The Lowdown on Streaming Platforms
We've heard from our community members who have a LOT of questions around the different streaming platforms, and specifically which ones they should be using. I wanted to take the time to share with everyone platform specific information around the different audiences, features, and monetization opportunities.
Twitch is still the current market leader in terms of both streamers and viewers. Compared to the other two, its audience skews towards more hardcore gaming enthusiasts. A big draw is that its users are mostly there to watch gaming live streams.
Its biggest drawback is the lack of discoverability features for newer creators. As the biggest platform, it’s also the most crowded. Their discovery algorithm is something they’re currently working to improve, but until then, you’re mostly left to your own devices if you want to building your following there.
If you do decide to pursue building an audience on Twitch, once you’ve accumulated 50 followers and a CCV of 3 (plus some consistent streaming hours), you can become an affiliate and start running ads on your streams. Level up to Partner status and you unlock more monetization opportunities like subscriptions, emotes, and bits, in addition to increased channel customization and VOD features. To become a Partner, you have to increase your CCV to 75, rack up some more hours, and apply to the program.
Twitch wins in terms of features, but again, you have to be ready to build an audience off-platform and then bring them to your channel.
The audience on Facebook Gaming consists mostly of casual gamers who prefer consuming mobile content. It's important to keep in mind who's scrolling through the platform, the answer being all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.
While it lacks the die-hard game streaming audience that Twitch already has, Facebook's discoverability features are far better. Their immense user base coupled with their machine learning algorithms can be a big help in surfacing your stream to the right viewer.
The Facebook equivalent of Twitch's Affiliate and Partner programs are its Level Up and, well, Partner programs. In terms of monetization Facebook is pretty similar to Twitch, although they’ve recently announced a plan to roll out more fan payment options (make sure to catch the news below). Unlike Twitch, Facebook provides less transparency into its eligibility criteria for its programs. One other difference is that to get into Facebook's Parter Program, they want to see a streamer's audience regularly sending Stars.
The big wins that Facebook provides are its native user base and discoverability features, which is why we recommend this as the platform for newer streamers.
YouTube is a awesome place to post VODs, which is something we urge everyone to do, but the platform is still figuring out how to improve its live streaming functionality. Stream performance can be painfully inconsistent, which is unfortunate since YouTube has the best discoverability algorithm out of the 3 platforms. Until they figure this out, we're going to continue to recommend focusing on either Twitch or Facebook Gaming for live streaming.
You might be surprised to know there are platforms beyond Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming. If you're feeling adventurous, there's also Caffeine, Dlive, and recent newcomer Glimesh.