Twitch Vs. YouTube – It’s the online video heavyweight battle of the century. But who wins in this battle royale depends on your perspective. While one platform is ‘better’ than the other at one thing, the opposite may be right for something else.
To clear the air, we’ve dived nose-first into Twitch’s heart and the soul of YouTube. We’re going to peel back the skin on these platforms and get down to it to bring you the results, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
What Is The Difference Between Twitch And YouTube?
Although there are many similarities between Twitch and YouTube – they are both audio/video sharing platforms for example, there are also many differences between the two platforms.
The most considerable difference between Twitch and YouTube is the audience’s interest. Twitch caters to live streamers and is the largest live streaming platform in the world. YouTube on the other hand is meant for lasting content and has a great search engine to help those interested in a specific topic or niche.
But this difference is rather assumptive as both platforms are trying to steal the other’s treasure. By this, I am referring to Twitch beginning to open the doors to videos not relating to gaming, and YouTube having a relatively new LIVE system for things like streaming.
There are several other differences between the two platforms, as described below.
Both Twitch and YouTube are search engines of a sort. That is, there is a search function built into each. The way that these two platforms offer up videos to a person who searches is a little different.
Twitch tends to recommend more popular streamers and doesn’t let you edit your thumbnails whereas Youtube lets you customize thumbnails and has a search engine that makes it easier for newbies to be found.
One of the things that can be a detriment to new streamers on Twitch is the bias towards more popular channels. Unlike YouTube, where a new channel might wind up being suggested, Twitch likes to only recommend those streams with high amounts of viewers.
This situation makes Twitch a complicated platform to get started on until you have a respectable following.
The other big difference with browsing is noticeable right at first glance, which is the use of thumbnails.
Twitch chooses the thumbnail and doesn’t provide options for a custom thumbnail. YouTube allows you to choose your thumbnail, as long as you have a verified account.
This difference in and of itself creates an entirely different feel and appearance between the two platforms. It also makes Twitch seem strangely the same across all streams, based on current popular editing and style.
When it comes to browsing, Youtube seems to be better than Twitch.
Content rules for Twitch and YouTube are somewhat different. YouTube is known to be reasonably lenient when it comes to video content. At the same time, Twitch seems to have no issue with banning streamers with zero explanation. Even those with contracts seem to suffer this fate like any other streamer.
YouTube, unlike Twitch, has a three-strike system. There are warnings on YouTube before everything goes dark. Again, it would appear as though YouTube is in the lead for being a kinder system to its creators than one might expect from Twitch.
When it comes to growth, YouTube certainly holds the advantage over Twitch. At least that’s what most content creators think.
That’s because you can easily create and use short videos to promote your live streams. Not to mention the fact that Youtube has a better algorithm for showcasing quality content.
For example, let’s say you want to have a Fortnite stream. Due to the popularity of the game and the amount of current Fortnite streamers, having a Twitch stream could be a challenge.
However, on YouTube, you could make a dozen shorter videos that all cover specific topics surrounding your game. Then you could have a pitch in each video to tell the viewer what time/day your live stream is on.
If you create a video on a topic that people are searching for on Youtube, and people like your content, then Youtube will trust you and push your content more since people like it.
This is how their search engine works. Twitch on the hand caters to those with larger audiences. The bigger your audience is, the more Twitch will push your channel.
If you have a big audience that works. But as you could imagine this makes it much more challenging for small timers to break through. At least on Youtube if you create helpful content you at least have a shot of being noticed.
On Twitch, the chances are just so slim and are really out of your control.
Another thing, because people can watch YouTube day or night, your videos will work while you sleep. So Youtube is working at all hours of the day while Twitch is only working while you live stream. That is definitely something to keep in mind.
So as you can see when it comes to growing as a content creator, the edge goes to Youtube because of their search engine optimization (SEO) and the way their algorithm gives smaller channels a chance to be recognized.
Speaking of growth, I am trying to grow my own Twitch channel here so if you wouldn’t mind helping me out by giving me a follow it would be much appreciated my friends.
When it comes to making money, both platforms have their pros and their cons and it is difficult to say which platform is better as far as making money.
On the one hand you have Twitch. Twitch has much easier qualifications to begin monetizing than Youtube does. All you need to do is become a Twitch affiliate and you can start monetizing your channel.
To become an affiliate you need 500 minutes broadcast over 7 days, an average of 3 viewers and at least 50 followers. Honestly, that’s not too crazy.
However, although reaching affiliate may not be too challenging, growing your channel into something where you are making a decent income is difficult. This is because Twitch does not do a great job of showcasing new or upcoming streamers. A lot of that is up to you.
You may get a few donations and a few subs every month, which is cool for some side money, but growing your channel into something that you can live off of is hard.
You also are only making money when you stream on Twitch so the money you make on Twitch is far less passive than Youtube.
Now, on the other hand you have Youtube. Youtube has a much higher threshold for you to begin monetizing on the platform. To begin monetizing on Youtube you need over 4,000 hours of watch time and at least 1,000 subscribers.
However, unlike Twitch, people can come and watch your channel 24/7, 365. On Twitch, a majority of people are only going to watch you when you are live.
So if you have a product that you are pushing, or are asking for subs and donations, your window is much smaller on Twitch to do these things than it is on Youtube.
Youtube also pays more for ads (see below for more details). And, the fact that these ads are running all day on Youtube compared to only when you are streaming on Twitch is a big reason why.
Lastly, it’s easier to create and monetize a niche on Youtube than Twitch. If you create content in a certain niche (painting, dancing, etc.), Youtube does a better job of getting that out there than Twitch does and so it makes it easier for you to monetize this traffic from people interested in your niche.
Here is a breakdown of what each platform pays out to help you decide which is right for you.
How Twitch Pays Streamers
- Ads – When your stream reaches affiliate, you can turn on ads. These work similarly to YouTube in that they play right before and during your stream. The amount of money they pay fluctuates, but the basic payout is about $0.25 – $1.50 per 1,000 views.
- Bits – Streamers can receive direct donations from viewers. Viewers use a unique Twitch currency known as Bits for this purpose. Twitch takes 29% off the top, leaving streamers with 71% of the donation made with Bits. But, the viewer buys the Bits at a premium cost from Twitch. So, Twitch makes money when the viewer buys Bits, when they donate Bits to a streamer, and again when the streamer tries to cash out.
- Donations – Donations via a Paypal donation button, or other monetary exchange platforms, gives zero percent to Twitch. In this way, a viewer can donate $5, for example, and the streamer will see 100% of the money. It is the cheaper way of making sure that the streamer gets all the money a viewer intends to give.
- Subscribers – Here’s where Twitch is exciting compared to YouTube. Twitch takes 50% (they take less if you are a partner) of subscription fees, which are $5 per month per subscription. So, the streamer makes $2.50 per subscription per month. It may not seem like much, but some streamers have tens of thousands of subscribers. And subscriber culture is alive and well on Twitch. People want to support their streamers.
- Merchandise – Here’s an aspect of Twitch that YouTube doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend. Live sales on a stream, all while the viewer never has to go to another screen. It is accomplished by one of many merchandising extensions that one can add to Twitch. We’ve got a whole article talking about these twitch extensions and their value to the streamer.*
* Keep in mind that YouTube has also included a merchandise bar for qualifying streamers, but the Twitch extensions offer more variety.
How YouTube Pays Creators
- Ads – Similar to how Twitch handles ads, YouTube allows ads once a creator has reached a specific threshold. The difference is that Youtube ads tend to pay more. A lot more. Youtube ads pay around $18 per ad view which comes out to be about $3-$5 per 1k video views.
- Members – Members are the YouTube equivalent of subscribers on Twitch. Though, the issue here is that many people who use YouTube regularly have no idea that a Member level even exists.*
* The eligibility to offer channel memberships is 30,000 subscribers. Gaming channels must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. Creators must also be a member of the YouTube Partner Program. YouTube pays out 70% of membership fees to creators and allows creators to set membership levels with pre-set pricing.
- Super Chat – The official YouTube donation system, YouTube takes 30% of donations off the top, compared with Twitch that takes nothing from donations (except via the Bit system, of course)
Does YouTube Or Twitch Pay More?
Twitch has more options for monetizing when compared to Youtube. Since Twitch is live it is also easier to sell to those who are watching you. Twitch also takes less from things like donations. However, The problem is that it is much more difficult to get people to watch your content on Twitch than on Youtube. So although Twitch may pay slightly more, you have far less people viewing your content.
I think that you can make money quicker and easier on Twitch to start, given the low threshold to monetization, but if you are looking to make long term sustainable money then Youtube is the better bet.
Youtube is also a more passive income because of how much you make on ads and the fact that your content is always available. And who doesn’t like passive income?
So when it comes to monetization, I believe that Youtube holds the slight edge over Twitch.
Does YouTube Gaming Or Twitch Pay More?
As mentioned, Twitch generally pays streamers better than YouTube does. However, YouTube Gaming has been growing in popularity. To compete with Twitch, YouTube has made it easier for gaming streamers to generate income. However, overall it is Twitch that pays out more for newer content creators and is the more recognizable platform for live streaming. Twitch is the king of live streaming.
Recent Twitch Vs. YouTube: By The Numbers
In regards to live streaming numbers,, there is really no comparison. Twitch is hands down the number one live streaming platform out there. Twitch has over 3 million people streaming monthly on the platform and over 15 million viewers each month. By comparison, Youtube has around 700k live stream viewers each month and far fewer people live streamers on the platform each month.
Over the past few years, live streaming platforms like Facebook Gaming and Youtube Gaming have seen major growth, but they are still nowhere near as popular as Twitch. Even with top streamers leaving Twitch for some of these platforms, Twitch is still supreme.
When it comes to the numbers, Twitch is much more popular than any other live streaming platforms and it’s not even close.
What About Mobile Game Streaming?
When it comes to streaming live, desktops, laptops and game consoles have been the platform of choice. But in this new age of smartphones, mobile games have become as good, if not better than some of the slightly older game consoles. It has a lot to do with how the gaming industry is evolving.
Take cloud game platforms, for instance. These new ways of serving up game data mean a smartphone doesn’t need to hold all the game information anymore.
It allows for mobile games to be bigger and more complex than the phone would otherwise run on its own.
In 2020 live mobile game streaming was more extensive than ever. And YouTube took the prize for being the platform that commanded a much more significant amount of mobile game streamers.
Want to know why this was the case when Twitch was the more comprehensive platform for streamers?
It has to do with simplicity. The YouTube app has streaming built right into it with a broadcasting button. It makes it very easy for mobile gamers to stream via the app. And trying to stream a game live from mobile onto Twitch – not so easy indeed.
When it comes to streaming mobile games, Youtube has the edge over Twitch given its’ popularity and easy use.
Why Twitch Is Better Than YouTube?
Reasons that Twitch is better than Youtube include: Better bots, a better community, better extensions and better upfront pay. Since Twitch deals with live streaming, it is also much more engaging than Youtube. Twitch is great for live streaming and easy to get started on.
Twitch has many advantages over YouTube, as detailed below. These are all features I like about Twitch than on Youtube:
- Bots – Unlike YouTube, Twitch has tons of helpful companion bots installed to assist in tasks like responding to chat or welcoming new followers or subscribers. Naturally, where there are good bots, bad bots can get you banned – like those that artificially inflate viewer or follower numbers.
- Community – One thing that draws many people to Twitch is the community aspect. You can go into a channel and be surrounded by hundreds of people with similar interests as you. Twitch live streaming is like a giant, virtual social media network.
- Extensions – Twitch has a very decent assortment of helpful tools called Extensions. These can be installed for several purposes, from on stream counters to mini-games in-stream. The customization level that a streamer can have using these extensions surpasses most of what is locked away from YouTube creators.
- Better Pay – Like I touched on, Twitch has more monetization options and pays more up front than Youtube does. My only issue with Twitch’s monetization is that it is harder to get viewers onto your channel therefore creating fewer people to contribute money to you.
- Engagement – SInce Twitch is live streamed, the engagement between viewer and streamer is obviously much better since the interactions are taking place in real time. This helps to build stronger relationships than would be possible on an old Youtube video.
Why YouTube Is Better Than Twitch?
YouTube is better than Twitch for several reasons including: content rule leniency, thumbnails, video marketing and growth just to name a few. Youtube is also much more passive than Twitch since you don’t have to “Be Live” in order to create content. Another advantage that Youtube has over Twitch is that you can do more editing to your videos since they do not happen live.
Below I go into greater detail as to why Youtube is better than Twitch:
- Content Rule Leniency – As discussed earlier, Twitch has a known tendency to ban streamers, sometimes with zero warning or reason. YouTube has much less strict rules regarding the content and even a three-strike rule that keeps creators from being booted for a single offense of policy (unless it is an extreme contradiction of the rules, of course).
- Thumbnails – Aside from the apparent click-bait that covers YouTube, one of the platform’s best features is that creators can make and set up their video thumbnails. This allows you to experiment and see what types of thumbnails bring in viewers.
- Video Marketing – The platform is built initially for sharing pre-recorded videos. Using this fact to one’s advantage, one could make a slew of videos to promote a live stream that happens on a scheduled basis. Youtube also does a better job at pushing the content of smaller creators, as long as it is quality content of course.
- Growth – For new creators, YouTube’s algorithm might recommend a newer video to others. For this reason, it is easier to get started with a following on YouTube as compared to Twitch, which generally supports higher viewed streams before new ones.
- More Passive – Youtube is obviously much more passive than Twitch. With Youtube, you don’t have to “Be Live” in order to promote your channel. Your videos are running all day, every day and Youtube itself pushes your channel more than Twitch.
- Better Editing – Since Youtube is not live, you can add much more customization to your videos than you ever could to a live stream. If you enjoy video editing, then Youtube will be a much more enjoyable experience for you.
Twitch Vs. YouTube Gaming
As mentioned earlier, there are several differences between YouTube and Twitch. And although YouTube has a ludicrous amount of viewers, YouTube Gaming has considerably less than Twitch.
YouTube Gaming offers up a variety of both live streams as well as a pre-recorded video. The suggested live streams featured are those with the most extensive viewership, similar to Twitch in this respect.
The apparent difference is that just under the row of recommended popular live-streams on the main YouTube Gaming page are a mixture of very high viewership and a mix of newer videos that don’t have tens or hundreds of thousands of thousands of views yet.
In this sense, YouTube offers new streamers a much higher chance of growing a channel and being found by viewers. However, the detriment is that the audience is considerably less than that of Twitch.
In the future, one can expect YouTube Gaming to grow significantly. Even though Twitch has a more extensive streamer backing, YouTube has a much greater reach. And with the help of Google, we’ll likely see YouTube Gaming’s growth continue.
But for now, Twitch remains at the top when it comes to live streaming.
Which Is Better: Twitch Or YouTube Gaming?
When all factors are considered, to stream a gaming experience, it is evident that Twitch is the better platform. The platform has a much, much higher amount of viewers who are interested in gaming as compared to YouTube.
Add the other benefits such as an easier qualification for monetization make Twitch a no-brainer over YouTube gaming.
But wait, it can’t be so simple as to say that Twitch is better. Let’s look at the other side of the argument. Let’s look at growing on a platform.
Because Twitch uses such a different system to rank streams, the best way to grow on Twitch is to stream live a lot. That is, the more you live stream, the faster your stream will grow.
You will also have to promote your channel on other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
But even if you promote elsewhere, you will still have to stream a lot.
Now, if you’ve got a live-stream partner that can sub-in for hours at a time, then this strategy might work. But for most streamers, unless you have zero bills to pay, you most likely won’t be able to afford the time needed to stream all day/night to speed the growth of your channel.
It is where YouTube is the dominant champion. Remember that YouTube is owned by Google – the biggest search engine in the world.
And they’ve brought that searching power to YouTube. That means that there are many more opportunities to get found on YouTube when you have a new channel.
Not to say that Twitch hangs new streamers out to dry. There is still the opportunity to be found by viewers via the tag system, which allows viewers to narrow down their search, but it is still an uphill battle.
But even with these tags, it is nowhere near as powerful as YouTube’s recommended videos that can skyrocket a stream or video channel in a concise length of time if viewer engagement is positive.
So although Youtube Gaming is not as big as Twitch, you will be more likely to get recognized by others because there is fewer competition out there and due to the fact that Youtube pushes the smaller streamers content out there better than Twitch does.
However, I still think Twitch is the better live streaming platform, even if it is more difficult to get started on it.
Can You Stream On YouTube And Twitch At The Same Time?
Technically, one can easily stream to both Twitch and YouTube. You can use a service like the free level of Restream. Restream is a service that will take your live stream and re-transmit it to 30 platforms at once. And it does this without putting a strain on your system. So, you can stream like usual but go live on dozens of platforms.
Streamlabs Prime also has a multi-streaming option and it is awesome. With just the click of a button you can stream to both Twitch and Youtube. I recently upgraded to Streamlabs Prime and I love it.
If you are interested in using Streamlabs Prime, use my link here and you will get a discounted price.
There is one primary consideration when it comes to streaming on multiple platforms. That consideration is monetization.
If you are set up with Twitch as a partner, the agreement is that you are not to stream on another platform, or risk losing your partnership status.
Does YouTube Own Twitch?
YouTube does not own Twitch. YouTube is owned by Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., And Larry Page Sergey Brin owns Alphabet Inc. Larry has billions of dollars in total assets. This seldom mentioned billionaire singlehandedly owns Google and YouTube. That’s crazy to think about, isn’t it? Twitch, on the other hand, is owned by Amazon which is owned by Jeff Bezos.
And as you may or may not be aware, Jeff Bezos recently topped a networth of 190 billion dollars making him one of the wealthiest and most influential business owners on Earth in 2020.
How Will Cloud Gaming Affect Streamers on Twitch Vs. YouTube?
When Stadia came out back in 2019, there was a lot of speculation about how the future of live game streaming would evolve. Naturally, if Stadia had been more successful on the launch, Twitch would likely have suffered immensely. After all, Google owns YouTube and Stadia.
Naturally, the integration between Stadia and YouTube is good. Stadia based live streams were initially going to have a button to quickly jump right into the action for those who had a Stadia account.
However, this does not seem to be present when I was testing this feature. There was no indication anywhere that I could quickly jump over to my Stadia account and games.
In the future, we can expect online gaming platforms like Stadia to have more integration for live streaming. Suppose Stadia hadn’t faced the multitude of platform glitches.
In that case, it might have been able to connect with YouTube in a way that allows for instant action. But what it will do beyond that remains to be seen.
Conclusions About Twitch Vs. YouTube
The results are in, Twitch and YouTube have both been analyzed and inspected. And the answer to which one is better is: it depends.
I know, great answer, right? But each platform has its own merits and liabilities. Here is a quick summary of when one might find one of the platforms more valuable than another.
Mobile Gaming – YouTube takes the prize here. With seamless integration with the YouTube mobile gaming app, it makes it ridiculously easy to stream your mobile gaming on YouTube.
However, it isn’t that difficult to do the same thing with Twitch. Using an app like Streamlabs mobile app, it is quite simple to also stream on Twitch. But it’s slightly more comfortable to use the YouTube gaming app, so YouTube wins this one by a nose.
Console Gaming – Twitch takes the prize for most console game streaming situations. The platform was built for streaming. There are more gaming streamers and viewers on Twitch. And Twitch tends to pay streamers better than YouTube pays.
PC Gaming – Like console gaming, Twitch also takes the prize.
Growing A New Stream – YouTube wins this one. With the use of pre-recorded video to help promote live streams in the off times, YouTube makes it easier for new streamers to build a following with less live streaming video time than is required for Twitch’s same results.
Monetization – If you want to turn this streaming thing into a full-fledged career for yourself, then Twitch is known to pay better for streamers.
However, it also takes much more work to get up to the considerable money. But if you don’t need to be a millionaire and want to make a living doing something you love, Twitch may be the platform for you.
Both platforms have their merits and flaws. And if you are undecided, trying to choose which platform to put your efforts on, why not just use them both?
As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!
For even more streaming tips and how-to content check out my Youtube channel here. And if you want to check out my streams then stop by my Twitch channel here.
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.