We have often written about the popular streaming platform, Twitch. Like most social and video sites, Twitch has created its own vocabulary, favored by regular users. So, you don't have to spend long on the platform before you hear somebody refer to Bits. But what are Bits on Twitch? Why would you want bits, and how would you use them?
In our Guide to Twitch, we compared Twitch to YouTube, but with live videos. It has a niche audience of online gamers, although its popularity has grown since the arrival of COVID, and by February 2021, it had an average of 2.9 million concurrent viewers. It also had 9.5 million active streamers at that time. Both these numbers show substantial growth in a year. Back in February 2020, there were only 1.4 million concurrent viewers and 3.8 million active streamers.
What are Bits on Twitch, and How Can You Use Them?:
What are Bits on Twitch?
Bits are a type of virtual good people can buy on Twitch which they can use to show support for their favorite streamers, purchasing animated emoticons to gain attention in chat, and even unlocking loot in certain situations.
You Can Use Custom Bit Badges
Twitch comes with a standard set of Bit emotes that you can purchase to use in your favorite streamers' chats. These are relatively eye-catching, and you can use them to make your messages stand out from the rest.
However, over time you might begin to grow bored of these stock-standard Bit badges. However, Twitch has made it relatively easy for the more popular streamers to replace the standard badges with others in their chat channel.
Twitch Partners can reward those followers who donate to their stream by providing them with a custom Twitch Bit badge. Streamers can offer their supporters up to 28 different, unique chat badges and motivate them to donate more to get cooler badges.
OWN3D offers a wide selection of Twitch Bit Badges / Custom Cheer Chat Badges to affiliate and partner streamers. Each set contains ten different Bit Badges.
Why Would Twitch Viewers Want to Use Bits?
Bits give Twitch viewers a chance to show their individuality, as well as a way for them to support the streamers they most like. And they can also add to the fun experience. Twitch encourages streamers to build communities and to look at their followers almost like extended family. Bits can help with this process.
The most common use of Bits is in Cheers. A Cheer is a chat message that includes Bits (or at least an animated emote/symbol that you have purchased the right to use). You can use as many Bit emotes in your chats as you have paid for, either multiple emotes in one sentence or spread across various messages.
When you use Bit emotes in a steamer's chat, Twitch gives an agreed sum of money to that streamer. So, when you use a flashy twirling Bit emote in your chat, you are donating a small sum of money to the host streamer. It is a way you can show appreciation to your favorite streamers.
You can Cheer whoever you want (as long as they have reached Partner or Affiliate status), and you can Cheer whenever you want during their stream. Your Cheer Chat badge lasts indefinitely, but you can only use it in the channel where you earned it.
Even if you're not into Cheering yourself, you might indirectly use other people's Bit emoticons. Being animated, they generally stand out in a chat feed. Therefore, they will probably draw your attention. They may even help you identify other regular viewers with whom you like engaging in conversation.
Who Can Accept Bits?
Twitch does place some limitations on Bits and Cheers. You can't simply accept Bits as a new streamer on the platform. You first need to reach Affiliate status. As we wrote in How to Make Money Streaming Videos on Twitch, once you establish yourself on Twitch, you have two programs you can join to help you monetize your channel. The lower-level program is as a Twitch Affiliate. To qualify for this, you must:
- Stream for at least eight hours in the last 30 days
- Steam on at least seven days in the last 30 days
- Receive an average of three viewers per stream
- Grow your audience to 50 followers
Once you meet these criteria, Twitch will automatically invite you to become an Affiliate. Affiliates receive various benefits on the platform, one of which is the ability to receive payment from Bits.
Twitch has a higher program for its most popular streamers. These are Twitch Partners. You can only become a Partner by invitation. Selection is subjective and dependent on Twitch's views on your potential. However, some of the areas likely to be relevant to their decision-making include:
- Quality of stream content
- Average concurrent viewership
- Stream frequency and schedule
Twitch Partners can continue to accept money from Bits used in their chats. They can also create a custom subscriber-only badge, along with custom subscriber-only emotes your subscribers can use site-wide and a range of additional Partner-only incentives.
Bit-Related Settings Streamers Should Use
Twitch Partners and Affiliates can access their Cheers settings on their dashboard. They will find the relevant section by going to their left-hand sidebar, clicking Preferences, Affiliate/Partner settings, and finally scrolling down to Bits & Cheering. They can then manage their Emote rewards, and Cheermotes (i.e., custom animated emotes) on the Emotes page located under Viewer Rewards -> Emotes.
Streamers can set the minimum number of Bits needed to send a Cheer message in their channel. For example, if they choose 25, viewers can not send a Cheer message with 24 or fewer Bits. They need to use at least 25 Bits, either in a single emote or by combining emotes that add up to at least 25 Bits.
Streamers can set a range of Cheer Chat Badge settings. For example, they may only accept badges representing specific values rather than Twitch's entire range. Partners can also select Custom Cheermotes, which usually become more animated the greater the number of Bits they are worth. Each Partner can create one set of Cheermotes with five tiers.
How Viewers Can Buy Bits
Currently, Twitch viewers can purchase Bits via Amazon and PayPal payments. Amazon owns Twitch, so it should be no surprise that you can buy Bits using Amazon's payment system. If you are using Twitch's desktop website, you can go to your favorite streamer's channel page (once you've logged in) and click on the Get Bits button in the upper right corner. Alternatively, you can buy Bits mid-chat by clicking on the Bits icon in the chat window that appears to the left of the Emoticon button.
Both these methods take you to the Buy page. Twitch offers you a range of Bit bundles at differing prices, giving more significant discounts for large purchases.
You can also purchase Bits in the mobile app by tapping the Bits icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the chat. You then tap Get Bits to bring up the price list and follow a similar purchase flow to Desktop. However, one difference with mobile is that payments are processed by the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and you will have to pay their processing fees.
Enabling or Disabling Bits Auto-refill
Regular Bits purchasers often enable Bits Auto-refill. When you do this, Twitch automatically refills your Bits balance whenever it falls below a selected threshold. If you decide to allow this, you need to set your threshold level, i.e., the point when Twitch automatically sells you extra Bits. You also need to select a specific Bits Bundle for the system to purchase, with a desired quantity of Bits.
How to Cheer Your Favorite Streamers
Once you have a stock of Bits, you can use them in your favorite channels. As you chat, click on the Bits button in the text box. Depending on the channel you're in, Twitch may give you a choice of Cheermote to use – the standard gem Cheermotes, a custom Partner Cheermote, or another one of Twitch's standard selection (e.g., Kappa, Kreygasm, Swiftrage, and more). The exact emote that appears depends on the number of Bits you want to use. Higher-level Emotes are generally more animated and stand out more in the chat than lower-level ones.
Alternatively, you can access the original gem Cheermotes by typing cheer and a number into a chat stream. Twitch will use the appropriate emote for the number of Bits you are spending. There is a short time lag involved, and a timer counts down until your message appears. Twitch does this to give you time to correct a typo, for example, typing cheer1000 instead of the cheer100 you intended. You can cancel your Cheer at any time while the timer is still counting down. You would replace the word cheer if you want to use one of Twitch's other Bit emotes, e.g., Kappa100.
You can even cheer anonymously if you wish. To do this, you select the Cheer Anonymously option in the Cheer card and use the Anonymous Cheer Cheermote. Your Cheer will show up in the chat channel as being from AnAnonymousCheerer.
Types of Custom Bit Badges
We referred above to OWN3D's selection of Twitch Bit Badges. They claim to have the largest online shop for Twitch Bit Badges, with general and game-specific designs. Badges come in three sizes: 18x18, 36x36, and 72x72.
Once a streamer reaches Affiliate or Partner status, they can upload their own badge graphics to their dashboard. These become visible to all channel subscribers as badges in the chat next to the name, with different badges representing each Bits Badge tier up to 5 million donated Bits. Streamers can view statistics showing how many viewers have each badge.
OWN3D currently offers 53 sets of Twitch Bits Badges, each related to a theme. Themes include Diamond Emblems, Military, Flames, Shields, Lama Pinata, Knights Helmets Fortnite, Neon, Warfare, and Gorilla.