Jan 25, 2023

2023: An Open Letter from Our Chief Product Officer and Chief Monetization Officer

Hello, Twitch! My name is Tom Verrilli, and I’m the Chief Product Officer here at Twitch. My co-author today is Mike Minton, Chief Monetization Officer at Twitch. It’s the start of a new year, and in the spirit of new beginnings, we’d like to share some of our plans with you. 

You stream and build communities on our service, so we want to give you some more insight into what we’re doing to help you do what you do best. As Chief Product Officer, my team’s mission is to create tools and features that enable the community to easily create amazing content, and to ensure that content is found by viewers who will enjoy it. Our Monetization team is focused on helping streamers of all sizes earn income doing what they love, as well as reward and recognize viewers who support their favorite streamers. With our powers combined, we can give you the big picture view of what streamers can expect from us this year. 

First, let’s start with a recap of what Twitch launched for streamers in 2022. 

2022 in Review

In 2022, we launched experiments and improved tools and features to help address some of the common pain points impeding your growth. We also launched a variety of products to help you make more money by using a mix of different monetization tools depending on where you are in your streaming journey.As a result, streamers earned over $1 billion across Twitch in 2022. 

These are some of the tools and changes that helped make all that possible: 

  • Lowering the payout threshold: We rolled out a lower $50 payout threshold — down from $100 — in over 130 countries and to 95% of monetizing streamers. This resulted in over 300,000 streamers getting their first payout, and 39% more streamers are now getting paid on a monthly basis compared to when we were at the $100 threshold.
  • Launching and updating Guest Star: To boost collaboration between streamers and help create new experiences with your community, you can now bring guests onto your stream quickly, easily, and without the risk of strikes. Post-launch updates to Guest Star included support for mobile, a viewer request mode, a dedicated homepage shelf, the ability to follow a guest without leaving the streamer’s channel, and a slew of security features for streamers and mods.  
  • Making it easier to stand out and get discovered: We introduced customizable tags and tag-based collections to the homepage, experimented with a channel switcher that helped viewers try out new streamers, and launched Stream Schedules to help viewers keep track of your upcoming streams. 
  • Launching the Ads Incentive Program: This new program made it easier than ever for streamers to earn reliable income from ads. With a mid-year update that upped the ad rev split to 55%, the AIP has seen consistent opt-ins and strong results for streamers. 
  • Testing with Stream Display Ads: We began testing a less interruptive experience that limits how much of the video player shrinks when SDAs appear. 
  • Helping you understand what is and isn’t working in the content you stream: We recently made improvements to your Creator Dashboard analytics that empower you to make informed decisions. Category Suggestions highlight the categories that are popular with viewers but not yet widely streamed to. The Viewer Engagement Panel lets you see which moments in your stream drove the most engagement. And the Referral analytics graph experiment helps you understand how viewers find your channel from outside of Twitch. 
  • Making charity streams easier and more transparent: Our new built-in fundraising tool removed the hassle of supporting charitable causes on Twitch. Since launch, the number of charity streams has increased 250%, and the community has raised over $1 million using this tool.
  • Rewarding viewers for supporting streamers: For SUBtember 2022, the global community showed up more than ever. To encourage even more support, we began offering viewers new rewards opportunities, like providing three months of Xbox PC Game Pass for new subs. 
  • Maximizing the impact of your community interactions: We’ve introduced new engagement tools to help you create meaningful connections with your viewers, whether they’re joining you for the first time or returning regulars. Chat Highlights and Community Introductions use real-time data about your live audience to create personalized interactions that help you connect with your viewers. Pinned Chat allows you to pin important messages for your viewers at the top of the chat so you don’t need to repeat information throughout your stream.

2023 Lookahead

Our main focus for the year is your growth — both for your communities and for your earnings on Twitch. In the first half of 2023, we’re launching products and tools that make it easier for you to earn without impacting growth, while also improving many of our existing products by expanding their capabilities so they can work harder for you. 

Giving you more options to earn

  • We’re focused on helping facilitate deeper community interaction and innovative viewer recognition. One of those experiences will be Sound Bites, our first-party sound alerts that allow viewers to pay to interact with and support their favorite streamers. Another will be an update to Cheering to give streamers the ability to recognize viewers in more personalized ways.
  • We know that events like SUBtember have a positive impact on streamers’ earnings, so we’re building on this to find more ways to encourage your viewers to support your channel. In addition to our larger global moments, you’ll see more customized local initiatives that help boost support from your viewers and give you a chance to get extra prizes on top of that. We’re also experimenting with personalized discounts based on viewers’ behavior to better inspire streamer support. 
  • As a first step to building a meaningful sponsorship solution, we’ll test features with a select few streamers to make sponsorship deals more effective and authentic on Twitch, thereby making them more lucrative for the streamer and more impactful for the brand. Starting with channel skins and clickable branded graphics, streamers can easily place these brand assets onto streams, above chat, and other places on your channel page for a less disruptive and more engaging sponsorship experience. Once we land on the right solution, we’ll roll this out to more streamers.  
  • We’re bringing more of the tools that help viewers support you to our mobile experience, so that you can earn effectively across your community—no matter how they’re watching. 

New tools that reduce the effort to promote your stream on and off Twitch

  • Promoting your stream on other platforms is a key part of helping viewers discover your channel, but we know it can take hours of work to make promotional content from VODs and clips to share with your community. So we’re launching tools to help you edit and export your clips for vertical, short-form video formats and making it easier to promote your stream on other platforms by working with Twitter to improve how clips and live stream links play in the feed.
  • We will be giving you more tools to help viewers discover your content, including: 
    • Pinned Clips, which will allow you to pin up to 20 clips to your channel page. These clips will give new viewers a better idea of what your stream is about, and will be fully at your discretion and include safety controls.   
    • Stream Title emotes will let you — wait for it — add emotes into your stream title. 
    • The Upcoming Streams section is coming to Twitch mobile apps. This will help viewers keep track of and tune in to streams for all the streamers they follow, all in one place.

Making running ads easier and better for you

  • We’re updating the Ads Incentive Program to reflect requests from the community to make the program easier and more flexible. You can stay opted in once you’re in, and you’ll have more flexibility to adjust the number of ads you’re running. 
  • We’re also improving the ad running experience. We have heard from you all that it can be difficult to know when an ad is about to run, thereby making it difficult to prepare yourself and your community for the interruption. We will make changes to Ads Manager to help you have more visibility and control over when the ads roll.
  • We know some viewers find value in an ad-free experience, so we’re working on making Twitch Turbo — which offers perks like ad-free viewing and chat upgrades to emotes and badges — better and more relevant for our community. We’re excited to share more updates later this year.

Improving how and where ads show up on Twitch

  • In the first half of this year, we’re making two changes to improve the way ads work for viewers and channels: First, we’re updating the way disabling pre-rolls works for channels. Running three minutes of ads per hour in any way will disable all pre-rolls — they no longer have to be split into 90-second ads every 30 minutes.  Second, we’re applying our Picture-by-Picture experience to the majority of pre-rolls that viewers do see. 
  • We’re also exploring ways to give communities a heads up when ads are coming and the ability to snooze video mid-roll ads.
  • We will make it easier for you to flag to your community when you’re working with advertisers on branded content.

Improving Guest Star with easier collaboration and customization

  • We’re rolling out browser support for Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari and launching more granular audio tooling for streamers who want more control over their guest’s audio (e.g. auto muting doubled sources, turning off echo cancellation for musical guests).
  • Streamers have been playing together since Twitch was invented, spawning dozens of third party sites and even our own product. But fundamentally, these solutions were enhancements on having two tabs open at once — they didn’t allow the members of both communities to interact. Utilizing the technology we built for Guest Star, we’re going to experiment with experiences that will enable truly cross channel streaming experiences.

Creating first party tools to better celebrate viewers

  • We’re focused on helping facilitate deeper community interaction and innovative viewer recognition. To help you engage with your viewers in better ways, we’re creating tools to help you celebrate moments of support from your community, making them more interactive and personalized. We’re working on developing unique alerts that you can only find on Twitch and will have more to share in the next few months. One of those experiences will be Sound Bites, our first-party sound alerts that allow viewers to pay to interact with and support their favorite streamers.
  • Viewer Milestones will help you recognize viewers for hitting certain achievements during your stream, creating more personalized relationships with your viewers. 

Giving you better insight into what’s working and where there are opportunities to improve the content you stream. 

  • We’re rolling out Creator Home to all Affiliates and Partners, giving you a personalized, dynamic ‘homebase’ that surfaces the most relevant tips and actionable recommendations to help you grow, based on where you are on your streaming journey. 
  • We’re adding more analytics updates, including:
    • Tag impression analytics that help you understand the number of viewers who saw your stream within a tag-filtered Browse page or in a Twitch search result for each tag.
    • Data on the best days and times to stream in various games or categories to help you reach more viewers.
    • Audience retention data so you can understand how you are engaging and retaining viewers. 

Helping you recognize and connect with your community, whether you’re live or offline

  • We know that many of you want the ability to stay in touch with your community even when you aren’t live, so we’re excited to launch a messaging product that allows you to send video and clip messages, targeted to your followers or subscribers, while you’re offline. 
  • We’re also building a Q&A tool to allow you to take prompts from their audience, with mod tools that will allow them to vet and approve the links before you show them on stream.

Doubling down on discovery improvements that help viewers discover new content

  • We will expand on our 2022 launch of customizable tags that let streamers describe their stream in their own words by building the backend infrastructure to identify and collect streams related to the same topic (e.g. speedrunning), and feature these collections all over Twitch. We will also make these content collections browsable and persistent, which means you’ll be able to find the communities of streamers who stream using a custom tag with a fixed URL.
  • We are introducing a new discovery feature on mobile that will allow viewers to seamlessly scroll through a feed of recommended channels and clips with ease. It’s perfect for viewers who are looking to discover new streamers when they have only a few minutes to spare.

Going Forward

We love seeing what you can do when you’re enabled and empowered. We’re launching these features and tools because we want you to be able to build the communities you want to build, more easily and more reliably. 

Together, we can make Twitch better for all of us, so it’s important that we show up, tell you about what we’re working on, and get your input. We’ll also share updates more consistently to get you excited about what we’re building. This year, to help enable that feedback, we’re trying a few new things to help make those conversations easier and more frequent. 

First, we’ll be launching an experiments help page to give you more insight into some of the experiments we’re running on Twitch, whether you’re taking part in an experiment or not. We’re also committing to showing up on stream more to share regular updates and answer your questions.

This list isn’t comprehensive, and we’ll share more details about what we’re working on when we can. In fact, tomorrow is our first Patch Notes of the year and we will be talking more live about what we’ve shared here. Come join us on twitch.tv/twitch at 12 noon PT, and we’ll see you in chat.

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