Hosting is one the most powerful ways to see growth on Twitch
Chances are, you know of at least one streamer who has been lucky enough to get a huge host. Twitch hosts are exciting! They can bring tons of new eyes to your stream, and help to jump-start a stream towards success.
However, while getting hosts is definitely exciting, it’s not something that you can really control as a streamer. Because of that, it’s not a great goal to shoot for, based on the research for goal-setting I laid out in a recent post.
What we can control is who we choose to host!
So, what’s the best way to use hosting? Unfortunately, there’s not much data out there about Twitch hosts.
But, with the help of some fellow streamers, we conducted (what I believe to be) **the first-ever study on Twitch Hosts!**
In this study, we decided to look at the following questions:
- How do most people use hosting?
- What size channel is the most optimal to host at the end of your stream, based on data?
Although our study wasn’t perfect, it still revealed some fascinating numbers on how the size of the channel you choose to host impacts your ROI (return-on-investment).
Here’s what we learned.
*Audio version coming soon
Intro: How Do Most People Use Twitch Hosts?
Although I couldn’t find any data on what research says is the best way to use hosting, Twitch does have data on how people use hosting.
Specifically, Twitch looked at hosting across the entire platform, and divided hosting into three distinct sub-categories:
- Spreading – Hosting channels that are smaller than your channel
- Peering – Hosting channels that are about your size
- Supporting – Hosting channels that are larger than you
Twitch did a study in early 2015 of all the hosts used on their platform since launch, about a year prior. They found that the majority of streamers prefer the Peering method of hosting, meaning they choose to host similar-size channels.
So, based on this research, it’s easy to see that most people prefer to host similar-sized channels. The question is, does Peering hosting provide the greatest return to your own channel?
What is The Best-sized Channel to Host?
Although there are a LOT of factors involved in choosing the perfect host candidate (personality, chat environment, etc), we chose to look at what size channels are best for hosting, since it’s easy to quantify.
Over the past week, I worked with 30 volunteer streamers to gather data on how size of channel hosted impacts return on your own channel.
All data gathered was relative, meaning that any size streamer could participate. “Larger,” “smaller,” and “similar” channels were measured based on percentage relative to the streamer’s channel.
To keep things simple, we matched our test groups with Twitch’s own categories. We had 4 groups during this study, each with a different assignment:
- Group 1 – no change to hosting (control)
- Group 2 – only hosting channels with 50% less viewers (spreading)
- Group 3 – only hosting channels with a similar number of viewers (peering)
- Group 4 – only hosting channels with 50% more viewers (supporting)
There were a few rules that all 4 groups had to follow, to keep things consistent:
- No repeating hosted channels over the week (unique each time)
- Only hosting at the END of a stream
- Using the /host command, not /raid
- No significant changes to schedule, game, etc
The way we measured ROI for the hosts was based on:
- Avg viewer change, compared to monthly average
- New followers/week average, compared to past 3 weeks
- Avg chatters change, compared to monthly average
Here are the results of the study!
Group 1 – No Strategy (Control)
After 1 week, our Control group (no hosting strategy) actually had the second-highest returns!
The average return on investment (ROI) from hosting random channels included:
- Avg. Viewers: 19% decrease
- New Followers: 13% increase
- Avg Chatters: 5% increase
Group 2 – Hosting 50% smaller (Spreading)
After 1 week, our Spreading group (hosting a channel with 50% less viewers) had the lowest returns.
The average ROI from hosting smaller channels included:
- Avg. Viewers: 25% decrease
- New Followers: 44% decrease
- Avg Chatters: 13% decrease
Group 3 – Hosting similar-size (Peering)
After 1 week, our Peering group (hosting a channel with a similar number of viewers, within 1-2) had the second-lowest returns.
The average ROI from hosting similar-size channels included:
- Avg. Viewers: 14% decrease
- New Followers: 17% decrease
- Avg Chatters: 2% increase
Group 4 – Hosting 50% larger (Supporting)
After 1 week, our Supporting group (hosting a channel with 50% more viewers) had the highest returns!
The average ROI from hosting larger channels included:
- Avg. Viewers: 5% decrease
- New Followers: 96% increase
- Avg Chatters: 28% increase
Conclusions and Notes
Overall, our data suggests that hosting larger channels is actually the best way to see growth for your own channel in return. This isn’t what I expected to see!
If you’re one of the many streamers out there who usually hosts similar-size channels, you might want to think about hosting larger casters. Based on our data, you’re likely to see higher gains on followers and chatters!
In the future, I’d love to test more aspects of streaming, such as how time spent in a stream after hosting or raiding impacts ROI. Have ideas for what we could test next? Let me know!
What I’d change:
Although we got some great data from this study, I’d love to get more info. 30 streamers isn’t a small number, but we could always use more testers!
If you’re looking for ways to bring your streaming game to the next level, and want to meet some talented casters along the way, please consider joining our team. More below!
Help Us Do More Research!
With the help of Twitch streamers of all sizes, we are launching a mini-project for the purpose of researching growth strategies on Twitch.
What if we could measure the specific impact of variety vs single game streaming?
What if we could see how much difference adding #SupportSmallStreamers to a tweet really makes for stream growth?
These are the kinds of questions we’re tackling, and we need your help.
If you’d like to help us blow stuff up in a lab – er, research data – all you have to do is join our new Discord server, TRUscience.
Each week, we’ll be researching what science says about Twitch growth, instead of opinion. It’s a great way to improve as a streamer, and also a fantastic way to network with some amazing streamers.
If all goes well, we’ll post the results of our findings here via Twitch Thursday articles, podcasts, and videos. We’d love to have you join!