Twitch has become a trendy live streaming platform, particularly for gamers. Interest in Twitch skyrocketed in 2020, thanks to many bored gamers stuck at home on lockdown. The world may slowly be reopening, but Twitch has remained popular, with 9.36 million active streamers on the platform in April 2021. The top-ranked streamer is Ninja, and he had 16.6 million followers at that time.
Of course, the vast majority of those 9+ million streamers can't claim to have 16 million followers. Many can't even rely on having 16 people viewing them during a stream. There seems to be little point in streaming without an audience; you might as well just play your game alone.
Many streamers recognize this problem. There are too many other people streaming to expect to pick up an audience organically. Instead, you have to make a conscious effort to build a following. And once you have got to the point where you have a core audience, it is much easier to build a community of supporters from there. So, how do you get more viewers on Twitch? Here are our suggestions about how you can gradually go from just another noob to someone with a known name and a positive reputation, and the subject of people's chat on other channels.
How to Get More Viewers on Twitch:
- 1. Play and Stream a Popular Game
- 2. Check Out the Competition
- 3. Improve the General Appearance of Your Stream
- 4. Remember You Have an Audience: Talk During Your Stream
- 5. Show Your Personality in Your Dress and Appearance
- 6. Create Your Own Branding and Image
- 7. Avoid Streaming at Peak Times
- 8. Set a Clear Schedule and Keep to It
- 9. Play With Your Followers and Subscribers
- 10. Interact With Your Viewers and Consider Giving Them Rewards
Ways to Get More Viewers on Twitch
1. Play and Stream a Popular Game
Playing a popular game can be something of a double-edged sword. Players on channels like Grand Theft Auto, Apex Legends, Valorant, League of Legends, Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Fortnite have a massive selection of channels to join. For example, when I was writing this post, 198K people viewed streams on Grand Theft Auto alone, with 64K people viewing Portuguese streamer, Loud_Coringa's channel. On the other hand, Ten Grand Theft Auto streamers had no viewers, and quite a few had only one or two watching.
However, even those near the bottom of the Grand Theft Auto pecking order can dream. People can sort streamers in various ways, and one way is by Viewers (Low to High). There is a chance that some people are willing to check out a new streamer. Grand Theft Auto, and the other games I mentioned above, are at least popular. Many potential viewers are looking for a stream of somebody playing the game.
However, it becomes trickier if you're playing a less liked, older, or more obscure game. Many games have fewer than 100 viewers across all the channels. For example, you may love the Crash Bandicoot games (I have many happy memories from my younger days). But, currently, only five streamers are playing the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, with audiences of between eight viewers and just one viewer. You will never get many more viewers on Twitch than that if you keep trying to help Crash Bandicoot defeat Doctor Neo Cortex.
Twitchstrike recommends what it believes are the best games to stream at any hour. It bases its recommendations on how many channels are broadcasting vs. the number of people viewing. They examine the ratio of broadcasters to viewers to determine what has the highest proportion (and the lowest). Twitchstrike found the channels with the best ratios involved chess, sports, ADSM, and Pokémon Emerald when I was writing this. They calculated that the worst games to stream to gain visibility were Final Fantasy X, SCUM, Eternal Return, and StarCraft.
2. Check Out the Competition
When somebody logs onto Twitch, they face various channels that the streaming platform thinks they will like. The more time they have already spent watching streams, the better and more accurate Twitch's suggestions. Over time, your channel should start to appear as part of these front-page suggestions.
Many viewers prefer to search for channels, however. So, they click on the Browse button, which takes them to a page with two tabs: Categories and Live Channels.
If viewers select Categories, Twitch presents them with predominantly a list of games. However, it includes a few other popular categories, such as Just Chatting (now the most popular type on Twitch). If they click on a category, Twitch brings up screens of streaming people whose content matches the category. So, for example, if someone selects Minecraft, Twitch shows all the Minecraft streamers on the next page. We depict numerous examples of this in the images accompanying our Most Viewed Games on Twitch in 2021 post.
If a viewer instead selects Live Channels on the Browse page, Twitch brings up representations of the screens of a mixed group of streamers – everybody currently streaming if anyone has the patience to go through the entire list.
No matter whether someone has selected their preferred category or has gone to the Live Channels page, they can sort streamers by Recommended For You, Viewers (High to Low), Viewers (Low to High), and Recently Started.
This demonstrates just how important it is that you create a good impression for potential viewers. You need to stand out from all the other people simultaneously streaming the game you want to play.
If you go to the category in which you most want to succeed and then sort by Viewers (Low to High), you will see some of your least successful competitors – some don't even have a single viewer. You will notice that these channels all tend to look the same – often just showing a game screen and no personalization by the streamer.
Now change your sort so you can view the channels sorted by Viewers (High to Low). Depending on when you do your search, these will generally be the most popular channels for your category. How do these streams differ from the ones you looked at previously? What do these streamers do differently? For a start, you will typically see more variety on screen, with an emphasis on the streamer himself (or increasingly herself). You will probably notice that these top streams use better graphics, too.
3. Improve the General Appearance of Your Stream
So, how can you improve the general appearance of your stream to make it stand out from everybody else streaming in your category? Twitch has made it easy for you to modify the appearance of your stream by using overlays, alerts, panels, and more in your streams. You can even create your own Twitch emotes using something like OWN3D's Emote Maker tool.
The better your stream looks, the easier you will find it to get more viewers on Twitch.
4. Remember You Have an Audience: Talk During Your Stream
It may seem obvious, but it needs saying. People don't simply come to Twitch to watch you play a game, even if you are a talented and successful player. They come to your stream for entertainment. So, you should remember they are your guests, and you need to talk with them.
Whatever the reason that somebody first arrives at your stream, it is up to you to encourage them to return. You need to make it worthwhile for them to spend their time watching and listening to your stream.
The best streamers build a community of followers. They help them genuinely look forward to and anticipate the next broadcast.
You might have to practice narrating your thoughts. You may at first feel uncomfortable talking to yourself. Listen to the radio and see how DJs and other radio announcers fill in the time and keep a narrative going, even when alone in a studio.
5. Show Your Personality in Your Dress and Appearance
One way you can stand out from the crowd of streamers is to dress unusually or let some other parts of your appearance become your signature. This will help people take notice and remember you.
Popular streamer Seán William McLoughlin (aka Jacksepticeye) used his Irish heritage and associated green color to stand out in his broadcasts. He dyed his hair green for a while, which helped him stand out. He now enjoys 2.7 million Twitch followers to go with his 27.3 million YouTube subscribers.
6. Create Your Own Branding and Image
This ties in with our previous suggestions on improving the general appearance of your stream and showing your personality. You want to establish a recognizable personal brand. Ideally, you want to get to the point where viewers can take a quick look at a thumbnail of your stream and immediately recognize it as yours.
While using a Free Twitch Overlay Template is better than no template, you will only find so many free templates, and many look somewhat cookie cutter and generic. If you can afford them, it's better to buy a professional design that fewer other streamers use. Own3D offers over 200 complete stream overlay template packs, including overlays, alerts, panels, and banners, many of them animated. They include both Starter Packages and Ultimate Packages. You can often modify the colors to match your tastes and even find packs designed to go with specific games.
7. Avoid Streaming at Peak Times
Logic suggests that you will attract more viewers to your stream when more people tune in to Twitch. So, you could make a point of streaming at some of the more popular times on Twitch, no matter your local time zone.
However, the counter to this is that you will have to compete with the well-known streamers at Twitch's most popular times. If a viewer has to choose between watching a new Ninja stream or viewing you playing a similar game, they are likely to tune into Ninja's broadcast.
Eric of Streamers Playroom has analyzed Twitch stats and found that the best times to stream on Twitch are between 12 midnight and 9 a.m. PST. During this time, you will have a decent number of viewers but fewer competing streamers. The problem with streaming between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. PST is that you're competing with all the big-name streamers.
Eric recommends you focus on streaming in the late-night, early mornings, and weekends. But, again, this will depend on your location – concentrate on the more popular streamers' local time zones. Weekend evening streaming could be particularly successful for attracting viewers, as parents tend to let their offspring stay up later.
8. Set a Clear Schedule and Keep to It
This advice applies to virtually any online activity where you want to increase your viewing numbers. For example, if you run a blog, you need to establish set times for your new posts. If you have a YouTube or TikTok channel, you should upload new videos at the same time each week. You should even schedule your social posts to be at the same times weekly if you want to build a strong team of engaged followers.
You are likely to have few people watching your early streams, but you should gradually build up numbers. In the meantime, you want to keep the few followers you have. They need to know they can depend on you and that it is worth them putting aside a regular chunk of time each week to return for your future broadcasts.
Sticking to your schedule is an easy way to build up trust with your audience. People can plan their time to watch you, and you don't want to let them down.
9. Play With Your Followers and Subscribers
Another way you can build a close community is to spend time playing with your followers and subscribers in-game. They may not be as good a player as you but having the opportunity to play with their social heroes can make a young person's day.
In a conversation on Reddit, a relatively low-level streamer observed how he gave in and let a low-level follower join in a game one day. "He proceeded to talk about how happy he was, and that people usually ignore him. We played a few games with him and he told us about how he was bullied and we really gave him a place to go and hangout, and that felt pretty good. The kid was 12-13 ish and just looking for someone to play video games with." As a result, the unnamed streamer now sets time on weekends to game with his followers.
10. Interact With Your Viewers and Consider Giving Them Rewards
Ultimately, Twitch is a social streaming platform that just happens to have evolved to focus on gaming. However, it's no different from any other social platform in that the most vital factor for building trust and a following is interacting with your viewers.
You can even reward your viewers for engaging with you without having to spend much real money. For example, OWN3D's Twitch Channel Points and Rewards customizable points program allows Twitch streamers (partners and affiliates) to reward their viewers with perks. To earn points, viewers must complete various tasks. For example, watch for a certain amount of time, participate in a raid, and much more. Viewers can then redeem their Twitch Channel Points for a reward, typically a Twitch Channel Points icon they can use in the chat.