So let’s break down how the giveaway process works. A streamer decides they are going to give some sort of prize to anyone who is following their stream at an unspecified time during the stream to anyone who is in the chat and following. Usually they are going to use a bot such as nightbot or moobot to randomly choose someone from the chat once the time has come. The goal here is to keep viewers in your stream as long as possible so that they get a chance to see what your stream is all about. By having it at a random time, it means that people have to come early and stay late. How big the prize is will determine how likely they are to stay. Streamers will usually include info about the giveaway in their stream title to grab attention for those looking through the directory.
But how effective is this method in actually bringing people back? Remember, you could have 1,000 people in your stream for your giveaway, but if most of them leave and never come back, are you really accomplishing what you want? I recently polled close to 200 users on how giveaways affect their likeliness to stay. Here were the results:
While I do believe that doing giveaways is perfectly fine, there needs to be a balance. I see so many streams that do giveaways all the time to the point where it gets extremely obnoxious. It’s cool that you’re willing to give things away on your stream every now and then but it should never be the focus of your stream. A couple times a year is fine, but more than that it get annoying.
I always want to reiterate that you could be giving away the greatest prize ever on your stream and it won’t matter if you’re not providing content that people will actually enjoy. Giveaways are cool, but without content they will fail. When you plan on actually giving the prize away, think of what you’re going to be doing on your stream the exact moment after the giveaway. Provide content and interaction that is going to create an opportunity for viewers to want to come back for more!
Over the three years that I’ve spent streaming on Twitch, I’ve done a handful of small contests as well as one big contest. I’ve seen varied success from each contest in terms of growth but I believe the best and most effective way revolves around the power of Twitter. When you put together a Twitter contest, you're creating something that’s very easy to share and viral. I recently gave away a Wii U and Smash 4 through a Twitter contest where users got entries based on retweeting a single tweet as well as making their own tweet that included the Twitch URL. The contest was a huge success as my channel gained over 1500 follows on Twitch, and a couple of hundred follows on Twitter. The tweet itself got over 1k retweets as well as over 82,000 impressions! That’s a lot of people seeing a single tweet about my stream.
Every time someone retweets that contest tweet, they are showing to all of their followers as well and so on. The opportunity to reach people that would have never heard about your channel before is huge! But just like the Twitch giveaway, there will be people that are simply retweeting for the prize and will never check out your channel.
So what should you include in the tweet that has the Twitter contest? First of all, having a link to your stream is extremely important. The point of this tweet is let people know that your stream exists. Depending on the rules of your contest, you’ll also want to include something along the lines of “RT and Follow to be entered.” Another important thing to include is the actual prize you are giving away. If you are low on twitter characters, I recommend using a picture with more information. You want your tweet to stick out so that when people see it on their feed, it draws them in.
While I don’t think contests are necessary, they can help your stream grow if you do them correctly. If you’ve never done a giveaway before or you’re just getting into streaming and want to try it, I highly suggest you do something very affordable. I didn’t give away a Wii U till I had a solid following and had done a few contests myself. I started out giving away $10 steam games to those who retweeted my contest tweets. I would caution at how frequently you do these contests. A contest every few months or so for a big stream is fine, but definitely don’t be doing these 2-3 times a month. You want viewers coming to your stream because you produce good content, not because you’re known for giving stuff away.
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