To start off, let’s first talk about why this new Subtember is huge for streamers who are willing to make some investments in their channel. First off, the deal is,at the end of the day,cheaper for the viewer that gets gifted. Let’s say you’ve never subbed to a channel before, and someone gifts you a sub during Subtember, and you renew for a $1. You’re getting two months worth of subbing for a dollar compared to 7.50 during last year’s deal if you subscribed for the same amount. (Remember, there was no gifting during Subtember last year, so if you wanted to sub for two months, there were no freebies.) As a streamer, two months is a HUGE amount of time to make an impression on a viewer. One of the biggest complaints I see from streamers is this idea that viewers who were gifted subs were never going to sub in the first place, so there’s no chance they come back after the $1 subs are gone. While I would agree that a lot of them will never renew afterwards, it’s a super narrow way of thinking, and I think it’s also just plain wrong.
You need to look at those two months of subbing as a free sample of what your community/brand/stream has to offer to a viewer. When someone subs to your channel, what are they getting in return? Do you have sub nights lined up? Are your emotes something you believe people would be proud to use all around Twitch? Do you have a Sub discord that people can hang out in with other subs? Are you actively engaging these subs in your discord, and not just posting when you go live? At the end of the day, a sub is $5 a month. That’s less than a meal at SUBWAY (heh). If people who have some spending money aren’t resubbing after those two months, it might be time to reevaluate what your community and stream have to offer.
The two month trial brings me to a topic that I think a lot of streamers overlook. I want to talk about creating a budget for gifting subs in your channel, just like you’d create a budget for spending money on games, equipment, and promotions. Gifting out subs is essentially an investment or a confident gamble on yourself. When you gift out a sub to someone, you’re effectively saying, “I’m confident that what I have to offer is something a lot of people will want to continue to support.” The reality is a lot of people aren’t going to renew. Money is tight for some, others might only watch your stream for small amount of time. You can’t get hung up on those that don’t come back. Keep in mind, all it takes is for one of those gifted subs to become a long standing member of your community in order to come out on top.Let’s say you gift out 20 subs ($100), and only 5 of them renew. But those 5 all stick around for 4 additional months. You’ve essentially broke even in the long run, not to mention those 5 could continue on and support your stream. You also have to realize that’s 20 more people that could be using your emotes in other streams and spreading your brand. I’ve had countless people tell me they never watch my stream much but will sub for my emotes. This all happens because you as the streamer are willing to put out an investment in your channel. It’s just like anything you else you buy for your stream, sometimes it will fail. How many games have you purchased to stream and it never went anywhere? Growth on Twitch is sometimes uncomfortable, and you need to be willing to invest in yourself in order for long term growth.
Another relatively new feature that Twitch released recently was Community Sub Gifting. It’s a system that uses some form of an algorithm to gift out “random” subs within your community. I love this feature, and I think it’s a really easy way to do fun sub giveaways without having to manually put in a name every time. It also tends to reward viewers that maybe lurk more than chat. But one important thing to note with these subs is that the retention rate is very low when it comes to resubbing. How the subs are selected is still a big mystery, so if you’re on a small sub gifting budget, I’d try to focus on focusing on viewers who are active in your stream! Give back to community members that have for a long time supported the stream. I see community sub gifting as basically a donation from a viewer or yourself, and a good way to hit emote goals, but not necessarily something that will help build long term subscribers, at least not until they give us more customization options with how they are doled out.
Speaking of sub retention, I ran a poll on Twitter and also within my community to get an idea just how successful the $1 renewal rate would be, and the results are very positive. Both cases had renewal rates of over 50%. From that point on it’s up to you as the streamer to create something that makes the viewer want to come back for more. I’ve even started gifting out subs to people who promise to renew for the 2nd month. It’s a win-win for everyone. I break even on the costs, and the viewer gets a 2 month trial for $1. I know some people have expressed fear that viewers won’t follow through, but I’ve seen 100% retention rate so far from my gifting this way.
When you treat sub gifting as an investment, one where the payoff isn’t instant, I believe it’ll change your mind on its effectiveness. Happy Subtember everyone, and enjoy gifting those subs!
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