Luck on Twitch. What does it look like?
You've just gotta get lucky. That's the dream, right? Luck on Twitch.
If you were lucky enough, you'd have made it. But what does that even MEAN? What does luck look like? Is it something reasonable to hope for? Can we maximize our chances of "getting lucky"? Is it possible to sabotage our chances of it happening?
Grab your four leaf clovers, fluff up your rabbit's foot, snag your horseshoes, break out the fuzzy dice, catch some ladybugs, glue your mirrors back together, go back under the ladder, close your umbrella outside, and circumvent the GD matrix-glitching cat.
Today we're gonna talk about Luck on Twitch.
What people think of when they Hear "Luck on Twitch"
1. Getting a BIG raid from someone you've never met
2. Front page time
3. Twitch, a game developer, charity, or a publisher features you in their social media
4. You meet the right people at the right time
5. Your game blows up overnight and you're already at the top of it
6. A piece of your content goes "viral" and spreads like syphilis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, etc.
7. You get banned for something, or become notorious another way (also viral, but negative)
Those are some, if not all, of the types of events that people think of when they hear anecdotal success stories of streamers blowing up overnight. If it doesn't appear that extensive, you have to realize that in these examples, luck can be essentially broken down to large bursts of exposure. Basically, people realizing you exist. There's just... not a lot of different types of things that do that.
Let's Talk Raids
If you get a raid from a random person you've never met, that is probably the most luck-based thing that can happen to you on Twitch. How did they choose you? They likely took a look at your thumbnail in the directory and picked something that looked different. Or one of their mods/viewers recommended you to them. That simple.
If the raider knew you, it wouldn't be luck. It would be an endorsement of your personality and your content. Nobody willfully raids into someone they think is an a**hole, or into someone they think has bad content.
While we're at it, let's cover raid size. Many people think a raid of a thousand is going to change their lives. But remember, retention on Twitch is 1-2% across the board. That means when you get the thousand person raid, you'll retain about ten to twenty people from it. While still a really decent chunk (which would take most partners MONTHS to move the dial that much organically), nobody's ever accused 10 more concurrents of being life-altering. Certainly not the big break people are thinking of when someone mentions "overnight success".
However, a 1,000 person raid is still AWESOME, and lets you meet even more people organically by being further up the directory. Definitely what Luck on Twitch looks like.
What about Front page
In four years, I've never met anyone who's become an overnight success from being featured on Twitch's front page. That's because Twitch probably looks to feature people who have already been successful without front page exposure. New blood almost never appears there.
As of this writing, no one on my own Twitch front page options has fewer than 14,700 followers.
MsAshRocks - 14,738 followers
Neuro - 49,309 followers
Warcraft - 569,005 followers
Spofie - 45,506 followers
JoshOG - 1,633,648 followers
SimCopter1 - 70,401 followers
moonmoon_ow - 838,507 followers
ZeRo - 510,199 followers
Twitch wants good non-scandalous content on the front so that people stay on the site longer. And Twitch's #1 indicator of "good" content, to them, has always been and continues to be viewership numbers. How can they verify this? Word of mouth from partner representatives and other Twitch Staff, for starters.
People Twitch has already vetted or know well tend to take priority for handpicked events. This is true for front page time, panels at Twitchcon, and other opportunities. I'm sure you recognized names in the above list.
"But wait, Skull, I've seen some smaller streams get featured on the front page before!"
Twitch is quite meticulous when they choose who's up there. It reflects on them as a platform. So when Twitch takes a chance on having smaller streams on front page, they'll typically choose people running events for charities, causes, or X pride months. They choose streams that make the platform look good, and appeal to a wider inclusive audience that supports humanitarian causes. It's basically a trial run for a streamer to see whether they can handle front page. And if they do well, they add them to a whitelist for future events too.
Content matters when it comes to Luck on Twitch
Lots of the things we listed involve an organization sharing your content. A minor portion of that happening is luck. Typically, it's a combination of personal relationships and the usefulness of the content to the organization. After all, people are more likely to share things from people they like.
Think about every time you see a lore master video, game review, or cosplay post on social media that gets shared by the developer, or publisher. Think about the community managers, news editors, and marketers out there who are choosing all of that content to share. Developers and publishers must be ELATED that people are out there making their jobs easier. That's one less video, presentation, or Tweet for the day that they have to make from scratch.
Many of the ways someone "gets lucky" involve someone with influence choosing to share someone's content, or sharing their community. Over the long term, meeting people is a whole lot easier to do if you're not a sh**ty person. It's also a lot easier to do if you make meeting people a hobby.
I'm not talking about networking in the worst sense. I'm just talking about when someone asks you if you want to do something, you say yes. Podcast? Sounds fun. Interview? Cool. Fifty person game of hide the sausage? I'll pass, but I got a friend who might be interested. Variety afternoon? Sounds awesome!
Got a cool cosplay or piece of art you think the community should see? Share it with the community manager. Part of their whole job is reaching out to the community. There's no penalty for making friends and trying to make their lives easier. Got a favorite streamer? CLIP THEM. If you run into cool information they might not have yet, share it with them. Believe me, as a content creator if someone makes me something that I can use indefinitely, that's hugely helpful.
Oooooh he said it. The ultimate luck event. Having something of yours go "viral". I'll admit, out of all the possibilities so far, this one is the least predictable. Though the odds of something going viral increase if you already have a substantial audience.
The only thing that can be said with some level of certainty, is that things that go viral all prompt a strong emotional reaction. We can also say that some emotions encourage sharing more than others. Emotions like surprise, joy, interest, and trust inspire more sharing than ones like shame, guilt, resentment, annoyance, or disappointment. And while I'm sure we can all think of anecdotal examples that buck the trend here, it's still a great idea to give some consideration to what you're feeling when you make content.
Surprised? Clip it. Happy? Clip it. Talking about something interesting? Clip it.
Then share it.
Some people are just incendiary. And then there are people that exemplify that trait with such magnitude that they build a career on it. They might get banned for animal abuse, filming in public restrooms, cheating scandals, starting beef with other content creators, poking a dead body, televising a boxing match, intentional oversexualization of content, or starting discords for the express purpose of targeted harassment. They're the ones at the center of the drama.
They know it, and they use it. That's why it's not luck. Remember, the easiest way to make content is to hit the button and go. It takes extra effort to be controversial.
I heard a great quote from a friend that works in stream management, that if you're large enough and can talk about it on social media effectively, getting banned is ROI (return on investment) positive. Given all of the articles and social media posts that flare up when events like the above occur, I find it very plausible.
After all, attention is the real currency of our time.
A short story
Anecdotally, I've met one person who's "blown up" overnight on Twitch. I'll recount for you the series of events as accurately as I can.
This Partner had been streaming for 4 years already at the time, and had just picked up GTA-RP as a new feature of their own stream. Prior to his blowing up, he had been playing on NoPixel, roleplaying his character for a few months. He'd gotten to know most of the existing RP community and was in a comfortable place concurrents-wise prior to the explosion he was about to be hit with.
That's when OG Justin.tv streamers discovered GTA-RP, discovered him, and brought the rest of the Twitch world's attention to his existence. He was raided, all in one night, with over 20,000 people. The day prior he was at 200 concurrents, and now he sits at 1,000-2,000 depending on the night. He had the right connections, at the right time, and was in the right place.
But more than that he was deserving of the attention, and had the experience to know exactly what to do with it. If he wasn't, his viewers wouldn't have come back. His vibrant chat advocated for him, helped him organize his newfound fame, and helped him continue churning out great content. Audio was on point, banter was on point, he had well-formed views on streaming, and his commentary was interesting out of the gate. He was ready, when luck found him.
In addition to all that, GTA-RP is an animal all on it's own. It's basically an Improv sandbox for all streamers involved. Not only does each streamer in a server contribute to the total content and attention on the server, but they each have their own unique character. It's a character you can only get in that place from that streamer. Each stream is episodic, completely random and ever-changing, and always gives people a reason to come back and tune in again.
Those were all the things that needed to happen for him to be an "overnight success". Just four years of being ready to receive it, and the expertise to retain it. It's my favorite Cinderella story on Twitch. (Anecdotally, he now has 100,000+ followers, and 1,000-2,000 concurrents, so the 1-2% retention is totally spot on.)
To wrap up, Luck on Twitch actually translates to very specific event types. At its most basic of forms, it looks like a burst of additional exposure to your content. Exposure is awesome, but that's only the introduction to your content. That's just part of the battle. They still need to follow and return (repeatedly) after that!
Luck can happen to anyone. But only the prepared can take advantage of it.
If you want to maximize your chances, go back through this article and reread the green text. These are the methods you should focus on if you want to maximize your probability of seeing some Luck on Twitch. Form these things into habits, and maybe... just maybe. You'll get "lucky".
Even then, it's won't be remotely as easy as people advertise. You're still going to have to work your ass off. What it'll look like is much smaller-scale versions of the above events happening over time. Small raids. A few retweets. Some word-of-mouth. Someone telling people about a great article. A community manager friend sharing a few art pieces. Even the luck looks like a lot of hard work over time.
Thanks for reading this far, boneheads. Until next time!