How to Keep Your Viewers
So far, all of the tips have been based around getting people to your channel. Once there, it is your job to encourage them to stay and to come back again.
If you don’t accomplish both of these things, you have missed an opportunity to grow your community.
Your Stream Content
There are over a million streamers out there. Why should a person watch you instead of someone else? If you can’t answer that, no one else can either.
Think about what makes your stream special and build on those aspects. Again, if you need ideas, watch streams. What are others doing?
As far as creating your content, using a microphone and camera in your setup is required. Nearly every other stream has both, so not having them puts you at a severe disadvantage.
Your Channel Design
Twitch uses a “panels” system with Markdown, which allows you to design the area beneath the video player on your channel. Look at different channels to get ideas for how you want to lay out your panels. A good place to start is the streamers on our front page or in our front page list.
You need to emphasize the important items using BIG text (or graphics containing big text). New viewers will not pick through small text to find what they are looking for.
Important items include links to your social networks, donation link, and “sub” link if you use a 3rd party like Gamewisp. Arrange these links so they show up directly under your video player. You move the panels by dragging them to different slots. You may have to play around to get the panels where you want them, because they like to shift around.
Once you have the important stuff BIG, everything else can be in regular text. You can include a bio write-up of yourself, the games you like to play, a donor list, sponsors, and so on.
“What interaction? I have zero viewers!”
You should always behave as if a million people are watching. Pay attention to the people that are there, not the people that aren’t there. Never, ever complain to your viewers about not having viewers. You have them and you’re complaining to them. No one wants to listen to that, so they will leave. Bottom line is, treat your viewers well and they will come back.
If no one is active in the chat, describe what you’re doing and what you’re thinking. Always keep dialog going, even if it is with yourself. A quiet stream is an empty stream.
If talking to yourself is too awkward, play with a friend and put the voice comms on the stream. Just don’t become so distracted that you neglect to interact with your viewers.
Pro Tip: Never look at your viewer count while you’re streaming. Knowing the number won’t do you any favors, since you should behave the same regardless.
How you handle trolls in your chat depends on the kind of stream you run. You can banter with them or boot them out. Just keep in mind that keeping trolls around can scare other viewers away, or attract more trolls.
Our resident Standing Streamer, kDoGG3n4, has a unique viewpoint on trolls.
Your Stream Quality
Nothing will make people bounce out of your stream faster than quality problems. As we all know, Twitch has service hiccups, but let’s focus on what you can control.
Value the feedback you receive from your viewers. If they say they are having problems watching your stream, thank them for letting you know and look into it immediately.
Video (PC streaming)
People streaming through a PC have a tendency to obsess over their video resolution. In most cases, it is not important to have the best resolution on your stream. Starting out, 480p or higher is acceptable.
It is much more important that your stream be smooth (at 30fps) without any buffering. Viewers hate not being able to watch your stream without interruption, and will flock away in droves if there are constant problems with it.
Experiment with your settings until you find a good quality that you can run smoothly at all times. Do not go beyond what your setup can handle. Not all games are created equal in this respect, with FPS games being the most demanding.
Due to the increasing complexity of streaming setups, there is no guarantee that things will work the next time, even if you didn’t change anything since the last stream.
New viewers coming in mid-stream will not spend the time to help you troubleshoot audio issues. Most won’t even mention them. They are far more likely to click “back” and watch someone else. Therefore, it is critical that your audio levels are straightened out at the start of every stream.
Therefore, you should be doing sound checks before you start (or at the beginning of) every stream. Check your game volume, music volume, your mic volume, and other peoples’ mic volumes, all relative to each other. Listen to your own stream using another computer or device, to hear what the viewers hear. Ask your regulars for help if you need to.
There is some debate about whether or not to greet everyone entering your chat or to wait until they type first. The argument against doing so is that you can scare people away who just want to lurk and not be called out.
Ultimately this comes down to the type of channel you want. Would you rather have viewers that do not interact, or viewers that do?
Since you’re interested in growing, we recommend that you greet all new arrivals and interact with everyone in the chat. Some lurkers may leave, others won’t respond, but some will respond positively and those are the people who are worth it.
When You Get Raided
When someone sends all their viewers to you, you have about one minute to impress them.
Come up with a plan for when you get raided. It should include thanking the other streamer, a brief introduction of yourself & what you stream, and your streaming schedule. Getting people to follow is easy. Getting them to come back is the challenge.
For more in-depth info on raiding, check out our article on Twitch raids!
Now, how do we encourage our viewers to return next time? Continued in Part 3!
- Finish reading this guide >> How to Grow on Twitch – Part 3
- Done reading? Network with other streamers on the Front Page.