Twitch and YouTube Live are both popular live streaming platforms. Both new and longtime streamers alike may find themselves wondering which platform is the better choice. In this article, we’ll take a look at key points of both platforms so you can decide for yourself which one is right for you. We’ll also talk about multistreaming, a way for streamers to experience the best of both worlds, and how to do it.
Twitch Key Points
- Owned by Amazon
- Established as a live streaming platform in 2011
- 31 million daily active users
- Must be an Affiliate or Partner to earn money directly on the platform
- Earn money through subs, donations, bits, and ads
- Partners are subject to certain rules and limitations
- Said to be stricter in terms of on-stream behavior, chat moderation, and dress code
- Comes with a built-in network of gaming and live stream fans
- Doesn’t let streamers create customized thumbnails
Twitch established itself as a live stream platform right from the start. Though Twitch offers a variety of content, from music to VTubing and more, it is primarily known for gaming. Viewers come to Twitch expecting to see live streams, which means that Twitch has its own built-in network of people who know and enjoy live content. While this is a good thing, it means that there is less of an opportunity to reach new viewers (i.e., people who have never heard of live streaming). Many streamers get around this by promoting their Twitch content on other social media sites (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.).
YouTube Key Points
- Owned by Google
- Established as a video sharing platform in 2005 and offered live streaming from 2011
- 2nd largest search engine in the world (after Google)
- Over 2.5 billion daily active users
- Must be a part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to earn money directly on the platform
- Earn money through ads, memberships, super chat, super thanks, super stickers, shopping, and YouTube Premium revenue
- Said to be more lenient in terms of on-stream behavior, chat moderation, and dress code
- Network of gaming and live stream fans isn’t as robust as Twitch but the number of active users overall is significantly larger
- Option to create customized thumbnails
While Twitch is more of a niche site that is popular with certain types of people, just about everyone has heard of YouTube. Primarily known for long-form content, YouTube is actively working on branching out with YouTube Live, Shorts, Kids, Music, and more. Due to YouTube’s longtime popularity and reputation as a trusted site, there is significant potential for growth in the live streaming sector. Competitor sites such as Trovo and Facebook Gaming do not have the same brand recognition. Though YouTube Live has a long way to go if it wants to overtake Twitch, it is poised to do so.
Multistreaming Key Points
- Broadcast to Twitch, YouTube Live, and other live stream platforms simultaneously
- Read chat messages from all live platforms
- Receive donations/subscriptions/etc. from all platforms
- Best option for streamers who want to reach as many viewers as possible
- Requires a service such as Streamlabs Ultra or a 3rd party app
Multistreaming involves going live to more than one platform simultaneously. With Streamlabs Desktop, you can simply toggle platforms like YouTube Live, Twitch, Facebook Gaming, etc. “on” or “off” whenever you go live. This practice allows you to reach a wider audience and build a bigger, more diverse community. Though critics have suggested reading multiple chats as a downside to multistreaming, only large streamers struggle with this issue (even when streaming to a single platform). Streamers looking to grow and monetize should take advantage of the powerful tool that is multistreaming.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re still struggling with whether to choose Twitch, YouTube Live, or multistreaming, take a look at the following questions to see if they can help you decide.
What are my goals?
If your goal is to be a full-time streamer and make a livable wage, both platforms are good options. If you eventually achieve Partner status with Twitch, remember that you will not be able to multistream to YouTube Live at the same time. Some streamers feel that YouTube Live is freer in terms of how you can express yourself on stream. If you’re only interested in live streaming as a hobby, you can choose whichever platform appeals to you or simply multistream to both.
In terms of monetization, Twitch’s Affiliate program requirements will most likely be easier to achieve than YouTube’s Partner Program (50 followers vs. 1000 subscribers, among other conditions). However, due to YouTube’s sophisticated algorithm and larger user base, it may be easier to “go viral,” meaning that some channels can experience overnight success (which is next to impossible on Twitch).
What kind of content do I want to create?
Long-form content and YouTube go hand in hand. If you’re thinking about making YouTube videos in addition to your live streaming content, YouTube Live could be a great choice for you. Remember that over 70% of YouTube watchtime comes from mobile devices, so try to optimize your content accordingly if you choose YouTube Live.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll find a community of like-minded people on Twitch. Gaming still reigns supreme on the platform, though Twitch’s “Just Chatting” category garnered a staggering 30 million unique viewers in December 2022 alone. Casual gamers may be intimidated by Twitch’s tight knit community, though there are plenty of streamers who focus on cozy, fun, and less competitive games.
Which platform do I like better?
Twitch comes with its own culture, from emotes to lingo and offers a unique user experience. Though Twitch has a tendency to promote bigger channels, they’re actively working to correct this bias. YouTube Live on the other hand, is said to have an easier user interface, especially because most people are already familiar with YouTube in some capacity. In terms of viewers, YouTube users who are watching live streaming for the first time may not be familiar with practices like tipping and subbing and may be averse to the concept (since they’ve likely been watching YouTube for free for years).
It’s impossible to give a definitive answer as to which platform you should stream on. Both YouTube Live and Twitch are great platforms for live streaming all sorts of content. Though YouTube has more daily active users, Twitch is still king in terms of live streaming, particularly when it comes to gaming. Though neither platform will allow you to monetize your content right off the bat, Twitch’s Affiliate requirements are easier to achieve than YouTube’s Partner Program.
Multistreaming to both sites via Streamlabs Ultra is the obvious choice, unless you have hopes of becoming a Twitch Partner. Even then, you can always multistream when you’re just starting out and work on driving the bulk of your traffic to your Twitch channel once you get closer to Partner status. If your goal is to earn an income from streaming, try multistreaming to both sites, uploading your VODs as long-form content to a YouTube channel, and promoting your streams on other social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Whether you choose Twitch, YouTube Live, or multistreaming to both, Streamlabs Desktop is the only software you need to make your streaming dreams a reality.