Streaming to zero viewers isn’t something to be ashamed of. Roughly 88% of active streamers have an average concurrent viewership of 0-5 viewers. Many in that group never see viewers at all. It took me about a year of floundering on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch before finally finding my footing above the 0-viewer threshold.
For those who have ambitions of climbing out of that hole, maybe I can help? Though I certainly don’t have the experience or wisdom to help you become the next Ninja, the experience I do have may be enough to get you past 0-viewer Andy status.
Using the site nobody.live for reference, I decided to watch over 100 0-viewer streams and make note of some common factors that could be holding these streamers back. Here are some common challenges I noted and some potential solutions for overcoming them!
During the peak of my Among Us frenzy, my wife and I stumbled on a jacksepticeye video of him and a number of other top gaming content creators playing the game together. During the voting phase, the camera punched inward to focus on Jack, making for a better viewing experience in that moment. Other streamers do this with their VODs as well, such as Pokimane, Disguised Toast, Ninja, and more.
The thing is, this zoom effect is done after the fact in a video editor. But could an entrepreneurial streamer implement that same effect in a live environment?
I have implemented it on my stream and I love having for the sake of having an “aside” with viewers without taking them completely out of the game. Here is how you can implement this zoom-in during gameplay!
Rounding off the corners of your camera view is a slick effect one can implement on their stream to stand out. One could achieve this effect in the old days by creating an image mask. Image masks are still great for custom shapes, but there’s an easier way to achieve that effect thanks to an OBS plugin. Here’s how to do it!
By default, your camera feed will appear as a rectangle. But did you know that you can make your camera appear in any shape you want? Yes, it’s possible to just round out the corners, go full-on circle, or any other shape your can imagine. Here’s how you can achieve this look in OBS or Streamlabs OBS!
Stream setups come in all shapes and sizes. Some streamers work with multiple DSLR cameras, a high-end microphone, and a computer that could power a space station. Others make it happen by leveraging the built-in streaming functionality on their consoles. Some excel by broadcasting with only their phone.
Will be the first to admit that it’s a ton of fun talking about streaming tech and adding more tools to my setup. Even so, the value of one’s content isn’t defined by the equipment they have, but what they do with it. People make amazing things happen with lesser gear all the time.
As I continue to develop my streaming setup, I try to remind myself of this truth. My setup has gotten much better in the last year or so but none of this stuff matters if my content isn’t fulfilling to make and isn’t adding value to your life. Here’s what I use to create!
Making improvements to your stream doesn’t always have to involve spending money. If anything, the best improvements one can make don’t involve money at all. But for streamers on a budget, knowing where to make adjustments without breaking the bank can truly take you farther than spending money on the latest equipment.
Here are a few thought-starters for ways you can improve your stream without spending big bucks on new equipment!
“Kelsey’s view of herself is…very large.”
I made this observation as my wife was watching KelseyDangerous stream Animal Crossing: New Horizons (she’s a great streamer by the way and you should check out her show!). Unlike the thumbnail-sized streamer views I’ve seen in the past when the streamer has overlaid themselves over-top of their gameplay, Kelsey’s view was a large square that covered up a sizable portion of the screen. It was also cropped in such a way where you could see more than just her face. In this view, you could everything from the torso up.
As I’ve continued to explore Twitch in recent months, it’s become apparent to me that Kelsey’s overlay strategy is not a one-off. Streamers of all sorts are making the view of themselves larger, even if that means you see less of the gameplay underneath.
Why should anyone watch your stream?
I know I might come off as a jerk for asking, but it’s a serious question all streamers with ambitions of growing have to answer. Myself included. Streaming is a highly-crowded, hyper-competitive, and top-heavy space where zero viewers is the norm for most.
Furthermore, there are inherent challenges that come with consuming live streaming content versus anything else online. Asking someone to carve out hours of their day to go to your channel and engage with you through the chat is way harder to do than to watch a much shorter YouTube video or view a social media posts that get propagated in other people’s feeds. All of this makes live streaming as a medium one of the most difficult forms of online content to consume.
If you want potential viewers to make that effort, you have to provide them with value equal to or exceeding the effort they put into watching you. Let’s talk about our value as live streamers and what we can do to make our streams more valuable.
You don’t need a high-end PC, top-of-the-line microphone, or DSLR camera to start streaming. If anything, avoiding those big ticket items if you don’t already have them for now is a wise decision.
Instead of focusing on having the best gear, now is the time to determine if this is a medium you want to pursue. Run a couple of test streams and determine whether you enjoy everything that streaming entails, from managing all of the equipment, to engaging in the chat, to handling all of the stress that comes with going live. If things don’t work out, at least you’re not sitting on thousands of dollars worth of equipment that will simply collect dust.
If you’re looking to get into streaming, here’s a quick guide on the stuff you’ll need right now – and the stuff you can get later!
“What if viewers could blow up my stream?”
Yes, this is a question I have legitimately batted around for some time. In fact, I know exactly how I would do it.
Starting with a free green screen explosion from YouTube, I would chroma key out the green so that the explosion appeared as transparent. Once the smoke cleared, viewers would only see a black screen. Finally, the stream would shut itself off. All of this would be controlled by an expensive Channel Points redemption and automated through LioranBoard.
Blowing up the stream sounds cool and all. But exactly how does that effect actually improve my stream and help me achieve my goals on Twitch?