As Livestreaming is becoming more accessible, aspiring content creators are left with a choice – “Should I start streaming on YouTube or Twitch?”
We’re going to be reviewing the platforms: YouTube Gaming and Twitch, and I’m hoping by the end of this article, you’ll finish reading it informed and ready to plunge into your streaming platform.
The Pros and Cons of Twitch
- Largest platform – Twitch is home to the largest live streaming community, especially for gaming creators.
- Twitch culture – It has a very cultured user base, which means that they understand using chat, displaying emotes, and generally expressing support to their favorite streamer.
- Brand recognition – Twitch has enormous brand recognition as it was the first breakout platform, and has since been growing consistently. It has become synonymous with Live Streaming and is home to some of the most successful live streamers and content creators.
- Recent decline in views – Despite its historic success, at the tail end of 2020, the platform has been struggling. A report from Streamlabs in the third quarter of 2020 shows Twitch, for the first time, has had a decline in total hours watched. Even though we’re currently in a period where across all platforms hours watch time has increased, Twitch has been the only platform to show a decline in total hours watched.
- Monetary cuts – As well as a decline in viewership, Twitch has the largest monetary cut of any other platform, at 50% of all revenue earned from its inbuilt features – Bits, Subscriptions, and Celebrations. In comparison, YouTube Gaming takes a 30% cut on monetary features.
The Pros and Cons of YouTube Gaming
- Boosted metrics – YouTube Gaming has been a platform that’s been steadily increasing on all metrics: hours watched, users watching, and channel creation. It’s easy to see why a vast amount of creators are attracted to the platform.
- Multiple growth opportunities – It has a one-size-fits-all approach allowing users to stream, create videos, make shorts, and post stories. There is also far less competition, even though YouTube itself has 20 times the user base of Twitch, there are fewer users actively streaming. It could be a platform for a new creator to have breakout success.
- Detailed analytics – YouTube also provides extremely detailed analytics; you can see how well you’re keeping your audiences engaged, where those numbers drop off, how your thumbnails and titles are resonating with new people, and more. The platform is designed to help creators make their content better to foster a growing community.
- Content ID system – Over the last eight years, YouTube has created an incredibly robust content-ID system that has solved problems with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claims. There are resolutions, and methods creators can take beyond having to delete all their content to be safe from DMCA strikes.
- No Live-stream homepage – Currently, YouTube currently doesn’t have a dedicated page to view live streams and browse directories for live streamers. Instead, users have to navigate through subscriptions and try and find streams manually by searching for them. As it stands, YouTube puts many more steps between users and streamers, potentially hurting your growth on the platform.
Twitch vs YouTube for Community Growth
There are several things to consider when deciding between the two platforms. Here are the most important:
YouTube appears to have a stronger potential for new creators. It’s home to an indexing algorithm that allows new users to discover your content through either searching keywords or your content coming up on the recommended feed. New content creators can optimize their live streams, videos and shorts to reach new audiences through YouTubes algorithm and gain a foothold on the platform organically.
Furthermore, Youtube has fewer streamers but significantly higher user numbers. The potential for your growth, as a new streamer, appears to be much higher. The competition on the platform is far lower than Twitch, while also having a user base that is 20 times larger. New content creators will have: a much easier time establishing a foothold on the platform, and growing an audience as the platform provides more prominent exposure.
On the other hand, discoverability on Twitch for newer creators is extremely difficult. The platform doesn’t feature any algorithm to show your content to new viewers. Instead, channels are sorted highest to lowest on viewer count, meaning that new creators are subject to being at the very bottom of the directory they are streaming under.
However, you may find a more supportive community on Twitch. It is a cultured platform with users who have become accustomed to talking to streamers, engaging with them, and sharing their stream with friends through word of mouth. Viewers who browse Twitch are very used to the platform, and the community you grow on Twitch could be more invested in yourself and your content.
The Future of Twitch vs YouTube Gaming
Currently, YouTube has situated itself as a platform that will likely succeed in the next 2-3 years. The platform has all the necessary features to foster new content creators. Statistically, the platform performs incredibly well, drawing in increasing viewership every quarter; and YouTube has consistently shown its willingness to adapt its platform to meet user needs.
By contrast, Twitch has slowly been declining. The platform’s exposure approach is very dated – as it only sorts by high to low in its directories. The potential for growth in Twitch is challenging for new creators. The platform is: overly saturated and tough to compete in, catering to already successful streamers, not showing any updates on how they’re going to adapt their platform to help new creators.
Twitch will likely see further decreases in unique content creators who make a living off the platform. However, this does not mean that Twitch cannot change how it serves its users, and they could adapt to make their platform more accessible to new streamers.
I believe new content creators, looking to find the right platform to create an audience, should be starting on YouTube Gaming. The platform was always designed, even before streaming, to create opportunities for new creative individuals looking to share their hobbies, interests and crafts.
The platform has all the necessary tools to give new streamers the ability to grow, whether that’s: streaming, creating videos, making engaging shorts, and also writing community posts. YouTube has a service for any medium to help you reach your audience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does YouTube Gaming pay more than Twitch?
YouTube Gaming has different monetary systems such as Superchats, Memberships & In-stream Ads. YouTube takes a smaller cut than Twitch at 30%, which would give you more revenue than Twitch; which takes a 50% cut.
How much do YouTube Gaming streamers make?
Income on live streaming platforms dramatically depends on your size on that platform. A successful Twitch or YouTube streamer would on average make $3000-$5000 a month from tips, subscriptions & ads. However, on YouTube, you can take advantage of creating Videos and generate income through them with much better ad-rates compared to Twitch VODs.
Is it easier to grow on YouTube Gaming than Twitch?
It is significantly easier to grow on YouTube Gaming than Twitch. YouTube has 20 times the audience size than Twitch while having fewer streamers; therefore, there is less competition. YouTube also has an algorithm for any content you produce and can serve videos and live streams you create to someone new.
Why do YouTubers stream on Twitch?
YouTubers can also be incredibly successful on Twitch, which is a strategy called diversification. YouTubers can move their audience to Twitch with very little resistance; therefore, they can create an income on YouTube and Twitch.