So TwitchCon Paris happened, and we learned that Twitch is receiving a host of new tools and formats designed to improve the user experience, and get behind its creative talent. Among the announcements were Twitch Stories and a Twitch Discovery Feed, two formats that would mean Twitch is moving away from a ‘live only’ formula, for the first time.
What do these new features mean for Twitch, brands, and the wider social landscape? Let’s find out.
What happened at Twitchcon Paris 2023
TwitchCon Paris took place in July, bringing Twitch’s community back together IRL to celebrate global streamers and the online communities they’ve built. Twitch’s third European event was filled with live performances, interactive workshops, streamer meet and greets, Twitch Rivals competitions, and a first look at some of the new products launching throughout the year.
During the keynote, Twitch announced new features to share with its wider community, including clip editor improvements, a Discovery Feed, a Stories feature, and much more. You can find out more about all of Twitch’s new feature announcements here.
We’ll be looking at the addition of a Discovery feed, Twitch Stories feature, and how Twitch has pivoted from live content for the first time.
Perhaps the standout of Twitch’s announcements at TwitchCon Paris was the stories format. Just like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, Twitch is getting its very own stories feature.
“Today we announced we’re bringing the stories format to Twitch, to help you reach your entire community, reliably, any time you’d like – even when you aren’t live.” Twitch wrote in a blog summarizing its announcements.
Live content is Twitch’s bread and butter, it’s what makes the platform tick. So, why is the platform looking to move away from its live only formula?
Well for one, the stories format is well understood, and can be integrated with Twitch for things like short content clips, pictures, text updates, and polls. Twitch stories could provide streamers with a way to reward their most engaged viewers with exclusive content, help viewers who can’t make it to every stream stay connected, and notify viewers of upcoming broadcasts.
Twitch stories will, for the first time, enable creators to reach all of their followers – an area in which live content falls short.
Twitch stories is expected to launch in October, with further updates to come throughout the rest of the year.
Twitch Discovery Feed
In addition to stories, Twitch also has plans to introduce a new Discovery Feed so that it’s easier for creators to grow their audiences, even when they’re not live.
Discovery is a crucial part of the Twitch experience, but over the years it is something that has held the platform back. Twitch creators have long been probing for a way to encourage growth outside of live broadcasts, and options to make better use of content clips within Twitch.
The Discovery Feed, similar to that of Instagram and TikTok, will be a scrollable feed in the Twitch app that shows users personalized content based on in-app preferences and interests. The feed will enable Twitch viewers to discover more content from more channels, whether they’re live or not. This move seeks to encourage users to join more communities and streamer channels, rather than spend large amounts of time scrolling the Discovery Feed itself.
What makes these new features different?
Twitch Stories and Discovery Feed are nothing new to the social space, but they differ from the platform’s historic narrative of “live only” content. These new formats and functionalities would offer Twitch streamers a means of connecting with their audience offline.
While this might look like Twitch is moving away from its live streaming in favor of bitesize short-form video content, it’s not. Unlike TikTok, and other short-form video platforms, Twitch made it clear that it would not be prioritizing any new formats over streaming. Instead, the investment poses to aid new viewers in discovering more Twitch channels and communities to engage with.
How Twitch Discovery Feed and Stories compares to other social platforms
As previously mentioned, the stories format is well understood across the social landscape, as is the use of a Discovery Feed. But, how will these formats work on Twitch, will they take heavy inspiration from the likes of Instagram and TikTok?
Well, Twitch stories will appear in the following page of Twitch’s mobile app, and creators can set their stories to be publicly viewable or exclusive to paying subscribers, which differs to stories on other platforms. Twitch stories are likely to feature a stricter set of guidelines than the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. The platform has stated that each story post must align with its community guidelines, and will be moderated by automated “text and image scanning technology.”
As for the Discovery Feed, it’s expected to function a lot like TikTok. The vertical-swipe feed will algorithmically serve users clips from creators’ streams even when they aren’t live. TikTok focuses on keeping viewers engaged in a constant scroll, Twitch doesn’t want that. On Twitch the Discovery Feed will look to feed into live streaming by helping more streamers connect with potential viewers, ultimately strengthening its live viewing experience.
How brands traditionally use Twitch for marketing
Brands on Twitch, currently, have a number of ways in which they can tap into its large live streaming audience.
- Sponsored streams enable brands to partner with influencers to host streams, in which they will promote the brands products or messaging.
- Brands may also sponsor esports teams, gaming tournaments, and live events, gaining exposure through in-stream banners and logos.
- Brands can work with streamers to promote using Twitch’s chat integration. Streamers may use this extension to highlight brand messages during live broadcasts.
- Giveaways and contests are popular amongst brands on Twitch. Brands can host these during Twitch streams to encourage viewer participation.
- Brands might also look to co-stream major events, adding their own commentary and interactions which helped increase their visibility on the platform.
What do the new features mean for brands?
It’s yet to be determined whether the new content formats will provide brands with further advertising opportunities. If Twitch’s recent escapades are anything to go off (assuming larger portions of creator revenue), we can assume that these new formats will feature their own ad offerings.
So, how might this look? Could we see a replica of Instagram Stories ad offerings? Likewise, will we see Twitch follow a similar format to TikTok’s Discovery Feed, enabling brands to target using ad placements? Will brands be able to add a new string to their creative bow? The possibilities appear innumerable. One thing’s for sure, a new means of generating revenue on Twitch bodes well for the platform, its creators, and the brands looking to tap into its audiences.
Is Twitch really moving away from ‘live only’?
Twitch “moving away” from a live only functionality might infer that the platform intends to scrap live content in favor of bitesize video. That does not appear to be the case.
Twitch claims that the addition of a Discovery Feed, and Stories feature, is merely to support the platform’s primary content structure. Meaning users who access content via the Discovery Feed, or Stories option, should be encouraged to visit creator channels and want to participate in a creator’s live broadcast.
Some may argue that Twitch has arrived late to the party (other social platforms have had these features for some time) however, these features have arrived at an exemplary time. Not only will these features help improve creator discoverability, and encourage users to spend more time on the platform, it also enables Twitch to implement further advertising structures, ultimately bolstering its revenue – which should be a step towards easing tensions amongst Twitch streamers.
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