Twitch vs Youtube - A Streamer's Guide

Twitch has long been considered the indisputable king of live streaming, but YouTube is starting to catch up. Where should you be streaming in 2021?

Twitch vs Youtube - which is better for streamers?

So, you’ve decided to put yourself out there and give streaming a go, but you’re immediately faced with one of the most important decisions: Twitch vs Youtube? Which is the superior streaming platform?

 

At this point in time, it’s not as straightforward a question anymore. Twitch has definitely had (and still have) the live streaming market cornered. However, YouTube is constantly breathing down Twitch’s neck and is no longer a slouch thanks to quite a few improvements in recent times.

 

To help you make up your mind, we’ve spent hours thoroughly analyzing both platforms. This short guide will cover everything you will need to know about the Twitch or Youtube debate. Let’s jump right in.

Interface & User Experience

Where the Youtube vs Twitch debate gets heated.

Next, we’ll be discussing the interface and how enjoyable each platform is for a potential viewer of your stream.

 

Starting with Twitch, you can immediately tell that the interface was built for live broadcasts. Chat is located on the right side of the screen, with buttons conveniently positioned for cheering, subbing, clipping and redeeming channel points. 

 

Another advantage Twitch has over Youtube, is the customization options that are housed on the streamer’s page. By this, we mainly mean custom overlays, profile panels and other branding elements that you can utilize to engage with a potential viewer.

 

One big issue Twitch faces is that there are quite a lot of options and buttons displayed all over the interface. For a new viewer who is not familiar with Twitch, this can get quite overwhelming.

Twitch’s interface is built with streaming in mind, but can become slightly overwhelming

Moving on to YouTube, we see a very similar experience in terms of the player interface. Streams are viewed in the same player as with pre-recorded content, which is a good thing.

The Youtube interface is familiar to most people, which makes it very easy for a new viewer to engage with your stream. Make sure to check out these amazing YouTube banners to spice up your channel.

Over the years, Youtube has invested heavily into improving their live stream interface, making it easy to understand and accessible. The chat lives right next to the video and there’s a handy option to hide chat if viewers are inclined.

The main downside of YouTube is the lack of customization options. Any link to socials, donations and other pages have to be added to the description. There are no fancy panels for adding branding and flair.

YouTube’s interface is very easy to understand and familiar to many

When it comes to streaming on Twitch vs Youtube, it is extremely important to make sure your viewers have an enjoyable experience. YouTube has made strides in its live broadcast interface, making it almost on-par with Twitch’s.

We’re going to call this one a tie, mainly due to to YT’s improvements and excellent player interface.

Discoverability

Is YouTube's Poor Discoverability A Deal Breaker? Not Really.

Discoverability refers to how easy it is for potential viewers to discover your stream on each platform. We’re not going to beat around the bush here. Both Youtube and Twitch drop the ball hard in this area, each for its own reasons.

 

At first glance, Twitch’s front page does look like it gives viewers quite a bit of content to check out. There are clearly labeled categories which allows a potential viewer to easily find content they might enjoy. However, the more prominent parts are focused on big streamers, major events, and creators who’ve paid for their slot. This makes it a whole lot harder for smaller streamers to get discovered.

 

There are a few options to check out recommended categories, which has recently included a Small Communities section. While it’s a step in the right direction, the front page still leans towards pushing bigger creators. Exploring categories is also a bit of a mixed bag. The bigger a game or category is, the longer a person needs to scroll down to find smaller creators.

It is very hard to discover small streamers through Twitch’s Browse section

As for Youtube, the situation is even worse. The Google owned platform primarily focuses on what it does best, which is pre-recorded content.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know how YT’s front page works. Viewers see a long list of videos recommended to them based on their past activity. 

Occasionally, a live broadcast gets thrown into the mix but typically it’s from creators they’re already subbed to. For someone specifically looking for live content, they’ll have to scroll down and select the Live category in the left sidebar.

YouTube’s front page is familar to many

When analyzing the discoverability both platforms offer for smaller streamers, Twitch takes the win with small margins.

Monetization Options

Twitch or Youtube? Which is the best for making streaming a full-time hustle?

As a streamer, you’re eventually going to want to enable your viewers to support you financially. In this section, it’s all about getting that bread.

 

Over the years, Twitch has taken live broadcasting monetization down to a science, offering you a wide range of ways to earn money while streaming. They’ve got cheers (or bits), subscriptions, extensions, ad revenue, donation panels and merch panels. It’s also very easy to incentivize viewers to sub and cheer by having unlockable emotes.

 

It is also important to note that almost all stream third party tools are compatible with Twitch. For example, if you’re streaming straight from your console, you can use LightStream to automatically add overlays and other media when you’re live.

 

The cherry on top? It only takes becoming a Twitch affiliate to gain access to all of the monetization options. However, the cut they take off the top for subs, cheers and ads is quite sizable.

Twitch offers a wide range of monetization options, even for smaller streamers


Youtube has quite similar options, but they’re not as diverse and harder to reach. To gain access to any of the monetization options here, you will need to have a channel with at least 1000 subscribers and over 4000 hours of watch time.

 

Once you have reached the previously mentioned milestone, you get access to multiple monetization options such as ads, Super Chats and Channel Memberships. Compared to Twitch’s bits, Super Chats just don’t have that same feel. 

 

With all this said, it might seem like Twitch is the obvious winner when it comes to monetization options, but let me stop you right there.

 

If you’re also interested in making videos, YouTube has a huge advantage. You can start posting videos to your YouTube channel and as those videos start to gain traction, they will start bringing in traffic to your livestreams.

 

Those videos will be an incredible way for you to earn passive income for years to come, and we’d also argue that YouTubers have more sponsorship opportunities than Twitch streamers do.

YouTube’s monetization options are limited compared to Twitch

At the end of the day, the decision between Twitch or Youtube when it comes to monetization is quite easy. 

 

If you are only interested in streaming, Twitch is the winner.

 

If you’re interested in both streaming and creating videos, Youtube is the winner.

Community Building

The #1 most important factor. Who helps you build a community?

Without a doubt, the most important aspect of any live streaming platform is the amount of tools it offers to help you grow a community. Building a community is what keeps viewers coming back, after all.

 

Twitch’s biggest benefit lies in its extensions section. These third-party developed little widgets allow you to add interactivity and flair to your broadcast. Some of the best extensions for community building include loyalty systems, viewer leaderboards, minigames, and polls. 

 

Apart from these, Twitch also allows you to have custom emotes. These are often made by artists and are unique to your channel. If you would like our team at GamingVisuals to design you some amazing emotes for your stream, feel free to reach out to us in the live chat!

 

Because of the fact that these emotes are usually created through inside jokes and the internal culture of your stream, viewers have a stronger emotional attachment to them. The downside, especially if you’re an Affiliate, is that they are locked behind subscription number thresholds.

Custom emotes we designed for streamer La Diabla 

YouTube’s community building elements, on the other hand, are quite limited. The platform’s biggest strength is the fact that every live broadcast automatically becomes a persistent video within the platform. This means that people who missed your stream can find it later just like any other YT video.

 

Thanks to the comments section, viewers can leave comments after your stream for you to interact with asynchronously. YT also has channel posts where you can share photos, posts and polls with your fans.

 

In this category, Twitch is indisputably the clear winner, mainly due to its multitude of options for making your stream a more fun-filled and engaging place.

So, is Twitch or YouTube The Ultimate King?

Who takes home the win?

After thoroughly analyzing and comparing both platforms, we would argue that Twitch still has the upper hand when it comes to live broadcasting. They have the tools, the interface and the monetization options to make them the most enticing place to stream on. 

 

But – and this is a big but – both platforms suffer from a critical issue: terrible discoverability. Twitch, despite its efforts, hasn’t made big strides in helping small streamers get noticed. If you’re interested in making videos, YouTube is a lot better in terms of getting discovered. 

 

It is clear that YouTube is investing heavily into live streaming. It’s only a matter of time before they decides to go all-in on streaming, and once they do, you can count on them giving Twitch a serious run for their money. 

 

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