Youtube is an undeniably powerful video hosting website when it comes to standard generic videos. But with gaming content is not that explicit because another gaming giant - Twitch - is on YouTube's heels. Let’s figure out together which platform is better for live streaming - YouTube or Twitch.
Twitch vs. YouTube
As a streaming platform, Twitch appeared in 2011 and was a part of Justin.TV. Back then, the platform focused on gaming only, but now, the content goes beyond games live streams and allows musicians, art creators, talk shows and IRL channels (vlogs) to stream their content live, as well.
Daily Twitch audience counts 15 million, and viewers spend on the platform at least 95 minutes a day. But if we dig into the history of Twitch-YouTube relationships, we’ll figure out Twitch has not been the pioneer in live streaming.
Back in April 2011, YouTube launched its YouTube Live. That was and still is a channel with streams only. Then, the same year, Twitch emerged. It used to be a game streaming platform with let’s play format streams, gaming tournaments and talk shows.
Later, in 2015, YouTube gave birth to YouTube Gaming to host game-focused streams and videos. Unlike Twitch which now caters to all types of live content, YouTube Gaming is dedicated to games only.
Now, there are three game-streaming giants attractive for streamers, influencers, and casual viewers - YouTube Gaming, Twitch and YouTube Live. Let’s consider them in detail.
Twitch, YouTube Gaming or YouTube Live?
This is the most crucial aspect for any aspiring streamer - monetisation tools.
In 2017, YouTube launched the Super Chats feature that allows streamers to make a profit of their content.
The idea behind Super Chats is that a viewer can buy a message that has a bright colour and is temporarily pinned at the top of the chat. This increases the chances of a streamer to notice the message. YouTube cuts 30% for such a donation.
Another way of live stream content monetisation is a membership that is valid on YouTube. This is another monetisation tool aside from pre-rolls and Super Chats.
The feature allows fans to sponsor a content maker in exchange for some exclusive specials like sponsor-only live chats or channel-specific emojis. Becoming a member costs a viewer $4.99 a month.
Twitch also has ads and membership opportunities. The latter is called subscription, while on YouTube, a subscription is free. Subscribers have tiered options that start with $4.99 a month.
Donations work similarly to Super Chat on YouTube. Donators decide how much they pay a steamer, and 100% of it goes to you.
Bits are another in-built monetisation system on the platform. Yet, it is less used, and Twitch cuts 29% of your money.
A takeaway? Twitch typically pays more since it has no commission for donations and its audience tends to give generous donations to their favourite content creators. Ads work poorly on both platforms, so other monetisation systems are to rely on.
Currently, the overall Twitch daily audience is 15 million viewers. Meanwhile, YouTube Live and YouTube Gaming separately count less than Twitch alone. Besides, concurrent Twitch and YouTube Gaming Live viewers differ drastically in the window of time from 2017 to 2019.
Twitch is bad at alerting its users when a creator starts streaming.
If you have a YouTube channel with some audience, it gets easier for you to notify them about streams and reach new viewers. People often browse YouTube when they're bored, so the chances you will get discovered by a new audience are higher than on Twitch. It’s a lot easier to turn a viewer into a YouTube subscriber than a Twitch follower.
On Twitch, viewers search for a game they want to watch, and the service shows the streams in order of current most-viewed ones. This means that a viewer will more likely join one of the top three streams they look at.
Besides, Twitch has no custom thumbnails that also influence the decision of a viewer.
YouTube algorithms are smarter and they suggest viewers different streams. Besides, you don’t have to stream constantly to earn viewers and following. You can upload standard videos, and all your streams will be saved on the channel by default.
On YouTube, viewers can rewind or pause streams any time they miss something and replay the chats. Twitch doesn’t allow to do so.
Twitch tends to be stricter in terms of content. The platform temporarily bans streamers and donators if they say something inappropriate during the live stream. YouTube doesn’t care that much.
Speaking of top gaming streamers like PewDiePie or Logan Paul, it depends. Many of them combine Twitch and YouTube for different goals. If your goal is to start from scratch with no following at all, you should choose Twitch. If you already have a YouTube channel and some tribe, a better streaming career start for you is YouTube.