Putting Tip, Twitch Sub, Twitch Cheers, Follow Into Context

By 19 June, 2017 No Comments

Yesterday as I livestreamed on my Twitch channel I started to talk about sales pitch for StreamEvolve. However that quickly turned into how you can apply the same ideas to a Twitch channel. Of course with minor adjustments but still it would all work.

After awhile I stumbled into the context of tipping, subscribing and cheering on Twitch. I talked about how the context around them changes how people look at them and how the experience changes based on that context. If you have time check out the highlight that I put together. In this article I’m however going to go over it all in a bit more detail.

The different monetary context

In my stream I talked about how I should use Call To Actions in the middle of a broadcast. Not only as a image or ad, but rather rather actually talking directly to the viewer to get them to take action. This action of course don’t have to be for monetary reasons but let’s start there since that will show you what I mean by context. I’ll try to go over the following and engagment context at a later date.

[mks_col] [mks_one_third]Tipping

  • Handled through PayPal (or other external)
  • Often one time donation for a thank you
  • Range (infinite)
  • Message
  • In the moment
[/mks_one_third] [mks_one_third]Subscription

  • Monthly/repeated
  • (once Prime Sub)
  • Limited range
  • Not in the moment
[/mks_one_third] [mks_one_third]Cheering[/mks_one_third]
  • Handled through Twitch
  • Not a tip (this will come into play)
  • In the moment
  • Range (infinite)
  • Emote/Icon

As you can see these all of a slightly different context. Even if there might, at times, only be small differences these differences matters a lot more than you might think.

Context of Tipping

Tipping can take a few different forms and this is depending a lot on what type of channel you have or what type of channel you want to have. For instance for a larger channel the only way to get a message or delivery a link or repeat a meme is through a donation message, be it text-to-speech or plain text. For another channel it might be all about supporting the streamer to get them to where they want to go. I could keep going but let’s stop there for now.

Something that Tipping have above anything else is that it’s now part of the culture. The culture is not only that it have existed for longer than subscriptions but also because it’s part of the daily life of streamer earning money to sustain their stream.

This isn’t something that randomly happened. It happened through the message being pushed by, almost, every single streamer out there for a long time. Even if it have switched over to CTA’s about subscribing it’s still ingrained into the Twitch culture.

I recently wrote a short paragraph about how Twitch tech companies are tapping into this revenue source. They’re doing so by being part of the “support the streamer” narrative. It’s not a bad narrative since, at it’s core, is most likely true. The reason why they’re doing it is because it is speaking to the context of the market.

One of the downsides to a donation is that it often can be a one time thing and then that’s it. This freedom can also be the upside. As someone can tip at any rate and how many times they want. This does leave it as an unstable revenue stream. This is the reason why streamers, even if they can make more money from tips, still rather push subscribing.

Finally donations are in the moment. This context is probably the most important. While the other ones builds this up, this is at the core the strongest argument for a donation. It happens right there as reaction, counter argument, discussion, surprise, congratulation, meme and so on. This is what truly makes tipping an important part of the Twitch culture. The same way that a livestream is in the moment so is tipping.

Context of Subscribing

For the longest time tipping was the only way to support a streamer. However there was no revenue for Twitch from this. Instead that cut went to PayPal, or other similar services. Then in stepped subscribing, prime subs and now tired subscribing.

While subscribing used to be a monthly commitment until Prime Subscriptions entered the picture. Where often a viewer jumps from streamer to streamer every month as the Prime Subscription is up for grabs. Yes things have changed when it comes to subscribing with the introduction of Twitch Prime.

Still subscribing for more than a month shows dedication and further more it shows that you are showing your support. I think most, if not all, streamers can agree that it’s beautiful gesture and specially when doing it for several months in a row. There’s also the limit of range and time. You can really only subscribe once a month (even if with tired subscription you realistically do it 2 or 3 times a month) and there’s no way to go above the stated amount by Twitch.

One of the big difference is of course that subscribing tends not to be in the moment. Even if you can leave a message with your sub there’s still those that choose to re-subscribe while the streamer is offline. Still I do know that sub-trains a very much a in the moment thing and are far from uncommon. However you can see this coming from the tip/donation goal from back in the day. This of course didn’t stop with sub-trains but carried over into cheering as well (more on that further down).

As you can start to see there’s still a cultural difference between a tip and a subscription. While they are small they matter.

Context of Cheering

It’s interesting to see how Twitch themselves are trying to push themselves into the same system as Twitch tech companies. It does show that it’s the right path to take for business that are trying to make their way into the Twitch ecosystem.

Cheering, while having similarities to tipping, Twitch have made sure that you don’t call it tipping, donation or anything similar to that. It’s to “Cheering” in those “in the moment” moments, and that leads us back to the context of a tip. Twitch want to play into the same feeling and in the moment action that a tip does.

So why haven’t cheering knocked donation away? There could be several reasons but I do want to lean back on the context and the culture of Twitch. People do it to support the streamer and in most cases you can even check a box where the viewer pays for the transfer fee. Meaning that it feels more like you’re giving the total amount to the streamer. In some cases that plays out in that people want to give more to the streamer and in other that they don’t want to support Twitch (sounds weird? It is however very much a thing).  With bits you know that there’s a split and there’s no way to effect that… even if bits and cheering aren’t about money.

That brings us to the next thing. This is from the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) by Twitch for bits and cheering.

  • Giving Bits to a broadcaster as a payment substitute to a broadcaster, or in response to a request for financial support; or
  • Soliciting Bits for donations or other financial support.

What does that mean? Well tipping have very much been associated more or less giving financial aid. In those two lines, and there’s more there to read, the Twitch culture of supporting the streamer sort of goes away. While most viewers probably don’t always see it as they’re cheering but instead as giving financial support, or as it says in the AUP:

  • Users may use Bits to celebrate amazing moments, show support for broadcasters, and be recognized.

But when the narrative around it aren’t allowed to talk about it such terms there will be a change in the context around it. This creates a unique context around cheering and that slight change makes if different to tipping. Again, these might sound like small things but that little change makes a huge difference in the big picture.

There we go. Something that turned from a conversation on stream to a an article… and a rather long one at that. Didn’t actually expect it to be as long as it ended up being.

All of this is of course part of Twitch branding at it’s core. If you’re looking for Twitch branding check out my Professional Twitch Services.



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