Improving the Quality of Twitch Streams: a Common Mistakes’ Checklist

During last weeks we were going through different small streams to learn what they may doing wrong. Here are some of our findings. Let’s see the possible reasons why viewers don’t like your streams and how to fix this situation:

Streamer’s Appearance

According to the current Twitch dress code, you can wear anything you want. Only "nudity or overtly sexual behaviour" is under a ban. So, lingerie, swimsuits, undergarments belong to the category of inappropriate clothes for streaming. Try to take a closer look at your appearance; your clothes may not coincide with your personality or have annoying print or color. Watch your recorded streams and try to look at yourself from outside. If you are lazy to take off your dirty shirt while lying on your bed and streaming, then the viewers may become not enthusiastic to watch your Twitch streams for more than 2 seconds. Tastes differ, it is a fact. Regardless of what you wear, you are probably going to get some critics about your look anyway. You can wear a tank top and get comments about trying to look sexy or you can be wearing a simple T-shirt and receive comments that you are a prude. Remember that people are going to troll you no matter what you do. So, choose cloth you feel most comfortable in (but, try to keep it clean, at least) and put your energy in having fun and entertaining your audience.

Bad Audio Quality

If you are using a headset with built-in mics, your viewers may hear a severe echoing. A good mic selection is a tough task. If you don’t want your viewers to listen to your PC’s fans, keyboard clicks or washing machine, search for a dynamic mic that eliminates the background noise. If you already have a mic that picks up all the noises, try to change audio settings to minimize background noise. Indeed, audio settings mean a lot. Choose the best OBS options (if you are using this software) for encoders and settings to produce the best audio output to viewers. Twitch recommendation for audio is 96-160 kbps AAC, while 160 being the default bitrate in OBS. The CoreAudio AAC encoder is considered to be one of the best encoders that can be used for OBS. However, don’t take our advice for granted: always test your audio settings to choose the one that fits your best. For better understanding of audio engineering, search for YouTube compressor and noise gate filters’ tutorials.

Bad Video Quality

Video quality depends on your Internet connection, specifically, on your upload speed. For better quality, use only wired Ethernet connection or set your computer closer to your Wi-Fi router. If you are not partnered with Twitch (meaning, that with partnership you get quality transcode options), sometimes it makes sense to stream at 480 and be entertaining than making Twitch streams at 1080 60FPS. In the latter case, many people with poor Internet connection won’t be able to watch your stream. We have found a streamer who broadcasts at 768x1024, but his video lags so hard, that it is almost impossible to watch a stream and distinguish the face of a streamer. For sure, lower bitrate means lower visual quality, but you can make your stream look good even below 1,000 kbs. The possible way out is making your overlay more static. By making abour ¼ of a screen static, the window with a game doesn’t get pixilated. It is because the encoder uses much more data to render video parts that are changing.

Silent Stream

An expensive quality mic and webcam are nothing, if you are not talking to your audience. Probably, you can find some successful streamers that don’t talk too much, but it is rather an exception. If you don’t care to gain new viewers and just want to relax and play the game, of course, you can stream without talking. But, to be honest, many people will come to your stream and leave it only because you are not interacting with your audience. Comments and interaction are the strength of Twitch streams. Keep talking even when there is no one at your stream: narrate the gameplay, tell stories that come to your mind. Comment on everything you are doing in the game, why you are doing it, giggle to yourself about some funny parts of the game, enjoy your play. At first, it may seem awkward, but then you will get used to it. Of course, you don’t always have to be full of enthusiasm. If you find yourself depressed, tired, with absolutely no wish to talk, sometimes you can do silent streams putting in your title “not talking”. Also, you can broadcast scheduled streams with comments and other chill streams without talking and see how your audience reacts to this.

No Responds in Chat

It is really irritating when you have 2-3 viewers in the chat and do not respond to them. As it was said multiple times, interaction is a key in streaming. In search for small perspective streams, we found some streamers with 1-5 viewers per stream who have a donation button, but don’t respond to a chat, which seems to us ridiculous. If you are a beginning streamer, you may find it difficult to concentrate on a game while responding to chat. Our advice is to simply stop streaming at that point and reply to chat arrivals. Avoid being in a funk when streaming. Stop, take a breath, and then continue your gameplay. It is kind of paradox, but when you start getting more viewers and a very active chat (you have always dreamt about!), it becomes not always possible to keep up with a chat anymore. If your chat interaction is taking too much effort and time, it is time for you to filter out your communication. It is a difficult change, since as a small growing streamer, you used to be very interactive with all viewers. There are some tips to help you stay positive and attentive in the chat conversation.
  • Ignore wisely
Learn when you can remove yourself from chat and just let people to talk with each other. Answer questions that you want to or find more important and say “hello” to people in random intervals. Accept the fact that you can’t always answer every question, but the ones you do answer you make count and do it best possible.
  • Find good moderators and create a FAQ section
Having a good team of mods and a FAQ section at your channel page will help answer frequent questions and reduce the amount of repeat questions.
  • Be sincere
If you still feel upset to not responding to chat, try to be sincere with your audience: apologize about being behind on chat, mentioning that if there are some viewers who really want you to respond to a specific question repeat it once again; ask viewers to include keywords in the message (if you are using a special app, like BTTV, that highlights chosen keywords in a chat).

Takeaway

The thing that makes Twitch so special is the diversity of streams and streamers. There is something for everyone. With the exception of basic streaming equipment responsible for good quality audio and video, there is no a sure formula of success. However, how nitpicking it may sound, always remember that your viewers are spoiled with a wide choice. If you are a beginning streamer, you should struggle for every small viewer who comes to see your stream. Do everything you can to encourage people stay with you for longer than 2 seconds.

5/11/2017