Who is winning the battle for live-streamers: Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook?
Every month we recap the latest in the Platform Wars, covering:
- New features and tools
- Development updates
- Special creator promotions
- Talent signings
All so you can arm yourself with the latest information.
Which platform is on the rise, and which is falling? Will Twitch remain the King of livestreaming, or are others closing the gap? Should creators consider moving their channels to a new home?
Your answers to all those and more are waiting inside.
To see the previous month’s report instead, click below:
December 2021 recap
December was a slow month…for everyone except Facebook, that is. For the third month in a row, Facebook Gaming outpaced both its competitors — and by a wide margin. They released a number of new features, updates, and promotions — even signing two top creators.
For its part, Twitch ended a sleepy December with a handful of quality-of-life improvements. Meanwhile, YouTube continues to frustrate on the development front. It’s now been several months since the platform’s last feature release — marking a disappointing end to an already-disappointing Q4.
- See the countries where your subscribers come from
- View cancellation reasons for your lost subscribers
- Add more activity feeds to your Stream Manager
- Top GTA streamer Ramee leaves Twitch for Facebook
- Join interactive minigames with creators, all in real-time
- Fee-free Star purchases from mobile devices
- Star-sender badges and leaderboards for chat
- Earn double Stars revenue through March 2022
- Stars Party celebrations deliver Hype Train-like experience
- Football star Neymar Jr. signs with Facebook Gaming
It was a quiet month for Twitch news. The platform released a handful of analytics features and quality of life upgrades. Otherwise, things were uneventful — aside from some drama around 2021 Recaps.
Let’s see what’s new on Twitch this December.
Country-by-country sub analytics
Want to know where your Twitch subscribers come from? Now you can, thanks to a new analytics tool.
See a geographic breakdown of your subscribers, using a new panel in the Creator Insights dashboard. You can even set custom dates to see how your sub audience has changed over time. Note, you’ll need to have subscribers from at least two different countries to see this feature.
You can learn more about the feature here.
Subscriber location is more important today than ever. That’s because earlier this year Twitch changed sub pricing based on where viewers live. For example, a subscription in Singapore costs around $3.30, while a Mexico-based sub is worth about $2.33. Now creators can more accurately predict subscriber income, by comparing their geographic breakdown with local sub prices (listed here).
It’s a small but fantastic change. We love seeing platforms expand their analytics suite, and Twitch is leading the game by a large margin.
See why subscribers cancelled
Shortly afterwards, Twitch released another new tool for the analytics dashboard. The tool allows creators to see why a viewer may have unsubscribed from their channel.
Viewers are now posed a series of options after canceling a subscription. Their answers are completely anonymous and confidential. Streamers can view a summary of these responses in their Channel Analytics dashboard.
Twitch offers more context on each of the reasons here (for example, “Manual Renewal” means “I prefer to manually renew my subscriptions”). Notably, the tool doesn’t include data from mobile users — only desktop viewers. Users can also opt out if they don’t want to provide an answer.
While this feature may give some streamers anxiety, more analytics is always a good thing. Now creators can identify sub obstacles earlier, and work to improve their viewer experience. While some lost subs are unavoidable, others may be salvageable by tweaking your schedule or content type. Of course, nothing is forcing creators to view this data if they would rather avoid knowing.
Either way, it’s great to see Twitch doubling-down on their analytics platform. It’s a big advantage the platform has over competitors YouTube and Facebook. Neither have dedicated livestream analytics that come anywhere close.
Multiple activity feeds
How do you monitor event notifications on stream? For many creators, the answer is Twitch’s own Stream Manager.
For these streamers, keeping up with viewer activity can be difficult — especially in lively communities. That’s because—up until now—you only had a single activity feed for all your events. Just one panel to display all your new followers, subs, hosts, bits, and more! It’s easy to see why some events would get lost amid all the notifications.
Well those days are gone. You can now create multiple activity feeds within Stream Manager — up to a maximum of four.
You can set custom filters on each activity panel, allowing you to track specific events. For example, you can create one feed for subscribers, another for followers, a third for cheers, etc.
This makes it easier to monitor stream notifications — no more endless scrolling. That way, viewer events won’t slip through the cracks and go unrecognized. Plus, it means a cleaner, more organized Stream Manager, which is always a good thing.
It was a disappointing end to the year for YouTube — at least as development goes. It’s now been three months without a significant feature release. And as the hype from YouTube’s October announcement fades away, creators are left waiting.
We have no doubt about YouTube’s long-term outlook. But in the meantime, the lack of development updates is frustrating — especially as platforms like Facebook roll out feature after feature.
YouTube creators just got a major level up, courtesy of StreamElements. The platform announced a new suite of tools called Mercury, designed to boost viewer engagement in YouTube VODs. It marks StreamElements’ first foray into video content, versus its traditional livestream products.
While Mercury was built for VOD creators, its tools were inspired by successful broadcast widgets and plugins. These include:
- Community polls: Drop interactive questions in your video description. For example, “What game should I play next?” or “What color should I dye my hair?”. Your audience can vote on options and see the results, all tracked in real-time in your description.
- Channel goals: Track your progress towards community milestones. Set goal targets for subscribers, Patreon supporters, Discord members, and more. Viewers can see your progress in video descriptions, giving them extra incentive to participate!
- Supporter spotlights: Shout out your recent channel supporters! Choose which events you want to display: subscribers, members, donators, and more. Viewer names will automatically appear in your video description, thanking them for their support.
- Dynamic thumbnails: Make your thumbnails stand out with text that changes over time. Running a charity campaign, for example? Display your donation total in a thumbnail, then watch as the number automatically updates to reflect real-time changes!
- On-screen shoutouts: These are overlays that resemble a news ticker. Choose which supporters you want to shout out, for example Discord members or Patreon backers. Then (automatically) generate the video, edit it in, and watch their names appear on screen for all your viewers to see!
In early testing across 350 YouTube channels, Mercury reportedly drove a 60% increase in engagement. That’s a huge, promising number…even if the sample size isn’t as large as we’d like.
StreamElements is offering all these tools 100% free for its userbase. And while Mercury is still in beta, the team is already hinting at upcoming features. These include new widgets, analytics, banners, and monetization options.
We’re excited to see what comes next. For example, what sort of customization options will it allow creators? Regardless, the barrier between live and VOD content is slowly being erased.
Another month, another win for Facebook Gaming. The platform continues to roll out features and updates at breakneck speed. In fact, Facebook outpaced both its competitors throughout Q4 — and by a wide margin.
This December, the platform doubled down on Stars culture. Facebook’s equivalent of Twitch bits, Stars allow viewers to donate to their favorite creators. And thanks to a new development campaign, Star-sending is easier and more rewarding than ever before. Stars are now an essential part of the Facebook live ecosystem — and are poised to become even stronger in 2022.
Let’s dive deeper into what’s new on Facebook.
Ramee goes blue
Facebook kicked off the month in style, signing another top-100 Twitch streamer to an exclusive deal. Ramee, the iconic GTA RP creator, announced his new home on Facebook Gaming.
In his last few months on Twitch, Ramee had been averaging over 15,000 viewers per stream. He joins colleagues LordKebun, Vader, RatedEpicz, and JoblessGarrett on Facebook.
It’s another blow to Twitch on the creator front. Facebook has gobbled up GTA creators over the past two years, establishing itself as the new home of English-speaking RP content. In its wake, streamers like Buddha, AnthonyZ, and Koil have inherited thousands of viewers — as some of the few remaining large GTA RP channels on Twitch.
Play with Streamer
Early in December, Facebook announced an exciting new live feature: interactive community games. “Play with Streamer” allows creators and viewers to jump into minigames together, all in real-time. Streamers can host games, then invite viewers to participate — to team up or play against each other. All this can be done without ever having to leave Facebook.
Community games are becoming a staple of live content. On Twitch, games like Marbles on Stream and Doodle What integrate directly with Twitch chat. This allows viewers to influence livestream content, compete with one another, and make live cameos on their favorite channels. The problem is, all of these games require third-party applications.
Facebook is changing all this with Play with Streamer. Minigames are hosted directly on-platform. That means viewers can join instantly, without ever having to leave a livestream. No downloads or installation required — with full functionality across iPhone, Android, and Desktop. The end result is an easier, more user-friendly experience that encourages more audience participation.
The first game Play With Streamer title to launch is PAC-MAN COMMUNITY. Viewers can jump into live games and even custom-create mazes for streamers to navigate. You can give the Beta a try here.
We’re excited to see what games will drop next. By the sound of it, there are many more titles to come — including classic and new games. Regardless, Play with Streamer has the potential to be a game-changer for the industry.
“Stars Store” snubs Apple and Google
Just a few weeks ago, Facebook offered a new way for creators to keep 100% of their mobile sub revenue. This December, they took things one step further. Now mobile viewers can purchase Stars without up-charges from device providers — namely, Apple and Google.
In the past, the only way to purchase Stars from mobile was directly within the Facebook app. These Stars were often more expensive, because they contained in-app transaction fees from Apple and Google. Viewers were less likely to pay extra for Stars, meaning streamers often lost out on potential donations.
To bypass this, Facebook launched the “Stars Store”. This is a new Facebook Pay website, allowing fans to purchase Stars outside the app — and away from Apple and Google’s jurisdiction. That means mobile viewers earn more Stars for every purchase, getting lower prices and more value. Better Star prices means fans are more likely to purchase them — and donate them to their favorite creators.
To encourage viewers to use the new Stars Store, Facebook is offering bonus Stars with each purchase. In the future, fans will earn special deals and discounts on Star bundles — only on the Star Store (not in-app). For example, for much of December, viewers earned an additional 5% to 20% more Stars, depending on the bundle they purchased.
In the end, it’s a fantastic addition for fans and creators alike.
Badges and leaderboards for Star-senders
But Facebook wasn’t done with the Star updates. Next they revealed chat badges for Star-senders. These viewers unlock a special badge next to their name in chat, which is easy to spot for creators and viewers. It’s a great way for Star donators to show off in chat — and an incentive for newcomers to send Stars for the first time.
Not only that, Star badges come in multiple tiers. The more Stars you send in a channel, the more extravagant your chat badge. Top Star-senders are rewarded for their support, earning a bit of extra clout in chat. Tiers also motivate viewers to donate more Stars than they might usually, to unlock better badges.
The new badges are similar to Twitch’s bit badges, which also come in tiers. The only exception is that Twitch creators can custom-upload their own badges, while Facebook streamers cannot — at least for the time being.
Facebook also announced the upcoming launch of Star leaderboards. These will track the top weekly Star-senders in a channel. Other categories will eventually include top monthly senders and all-time Star-senders.
Right now, the feature looks similar to Twitch’s “Weekly Top Cheerers” leaderboard. Regardless, it’s another great way to encourage more Star donations within your community.
Earn double Star revenue through March
Facebook also announced Stars Double Bonus, a special new promotion. Now through March 31, 2022, Meta will match your Star earnings. That means if you made $500 in Stars revenue in December, you’ll earn a bonus $500 on top of that — or $1,000 total!
Facebook will match up to $750 per month. If you were to max-out your Stars Double Bonus earnings for the next four months (December – March), that’s $3,000 in free cash!
For now, the promotion is only available to select creators. We haven’t been able to confirm if that includes Level Up channels, or just Partners.
As an added bonus, Facebook is giving out free Stars to your viewers! Over the next few months, fans will receive $3 million in redeemable Stars. This is a great way to build a culture around Stars — and encourage first-time Star-senders. And all that means more potential Star revenue for your channel!
Stars Party revealed in more detail
We first reported on Star Parties back in November, when rumors began to surface. This month, Facebook officially announced the feature.
Here’s how it works:
- The event is triggered when a creator receives a large volume of Stars over a short timespan
- A 5-minute countdown timer appears, as well as a specific Stars goal — for example, 3,000 Stars
- The community tries to reach that goal before time runs out
- If the goal is met, celebration animations appear on-stream and in chat
If you’ve ever seen a Twitch Hype Train, Star Parties will feel very similar. Only in Facebook’s case, it’s fueled 100% by Stars — not subs, followers, or donations.
The feature has been well-received by creators and viewers alike. And why not? It’s an extra incentive for viewers to send Stars — not to mention bonus revenue for streamers. We’re excited to see where the feature goes from here.
Neymar signs with Facebook Gaming
In one of the biggest signings of the year, Brazilian football star Neymar Jr is now streaming exclusively on Facebook.
Previously, the football legend streamed on Twitch to his 1.8 million followers. He wasn’t live often—maybe once or twice a month—but when he was, Neymar brought in massive crowds. His gameplay typically focused on CS:GO and Fortnite, where he has his own custom skin.
Now Neymar Jr. has a new home on Facebook, a platform where he already boasts almost 90 million followers. His debut stream has already garnered over 2.1 million views.
According to the deal, Neymar Jr will stream gameplay “multiple times throughout each month”. As an added clause, Neymar is expected to collab with other top creators at least once per month. You can read more about the deal here.
It’s a big-time announcement with a world-famous name. Neymar’s announcement signals two major shifts taking place:
- On the one hand, it’s part of a larger movement bringing traditional athletes to live content. In fact, just a few weeks earlier, fellow Brazilian football icon Ronaldo began streaming Warzone on Twitch.
- On the other hand, it’s a signal of Facebook Gaming’s strength in Brazil. The platform has seen enormous success in the Portuguese-speaking nation. The PR around Neymar’s acquisition will only strengthen its hand.
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