April 4, 2020

YouTube Gaming: The Worst Live Streaming Platform For Creators?


(techno music) – YouTube gaming, is it the worst live streaming
platform for creators? Well, we’re gonna look at the numbers, we’re gonna look at the top creators, we’re gonna look at strategies
we’ve done to become kings on the platform, we’re gonna look at strategies that have ultimately died on the platform, and we’re gonna compare
and contrast YouTube to Mixer and to Twitch, to give you a complete view on whether YouTube gaming
is the worst platform for live streamers right now, or whether there truly is an opportunity. And if you tune in to
the end of the episode, we’ve got examples, real examples, of people only streaming on YouTube making tens of thousands
of dollars per month. What’s the strategy that they’re using, that’s actually working? It’s all right here in this episode of The Digital Drop. The number one podcast for gaming creators where we help you make gaming content, full-time. There could be something in this episode that could change your thinking and trigger your growth, so listen to the whole
thing, all the way through. My name is Andrew Wall,
digital marketing executive, I appreciate ya tunin’ in. And I’m joined, as always, by my wonderful co-host, Andrew Perrin, senior social media manager,
how ya doin’, buddy? – I’m doin’ great. Glad to be back, and I’m really, really
interested in this episode. I think we’ve got some
great data to throw at you. And we might actually change your opinion on a couple of things. So, I’m really interested
in how this turns out. – Yeah, so many new developments since we were there, at the beginning of YouTube gaming, to launch it, and working directly with Google, giving them feedback on the
platform, from the beginning, we know everything there
is to know about it, (laughing) we’ve produced and released
over 10 thousand videos on YouTube, gaming videos, throughout this process, and we’ve got so many insights. Brand new ones, if you’ve listened to us talk about it in the
past, brand new stuff. Ross A. Dillon is here, creator of VGF Gamers, one of the biggest gaming
Twitter accounts on the planet, how ya doin’, buddy? – Fantastic. I am, got my notepad, here, I’m ready to take some
notes, learn from you guys. It’s like we always say, you always need to be
willing to learn more, this is one of the areas that I definitely need to learn more, so, we gon’ learn, today, boys. – Yes we are. And we wanna thank Rode Microphones for making us sound so
freakin’ good, on this podcast, we are sponsored by Rode. All of the vocals you’re
gonna hear during this episode have no extra post-production
effects, enhancements, normalization, EQ, none of that. This is the raw sound of the Rode Procaster microphone, and Rodecaster mixers that we
all have in our home studios. We just turned on the on-board processing, this is the way it sounds out the box. If ya like it, and you’re shoppin’ for some
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equipment guide right now, and, hopefully, this gear can help you take your game to the next level, and help you succeed, if
you’re tryin’ to make it happen on YouTube gaming. Thank you Rode, for
sponsoring this podcast and for supporting creators. Before we go into all
of our insights about creating gaming content ourselves, over the last 10 years, on the internet, workin’ full-time, from home, helping creators go full-time, et cetera, even the anecdotes we’re gonna share about the big streamers, that
are successful on YouTube, the ones that made it for a bit, and died, and the ones that ultimately failed. Before we get into all
that anecdotal stuff, let’s just look at the facts. Let’s look at the numbers, and where the market
currently is, right now, and, to my knowledge,
Newzoo and Streamlabs have the numbers on how
viewership and hours watched and a number of creators are, actually, lining up here at the end of 2019 on YouTube, versus Mixer, versus Twitch. So, Perrin, what are the facts? Let’s start with the facts, and then we’ll move into our opinions and kinda the strategies that
are supported by those facts. – Sure, so, the first
fact that’s clear to me is the number of live unique channels that are streaming on YouTube gaming has dropped, quite significantly, from Q2 2019 to Q3. Just in one quarter,
dropping from 1.17 million down to 884 thousand. It’s a–
– Oh my God, wow. That’s like 40%. 40% of the streamers, on YouTube gaming disappeared over the summer? – Yeah, big news, or something, obviously has triggered
most YouTube to understand that this is not the place to be anymore. I imagine, due to the app being gone, due to YouTube not really
supporting YouTube gaming in any way, or any capacity, anymore, its just sharply declined. The number of people, YouTubers, adding that to their strategy, they just cut that part
of their strategy out. And this has been reflected in the total hours streamed, as well. Its dropped from 12.6
million to 11.1 million, so over a million hours streamed, that’s declined from Q2 2019, to Q3 2019. So, just streaming gaming on Twitch, or, sorry, on YouTube, in total, has just dropped significantly. So Mixer dropped from Q2 2019 from 100.9 million hours watched, to 90.2 in Q3, and this is actually the
first time, since 2018, that its dropped, its been on a steady
incline, its been going up, more hours watched, Mixer’s been growing,
Mixer’s been growing. Ninja makes this deal, the hours drop, I thought that was really,
really interesting. – That’s crazy. That’s crazy, because, when you look at the number of channels that have moved over to Mixer, in Q2 to Q3, it’s insane. – Exactly.
– It went from, what? 1.9 million up to 3.9 million, so you’re telling me that, – That’s wild. – Two million streamers joined Mixer when Ninja jumped over, but the number of hours watched declined? – Yeah, so, here’s the picture that this paints: I think Mixer thought that Ninja would bring his audience over, and there would be a lot
more hours watched on Mixer, but that actually did not
end up being the case. What Ninja brought over
was a bunch of streamers, not viewers, he brought
all these streamers who followed the leader, and all these streamers did not bring any audience over, at all, otherwise it would’ve grown. Even if they brought one
viewer over, it would’ve grown. (laughing)
You know what I mean? If they all brought one
viewer, it would’ve grown, but it did not. So he has a bunch of people
following the leader, wanting to be Ninja. He brought over a bunch of streamers who did not bring over
any viewership to Mixer. So, what Mixer was looking at is a huge boom to their site, I actually think now
they’re in a huge pickle, because they’ve got all
these streamers streaming to no new audience, they haven’t grown audience,
in fact they’ve declined. So, Mixer, being a potential opportunity, now, when we’re looking
at the actual data, I would not say there’s
an opportunity here, I’d say Mixer is totally
oversaturated now, do not go there.
(laughing) Do not follow in the footsteps of Ninja, ’cause it’s not gonna work out for you. – How is this relevant to YouTubers? How is this relevant to YouTube gaming? Well, the story is clear. Everybody saw Mixer growing, potentially, Ninja went over there, maybe
that’s the big opportunity, 400 thousand streamers
jumped off of YouTube gaming as soon as YouTube abandoned the platform, they thought Mixer was the place, and it turns out: it
wasn’t the place to grow. This is crazy. So, here’s where we are
right now, on YouTube gaming. Here’s a quick history of how we got here. YouTube launched YouTube gaming a handful of years ago, with an app and this big plan that they were gonna have a
separate version of YouTube that was dedicated just to gamers, and you would only see
gaming content there, and they were gonna double down on gaming which was one of the biggest
verticals on their platform, next to music and then, eventually, kids. But, unfortunately, they
abandoned the project, entirely. And they did this PR spin that, ‘We still have youtube.com/gaming,
guys, so it’s okay’, but nobody bought it. So people left, in mass,
as these numbers indicate, from Q2 to Q3, to go look
for other opportunities, because they weren’t
growing on YouTube anymore. Well, why weren’t they growing on YouTube, doing live streams? Why wasn’t that working out? Well, when YouTube gaming
launched, back in the day, we were there, at the launch, we were actually covered in the press as being the face of YouTube gaming by Bloomberg, and stuff,
with TGN Squadron. And there was big
viewership on YouTube gaming when it launched, because YouTube was pushing live content through the algorithm,
when the platform launched. They were giving it a real chance. When you live stream on YouTube gaming for the first, even, six months, if you streamed a game,
your stream, regularly, could be a top search
result for that game, when people were searching for that game. So, if you were live
all day for, let’s say, World of Warcraft, anybody who’s searching
for World of Warcraft, you may be able to leapfrog hundreds, thousands of videos to get to the front page search results for a mega-title, like World of Warcraft, or any other gamer streaming, that was sick. Unfortunately, over time, what
the algorithm told Google, what the algorithms
eventually told Google, and they told YouTube, is that live streams
don’t get clicked as much as videos, on YouTube. And, as they saw this
trend play out, over time, they decided, ‘Well, we need to give ‘the content that’s getting clicks ‘the suggestions, through
YouTube’s algorithm, ‘and we need to get the content ‘that doesn’t get as many clicks ‘outta the way.’ That is you, live streamers, you’re now outta the way. Your live streams are not getting clicks and so, you, when you
live stream on YouTube, are going to get a zero traction, or very little traction. And so, that’s where we are today. Streamers are trying to find
a home for their live stream. They’re tryin’ it on YouTube,
it’s not workin’ out. They’re goin’ over to
Mixer, it’s not workin’ out. They’re goin’ over to
Twitch, it’s oversaturated. So what the hell are you supposed to do? And so, that leads us to our story we told just a moment ago. Everybody is gonna follow
the leader, of course. If you can’t figure out
how to do it yourself, you’re gonna follow the big guy and just copy them and hope that, like Ninja moving over to Mixer, that that strategy’s gonna
work out for you, right? You’re gonna ride the wave. Well, it didn’t work on Mixer. So, is it gonna work on YouTube, then? Well, there’s big YouTube
success stories out there, like Typical Gamer. He’s the king of YouTube Live,
and YouTube gaming right now, and he gets tens of thousands of viewers on his live streams on YouTube. So how come all the thousands of people that are copying him, right now, aren’t getting tens of
thousands of viewers? I mean, his most recent live stream with Fortnite season two, got number one trending on
YouTube gaming, overall, like gaming overall,
on the entire platform, it got millions of views. Can you do that, on YouTube? The answer is no, that’s right. (laughing)
– Yeah. – When you try to do
what the top guy does, it doesn’t work out for you. Especially when you have zero viewership, or you have low viewership. So, you see, when people
reach the pinnacle of a platform, or a game, or a vertical, or the area that they’re in, you can’t just fast-forward to endgame, and be Ninja today, and just run Ninja’s strategy and hope that works. You can’t fast-forward
to endgame, on YouTube, like Typical Gamer, and just run his strategy
and hope that works. You have to do phase one, which is find your
audience and your niche, then you have to do phase two, grow upon that audience and that niche, and monetize it, then you can reach phase three, maturity in full time, and then you can reach phase four, which is endgame, which is
where these guys are at. And everybody that thinks
they can just copy these guys and go straight to endgame, I’m sorry, there’s no FastPass to endgame. You can’t just do what they’re doing, you need to build an audience somewhere that you can get organic traction, non-paid traction for
a niche, as step one. And, as you can see, these
numbers prove everybody fails, who tries to skip to endgame and so, I’m tellin’ you, don’t do it, you’re wasting your time. Millions of people, literally, the data’s here to prove it, millions of people have
done this, recently, by abandoning YouTube and going to Mixer, and they all wasted their time. Uh oh. So, is everything hopeless on YouTube? Are we telling you, ‘Don’t do anything’? No, actually, YouTube is
an amazing opportunity for gaming creators. It’s still the biggest opportunity for gaming creators, right now, but not to live stream on. To release videos on. YouTube is the best video
platform in the world, I don’t see anybody even coming
close to surpassing YouTube in terms of VOD content,
video on demand content, non-live content, in the next five years. I think it’s nearly
impossible for that to occur. And so, what you have to do, is do a multi-platform
strategy, as a streamer, with YouTube being your foundation, where you release videos on YouTube. And if you release videos
on YouTube, you can grow, you can get clicks, you can get viewers, you can get followers, so that if you decide
to expand your streaming to another platform, you actually have somewhere
for audience to come from, because you’re not gonna
get audience on Mixer, we just showed ya the numbers, ya aren’t gonna get audience on Twitch, there’s way too many streamers there, there’s millions of people streaming there that are getting zero viewers, and ya aren’t gonna get
audience on Facebook Gaming unless you’re paying for advertising. So the only platform,
big platform, for gamers, where you can get audience for free, right now, is YouTube. So, running a multi-platform
strategy is the way to go. And I’ve been a part of, or
advised on, in some capacity, the switch to Twitch
success, in these cases of full-time creators like MandJTV, also former co-workers and folks I’ve managed, like MFPallytime, have released videos on YouTube for years. Grown hundreds of thousands
of followers on YouTube. And when they decided to start
live streaming on YouTube, it was going okay, and it was starting to decline. And so, they asked themselves, ‘Well, what am I gonna do with my streams? ‘I’ve got this huge audience on YouTube, ‘but, when I stream on YouTube, it sucks, ‘it’s destroying my channel.’ And they were correct, it was. And so, they decided to
use their YouTube audience and push it over to Twitch. And why did they decide to do that? Well, Twitch has the most
favorable monetization of any streaming platform, and it has the most
viewership, potentially. And so, if you have an audience that you can drive from
your YouTube channel, a channel that you built from videos, that are getting highly clicked, that are getting watched
all the way through, getting highly searched,
within a particular niche, then you can drive that
audience to Twitch, you can drive that audience to Mixer, you can drive that audience
to Facebook Gaming, you can drive that audience
to anywhere you want, but you gotta build the audience, first. And that’s what full-time
creators are doing, building that niche, then
growing upon that niche and building an audience
and starting to monetize it, then going full-time. And then, once you’re in a position where you can go full-time, with your YouTube channel
being your foundation, they you can expand into endgame, which is live streaming on a
platform that is not YouTube, and then releasing videos on YouTube to promote that live
stream off of YouTube. And guys, what could
possibly be the danger of putting all of your eggs in one basket, like YouTube, or Twitch, or any platform? Perrin, I mean, YouTube
has always worked out, and its been perfect all along, right? You can always make money, your channel would never decline, your live strategy would
never fall through, so you should go all-in
on YouTube, no problem. – So, if you forget about
Adpocalypse number one, and, oh, also, YouTube
Adpocalypse number two, if you just cancel those out, then sure, yeah, I mean all in one basket, nothing could ever go, no, those are gonna happen. You’re gonna have another
YouTube Adpocalypse here, at some point. You’re gonna lose revenue,
here, at some point. You’re gonna, basically, have
no revenue, from YouTube, at some point, in some cases, and for different creators, and there’s also all the issues with copyright strikes, et cetera, erroneous ones, I mean
there’s a lot of issues, I don’t need to go into all of them, I’m sure you’re all aware. My point is, and what I
was trying to get at, here, is having your eggs in different
baskets is the way to go, not just for security, in
terms of building your brand, but also for diversifying
your revenue streams. I mean, this is just a core business thing that you should be doing, is getting revenue from multiple sources, because, if something were to happen to one of those sources, do you wanna be up the
creek without a paddle? No, I mean, you still
wanna be in business. So don’t have your business
rely entirely on YouTube, have it rely on multiple platforms. And a multi-platform strategy, Awall, what you’re defining here, I think is kinda the basic guide of how to go through the course
of platforms, in general, as a gaming creator, and YouTube is a great place to start. Build up a foundation,
build up an audience there, and then diversify out
your live streaming, to a different platform. Now that you can drive some traffic there, now that you have some marketable ability with your brand, from YouTube, you can get a concurrent audience on any one of these live
streaming destination sites. Which means you can get
better organic traction. So, instead of starting at
Twitch at zero concurrence, and zero people clicking
on you, ever, for years, you can jump there, right away, then have lots of people clicking on you ’cause you’re already up
high on the curated streams, you already have concurrent viewership, there’s already a
community of people there, talking to you, and you’re already good at playing the games with them and engaging with them. So it makes sense to diversify
across different platforms. And now you’ve got great tools, like Restream.io, which
allow you to multi-stream to different platforms at the same time, and so, there are a lot
of different options that are available to you once you’ve built that
ground-level foundation, which can really come
through on YouTube, first. – That’s right. Guys, don’t make the switch to Twitch, and leave YouTube. Stay on YouTube and then
diversify to Twitch. Don’t make the switch to Mixer, like these millions of people did, and then, ultimately, now, they’re in a empty room, with nothing but creators around them. People are complaining
on the Mixer subright, and I’ve been following
it for a couple years, just saying, ‘Does it seem
like the only people in chat ‘are other streamers?’ Yeah, it does seem that way. Same thing on Twitch, the Twitch subright, and people talk about that. There’s a lurk for lurk thing that they’re trying to crack down on, where streamers are just
watching other streamers, because too many people on
those freakin’ platforms are streamers and not viewers. So, by diversifying, you can
get real viewers on YouTube, and then push them to
those other platforms. Not go all-in on those other platforms. That is a disastrous scenario. The same thing can be the case
for Facebook, as well, okay? Don’t switch to another platform, keep YouTube as your foundation for the next five years, at least. It’s very clear to me that YouTube has been the king of
video, up until this point. It’s not slowing down at all, and it’s not going to go anywhere, so keep that as your
foundation gaming creators. But, I promised you we would have a single
channel YouTube strategy that you could potentially
use if you wanna both release videos on YouTube and stream on YouTube. So that’s important for
you to remember, here. This strategy I’m going
to tell you is not a live streaming only strategy, on YouTube. Live streaming only strategies on YouTube will only work for the upper-crust leaders at the very top, that already
have gigantic audiences and are the king, like Typical Gamer, it’s not going to work, for you. So, if you wanna make a YouTube
gaming strategy work today, that includes live streaming,
here’s how ya do it: you live stream daily,
on one YouTube channel and then, when those
live streams are done, you un-list them. You do not publish them
to your subscribers, as if it’s a video afterwards. There’s a check box you can click, which will un-list the VOD version, the archive version of your stream, and it will not hit those sub-feeds, and it will not be pushed
to your subscribers, and their notifications,
as if it is a video. That can help reduce damage that live streams can cause to channels. Then, how do you build your audience on that specific channel? You release VODs, videos
on demand, to that channel that are extremely click-able and extremely entertaining. We’re talking shorter-form content. Stuff in the three to 10-minute range that’s learning content, or lists. Guide videos, tactical
commentaries, top 10 tips, things you need to know
about such-and-such game. Okay? You can also release
highlights of your live streams as videos on your channel, so that people don’t have to
watch the entire live stream, in order to get the value, okay? So, I’m talkin’ a highlight video that’s like three to five minutes long, of the most entertaining moments
of that particular stream, with a very, very key
theme running through it, for people to understand
and for people to click on. Take a look at DrDisRespect’s
YouTube channel, as the ultimate example
of that, in my opinion, and then you can run a
successful VOD strategy, where you take highlights
of your live streams from the same YouTube channel, and post it back to that YouTube channel as an edited video. But, for the love of all
that is YouTube algorithms, for the love of all
that is YouTube gaming, do not publish live streams
to your subscription feed as a video on demand. Don’t freaking do it, it
will destroy your channel. Okay? I have built channels on that strategy, TGN Squadron and TGN Anime, and it ultimately destroyed
those channels, years later, once the algorithms changed, okay? Those channels were
supporting full-time creators, the algorithms changed, they stopped favoring live streams, guys. It stopped years ago, okay? So don’t release live streams
to your subscription feed, and to hit those notifications, you will destroy your channel. Un-list them, and you’re good, okay? You’ll get your subscribers,
that’ve come for your videos, to tune in to those streams, they’ll give ya super chats,
they’ll give ya donations, they’ll join your channel memberships, you can build revenue there,
you can build community there, you get the benefits of live streaming, and then you try to reduce
the damage, by un-listing. Trust me on this, I know, for a fact. And there are a couple channels out there, that are doing this successfully. Couple Pokemon channels, a
couple Nintendo channels, and also a Hollow Knight,
a niche game channel, that I work with, recently, they’re getting 100 plus
concurrence, in some cases, 500 plus concurrence, in other cases, and they’re making tens
of thousands of dollars, per month, in some cases, and a thousand, or so,
per month in others, and it’s working for
them, on YouTube, okay? So this strategy works. Only release real videos to your channel and, if you live stream un-list, it could work out for you, I still think it’s stronger to only release videos on YouTube, but feel free to experiment, maybe you could make it work for you. I think that there is
a low percentage chance that this strategy will work, but, if you get the right niche, then maybe you could make it work and you could build an audience that way. – So, let me get this straight, in your general consensus, here, I mean, you’ve got a method of being able to stream on YouTube, but it’s to not do so, realistically, ’cause it can hurt your channel. I got a question about this, though, ’cause I’m looking at the data that Streamlabs has provided, here, and the hours watched in Q3 2019, on YouTube gaming live, is the only destination, YouTube is the only destination
where the hours watched is greater than the hours streamed. By a significant margin. 675 million hours watched, to only 11.1 million hours streamed. It’s the only one where the watch time is greater than the number of streamers. Everywhere else, there’s
too many streamers, on Twitch and Mixer,
not enough watch time. How would you assess that,
then, for the strategy? It looks like there’s opportunity, ’cause it’s not saturated, but what would be your take, there? – Yes, the tides could be
turning as we move into 2020. So it’s all about aiming
for the open spots. So, what you’re pointing out is that, people that do live stream, on YouTube, stream for shorter periods of time. That’s what this means. And when you stream for shorter
periods of time, on YouTube, like less than three hours, you’re getting more bang for your buck, in terms of hours watched, when you stream on YouTube. So folks that wanna do a, ‘I wanna stream all day
for a living strategy’, not an option, on YouTube. Okay? If you wanna stream for an hour and a half to three hours, that is an option. That’s why Typical Gamer has reached that sweet spot of two
and a half hours-ish, for his live streams. Streaming less, gets you more, on YouTube. So, if the trend continues, where the number of creators
that are streaming on YouTube continues to go down, but, the number of hours watched
on the platform, for live, holds steady, or even grows, there’s your opportunity, creators. The tides could be shifting. Where everybody assumes
YouTube Live is garbage, and they move to all the other platforms, and now there is more demand
on YouTube for live streams, than there is supply. That’s where you wanna be. You wanna be where there’s
higher demand, than supply. And, if everybody keeps
draining out of YouTube, that means the supply will be lower, which means you could capitalize on that. We’re gonna need to see the numbers, as we move into early 2020, we’re gonna need to make sure that people are still leaving
YouTube, as streamers, to see if this opportunity holds up, but, if they do continue to leave YouTube, that’s somethin’ to keep an eye on. And we’re gonna give you
an update on YouTube gaming next year, for sure, once we have the updated numbers, okay? So keep an eye on it and, if you do stream on YouTube, stream for shorter periods of time. Long-form live streaming, not an option at all, on YouTube. It just does not work, the
algorithm will not push it. It will look at the length of that video and go, ‘Nope!’, and you’re not getting
any recommendations. Thank you so much for listening to The Digital Drop Podcast, I hope that at least one thing
we told you here, helped. And if it did, subscribe
on the podcasting platform of your choice. We’re also gonna be
releasing these on YouTube, be sure to subscribe. It could be the one thing
that changes your trajectory, and makes this dream of
going full-time, a reality. So, subscribe, don’t miss
these weekly episodes. And we’re doing this for
free, to help you, okay? Thank you so much to Rode
Microphones, for sponsoring us. Go out there, go experiment
on these different platforms, test YouTube, keep an eye on the facts, don’t follow the crowd,
don’t follow the leader. Good luck, creators. (techno music)

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