Twitch is taking pages out of the books of other social media platforms with its new Discover Feed and Twitch Stories features.
During the opening ceremony of TwitchCon Paris 2023, Twitch’s Chief Product Officer Tom Verrilli took the stage to make an announcement. Verrilli revealed that the new “Discover Feed” is being added to the Twitch app, which will give users the chance to scroll through a series of automatically gathered clips from a variety of streamers. Alongside this will be improved tools for creating clips. Verrilli acknowledged the similarities to other social media platforms but stressed its value to streamers in terms of getting eyeballs on their content.
“The Discovery Feed will be a scrollable feed in the app that shows users a personalized mix of clips…Our focus is to get viewers to discover your channel so they join you and your community when you stream,” Verrilli said.
The addition of the Discover Feed is important for both streamers and Twitch. In theory, this has the capacity to fix some of the biggest issues facing stakeholders of the top livestreaming platform.
Twitch Discover Feed theoretically offers improved discoverability for streamers
The key selling point of the Discover Feed is its ability to increase discoverability on Twitch for new and smaller streamers. Many have long lamented how difficult it is to be found by new users and how the only breakout stars on the platform in recent years are names like Kai Cenat, who had an established following from his YouTube channel before he started streaming regularly.
Verrilli stated that the goal of the feed is to serve as a funnel for viewers to arrive at channels, not as a product unto itself. He added that the algorithm selects clips based on their ability to get users to check out the streamer they came from, and that Twitch isn’t trying to get people flipping through clips for hours on end. No word was given on how much money streamers stand to make from their clips appearing in the feed.
The drawback for streamers is that they will be tasked with curating which clips are actually highlighted by the Discover Feed. Streamers will have the ability to select “featured clips” that have a higher chance of appearing for users.
Alongside the Twitch Discovery Feed is “Twitch Stories.” This is a feature similar to Instagram Stories, with streamers able to send videos directly to all followers or exclusively to subscribers. These videos expire after 24 hours and have the potential to help streamers mobilize their followers without needing to rely on Discord, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
New Twitch features may help Twitch with advertiser issues
The other key factor for these new features is their ability to potentially add new advertising opportunities for Twitch.
Twitch has been in a battle with both streamers and viewers regarding its implementation of advertising on the platform. Pre-roll ads have been met with frustration, with many claiming that viewers are being chased away by walling new channels behind commercials. Meanwhile, mid-roll ads can be quite disruptive if they appear during a big moment.
Despite that, Twitch has been looking to increase its control of the money that changes hands in the streaming industry. This was seen in June with a sweeping branded content update that would have seen the end of baked-in ads on streams. This sparked enormous backlash, and prompted a quick reversal from Twitch:
Features like the Twitch Discover Feed and Stories could offer new monetization option that isn’t as obstructive as some of its other approaches.