Livestreaming is on the takeover. 2020 will go down as the year that "events" was no longer synonymous with in-person. Not only is livestream growing increasingly widespread, it's also becoming a creator's ticket to monetizing their particular skills.
In this guide, we'll teach you how to:
✓ Promote your livestream
✓ Increase your average concurrent viewers
✓ Avoid the zero-viewer problem and stream-to-stream dropoff
✓ Get more followers on Twitch
✓ Use ToneDen StreamLinks
Ready to grow your streaming viewership? You'll love this new guide.
Remember 2018? BTS took KPop mainstream, Kylie Jenner became the youngest female billionaire, and livestreaming was just starting to make waves beyond the gaming community. 2018 was also the year that Tyler “Ninja” Blevins became the first esports player to appear on a cover of ESPN
. The magazine profiled Ninja, soccer-player turned Fortnite star, in a piece called “Living the Stream.”
Tyler "Ninja" Blevins: Professional Battle Royale Player and Streamer
Livestreaming Has Evolved
Today, we’re all living the stream—not just gamers. The writing was on the wall well before the COVID-19 outbreak. When Twitch’s Just Chatting channel saw 36% increase in viewership hours
in its first year, it was clear: fans were hungry for new ways to engage with celebrities, no matter how niche their fame, and celebrities were ready to meet the demand. With the pandemic hampering face-to-face life, livestreaming is running wild:
Producer Kenny Beats showcases his skills on Twitch
James Blake performs his own originals and covers to tens of thousands of fans on Instagram Live
It’s a fact: we’re not in gamer land anymore.
Public perception of who’s livestreaming has changed—and that change is here to stay. Twitch data reflects this evolution: While the platform’s overall viewership is up 5% since the end of 2018, the metrics on Just Chatting have risen 15%. People no longer head to Twitch just to play Overwatch: they log on on random nights to see what people are up to and chat.
Streamers Can Build A Viewership Anywhere
Twitch, Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram TV, Zoom. These platforms are just waiting for creators to capitalize on livestreaming. The audience potential is staggering—hundreds of millions of people around the world engage with livestream platforms:
Total Streaming Hours Watched in Q2 2020
If this sounds like good news for creators, it is. A diverse array of business models means lifestyle streamers have more ways than ever to market their brands. Casters can make money from reaction videos to memes. They can coach, offer private memberships to fan clubs, host one-on-one music production lessons, teach online yoga classes, and more.
Still, in order to develop a profitable livestream business you need to build a devoted following. Growing a fanbase based on streaming alone requires a distinct marketing strategy tailored to the most consistent challenges of livestream: maintaining concurrent viewers. A gamer doing speed runs of Dead Space and Alien Isolation? You need concurrent viewers. A personal trainer doing simulcasts on Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Twitch—and monetizing on the backend through private lessons? You need concurrent viewers.
Sample Revenue Breakdown for Livestreamers
Without concurrent viewers, you can’t get ad revenue, subscriptions, or donations. Without the numbers, you can’t sell anything and you can’t effectively build your business. So how do you make sure that you’re actually getting individuals to your stream?
In the next section, we’ll look into the two main challenges livestreamers face: discoverability and retention. By understanding what these challenges are and how to overcome them, you’ll be on your way to building a profitable livestream business in 2020 and beyond.
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Livestreaming can be lucrative. Gamers like Ninja and Pokimane have known this for years. Those livestreamers identified profit potential, whether in the form of recurring subscriptions on Twitch or fan donations.
Now the secret is out. And while the Ninjas and Pokimanes built a business by growing subscriptions and donations on platforms like Twitch, today’s lifestyle streamers know there’s endless opportunity for other revenues.
A bodybuilder turned personal trainer can livestream coaching sessions. A musician can start a fan club, offerings fans up-close access to their creative process. If there’s a MasterClass on a topic, odds it's got livestreaming revenue potential.
Building a large, consistent, and concurrent viewership
Despite the range of these business models, they depend on the same common goal: cultivating a robust concurrent viewership. In other words, sticky viewers. Viewers who will come back again and again and again. How do you build that type of viewership?
As it turns out, all streaming mediums aren’t created equally. Though this challenge resembles one an artist on Spotify or Apple Music might face when building their listener base, music streaming services are designed to be browser-friendly. Twitch? Not so much.
Two biggest challenges facing all streamers
Livestream has a discoverability problem. Browse through Twitch or Facebook Live or any other livestreaming platform and you might think you’re back at Blockbuster Video. How did you know if you wanted to rent a movie? You picked up the case, looking for a star you recognize. Today, Netflix shows you the trailer before you can even finish reading the title, letting you decide instantly if you’re in the mood for “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.”
Livestreaming has a discoverability problem.
Having zero viewers—the obvious consequence of this discoverability problem—is a livestreamer’s worst nightmare. The second-to-worst nightmare? Stream-to-stream drop-off or, in other words, retention. Say you’re a pastry chef who had a strong turnout for your demo on making Boston cream pie. When you’re back in front of the camera, showing off your red velvet cake recipe, you’re going to feel awful if you have fewer viewers than before.
Zero viewers on Twitch.
The average concurrent viewer rollercoaster is no joyride. How do we figure out a baseline number of average viewers that you can feel comfortable? How can we bring ourselves peace of mind?
Retention: Mastering the average viewer rollercoaster
To build the best possible concurrent viewership, livestreamers need their streams to be easily accessible and platform agnostic. With StreamLinks, ToneDen’s livestream marketing tool, that’s all possible.
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The most successful livestreamers know that the more accessible their streams, the more consistent their viewers. The more consistent their viewers, the more their viewership grows. The more their viewership grows, the closer they’ll be to generating revenue from their passion, whether that’s playing World of Warcraft, teaching yoga classes, or rapping on live freestyle sessions. And on Twitch, getting to Twitch Affiliate is the answer to the sphinx’s riddle, the open sesame to monetization.
Twitch Affiliate Invitation
What does it mean to be a Twitch Affiliate? It boils down to:
At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
At least 50 Followers
Path to Twitch Affiliate
To the new livestreamer, those numbers can be daunting. Maybe you can cook up 500 minutes of broadcasting, but the concurrent viewers are out of your control—right?
Wrong. Gamers have solved this puzzle. It makes sense—after all, the likes of Ninja and Pokimane were at the forefront of livestream marketing. So we talked to some of the most successful streamers on Twitch and asked them: How did you get to where you are right now?
They told us. Think of these as the three laws of livestream promotion:
Stream on a Schedule
Tweet & Post When You’re Live
Hope for a Miracle
That’s right: the professional gamers we spoke to all acknowledged the power of the divine, the unexpected, the serendipitous. They cited those deus ex machina type events—an influencer discovers you or endorses your stream—that catapult your average viewership from 5 to 105.
Miracles are good, but when you’re trying to figure out livestream marketing fast, you can’t wait for them. To get to Twitch Affiliate in under thirty days, you need more than blind luck. But consistency and self-promotion alone aren’t enough. There’s that third piece of the puzzle.
Here at ToneDen, as we grew out our livestream presence, we knew we couldn’t wait for the gods of Twitch to grace us with a magic influencer. That’s why we decided to combine what we do best—music and event marketing focused on audience growth—in a tool specifically tailored to the livestreaming vertical.
help livestreamers see unreal growth—with real results. In the next section, we’ll show you how to get started with StreamLinks in ToneDen.
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are universal landing pages designed to promote your livestream while growing a concurrent viewership. StreamLinks address the two biggest issues in livestream marketing: the zero-viewer problem and stream-to-stream drop-off. We designed StreamLinks to be platform agnostic, so they’ll meet your livestream promotion needs, whether you’re streaming on Twitch, Facebook Live, YouTube, or an Instagram simulcast. Turn random, inconsistent viewers into dependable, devoted fans.
Landings pages for any livestream.
The user experience for StreamLinks is simple. A potential viewer encounters your landing page, selects their preferred livestreaming platform, saves the dates, and confirms their interest with an RSVP. From there, they can connect by platform (i.e., Twitch or YouTube) to receive notifications about your livestream. Once they do that, ToneDen will send that potential viewer two email notifications: one 24-hours before you go live, another 30 minutes before. From there, all the viewer has to do is tune in.
The results? StreamLinks routinely bring in least 20 average concurrent viewers. And those viewers stick around: once they’ve clicked on the call to action in the email, they’re routed back to that platform for future streams. On average, nearly 20% of individuals that interact with the StreamLink will attend your stream; roughly one in three individuals submit their email. You grow an audience for your broadcast and build out your email list at the same time.
A step-by-step video walkthrough on how to create a StreamLink.
Let’s Create Your StreamLink
1. Select the livestream platform where you’re broadcasting. If you're simulcasting, you’ll include multiple platforms. If you stream on a platform that isn’t listed, let us know.
Select the livestream platform
2. Name your stream event. Include a description, the duration, and anything else you want potential viewers to know.
If it repeats (i.e., on a weekly basis), check that and and you won't need to create that new event again. Think of it like setting up a recurring meeting on your Google calendar. (Fun fact: the email reminders fans receive will recur if your livestreams do, too.) If you add new dates to your schedule, you can add those as they come up.
Include details about your streaming event.
3. Customize the RSVP. Here, you have multiple options. You can give viewers their choice of platform or you can focus in on a particular platform (i.e., Twitch). If you’re working with a ticketing service like Eventbrite, but still want to send out reminders, you can connect to your Eventbrite ticketing page as well.
Customize the RSVP.
4. Upload an image and customize the look and feel of your landing page. Think of this as the movie poster or the cover art for your livestream. Both landscape-oriented or square images work.
Customize landing page.
5. Decide on the Viewing Experience. What do you want to happen if someone sees your StreamLink when you’re live? Decide if you want the StreamLink to redirect to a specified platform (i.e., Twitch) or embed the live event in theater-mode. A platform redirect will help you build audience engagement; a theater-mode embed will give your viewers a more private experience.
Select live experience.
6. Edit the Metadata. Choose how you want your StreamLink to appear if a viewer shares it on their personal Facebook page. Feel free to modify the StreamLink URL with a custom name.
7. Embed Your Pixel. Any advertising service you use—Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok—comes with a pixel, that tiny string of magic code that allows you to retarget people you advertise to. It's one of the most cost-efficient ways to sell goods and services across the internet, and it’s by and large the most effective means of selling tickets in the livestream and events marketing space.
Embed your pixel.
8. Design the Message. ToneDen will automatically email the people who RSVP for your livestream, but if you want to take matters into your own hands, go for it. (It’s as easy as toggling off.) Remember to customize the sender name and the reply email. You’re welcome to tweak the intro text for those two reminder emails (24 hours and 30 minutes before you go live), though we’ve seen pretty great results with the template text.