Is it better to stream on Twitch or Youtube?

Twitch and YouTube are the two most popular platforms for gaming streamers, but which one is better? 

This article will break down each platform’s pros and cons across the three most important categories for creators to help you decide which suits you best.

Is it better to stream on Twitch or Youtube?

It’s better to stream on Twitch than on YouTube if you want to monetize quickly as the minimum requirements for Twitch Affiliate are less strict than for the YouTube Partner Program. However, it’s harder to grow on Twitch and you may be able to earn a greater share of certain revenue streams on YouTube.

YouTube is also probably better for streaming non-English content as well as content aimed at a wider audience. 

Now, I’ll dig deeper into what I think are the three most important categories to consider when deciding whether to stream on Twitch or YouTube: audience, growth & discoverability, and monetization. 

Audience

YouTube has more than 2 billion active users (of whom over 30 million pay for a subscription) – that’s more than 14 times more monthly active users than Twitch.

Despite this huge gap, one advantage that Twitch for any budding gaming streamers is that it is specifically known for its community of gamers. I definitely associate Twitch with video game streaming whereas gaming is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about YouTube.

Almost 75% of Twitch viewers are under the age of 34, whereas YouTube’s user age demographic is broader. That makes sense, of course, when you consider how much wider the range of content is on YouTube compared to Twitch.

For the same reasons, YouTube’s gender split is much more even with slightly more than 50% of users identifying as female. Twitch users, for comparison, are over 60% male. 

Another thing to note is that 20% of Twitch’s viewership is from the USA – almost three times as much as the next biggest country by viewership (Germany). YouTube’s user base is nowhere near as US-skewed.

So, based on audience, is it better to stream on Twitch or YouTube? I think:

  • Both platforms have enormous audiences, but Twitch’s audience may be more willing to engage with gaming content than YouTube’s audience. 
  • If you plan to stream games predominantly played by young males, like sports sims, Twitch might be the best bet.
  • If you want to stream retro games using an emulator, YouTube might be a good choice given the generally older user demographic. 
  • If I were streaming non-English content, I would go for YouTube. 

(Sources for this data in this section: Twitch users; YouTube users).

Growth & discoverability

Discovery on Twitch is notoriously bad. Sure, there are some things you can do to improve your discoverability, like making sure you pick the right game to stream, but there’s no doubt that YouTube does a better job of getting your content in front of new viewers.

Having said that, Twitch is well-known for its loyal communities of gaming enthusiasts so, if you can crack the code to Twitch growth and build an engaged community, then the sky is the limit. 

Despite having a much, much bigger overall audience (as I mentioned above), YouTube has fewer video game streamers than Twitch. In other words, the competition is arguably lower on YouTube, albeit those viewers aren’t necessarily as gaming-oriented as on Twitch.

It’s also much easier and much faster to grow as a streamer on YouTube if people already subscribe to a channel you post videos on. 

That’s because viewers already on YouTube are much more likely to follow you to your streams if they don’t have to leave YouTube than they are to follow you to a different platform like Twitch.

This is a big advantage that YouTube has over Twitch and similar streaming platforms like Kick and DLive.

So, for growth and discoverability, which is better: Twitch or Youtube? I think:

  • Twitch is the best place for video game streamers to build a community or dedicated audience that regularly returns to watch content and support streamers.
  • Twitch growth is harder and takes longer than YouTube growth but it’s probably worth the struggle if you can make it.
  • If you already have a following on YouTube from non-streaming content, stick to YouTube for streaming. 

Monetization

Twitch offers affiliate and partner programs that allow you to earn revenue through subscriptions, bits, donations, and ads. You don’t necessarily have to have subscribers to make money on Twitch, but it obviously does help.

Twitch runs a ton of ads and recently updated its revenue share model to cut subscription revenue for its highest-earning partners. It’s currently a 50/50 split for subscriptions and 55% net revenue on display ads if you manage to get access to the Twitch Ads Incentive program (for Partners only). 

YouTube also offers monetization through ads, memberships, and other ‘fan funding’ methods like superchats. It has also its own Partner Program with much more difficult minimum requirements than Twitch Affiliate.

However, YouTube Gaming does offer creators a 70% revenue share for memberships, superchats, and other ‘fan funding’ income streams.

Neither platform’s partner program matters if you can’t access it! Here are the metrics you have to hit to join the respective programs. 

Twitch Affiliate: 

  • At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days.
  • At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days.
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days.
  • At least 50 Followers.

YouTube Partner:

  • Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the past 12 months or
  • Get 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views in the past 90 days

YouTube live streams count as watch hours provided they are listed, not deleted, and are converted to VOD afterward.

So, is it better to stream on Twitch or YouTube for monetization? I think:

  • Twitch is much better for monetization if you are a small streamer as the minimum requirements for Twitch Affiliate are easier to attain than for the YouTube Partner Program. 
  • YouTube offers a 70% revenue share on ‘fan funding’ revenue, so you could earn good income from building an engaged community on the platform. This may be one reason why Twitch is losing streamers.

Final thoughts on streaming on Twitch vs YouTube

Streaming on Twitch is better for some people; streaming on YouTube is better for others. For example, you get a greater revenue share on some income streams on YouTube and growth is far easier but, at the same time, the Twitch Affiliate scheme requirements are less strict than the YouTube Partner Program and Twitch’s audience is more gaming-focused.

Ultimately, it all depends on why you want to stream, what you want to stream, when you want to stream it, and who you think will want to watch it!