A Growth Hacker’s Guide to Growing Your Twitch Channel In 2019 UPDATED (Part 6/6): Channel Growth 📈
Welcome to the final installment of the series. The juicy stuff everyone wants to read about. Everything written here is based on my own personal experience. To say that there is one way to grow your Twitch channel would be incorrect. Growth is all about testing, identifying patterns, refining tactics and seeing what sticks.
For me, the name of the game with Twitch channel growth is spreading your stream and your past broadcasts/highlights/clips to as many other channels across the web as possible WITHOUT spamming (I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but stay with me). That being said, let’s dive into some Twitch channel growth strategies. First and foremost…
💁 Contribute to your communities!
I mentioned earlier that I’m part of 20+ Discord servers and I try to chime in and stay active as much as I can. I also make a point of checking out the streams and channels of everyone who follows me and expressed interest in my channel. I make sure to give advice to new streamers in Discord whenever I can, and to help others test their streams. This is a two way street guys, put in as much as you want to get back!
🌟 Create value-driven content (ADDED 08/14/2018)
I’ve gotten a lot of traffic to my streams because of this guide; that’s no secret! We talk a lot about all sorts of Twitch channel growth hacks here but, if you can nail this section, you’ll be in very good shape.
Value-driven content aims to create deep, meaningful VALUE for others. This is content often based around assisting/teaching people, or contributing solutions to a problem many others might be facing.
💯 ProTip: think about other places you can create valuable content across the web for other people to find. They’ll look you up, and probably thank you!
This content could be related to a specific game, a tutorial, etc. Refer back to what kind of a streamer you are (or want to be) and what kind of viewers you want to attract! Put yourself in their shoes and think about what might be valuable to them! You could write something on Medium, make a YouTube video, or do some kind of “how-to” stream!
E.g., I’ve discovered so many amazing streamers and from watching valuable and interesting clips, tutorial videos and reading articles online.
💯 ProTip: value-driven content can be very powerful in generating traffic to your own Twitch channel; if done right!
🗓 Commit to a schedule
It’s really hard to grow without this. Every article, blog and large streamer I’ve ever talked to always says the same thing. Committing to a schedule gets your core viewers in a routine, and creates regulars to your stream. Make sure you have your schedule clearly outlined in your panels below, and don’t be afraid to end your stream by reminding people what your schedule is and when you’re going live next!
If you need to miss a day, make sure you keep your viewers and your community in the loop by letting them know in advance.
🧠 Be smart with what you choose to stream
If you’re streaming super saturated games like PUBG and Fortnite, as a new streamer, you’re going to have a hard time growing. Why? Because you’re up against hundreds (sometimes thousands) of other channels for views. Remember that in Twitch’s browse pages, streams are categorized by how many views they have at that moment. In some cases, it would take several minutes for someone to even reach the bottom of the browse page, which is where you’ll be if you’re a new streamer with a low view count.
I’m not suggesting you stop streaming these games altogether, especially if you love playing them. But, if you want channel growth, try switching to a game you still enjoy that has less channels fighting for views.
A great tool to help you figure out what to stream is Twitch Strike. It’s an unofficial tool that aggregates Twitch channels and viewer data over time. It will give you super valuable insight as to which games have a higher view demand, how many channels are currently streaming the game, and what percentage of total channels own x% of total views. As a new streamer looking to grow your channel, this data is invaluable.
You can also pay to have your stream promoted on their front page when you’re live. I’ve done this for a couple months just to support the developer that built it. Surprisingly, I consistently got around 8% of my total views from Twitch Strike; that’s relevant if you’re just starting out.
👥 Collaborate with other streamers (ADDED 08/14/2018)
Organizing collab streams with other streamers of your own size (or bigger) can be a fantastic way for new viewers to discover you!
The best way to watch or feature multiple streams at the same time would either be multitwitch.tv or multistre.am/. These tools allow viewers to watch your stream and your collab buddy at the same time!
💯 ProTip: setup your collab streams so that everyone’s chatbots are promoting the multi-stream link every so often!
👀 YouTube & Social Media
💯 ProTip: every social media platform provides an opportunity to share your content across the web and to direct people back to your stream.
It’s important to have a dedicated set of social media platforms that you regularly share content on. For me, it’s basically just Twitter and Instagram. I have a Facebook page as well, but I rarely post content on it because I see far more traffic coming to my Twitch stream from Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re comfortable telling everyone on your personal Facebook page when you go live, I say do it! Who better to support you and your streaming than friends and family. I occasionally do this, but not often because I don’t want to inundate people on my personal Facebook feed.
Also, use the Twitch EXPORT TO YOUTUBE feature! This is such an easy way to spread highlights and funny moments from your stream to YouTube. Don’t even worry about having to promote your YouTube channel. Just by having your content copied over to YouTube, you will become more searchable across the web. By doing this, you will also make your content more accessible for people who may have seen you passively on Twitch.
If you are planning to grow your Twitch channel, it’s important utilize YouTube, as Twitch (and new potential) viewers are often on YouTube.
💯 ProTip: there’s a good reason Twitch makes it so easy for streamers to export their highlights and past broadcasts to YouTube. Because it directs YouTube traffic to your Twitch channel!
🎉 Contests and giveaways (UPDATED 28/02/2018)
Contests and giveaways are not a must-do for all streamers, especially new ones. However, they can be a great way to connect with viewers, get people excited about your growth and to give back to your community. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money on fancy prizes either. Simple, small (even handmade) prizes often go way further than a gift card.
I often do random giveaways for the people in my stream once I hit a high point in views. It’s also worth mentioning that I rarely advertise giveaways on social media or in my stream titles.
It’s been a great way for me to connect with people, make new friends and I also find it really fun. I only give away small little things like prints, pins, action figures, video game paraphernalia, etc (stuff that’s easy to mail!). I love it when people take pictures of what I mailed them and share them online. I also ask people to do that if it’s convenient for them, and it also makes it more fun for everyone else who didn’t win.
I’ve got a panel dedicated to “Goals & Giveaways” where I will award random people in my community once I’ve hit specific follower goals. I give extra luck to viewers who are in chat more and who are more closely part of my community.
You can also rally your viewers and the people in your community to get others involved in giveaways as well. You can also give people extra entries if they (for example) share your highlights, clip your streams, or get you a raid. There are lots of ways to rally your viewers to help promote your stream via the contests you’re running.
There are so many ways of doing contests and giveaways and, if you decide to partake, you really have to find what works best for you. Like most things in life, you should also only do contests/giveaways if you enjoy doing them.
💻 Twitter & Hashtags (UPDATED 08/14/2018)
Twitter has been a really important part of my Twitch growth up to this point. That being said, I had a decent amount of followers on Twitter going into it, but I don’t think that’s super relevant as they were mainly digital marketing and music industry connections. Consequently, I have been slowly building more and more Twitch friends on Twitter, and those are the main people that engage with my tweets now.
💯 ProTip: upload raw videos of your highlights to Twitter, not links. Twitter prioritizes video uploads in Tweets over links and also makes them more eye-catching!
You should also try experimenting with different hashtags on Twitter (and Instagram) for getting your channel and your content out there. Do research. This is so dependent on the type of streamer you are, the content you’re making and the type of games you’re playing. Different hashtags are also more relevant depending on the platform (Twitter, Instagram, etc).
💯 ProTip: Tweet and/or record an Instagram story an hour or so before you go live!
Think about how you can make your tweets stand out in the vast ocean of noise. For example, I like to litter my tweets with emojis. On average, I do get more engagement with tweets I use emojis in. It’s an easy way to make your tweets stand out.
Also, use RT twitter accounts sparingly. These are Twitter accounts run by bots that just Re-Tweet tweets that mention them. There are so many! Find out which one’s work best for you and stick with those.
💯 ProTip: re-read this section but replace the word Twitter with Instagram. You can apply most of things here to Instagram and I encourage you to do so.
🤖 Use engagement bots with care
Engagement bots are essentially bots that auto-engage with content on different social media networks. They can do all sorts of different things, and they are commonly met with criticism. One simple growth hack you can try is to use Tweetfull to “like” tweets with certain keywords.
Perhaps you mainly stream a certain video game. You could try having Tweetfull “like” tweets that often use they keywords from that game. Example: if you play a lot of PUBG, you might have Tweetfull “like” tweets that mention “chicken dinner”, “PUBG”, etc.
If you had all the time in the world, this might be something you would do anyway to meet like minded people in your communities. Because we only have so much time in a day, it can sometimes be beneficial to use bots like this, however, ONLY to assist you.
⚠️WARNING: bot use in social media can get you banned from using entire social media platforms. If you try this tactic, do your research and due diligence before implementing!
🎬 Clips and highlights (UPDATED 08/14/2018)
These are so important for growing your channel! Clips are easier to share throughout Twitch, but can only be 60 seconds long. They are also more for your viewers to use, but you can create your own clips from past broadcasts too. Clips are also ideal for posting in your Channel Feed. Highlights can only be used by streamers and are good for summarizing and capturing funny, longer moments of your streams.
I like to create my own clips for quick funny moments and shout outs, and my own highlights for the purpose of summarizing my streams for new viewers — it’s about 50/50 for me. This is totally up to you though, and I don’t personally have a recommendation for how many clips vs highlights you should make.
Highlights should always be exported to your YouTube channel, with proper metadata on both platforms. Here’s a quick guide on properly tagging your YouTube videos with the right information and metadata after you upload them from Twitch.
I also highly reccomend downloading your Twitch highlights from your Twitch video producer and uploading your absolute favorite moments to Instagram and Twitter as raw video; not as links! Social media channels will always prioritize native video on their sites over links from other platforms.
💯 ProTip: after each stream, spend 15 minutes clipping and/or highlighting the top 2–3 of moments and then post them to your social media channels!
🌐 Metadata & Twitch SEO (UPDATED 08/14/2018)
💯 ProTip: search algorithms tend of favour keyword stacks and layers of similarity.
I talk about metadata and Twitch channel features in my article on Channel Presentation. Both are KEY to growth and should always be considered and taken seriously. The next few paragraphs are pulled right from part four of this series.
In this context, metadata refers to all the information that describes and gives context to your past broadcasts (vods) and highlights. The metadata Twitch allows its users to control is the thumbnail, title, game/category, description, language, tags, and what collections your videos may fall under. Here is why this is all super important, especially to small streamers and growing channels.
Most streamers don’t realize that they need to go back into their past broadcasts and highlights and add in RELEVANT METADATA like keywords and video descriptions. This is important because you’re basically telling Twitch what your content is all about, making it easier for them to categorize you and feature you in whatever discovery algorithms they have running.
💯 ProTip: your channel’s metadata tells Twitch what kind of streamer you are, what kind of content you create, and how to categorize you. It also gets you discovered by new viewers!
Tags! Don’t use tags that are not directly relevant to your streams and your video content. This is asking for trouble and will screw you over in the long run. A properly tagged highlight or past broadcast will include tags related to the content and keywords that you think people may search for on Twitch. Example: if I’m streaming Super Mario Maker the tags I might use would be — “Super Mario Maker”, “Mario”, “Nintendo”, “Mario Maker”, etc.
You want to optimize your metadata around popular search terms. In the case of Twitch, people might search for “game titles” or maybe “reactions” to “said game title” for example.
So, my keyword stacks and layers of similarity might look something like this if I just finished streaming Super Mario Odyssey:
Collection: JoMo Senpai x Super Mario Odyssey
Video title: SENPAI Streams Super Mario Odyssey! (Any%)
Video description: I LOVE Super Mario Odyssey! Mario and I have been around for such a long time. I’m a real Nintendo fanboy!
Video tags: Super Mario Odyssey, Mario, Nintendo
So, now I’ve got Super Mario Odyssey as a keyword stack across four points of layered metadata. This is one juicy meatball for a discovery algorithm.
💯 ProTip: although metadata is an important consideration for making your channel/content more discoverable, try not to let it dictate your own personal writing style.
👾 Setup your own Discord server (UPDATED 08/14/2018)
Discord is very important for growing your Twitch channel and your community. CASTorDIE wrote a great piece about this on r/Twitch a while back that I think is still relevant. Discord helps create more meaningful relationships with your viewers, and let’s you keep in touch with them offline.
Consider it as a home base for your own community that you’ll build up over time. It’s also insanely valuable for networking with other streamers and potential viewers. If you’re active, helpful and supporting in other Discords, there is no doubt you gain active and loyal viewers from it. If you spam without people knowing who you are, it will hurt you.
💯 ProTip: Spend time optimizing and setting up your Discord server before inviting people. Nobody wants to go to a party without balloons, pizza and sodie pops.
Discord is also a great platform for housing your content such as Twitch clips/highlights, YouTube videos, memes, etc.
There are also a bunch of bots you can use in Discord to make things easier and personalize the experience for your guests. I’ve only ever used Mee6, and here’s a great video on its features and how to set it up.
📊 Stream Summary & Stats
Your stream summary and stats give you valuable insights into where your channel’s traffic is coming from (traffic sources), when your peak times are for views during your streams, what devices people are watching you from, which of your videos are getting the more views, and much more.
💯 ProTip: one of the most important stats to look at is Avg. views. Both the Twitch Affiliate and Twitch Partner programs use this an important criteria for eligibility.
The name of the game with your Twitch channel stats is seeing patterns in your data so you can optimize where necessary.
E.g., if most of my views are consistently coming from mobile devices in Wisconsin, I want to make sure both my channel design and stream are optimized for mobile devices, and my stream schedule is better suited to Wisconsin’s time zone for my peak viewing times.
Another example might be if more people coming into my stream from one viewer, or if I get consistently raided by someone, or if a clip/highlight goes (a little bit) viral... ALWAYS have an idea of where your growth is coming from! If you know where your growth is, you can strategize around replicating those scenarios.
These are just a few examples of things I might look out for based on seeing a consistent pattern in my Twitch channel stats. Try not to ignore them!
😅 Conclusion & Review
If you really want to grow your Twitch channel, you HAVE to optimize every single aspect of it like you would an MMO character; online AND offline. Even the smallest action can introduce you to a new viewer who may bring in 10 more!
What have I missed? I’d really love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this section, so please comment below anything you think I may be missing or how you’re experience has been different.
Don’t forget to check out parts 1–5 if you skipped to this last part in the series. There is the intro and Identifying Yourself As a Streamer, Community Interaction, Equipment, Software, Tools & Settings, Twitch Channel Presentation and Channel Interaction.
This work is meant to be updated, refined and discussed critically by the Twitch community. I also add new growth hacks here all the time, so check back regularly if you like. You can also (of course) find me on Twitch and Twitter. Looking forward to continuing the conversation, and talk soon everyone!