Twitch just announced the Twitch Discovery Feed, a new feature the livestreaming leader is working on to address one major user concern. "One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we get is that you want help growing even when you're not live," the company says in a statement.
The announcement was one of several from the recent TwitchCon Paris keynote speech. The company didn't announce an exact release date for the Twitch Discovery Feed, but did say they're planning on releasing it in the Fall while testing different features with select users throughout the next few months.
Why Streamers Demanded A Twitch Discovery Feed
One of the biggest knocks against livestreaming — and Twitch specifically — is that unlike almost all over forms of content creation, it's essentially impossible to grow on the platform when you're not streaming. Every other platform incentivizes discovery 24/7 because they want to keep viewers on the platform. Twitch's version of that is just recommending people who are currently live, even if there are other streamers a viewer might actually like more but they aren't live at the time.
In fact, Twitch even said as much in their blog post. "Because Twitch is all about live, interactive channels, it’s not our goal for viewers to spend hours in a Clips feed," Twitch says. "Our investment in Clips is to help viewers discover your channel so they join you and your community when you stream."
This language kind of undercuts the announcement of the Twitch Discover Feed in the first place. It feels like the company is begrudgingly rolling out a feature that aligns the platform a little more closely with a typical social media company.
But users have been clamoring for this kind of development because it just seems so obvious. Twitch already has Clips. It already has features designed to send viewers to similar streamers. And it already has a great understanding of what certain viewers may want.
So why wouldn't the company embrace a feature that allows burnt out streamers to take a break but still grow thanks to a collection of short, entertaining clips of past streams? That's been the thinking for a while now — heck, plenty of influential streamers have been publicly calling for this on social media for years, and a now-defunct company even tried to launch a separate platform based on this concept.
What You Can Expect From The New Discovery Feed
As Twitch hinted in their blog post, the Twitch Discovery Feed is probably not going to be a dominant feature on the mobile app. It's probably not going to be the type of place they want you to get lost in for hours at a time a la TikTok. The goal of the Discovery Feed is to get a viewer to want to watch you live the next time you go live, not to simply get lots of views on your Clips and lead viewers to watch more of your Clips.
However, Twitch has also announced new features related to Clips that suggest this process may be a little easier overall. They'll be rolling out an update to the Clips editor (that interestingly includes a direct export to TikTok function) as well as new control over creating "featured" Clips and moderating who can make Clips of your channel in the first place.
Beginning in August, you can mark Clips as "featured" in your dashboard. This will prioritize them on your channel and in the new Twitch Discovery Feed.
Twitch Also Adopting A Familiar Social Media App Feature
The Twitch Discovery Feed isn't the only major announcement borrowing from popular social media apps. Twitch also announced they'll be bringing the stories function to the app. The company says the function will "help you reach your entire community, reliably, any time you'd like — even when you aren't live."
This familiar feature first made famous by Snapchat will allow streamers to create non-stream content to share with their community. It's a fairly significant departure from the existing Twitch ecosystem, where content mostly relies on what you create while live. Now, Twitch is banking on a desire to create pieces of content directly on the platform not related to your current or recent livestream.
Streamers will be able to share their Twitch stories with all of their followers or with only their subscribers. These will appear on a user's Following page in the Twitch mobile app. The initial version of Twitch stories comes out in October, with more features coming throughout the year.
What Does It Mean For Content Creators On Twitch?
The new features certainly seem like a gesture of good faith from the company to some of its veteran users. After all, discoverability while offline is probably the second or third biggest gripe from users (after a better split of revenue from subscriptions and maybe less intrusive ad experiences). So while we're hopeful the Twitch Discovery Feed helps you gain followers and interested viewers who will tune in the next time you're live, it also just shows the company is aware of major concerns.
Because as much as Twitch owns the livestreaming experience right now, companies like TikTok and YouTube are constantly working on their own live experiences. And these are platforms where offline growth are a primary feature. It's not unreasonable to see more and more Twitch streamers splitting their time on other platforms where the discoverability is better and the time commitment is more reasonable.
Twitch trying to invest in more functionality to engage followers makes sense, especially as we see a growing number of streamers who aren't able to reach their followers with their streams as often as they used to. After all, streaming takes a lot of physical and emotional effort. It can be disheartening to see only a few dozen viewers after you've amassed tens of thousands of followers.
The hope with more social media-esque functions is that you can still create on Twitch and engage these followers in a way that might inspire them to come back into one of your streams or support you in other ways, even if they can't watch you live anymore.
We'll be sure to dive more into these features and best practices as we see them implemented in the coming months.