Every successful business will identify its most important metrics aka the numbers that matter most. That's where the term KPI comes from, it stands for Key Performance Indicator. In a corporate setting groups or individuals will have their own specific KPIs that will be their motivating factor.
As a Twitch streamer you definitely have some important metrics to track but which ones are key?
If we look at the Twitch dashboard we can see that we can easily track and report our:
- # of commercial breaks
- Chat activity
- Commercial Break (secs)
- Concurrent Viewers
- Max Concurrent Viewers
- Time broadcast
- Time watched
- Unique Visitors
- Video Plays
The last three are cut off in the image above.
Let's break them down individually and try and come up with our KPIs.
# of commercial breaks & Commercial Breaks (secs)
Commercial breaks might be important to track to get a sense of revenue numbers or to view them against a concurrent viewers chart to evaluate if commercials affect our view numbers. But these aren't KPIs. They aren't critical numbers to be aware of.
This is quite an important metric to evaluate engagement. The more activity the better when it comes to Twitch.
This one is important for a number of reasons. Of course the higher the concurrent viewers the higher you'll be ranked in the Twitch directory. Concurrent viewers typically grow exponentially which is why it's so important to get your first 100 viewers as soon as possible.
Tracking this metric would help you get a sense of which components of your stream are the most entertaining and hold on to the most viewers.
I'll also mention MAX concurrent viewers here as well. This metric is nice to check once in awhile to see if it's growing but it isn't that important as it might have been an anomaly or a one time peak so you shouldn't go crazy over it. You want to know what kind of numbers you can rely on time after time.
This is absolutely a vanity metric and is often taken far too seriously. It's great to get a bunch of follows but if they aren't coming back, it's really not worth anything. It is very easy to follow someone as its free and basically a single click of the mouse. The viewer isn't saying they'll watch every stream so you can't take much from it.
You could say it helps with social proof but not much more than that.
The way I like to use follows is to divide it by the number of unique viewers to get a sense of a ‘conversion ratio' but even then that number loses significant as more people follow you and would no longer follow even though they would be a unique visitor.
Use these numbers to set streaming goals. For those who are stuck or having trouble getting motivated this could absolutely be your KPI. If you believe that if you just stick to your schedule and keep at it you will be successful then I would use this to make sure you keep consistency up.
This is rather important to get a sense of your retention rate. Are people just stopping in and leaving or are they putting in some serious time watching your stream? I suggest just checking the cumulative hours watched each month and calculate the month over month growth in terms of percentages. This will tell you if viewership is stagnant or growing.
This isn't something you should worry about too much. People don't really unfollow too often unless they realize it just isn't the type of content they watch and it's taking up room in their following dashboard.
Perhaps if you do something people find cringey or weird they might unfollow, but it really isn't significant.
This is a useful one to see how big your reach is getting. The more eyeballs you can get on your channel every month is very useful to advertisers and the like. Its important for your reach to be wide just as it is deep in loyalty.
Not too important for growth. Nice to keep track if people watch VODs and highlights but certainly not a KPI.
This is not listed by twitch as it's difficult to determine what is a regular via the stats they collect. Regulars are your loyal followers who watch 90%+ of your live streams. These are the first people to show up to a stream and will often be engaged in the chat.
This is one of the more overlooked metrics on Twitch. Having regulars is one of the most important keys to success on twitch so keeping track of how many you have and are gaining monthly is pretty important.
Gaining just 1-2 regulars a week puts you at 100+ concurrents pretty quick and those numbers go up as your stream gains momentum.
So which of these metrics are our KPIs?
I think for a streamer who's starting out then I would definitely focus on the metrics: Time Broadcasted, Unique Visitors and Chat activity.
These are tracking how much content you are consistently producing, how big your reach is and whether you are promoting effectively and finally overall engagement. Don't worry about followers or donations. Don't worry about concurrent viewers. Your broadcast should be the same for 1 viewer or 1000.
If you are growing these three metrics you should definitely be seeing growth in your stream.
But for your KPI I would stick to # of Loyal Viewers or ‘Regulars'. So many of our viewers come for a stream and never return. Or maybe they just have other streamers that they still prefer to watch. These people can't really help us grow. We need to focus on who can.
Produce your stream in a way to promote becoming a regular. Encourage and incentivize people to follow and watch again. This is the way to strong, sustainable long-term growth.
I recommend you keep a close eye on your KPIs. You should check them often. Most of your actions and campaigns should be designed to improve your KPI. This helps prevent distraction. If it doesn't turn the dial of the KPI forget about it.