If you have been streaming for a bit then you know first hand how hard it can be to get viewers on Twitch. But why is it so hard?
Why is It so Hard to Get Viewers on Twitch?
It is hard to get viewers on Twitch for three reasons:
- Twitch’s algorithm favors streams with more viewers
- Twitch does not have great discoverability
- Livestreams are not searchable content
In this article I will go into detail why each of these reasons listed above make it hard to get viewers on Twitch as well as how you can get around each of these obstacles. Let’s dive in.
It’s no surprise; Twitch’s algorithm favors streams with more viewers.
What this means is that streams with more viewers will rank higher in the different streaming categories than those with less viewers.
For example, Nickmercs is the most popular Warzone streamer right now. I can almost guarantee you that if you open up Twitch and go to Warzone, his stream will be the top one to appear (if he is streaming Warzone and Warzone is still popular when you read this).
And this is true for any game and any category on Twitch. Think to yourself how many times Twitch has recommended a channel to you with zero viewers? Not often if ever.
Most of the time they are recommending channels to you that have thousands of viewers. But why do they do this?
Well as a small streamer you kind of get played because you won’t be getting a whole lot of love from the Twitch algorithm.
But from Twitch’s perspective it makes sense. When it comes to live streaming you have limited opportunity to draw people in and convince them to stick around.
Now think to yourself if you had a streaming platform would you push people who are on your platform to an entertaining streamer with lots of chatters and sweet overlays or would you send them to a stream with no camera and a dude heavy breathing in the mic while they stream?
I think the answer is a no brainer. Twitch wants people to stay on their platform and their best bet at keeping people on their platform is by sending them to the big, often more entertaining streamers and that is why Twitch does this.
Now I am not saying that small streamers are not entertaining, but in Twitch’s eyes more viewers=more entertaining=people will be more likely to stick around on the platform.
That’s just the way it is.
So how do you combat this? We ditch the algorithm baby muahahaha !
No but really, we do. You don’t have the viewers to get love from Twitch’s algorithm, at least not yet.
So what you will want to do is grow on other platforms and then get those people to go and stop by your Twitch streams.
Platforms such as Twitter and Youtube have way more favorable algorithms than Twitch and so it is much easier to grow. These other platforms are more likely to reward you for quality content than Twitch will.
I am sure you have seen people have Youtube videos and Twitter posts that go viral, but when have you ever seen a Twitch stream go viral?
It may even be a Twitch clip that blows up, but all the recognition will be obtained through Twitter and Youtube or some other platform, not on Twitch itself. Think about that.
That’s why in my video below I actually recommend streaming less in order to grow on Twitch.
You should spend time each week trying to grow on platforms with more favorable algorithms such as Twitter and Youtube and getting those people over to your Twitch channel.
By doing this, you are not even dealing with Twitch’s algorithm and so anyone Twitch does push your way is just a bonus.
But the algorithm is not the only thing making it hard to get viewers on Twitch. Sad face.
Twitch Has Poor Discoverability
Another thing making it hard to pull in viewers on Twitch is a lack of discoverability. What I mean by this is that Twitch doesn’t have a lot of ways for people to find your content.
It’s not like Youtube where people can find you because they were searching for video game tips and came across your channel.
Or maybe you created a cool gaming clip that got really popular and people found you on Twitter that way. Or Youtube.
Either way, Twitch does not have anything like that. They don’t push your clips, they don’t push your highlights.
The only way you will get found is if people go directly to your channel. There is no other content that is pulling people to your channel.
Twitch doesn’t push streamer’s clips out there. They don’t push VODS. That stuff is cool for people who visit your channel to check out, but it isn’t pulling people in who aren’t already on your channel.
That’s why it is hard for streamers who just stream on Twitch to get discovered. They have nothing putting them out there for all to see.
But just like above, there is a solution. And that solution is again, other platforms. Other platforms like Youtube and Twitter do a much better job of helping quality content be discovered.
Youtube for example recommends videos that you may be interested in. If you make great Fortnite content your videos may get recommended to people who are interested in Fortnite.
Twitch doesn’t really have anything like this. It’s tough to do for a live streaming platform.
So this is why I recommend, again, creating content on other platforms with better discoverability and then getting those people to move over to your Twitch channel.
Twitch is great for live streaming, but the discoverability is really lacking.
Livestreams Are Not Searchable Content
The last thing working against you and some viewers on Twitch is the fact that your live stream is not really searchable content.
If someone searches “Fortnite” on Twitch, your stream will not come up. Instead, it will be buried beneath thousands of other streams.
The only chance your stream even has of appearing in the search results is if someone searches for something that is in your title or your channel name.
But then again, it is pretty unlikely that someone will be searching for your title on Twitch.
And not to mention the fact that if someone is looking for something specific they will most likely use search engines such as Google or Youtube to find their answers. Not Twitch.
Now there is no easy way around this when it comes to live streaming platforms, but Twitch has added something called tags to help people find your content.
Tags put you into a certain category within a category. For example, if you are streaming Fornite, and place a “family friendly” tag on your stream, then anyone who searches for streams with the “family friendly” tag will only be shown streams with that tag in them.
When people search using tags it greatly reduces the amount of streams they will see therefore making it more likely that your stream will appear towards the top.
If you want to know how to add tags on Twitch then check out my video below.
If you are a small streamer you should be using tags. I don’t think tags are something that will push you over the top, but it could definitely bring in an extra viewer or two.
And not to mention the fact that it takes like 5 seconds to do before you begin a stream so there is no reason not to use tags on Twitch.
And like the old saying goes, once people pop into your stream, it is up to you the streamer to keep them around.
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!
As you probably know, Twitch is a very difficult platform to grow. But for those streamers who are able to break through, streaming can be awesome!
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.