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Streaming has grown a lot in recent years and has reached a point where streaming for fun can’t turn into a full-time job as easy as it could 5 years ago.
Nowadays, streaming has evolved into a competitive market where streamers have to rely on finding a competitive edge and having a strategy in order to grow their audience.
One of the most important aspects when creating the strategy for understanding your viewers is to ask why is someone going to Twitch and what are they looking for.
Twitch system is one we could call “People attracts more people” as more viewed streams will appear higher on someone’s screen when browsing the platform, meaning someone with fewer viewers needs to find a way to be appealing while not being actively pushed by Twitch.
Today, we will focus on how knowing the psychology of a Twitch viewer can help a streamer to grow and get himself noticed without the platform pushing him to new audiences.
Because we are on the other side of the camera, it is sometimes hard to figure out what it means to be a twitch viewer.
Over time, Twitch has become much like a supermarket, where you know why you are going there, but you can be overwhelmed with the various choices until you found the brand that suits you. And just like a supermarket, you have to spend something in order to try what’s in store: time.
In this first part, we will focus on what is a viewer looking for when logging on to Twitch. Also, we will focus on the limited information one has access to in order to pick a channel.
This is one of the main reasons people watch gameplay-oriented streams, and why pro players tend to have better audiences: people are attracted by success.
Knowing that we are going to tune in to a knowledgeable person and that what we will see is going to improve our own experience is one of the most powerful incentives for a viewer.
Twitch has a lot of social interaction possible, whether it is with the streamer (channel points, bits, subs, follow…) or the other viewers. While watching TV has now been dubbed a solitary activity, watching streams can fill someone’s social needs and increase overall well-being.
Obviously, chatting is the most common form of interaction someone will look for on twitch. But simply seeing someone else share their insight and experience on a topic can be a good enough interaction for many people.
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With Twitch opening to non-gaming-related activities with art, real-life, music shows… there are an infinite amount of ways to entertain your audience on Twitch.
While the need for interaction has separated Twitch from other content platforms like YouTube or Netflix for example, the need to be entertained still remains very strong on the platform. One of the most common answers to “Why do you watch streams?” often is “To unwind after work.”, leading to viewers who aren’t looking for something specific outside of getting something fun to clear their mind from their stressful day.
On Twitch, you will often see players have access to newer games either in advance or on the day they release.
Before spending money, a lot of people like to know what they are getting into and will use Twitch in order to see what the game looks like.
When you are tired, even focusing to play a game can be too much, making watching someone else play the next best thing.
This is very common in strategy-based games, where being focused is mandatory in order to have a pleasant gaming experience. Viewers will log in to a channel with their favorite game although they could play it themself, simply because they don’t have the mental energy to focus at the time.
The name of your channel is a vocal or written representation of who you are online, a part of your internet ID.
It has been proven that a name someone cannot easily read or say out loud will be less attractive to a potential viewer. In order to establish the first connection, have a channel name that sonority appeals to the masses.
Most of the time, a simple trick is to pick a short (2-3 syllables max) or refer to something already existing and easy to pronounce in several languages.
Your amount of viewers will play a key role in establishing your credibility towards potential viewers, as people attract people.
For most, 3-digits viewers are good enough to be deemed appealing.
When starting, your viewer count will obviously be low, making the other criterion of choices even more important to focus on.
Considering how many broadcasters are using Twitch nowadays, and the title being a big part of what a viewer sees when browsing channels, this might be the core element to convince someone to click on your channel.
For a viewer, a title projects what he should expect once in the channel and sets up his expectations. Titles usually fill an informative (game, rank, events…) or a humorous role in order to attract browsers.
Alongside the title, your stream miniature gives away a lot of information about your current broadcast. A viewer can see the game, your webcam, potential add-ons…
Without sound, the eye is the fastest way to reach someone’s brain, and your stream miniature is the biggest thing available to do so while someone is browsing a category.
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From the browsing screen, one can see visible perks to a stream like “Drops Enabled” for example. While not as important as the title or the miniature, visible perks are a great way to help viewers pick between their last few choices.
A viewer using tags means he is looking for something specific and will likely connect faster with a streamer who looks to be fitting with more of its criteria, even before clicking on their channel.
They have an increased value when you aren’t a front runner in your category and are unlikely to be featured amongst the 10 streams that are popping when you open a category.
Once we understand the trouble it can be for a viewer to find the perfect channel, it is easy to understand why follows and subs have become so important over time.
Once they found a stream they enjoy, viewers won’t go through the trouble of searching for another channel, unless their favorite streamer isn’t online.
Because of this search for the simplest way to connect to a stream they know they will enjoy, building outside and inside perfect viewing experience is very connected to the success you will encounter on Twitch.
The title of your stream should be an open door to what to expect when tuning in. As such, make sure to have a title that reflects the overall mood of your stream.
Funny puns let the viewer think it will be a light and relaxed atmosphere. A specific goal or rank sets the idea that this is a tryhard stream, looking to compete and perform. A challenge (I do X when I lose) might lead people to think they are welcome to interact and push you in the chat.
When thinking about your title, start with what today’s stream will be about and how to translate that idea into 35 characters.
This small window needs to give as much information as possible while still being very readable for its size.
The two most important aspects of the screen miniature are your face and the game you are playing, it is crucial that these two elements are easily recognizable and do not conflict with each other.
If you have important written info on your screen, consider putting them in the title as they won’t be readable in the miniature
Before even catching what is really happening, a viewer receives a visual notice when he logs into your stream, and that notice will either be a pleasant or unpleasant one.
The most important elements for someone to feel good about a stream are the streamer’s body language and the position of the various elements on the stream.
Make sure the whole game is visible, and only add important information to your screen, as it could be seen as polluting the image when overdoing it. If you have bright elements, they might draw the attention away from the important content and represent a distraction.
Your nightbot is a great way to have non-visible information still be featured regularly on your stream while not making your screen difficult to watch.
There is a huge connection between feeling good and feeling welcomed somewhere. Even if we enter a very nice house, the hosts making it clear we aren’t welcomed will make us feel uncomfortable and we will rush to the nearest exit whenever possible.
A viewer entering a stream has the same logic, which is why a welcome protocol is a great part of creating the best viewing experience.
Whenever there is a break in your gameplay, use those to say hi to newcomers and make them feel welcomed.
Also, plan something special once in a while targeted towards your newer viewers, reassuring them they ended up in a place they will end up loving.
Connecting with your audience is the key to any good streaming activity. A great way to create such a connection is to have your viewers be part of or have a role in your internet identity.
Depending on the kind of content you offer, you can easily let the viewers make decisions that will not deeply impact your content but will be a massive bonus from their point of view.
For example, a very high-ranked streamer cannot change the game they play out of nowhere as it is the core part of its content. But they could very well have the viewers invested in the entertainment part of the stream as it isn’t how the stream attracts the biggest part of its audience.
The internet is a place where freedom of speech is second to none. Baring any inappropriate behaviors, your audience will always be right about what they find funny and what they don’t. And they actually are the best indicator of what is likely to work or not for them in the near future.
As such, embracing the jokes that are made in the chat, and making them a part of the content is a great way to make your viewers feel like they have an impact on you and help you grow as a streamer.
Also, this behavior reduces the number of passive viewers, as they can witness that the ones interacting are being rewarded with attention.
A lot of the time, streamers will focus on the content they planned on doing and don’t realize they are forcing it onto their audience.
While having a strong and established identity is a great way to be noticed online, during your streams, nothing stops you from bending your plan a little to match the reasons why people logged in to your channel.
The 5 reasons to watch Twitch we listed in the first part of this article can be fluid, and viewers might go from one another depending on events and their personal lives.
Even though it might not be your usual target, bending what you offer to your audience to fit more actual topics, or to answer popular demand is usually very well received.
In the improv world, there is a rule saying you should never say no to what your partners can throw at you. When it comes to creating a great viewing experience, this rule very much applies too.
Because Twitch was built upon the added value of being able to interact live with the content creator, not fully embracing that aspect would mean you probably would do better on YouTube.
As such, always rebound and include what your viewers throw at you in your online personality. It will make your character look more polished and more in sync with its audience.
Thinking the way a viewer does can be a daunting task for a streamer. Most of the time, a streamer is looking to make his life and streaming experience easier and completely leaves off the fact that it should actually be the viewer’s life that he needs to improve.
Being aware of what viewers might be looking for while respecting the basics of the human brain when it comes to receiving messages is a core part of being successful on Twitch.
Once you mastered these aspects though, you can focus on improving your streaming persona and feed off of your community in order to improve stream after stream and be on your way to growing your channel.
Simple questions, simple answers. What you like. Consider the game/theme you like and also the character of the streamer.
People like to watch streamers chatting with their fans. Besides the “Just Chatting” category on Twitch, some of the games that are popular are Lost Ark, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and other games.
Around 65% of users watch Twitch on computers and around 35% use mobile/tablet devices.
Viewers usually consider stream theme, streamers themselves, quality of the video/audio, and the overall feeling of the stream.
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