"Why's everyone just lurking!?"
"If I were more entertaining, maybe more people would stay."
I'm So Lonely! But Twitch Lurkers are the 1%
As streamers, we've all thought these things. Streaming, while inherently social, can be ironically lonely. This is doubly true when you're just starting. Fortunately, this is also a freeing thing! So today we're going to talk about why you're lucky, even if you're streaming to one person! Even if that one person is lurking.
And if this is you, that makes it the perfect time to read this!
Twitch Lurkers are the 1%
In a prior guide, we discussed that almost all streamers on Twitch only retain 1-2% of their followers as concurrent viewers. Out of 100 people that came through and followed, only 2% came back! That's crazy, right? Staggering. Insane. Ludicrously low.
It's the truth.
Take a look around Twitch and compare total followers to concurrent viewership if you don't believe me. This is true of all the coaches, all the professionals, all the big streamers, all small streamers, characters, and across all demographics. Everyone.
Oh and it's independent of quality and content, too. There's just as many large streams with crappy overexposed camera setups and peaking audio out there as there are small channels with excellent video and audio. Retention is the same regardless of demographics, content, and quality.
"God, that sounds depressing, Skull."
It is a little bit. But it's also freeing, and vital to your understanding of Twitch. So here are some of the things you should take away from this that make it way better:
1. It doesn't matter what kind of content you're producing. It only matters that your content is reaching an interested audience. So get yours to a place where YOU would watch it yourself. Be honest. Having confidence that you can convert a new person into a follower is more important than any outsider's opinion. Mine included. Watch your vods and fix anything you don't like. But don't spend too much time over-tweaking. Good enough is good enough, and perfection is a thief on your time.
2. You don't need to exaggerate. One of the most often cited quotes about streaming is "Be yourself, but exaggerated." F**k that. Be yourself. There as many people interested in having a place to relax as there are looking for a boisterous party. You just have to reach them. There's cam-less channels with very little commentary, and there's channels like mine where I talk the entire 8 hours. Where streamers get in trouble, is switching between tones too often. If you're looking for a stream to sleep to, you probably don't want to hear Dingus420 yelling their face off about their pentakill at 5am. By the same token, if you followed Highler2 because this guy seemed really hype, you might not find their quiet days that fun. Pick a tone, and stick with it. Just make sure you can maintain it. And as always, find the people that like it.
3. Your overlays and alerts aren't going to affect your retention. There's a set of overlays for every broadcaster on Twitch. Hundreds of thousands. People have seen them all. And just like the tone of your stream, the overlays and alerts should be consistent with that tone. Good enough, again, is good enough here. I still see channels with 500 concurrents that have the default zombie or a copy and paste gif. Tons of channels are still using default or semi-customized StreamElements or Streamlabs themes. You know what? They're still good enough. Nobody's coming back for a year because of your alerts.
4. When you know what matters and what doesn't, you can focus. And then you don't have to give a singular f**k about anything else except for what works, and how much time you have to work on what works. That kind of clarity is powerful. That's the kind of clarity that a successful foundation is built upon.
So what matters most?
People. Reach out to them. Ask them how they're doing. Play games. Make sure they know you care. Call grandma. It's also one of the best ways to expand your Reach.
Value. Provide a unique value to the world and to your stream that exceeds what every other streamer is providing. Provide guidance and support to your friends. Instead of designing those cool alerts for yourself, consider providing some resources for free to your stream.
Your Message. Find something to stand for and a message to deliver to the world. Mine is, "Help people achieve their dreams by teaching them what actually works, and connect them to those best able to help them."
Authenticity. Not being true to yourself is one of the 10 most cited regrets of the dying. Do yourself a favor and be yourself. We've already proven being a character, hype streamer, or chill streamer doesn't affect your retention. Be at peace with who you are and what you believe. Being authentic means that when people follow you, they're really following YOU. No guessing about whether they followed for your "online persona", or insecurities about whether they'd like the person you are underneath your disguise. Oh yeah, and it makes Consistency way easier.
Caring. A kind word is never wasted. Many days of mine have been un-ruined by friends kind enough to speak a few words. Those are worth more than all the viral posts and political bullshit discussions in the world. I'd rather talk to a friend than b***h on the internet.
A Cause. Starting or joining something bigger than yourself. Lots of people have causes, or charities, or... teaching websites? Find a way to let people help participate in your dreams, and work on them together.
Reach. The world can't hear your message if they don't know you exist. Think about how to spread that message most effectively. It's the hardest part of streaming. Once they're in the room, most of the work's already done!
Consistency. Again, not just in schedule but in tone, game selection (types), and how you treat people. People come back to a channel expecting a mix of the three of these things. The least you can do is make sure two of them are the same. For some people, they'll need all three. That part is entirely up to you. Just be aware each is powerful, and each affects your growth.
Talking. It's really important. You can decide on the amount, but it's hard to make a connection to someone's personality or tone without them ever speaking!
Finally, the best thing in the world about the 1% retention statistic... is that anyone who's there in your channel is literally the 1%. Twitch Lurkers are the 1%. Twitch viewers are the 1%. Twitch chatters are the 1%. Twitch regulars are the 1%. Out of 100 people, they're there. One in one hundred.
How, as streamers, did we get lucky enough to find someone that deemed our content was worth consuming?
How lucky are we that life, or sickness, or 10,000 other forms of online entertainment didn't deter them from being here?
Do we even deserve that attention? What can we do to earn it?
Remember this the next time chat is quiet, or you're getting down on yourself. You're still lucky. You're still doing something you love.
I'll leave you with that, and to all of the 1% out there reading this, thank you. I'm doing my best to deserve your attention. From the bottom of my desiccated little heart, thank you for giving it. See you next post, boneheads. And if you'd like to send this to a friend who could benefit, please do. ^_^