Live streaming has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, particularly because it is one of the most interactive ways to connect with an audience. The gaming industry, in particular, has thrived because of live streaming, with over 100 billion hours watched and 40 million active gaming channels on YouTube alone. This shows how vast the streaming industry is. Some streamers have even become micro-celebrities with millions of subscribers on their channels, while others do not share the same success.
So, what does it take to become a successful streamer? In this blog post, we present 5 proven strategies that online streamers can use to market their channels and get more viewers on their live streams.
YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook Gaming: Which Platform Should You Choose?
Among the three most popular platforms, Twitch has the highest viewership and channels while Facebook Gaming is at the opposite end and is the least popular. However, we recommend YouTube as the go-to platform for gaming and art streamers for the following reasons:
- YouTube is an interesting medium for streamers because even though it has fewer views on gaming streams than Twitch does, it is the second most visited website in the world and enjoys the benefits of having better video SEO and content searchability on search engines than the likes of Twitch and Facebook Gaming since it is a Google-owned business itself.
- In terms of ad monetization, YouTube pays more for ads than Twitch does with the basic payout on Twitch being $0.25 – $1.5 per 1000 views, while on YouTube it is $3 – $5 per 1000 views.
- Twitch is notorious for its strict content policies and rules – it has even been part of controversy in the past where it has banned streamers with zero explanations and warnings. YouTube, on the other hand, is more lenient with the approval of video content and in the case of breaches, it has a 3-strike system where it gives you three warnings before ultimately shutting down your channel.
- Prepare and stick to a fixed schedule for streaming
Some people often consider streaming to be more of a hobby than a profession. But if you want to get traction and earn a high viewership, you need to treat it like a 9-5 job. The competition in the streaming industry is fierce and to attract and maintain a viewership, you need to stream high-quality content on a regular basis.
The best approach to this is to first prepare a schedule based on when you can stream and how long it takes you to prepare for streaming. Once you have a schedule, effectively communicate it to your viewers so they know when you are going to go live with your next stream.
Depending on what you stream, you can have daily streams, weekly streams, or set a frequency of your choice. As long as you work to a fixed schedule and keep your audience informed, you are good to go.
To illustrate how important this is, take this example from GAULES Twitch channel who follows his streaming schedule religiously and has been going live daily for the last 3 years.
- Create series of videos to increase engagement
Uploading engaging, exciting content that keeps the audience on their toes is what every streamer wants. But how do you go about it? One effective way is to create an episodic video series of the games that you are playing right now. This helps in maintaining the interest of your viewers since they will keep coming back for more if you leave them on a cliffhanger during the last episode or get them excited about the game that you are playing.
Gaming video series are a win-win for both the audience and streamers. For streamers, they can enjoy having a theme or game that they can stream regularly, without having to rack their brains for ideas. On the other hand, for the viewers, it is something to look forward to on a regular basis and gives them a reason to subscribe to the streamer’s channel.
One recommendation here is that if you are covering a game that has a campaign mode or involves a start and end such as a role-playing game, then you should number the videos in your stream. This makes sure that viewers who missed the live stream or those who want to re-watch your videos can follow the gameplay in the correct order.
Here is an excellent example of a video series for the Marvel’s Avengers game by a popular YouTube streamer, ZackScottGames.
- Keep up-to-date with the latest trends
Professional streaming is a business on its own and similar to any other business, you need to pick out what niche you want to operate in. There are thousands of games out there but what matters the most is which ones are your viewers most interested in.
To help you in focusing on the right content areas for your gaming streams, here are a few tips that you can follow:
- Pick a niche that you are interested in and one that has a high viewership. Each niche has a variety of games available so there will be plenty of content opportunities for you to capitalize on. Be sure to choose a niche that you are good at and consider yourself to be a professional player. To illustrate, a streamer, Iron Pineapple, is well-known for his coverage of ‘Souls-like’ games which is a niche for games that have similar gameplay to the highly popular action game, Dark Soul. This is a good example of how you can cover a fan-favorite game (like Dark Souls) in a niche and then branch off to cover similar games to build an audience.
- Play and stream the newest release for games as they come out so you can rank on top of search results when viewers are searching for content related to the game. Stay in touch with the latest news in the gaming industry and make sure that you are aware of the launch date of popular or trending games within your niche so you can prepare yourself accordingly. You can follow listings such as this one on GamesRadar to make sure that you know when a particular game is set to launch.
- Look at what is popular within the niche you are operating in and upload content based on that. For example, Monster Hunter World is a popular role-playing game that is known for being difficult to play if you do not master the mechanics and weapons in the game. Following suit, the streamer Arekkz Gaming launched a series of detailed video guides and tutorials for Monster Hunter World, attracting millions of viewers because of the popularity and difficulty of the game.
- Interact with your audience
Remember that just uploading videos or putting content out there is not enough to get the audience engaged. The most successful streamers and YouTubers out there are constantly interacting with their viewers and even adapting their content/stream according to what the viewers ask for.
Here are a few ideas on how you can interact with your audience to maintain their interest:
- Readout subscription and re-subscription messages within your streams so that viewers can get updates and information on new content on your channel. You can do this at any time during the stream but the start or end of your stream is most recommended.
- Keep reading the comments or chats during your live stream and answer any questions that you come across. This is one thing that the most popular streamers do and is generally highly appreciated by viewers.
- Before or during streams, take in viewer requests and adjust your content accordingly. Viewers may request you to do something particular during gameplay, adopt a certain strategy, or even play a different audience-favorite game.
- If you have a good viewership and want to keep in touch with them, start a discord group for your stream. This will help you talk to your viewers, listen to their ideas and requests, and build an entire community around your stream.
- Generate eye-catching, visual content
The visuals around in your YouTube channel can actually be the difference between a new viewer choosing to watch your streams or not, regardless of how good the actual stream is.
Therefore, it is essential that streamers pay some attention to the design of banners, art, and marketing content surrounding their videos. An interesting banner or an eye-catching thumbnail can make a world of difference for both live streams as well as for viewers that come across your videos or channels while browsing YouTube.
FGTeeV, one of the top creators for YouTube gaming, uses excellent visuals on his YouTube channel to promote his videos and merchandise such as the banner below:
So, how do you go about generating visual content and graphics such as this? Hiring a graphic designer can be quite expensive, especially for new streamers that are yet to monetize. This is the reason we recommend using PosterMyWall, a graphic design tool, that helps you create high-quality, aesthetic visuals in a matter of minutes. The tool has hundreds of templates available for YouTube channel art that you can choose from and customize according to your requirements.
Aim for the stars
Growing a gaming stream audience is not a simple task and it can take months before you bear the fruits of your efforts, especially in such a crowded industry. Having said this, if you plan properly and execute the strategies that we have listed in this blog post, you can lay down the right platform for launching and growing your own streaming business.