best place to start. There is 3 main platforms you can stream on in 2021:
Personally I haven’t tried Facebook so I won’t be discussing it in this article. However I have streamed on both Twitch and Youtube consistently for around one month each.
This article documents the results I was able to achieve in this short period of time on both platforms.
HINT: On one platform I was able to reach 92 concurrent viewers and almost 10,000 views on one stream all within my first month.
I’m going to break this down into 3 parts:
- Setting Up Your Stream
- Discovery, viewership and engagement
So lets get started.
Twitch Vs Youtube | Setting Up Your Stream
Both these platforms are very similar when it comes to setting up your stream. I used Streamlabs OBS for streaming to both Youtube & Twitch. I actually occasionally streamed to both Twitch and Youtube at the same time which help me gain viewership on both platforms.
Twitch was super easy to get set up. All I had to do was create an account and login to Streamlabs with my Twitch account.
Once your account is linked to Streamlabs this allows you to simply click ‘Go live’, plug in a few details like your Title and the Category you’re streaming in and you’re now live to the world.
It’s a super simple process and that’s really all there is too it.
Youtube has much the same process but there’s a few more things we need to consider. On youtube on of the most important parts of discovery is having an eye catching thumbnail.
On Twitch this isn’t possible but on Youtube we can customise it before going live. So before each stream I had to make a custom Thumbnail before going live which took some extra time.
On Youtube your tags are also important for appearing in search results while live. This is going to help you get more discoverability for your stream on youtube.
For example when I was streaming on Youtube I knew I could capitalise on the launch of the xbox series s and cyberpunk. Lots of people where searching for the performance on each console for Cyberpunk so I added the console I was playing on and the game name to my tags.
This allowed me to gain a lot of search traffic from youtube on my streams.
As you can see this allowed me to add an extra 2400 views during and after this specific stream.
So on Youtube there’s a little more setup before getting started but it’s worth it for the increase in viewership on your stream.
To wrap up the setup on both platforms there’s a little less work in going live in twitch than there is on Youtube. However the extra features and setting on Youtube do help you greatly in gaining more viewers as a new streamer.
Twitch Discovery vs Youtube Discovery
It took me a long time to earn Twitch affiliate because I was streaming in the completely wrong categories. The month I am discussing below is the month after I achieved Twitch affiliate and switched up my strategy to streaming in smaller game categories. My game of choice was Black Op 3 Zombies.
Twitch’s discovery isn’t great. If you’re a 0 viewer streamers, streaming in a category such as Warzone with 100,000 viewers and 1000s of streamers it’s very unlikely anyone is going to discover you.
Lots of people tell you to “Stream popular games” but I think thats a horrible strategy and it didn’t work for me at all. You just end up at the bottom of rankings and get the occasional dude popping in asking for a follow for follow.
So, for this month I decided to stream one specific game (Black Ops 3) where the Category usually averages around 500 – 1000 total viewers.
Usually the Top person in the category has no more than 40-50 viewers and there’s only around 30 people streaming at a time. This gives you a much greater chance of someone clicking on your stream and checking out your content. It also means that you have a much higher chance of hitting the top 2-3 rows giving you even more exposure.
By utilising this strategy I was able to pick up a considerable amount of new followers every single day on Twitch.
I would average about 8-10 new followers per day using this strategy. The large spike you see is the day the New Call Od Duty was released and I was able to gain a lot of traction by playing the game a few hours earlier than release.
Once that hype died down a bit I continued stream BO3 and continued to pick up 8-10 followers on the days I streamed.
So to sum up Twitch discovery there’s not much of it. If you want to gain more followers and build your audience, first you need great content and second you need people to see it. Streaming in a smaller game is the best way to do this. Once you’ve built a small community you can start to test out bigger games.
I think it’s also important to note here I didn’t do any promotion off stream. I would probably recommend creating highlights of your streams on Tik Tok to gain some exposure there and potentially create separate content on Youtube.
Youtube was a completely different story than Youtube. I started off the first few days trying a similar strategy that I had on Twitch but had quite the opposite result.
I tried to stream BO3 zombies for a few days but just couldn’t pick up any traction. Youtube’s discovery system is completely different than Twitch. You’re either going to get discovered through search or the recommend videos on the side of other videos/streams.
As I was streaming such a small game nobody was searching and not many people are watching BO3 videos in 2021 so that didn’t give me much opportunity to grow.
Here’s the results from the first few streams. Nothing to write home about.
Thats when i knew I had to do something different to stand out and it worked better than expected. As I come from a marketing background I knew I could so some growth hacking to kick start my stream.
So it was coming up to release day of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated launches of the year. That meant opportunity to get eye balls on my stream.
I then used a little trick I know on how to get games about 20 hours early on xbox. This meant nobody in the USA had access to the game yet meaning lots of people would be searching.
I was also playing one the Xbox Series S so I put that in my stream title as I knew lots of people would be searching for Cybperpunk gameplay on that specific console.
These where the results of that one stream. I went on an 11 hour marathon stream.
As you can see the stream started off slow but just kept growing for the first few hours or so and eventually peaked at 92 viewers. Pretty damn good for my fourth Youtube stream. I was able to sustain 50-90 viewers concurrent for the whole stream.
However check out how many total views the stream got:
Over 9000 views on this single stream. I also multi-streamed to Twitch on the same day but maybe maxed out at 20 viewers on that stream. Youtube’s discovery is great for new popular games and favours people playing them.
Obviously Day 1 off the game release was going to be much bigger than any other day but I continued my lets play and had lots of people come back to see me complete the game.
Youtube was great in this aspect and allowed me to grow a small community very quickly.
Youtube and Twitch have two very different discovery systems and it really depends on which game you want to play when picking your platform. If you want to play the most popular games I would most likely go to Youtube and also create content tutorials at the same time on your channel.
If you want to grow on Twitch and love playing some smaller game categories I would grind it out in there until you grow a big enough community.
Twitch Monetisation Vs Youtube Monetisation
In this category things are much more one sided in terms of which platform is the best.
Youtube Monetisation For Streamers
As I currently only have just over 100 subscribers on Youtube I am unable to unlock monetisation on my Youtube channel directly. This means I make no money from ads and I am not able to accept donations through the Youtube platform.
The requirements to become monetised on Youtube are:
- 1000 Subscribers
- 4000 hours of watch time
This is quite a goal for small streamers. I’m still striving to hit that goal and will hopefully hit it soon. I have over 37,000 subscribers on a non gaming channel of mine however so I know that growth is slow at the start and ramps up fast as you consistently post.
I’m almost there in terms of watch time.
The good thing about these requirements is you can gain subs and watch hours from both your streams and videos uploaded to your channel.
Over the period of time I was consistently streaming on Youtube I gained a whooping $0. I feel that this is a combination of not having monetisation enabled but also a slight cultural difference in the platform.
From what I have seen Subs on Twitch are a much bigger thing than Channel memberships on Youtube.
I also received no donations through my Streamlabs donation link in the description of the stream. I also think not having panels below the stream like you have on Twitch hinders the donations a little.
Twitch Monetisation for Small Streamers
Over the full month I was streaming on Twitch as an affiliate I actually pulled in some Donations, Ad revenue and Subscribers which was awesome to see.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Paid Subs – $6.69
- Prime Subs – $7.49
- Gifted Subs – $7.07
- Ads Revenue – $7.97
- Cheering/Bits – $1.77
Total Revenue: $30.98
I also had one donation for 7 Australian Dollars through Paypal.
It’s nothing to write home about but it was definitely a confidence booster getting my first few subs and donations. While the donations are relatively small there’s something exciting about getting any kind of money for playing video games.
In terms of monetisation I believe that Twitch has a much better avenue to monetisation. Subs and donations are part of Twitch culture.
People love subbing for extra emotes and supporting small creators. The community talks about it a lot more. People chat about subscribing or create challenges like “Make it to round 100 and I’ll gift 5 subs”.
There is also Twitch Prime subs. These allow viewers to subscribe without any money from their own pocket meaning its a win win for everyone. The only person losing is Jeff Bezos…
So in terms of Monetisation Twitch was the clear winner here however if you’re a small streamer you shouldn’t be worried about making money just yet. It may be better to make less money on Youtube if it gives you more opportunity to create a larger fan base.
Just have fun on your stream and the money will come later down the line.
What’s The Verdict?
So where should you stream? It’s really up to you. If you are a good streamer you will likely rise to the top of either platform. Hopefully my experience of a month streaming on both platforms will help you make an informed decision based on what games you want to play and what platform you yourself prefer.
I’m continuing to stream on Twitch while uploading content to Youtube however when popular games drop I’ll probably fire up the Youtube stream again to gain a bigger audience.