Streaming

Beginner’s Guide to Twitch in 2020

Twitch.tv is a streaming platform where users can stream a variety of different genres (video games, art, just chatting, in real life, etc).

What is streaming?

Streaming (sometimes known as broadcasting) is when someone broadcasts a live feed to a video platform (a streaming platform). The most popular streaming platform in 2020 is Twitch, the next being YouTube and Facebook Gaming. Streaming on Twitch has an advantage over YouTube since the prerequisites to start earning money are way easier to fulfill on Twitch.

Following

Following a channel on Twitch is free and means that you’ll be notified when they go live (unless you turn it off). A lot of channels have certain rewards you can get for following their channel. Following other people doesn’t add anything towards anyone’s revenue.

Subscribing

In addition to following a channel, you can also pay a monthly fee split into 3 different tiers that can be cancelled at any time. The monthly price is split in half and 50% goes to Twitch and 50% goes to the streamer. Subscriptions are very often shortened to just subs.

Subscription tiers

Tier Price 
Tier 1 $4.99
Tier 2 $9.99
Tier 3 $24.99

Gifting subs

Another big part of Twitch is giving away subscriptions to other people. You can gift subs of any tier to either a person of your choice, or you can let Twitch randomly pick a person who’s watched the channel before (Twitch usually picks the person with the most watch time and/or most chat messages sent). Gifting subs will place you on a leaderboard on the streamer’s channel which shows the top 3 sub gifters.

Cheering with Bits

Viewers can donate money directly to the streamer through cheering. In order to cheer, you need to purchase Twitch’s own currency known as Bits. Bits received by the streamer are converted like this: 100 Bits = $1, but the price per bit is a bit different depending on the amount of bits you want to purchase.

BitsPrice
100 Bits$1.40
500 Bits$7.00
1500 Bits$19.95 (25% discount)
5000 Bits$64.40 (8% discount)
10000 Bits$126.40 (10% discount)
25000 Bits$308 (12% discount)

So the viewer basically pays a tiny fee to Twitch when buying Bits.

Hosting / Raiding

Twitch has a built in feature you can use to help other streamers, or someone else can do it to you to help you out when you least expect it.

Hosting

Hosting means that people that are following your channel can watch someone else’s channel through your channel. This can help other people get discovered if you have somewhat of a follower base. It’s also possible to add channels to an autohost list which will automatically host their channels on your channel so you don’t need to do anything.

Raiding

Raiding is similar to hosting, but is something a streamer can do at the end of their stream to add all of their viewers on to another person’s channel. The streamer then ends their stream, and the raidee’s stream will be hosted on the streamer’s account until they go offline. So for instance if you have 10 viewers watching live and someone ending their stream with 400 viewers decide to raid you, you will instantly have 410 viewers (which can potentially be an insane boost).

Twitch Chat

Arguably the most important thing about Twitch is the Twitch Chat. While watching a stream, people often comment on things that happen on the stream, or they might have a chat with the streamer. In this sense, Twitch is much more interactive than watching a YouTube video. Instead of expressing emotions in words or emojis, most chatters will use specific Twitch Emotes that express specific emotional states.

In addition to the standard Twitch Emotes, most people also install the browser extensions BetterTTV (BTTV) and/or FrankerFaceZ (FFZ). These are not officially supported by Twitch, but have become a defacto standard in addition to the basic emotes. Most streaming software will also support FFZ and BTTV.

There are also a few chat modes the streamer can switch between to engage viewers in a certain way:

Chat ModeDescription
NormalAnyone can chat
Follow OnlyOnly people that follow the streamer can chat
Sub OnlyOnly people subscribed to the streamer can chat
Slow ModeThis is separate from the other modes and puts each chatter on a cooldown per message

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