How to Use Twitch Metrics and Analytics

Fair warning, there’s not a real exciting way to write a post about metrics. In all honesty, metrics are one my least favorite things I’ve ever been held accountable for in any job I’ve ever had.

That said:

There’s no better way to measure your current performance and improve the quality of your stream. Especially if you have ADHD (like me) or are just plain bad at self-awareness across time.

cute kitten falling asleep with paws and toe beans showing
mfw metrics are brought up.

Knowing Your Goal

Way back in the How to Set the Best Goals post I talked about setting goals. Twitch metrics and analytics is where you’ll be able to see progress.

A lot of this will sound dehumanizing to your viewers, and by reducing them to a number or plot point it kinda is.

But even if your stream isn’t all about swimming in bits like Scrooge McDuck, making use of the data can help you direct your stream towards quality and a more enjoyable viewing and streaming experience.

That said, I’m going to begin with Twitch’s metrics and spread out from there:

Twitch Insights

Once logged in, you can view Twitch Metrics from often-redesigned Creator Dashboard. Underneath Twitch Insights you’ll find:

  • Channel Analytics
  • Stream Summary
  • Achievements

Each one of these offers valuable tools to measure and I’ll go into each in detail.

Channel Analytics

This is where the Big Data Nerds (hey, I’m one of you) will spend most of their time.

At first glance, it may appear pretty streamlined, but beyond changing the reporting period, you can also swap the display between the following metrics:

Average Viewers and Live Views

One of the more beneficial Twitch metrics is knowing how many people are actually watching your stream.

Whether their eyes are glued to the screen or not isn’t particularly as important, since your viewer count alone is what ranks your stream on the category page.

Higher viewer number means higher on the page. Higher on the page means viewers browsing for a channel have to scroll less to find you.

New Followers

I’m going to go over the uselessness of followers further on, but for anyone unfamiliar, this is the number of new people who clicked the little heart on your stream.

Subscriptions

Unlike YouTube, a Twitch Subscription is a user putting money down and saying they value your content.

Once you reach affiliate or partner status, this becomes an incredibly useful metric for determining the growth of your channel.

It’s also one of the more rewarding metrics to focus on since it equates to money in your pocket.

Revenue

Similar to subscriber numbers, this Twitch metric is going to roll in the revenue from bits to the share you receive from the paid subscribers and Twitch Prime subscriptions.

Early in your affiliate status, tracking this category across multiple months will give you a better impression of when you’ll reach the payout threshold I wrote about in How and Why to Monetize Your Twitch Channel.

Minutes Watched and Time Streamed

Like followers, these are largely irrelevant and are predominately dependent upon the type of stream and what demographic you’re even targeting.

Unless your personal goal is, “I want to have viewers watch a million minutes of me in a month by next October while only streaming 4 hours every business day” it’s easy to never look at this.

Max Viewers and Average Unique Viewers

Both of these are solid Twitch metrics for channel growth and I recommend keeping tabs on both.

Max Viewers can help you understand which days of the week your viewers are most likely to catch your stream.

For example:

If you have max viewers in the 50s and 60s Friday Saturday and Sunday, but your Monday morning stream barely hits 20, then it might be worth taking that day off and saving that energy for the weekend.

Average Unique Viewers take into account viewers who might have you playing on their phone, ps4, and a laptop all in the same household. This is an important distinction since it’s one of the primary metrics Twitch will use in determining partnership.

Host/Raid Viewers

Although not as important as the prior Twitch metrics, it’s important to check every once in a while. If you are popular in a particular community you may see a lot of raids and hosts, which will lead to a lot of viewers.

However:

Those viewers aren’t considered yours. They are artificially boosting your viewership, and are not considered by Twitch toward partnership.

You’ll still make advertising revenue, bits, subscriptions off of them of course. Just keep in mind that if a majority of your average viewership is coming from raids, you might have to start thinking about how to grow your own channel community instead of relying on the support of benevolent streamers.

Average Chatters and Average Chat Messages

This is a great Twitch metric to keep track of viewer engagement. An engaged viewer is one who is actively watching your stream.

There is no metric for determining if a lurker is staring at your stream or left their laptop open in the basement. This means that chat is one of your most reliable sources of knowing whether or not you’re screaming into an empty void or not.

Clips Created and Clip Views

In the same sense that chat is important, clips created will show your viewer engagement, assuming you aren’t being posted to some livestreamfails subreddit filled with trolls and/or neo-nazis.

However:

Clip Views isn’t particularly useful since they can play on loop. That’s something to keep in mind.

Ad Breaks and Ad Time Per Hour

Assorted billboards displayed at night in Times Square New York City
People love advertising, right? Right.

As an affiliate and partner, you’ll be able to run ads. Twitch can also run ads, and these two metrics won’t show how many or how often they do this from my experience.

This is only for ads you run during your stream, manually.

It’s too much to get into right now, and I may write a future article about it, but the CPM (cost per thousand of impressions) is anywhere from $2 to $10. It’s typically around $3.50ish which has been better than Google Adsense in my experience

But:

That’s still only $10, in a best-case scenario, for 1,000 views of the ad. That’s 50 viewers seeing 20 ads! I would seriously recommend avoiding rolling ads during your stream unless you are considerably popular in your category and even then I’d only do it during breaks and I’d still find this metric useless.

Notification Engagements

When you go live, you can opt to notify your followers if they are running the Twitch App for Android, IOS, or have the site open. Twitch specifies on the Stream Summary page that an “engagement” is the “# of followers that tapped or clicked the notification when you went live”.

Honestly, it is an interesting metric you could use to tailor an extremely well-crafted notification call to action but that effort could be better placed elsewhere.

Stream Summary

The Stream Summary page is going to house many of the same reports as the Channel Analytics page, so I’m going to save the fingers from typing out all of that again.

What’s different is these will be specific to a single stream and the report can show you hourly activity.

This is exceptionally important to help you understand not only when your viewers are engaged but when they are likely to even watch your channel.

And not all of it will be obvious!

Let’s take a scenario where you are a variety gaming streamer and you noticed that one week back in November you had twice as many viewers.

You could use the graphs and “Where did my views come from?” sections to determine whether it was from a Reddit, Discord, E-Mail notifications, or if it was just a more popular and different time of day than your usual streams.

The usefulness of the Stream Summary page can not be overstated, and it is refreshed by the day after a stream.

Achievements

Achievements are a friendly way Twitch has of providing you useful goals and a related metric to achieve that goal without a deep dive into Excel.

The achievement area is where you can find the minimum requirements for affiliate and partnership status tracked with your stream averages.

To be honest, there’s a pretty big jump between the achievements for affiliate and the ones for partner.

It’s nice to receive alerts about how awesome it is that you hit 10 total viewers or that you streamed for 25 hours total, etc. It’s not so nice to week after week see the same achievement outside of your reach when it jumps to “Have 100 viewers at the same time”.

In that respect, I wish they’d add more of these silly things because they are kinda fun, but not particularly useful after you’ve hit the affiliate mark.

Why Followers is a Terrible Twitch Metric

The follower count for Twitch, unlike for Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube’s version (called subscribers), does not affect the likelihood new viewers will see your content more or less.

And then we have bots.

There are unscrupulous streamers out there who pay for view bots to actively watch their channel and pump up their viewer number to rise through the ranks.

This is super-duper against Twitch’s terms of service and kinda defeats the point of wanting more viewers. Like, you want viewers right, not just a bigger view number?

Besides, it’s not like Twitch can’t tell who is a view bot and who isn’t when deciding whether to give you partnership.

Anyways:

The reason I bring it up is that the people who run these view bot sites need to have tons of view bots, rights? And those bots need accounts. Those accounts need to look like normal, regular viewers, right?

Maybe you see where I’m going.

Some day, down the road, you might see yourself go from 5-10 viewers to having 350 and 800 new followers or something crazy like that.

They might spam chat with a bunch of nonsense copypasta or they might not chat at all.

Don’t worry, you won’t get banned for having view bots unless you intentionally brought them to your channel. Notify Twitch support after the stream and move on.

However, view bots are a large reason why follower counts are 100% worthless as a metric for your stream health.

Sure, you need followers to get viewers, notification engagement, subscribers, bits, etc. But you can already track that stuff, and those things can’t be gamed as easily as the follower count.

Until some major change happens, you can pretty safely ignore your follower count past the laughably low affiliate requirement of 50.

Using Social Media as a Twitch Metric

Outside of the Twitch ecosystem, you can use your social media accounts and their reports for a measure of your Twitch success.

For example, sending a Tweet or a Facebook Pages status update out when you go live. Each service lets you see how many people saw the message, clicked it, hid the message, etc.

For some of these services (Instagram…), tracking the data might require Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Nevertheless, it’s still a solid metric for engagement outside of your streams.

If you post clips and highlights to YouTube, you’ll have access to a ridiculous load of metrics thanks to Google Analytics as well.

Can Google Analytics be Used as a Twitch Metric?

Outside of putting clips and highlights on YouTube? No.

Which is a shame, because Google Analytics can be used to track lots of non-Google services. I use them for this website, for example!

If you’ve never messed with Google Analytics before or don’t know much about it, woo-boy it was the scariest amount of data access I had ever seen.

Well:

Up until I saw what Facebook tracks when I tried Facebook Ads. Horrifying.

Streamlabs Metrics

If you use Streamlabs extensions or SLOBS you can link your Twitch account and provide them authorization and get more Twitch metrics.

Another nice thing about Streamlabs is they can also handle merch sales and give you data on that as well. Not to mention any engagement info regarding extension use, song requests, polls, etc.

Affiliate Traffic Reports

Assuming you’ve been following my guide on How and Why to Monetize Your Twitch Channel, you’ll have access to reports from your affiliate sources.

An example will be the Amazon Associates dashboard, which can show not only how many people are clicking your product links, but also the types of purchases that were made in the following days.

You’ll be able to tell if your viewers are super interested in gardening or if they took your suggestion on that that awesome Logitech C922x I keep telling everyone about.

“True Fan” as a Metric

Less exact of a Twitch metric is the idea of a what writer Kevin Kelly called a “true fan” in his now popular essay 1,000 True Fans.

Kelly described a True Fan as someone willing to spend $100 profit on anything related to a creator throughout a year. That $100 could be anything from books, t-shirts, art prints, bit cheers, subscriptions or really anything.

That does require you have enough content to even make $100 profit from in a year. A 12-month Twitch subscription to your channel will only net you around $30.

Regardless, the idea is you would only need 1,000 of them to earn $100,000 per year. Which would be fantastic for a lot of streamers.

Depending on your stream type and goals, you can make a personal definition of a true fan that works for you. The more important concept is to keep track.

Stream Quality Metrics

Not every Twitch metric needs to be specific to channel growth or your income. There are as many reasons to stream as there are types of streamers, and it doesn’t hurt to get a little more creative with your metrics.

If you stream as a source of stability in your life, or for socialization purposes, keeping track of the number of days you streamed is a great metric. This can be recorded as easily as a calendar beside your desk with a big red sharpie where you cross through the day at the end of your stream very dramatically.

Perhaps, you are using streaming as a reward for other activities. Or to keep you from zoning out 100% of the time on Breath of the Wild. If you only allow yourself to stream after you’ve run on the elliptical for 20 minutes, or only allow yourself to play games while streaming, then your hours streamed has now become a metric of your new healthy lifestyle.

I’m personally extremely bad with time and keeping to a schedule, due in large part to severe ADHD. Streaming gives me a routine, with the analytics page and reports acting as positive reinforcement showing how much I’ve accomplished.

Homework

I want any streamer reading this to take some time to look at the Stream Summaries for the last few streams. Find a metric you care about tracking, and set yourself a reasonable goal.

Conclusion

This is the final article in the How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series that I set out to write. I feel like I should throw myself a party.

I won’t, of course, because like most streamers I’m broke AF and should be streaming.

Anyways, I will continue making twitch related posts and articles as they come up or people ask me about topics. Right now I have articles in the works about the new “Twitch Points” system and “Hype Train” systems! Let me know if you’d like to know about anything else!

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