Last Updated on 01/02/2023 by Dean
This is a comprehensive comparison article studying the difference between Twitch and YouTube.
So you want to become a streamer but don’t know which platform to start on? YouTube or Twitch? Which has the biggest growth potential? What about potential earnings?
By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll be able to make your decision.
Use the navigation menu below to navigate through this article.
In a hurry? Get taken directly to the comparison.
🎬 This article is part of our Start Streaming on Twitch series.
👍 YouTube has better Discoverability
One of the main reasons many Twitch streamers are jumping ship and moving over to YouTube is the discoverability.
Think about it: YouTube has over 2 billion monthly visitors.
That’s 26% of the world’s population that visits YouTube once per month.
Clearly, YouTube is a MASSIVE platform.
But that’s not why Twitch streamers are making the switch.
Twitch streamers are TIRED of the terrible discoverability on Twitch.
Twitch has NO way for viewers to find your content except for the Twitch directory and the home page.
This means Twitch streamers have to utilize social media presence on other platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and YOUTUBE) in order to drive traffic to their Twitch streams.
On YouTube, streams are highly discoverable.
Just typing in a search query (e.g. Warzone) could lead to live streamers popping up in the search results.
And that’s when you’re not even looking specifically for streamers!
When you configure the filter to only display ‘live’ streamers you’ll find streamers that match your interests.
Unlike Twitch, these streamers aren’t listed chronologically from high to low.
There’s actually an algorithm behind it, giving smaller streamers with good content a fighting chance.
PLUS you also have a lot more control over how you get noticed on YouTube.
On YouTube, you can control not just your title but also your THUMBNAIL.
And good thumbnails on YouTube get clicks.
And when your content is GREAT as well, YouTube will use that info to show you to EVEN MORE viewers.
Thus, YouTube rewards you for being an entertaining streamer.
You do a good job, you become more discoverable, simple as that.
And that’s not all…
YouTube videos have always been a great way to direct traffic from YouTube to Twitch.
But what are your YouTube viewers likely to do when they like your videos? Subscribe.
And these subscribers will be notified whenever you go live on YouTube.
When you’re streaming on YouTube, your viewers don’t need to go through the extra step of following you on Twitch as well.
And let’s face it, not everyone even has a Twitch account…
Clearly, YouTube has some MASSIVE advantages over Twitch when it comes to discoverability.
👍 YouTube has Perks for smaller streamers
YouTube has some perks for small streamers that Twitch refuses to give.
One of the big examples is the 70/30 split.
On YouTube, you receive 70% of the earnings, while YouTube takes the 30% cut.
Twitch, on the other hand, takes a 50% cut from your earnings.
And sure, you can negotiate your earnings as you grow bigger but for the small fish out there, Twitch is walking away with most of the money.
👍 YouTube is a more Innovative platform
YouTube is a big and established platform that has been around for a long time.
In the last 16 years that YouTube has been around, it’s seen quite a bit of innovation.
For example, YouTube added shorts to compete with TikTok, stories to compete with Snapchat, and so on.
YouTube’s management is young and they know when it’s time to innovate in order to keep their platform afloat.
Basically, YouTube is future-proof.
And if you think about it, YouTube only just started focussing on the gaming streaming industry.
There is A LOT more to come in the near future that could make streaming on the platform even better.
👍 YouTube has better content variety
YouTube has endless amounts of content variety.
While a platform like Twitch is primarily known as a gaming platform, YouTube is known for a wide variety of things.
If your content is more of a niche and has nothing to do with gaming, you might be much better off on a platform like YouTube.
👎 More difficult to monetize
The YouTube partner requirements are steep when compared to Twitch’s Affiliate requirements.
On Twitch, you need just 3 average viewers and 50 followers to be able to monetize.
On YouTube, you need 4,000 hours of total watch time and 1,000 subscribers.
Those numbers are A LOT more difficult to hit.
And it’s a big reason why small streamers stick to Twitch instead of even considering YouTube.
Furthermore, YouTube viewers are less incentivized to purchase.
Twitch has developed a culture of subscribing through benefits such as sub-streaks, sub badges, emotes, and so on.
And of course: free Twitch Prime subscriptions, it’s hard to beat that.
👎 Worse viewer experience
YouTube is designed to be a video platform, and as a live stream viewer, you feel that.
The platform just doesn’t feel like a live streaming platform.
Viewers who prefer live streaming content over videos are much more likely to navigate to Twitch to get their fix.
And then there’s the live chat…
The live chat feature on YouTube is just not the same for viewers.
On Youtube, live chats are slow, boring, and contain little interaction.
Twitch has their emote spam, sub badges, sub-streaks, moderators to keep things interesting.
Twitch chats are alive.
Many viewers even primarily stay in a stream just so they can chat with others.
That kind of community sense is not found on YouTube.
What does this change for you as a streamer?
Well… People will spend far less time in your stream. And the lack of engaging chatters will make building your community a lot harder.
👍 Monetization: Twitch pays more than YouTube
Twitch beats YouTube in monetization, period.
Twitch has mastered monetization. From subscribers to hype trains to goals, Twitch is built different.
When viewers go to Twitch, they expect to pay for subscriptions, donations, and more.
And in return, they will receive benefits such as sub-streaks, sub badges, and much more.
Twitch is known for being a great way to make money, even if you’re just a small creator.
This is simply not the case with YouTube… People go to YouTube for free content.
That’s simply how people see YouTube.
Viewers don’t think about taking out their wallets when they navigate to YouTube in the same way they do when they go to Twitch.
A great example of how big the pay gap is between Twitch & YouTube is Harris Heller switch.
A couple of months ago, the owner of the Alpha Gaming YouTube channel, Harris Heller made the switch from Twitch to YouTube.
In a video discussing the switch, Heller explained that his viewer count had halved, something he anticipated.
What he didn’t expect, was the massive 80% pay cut that came with the switch.
He went from $15k per month on Twitch to $3k per month on YouTube.
For doing the exact same thing: live streaming.
That’s a significant difference, and it has to do with a couple of factors:
- YouTube has less monetization options
- YouTube doesn’t have prime subs or gifted subs
- Viewers don’t expect to pay for YouTube content
While I’m sure YouTube will improve their monetization options in the future, they are nowhere near Twitch in this respect.
Twitch prime subs give viewers a free way to subscribe and support their favorite streamer. While free for the viewer, these subs bring in the exact same money as a regular sub for the streamer.
And Twitch Prime Subs are HUGE. They make up 40% of ALL subs for top streamers.
Below is a snapshot from our recent article on Twitch Prime Subs.
Thanks to Prime Subs, Twitch does pay more than YouTube.
In our Net Worth report for Ibai, we found out that 46% of his 47,752 monthly subscribers are subscribed through Twitch Prime. If Twitch Prime weren’t a thing, Ibai would be missing out on 21,965 subscribers or $76,877 per month.
When reporting on xQc’s net worth, we found out that 42.4% of his 83,565 monthly subscribers are Twitch Primes. Without Twitch Prime Subs, xQc would be missing out on 35,470 monthly subs or $124,145 per month.
42.4% of Ninja’s subscribers are Twitch Prime Subscribers. Ninja has 8,000 monthly subscribers and would miss out on 3,392 subscribers or $11,872 per month if not for Twitch Prime.
Most high-profile streamers we report on tend to have 40% of their subs be from Twitch Prime.
Clearly, Prime subs are a huge advantage that Twitch has over YouTube.
But most importantly: YouTube doesn’t have the community that Twitch has. Twitch viewers take pride in their substreaks, YouTube viewers don’t get those bragging rights.
Long story short, if you’re looking to make money, Twitch is the better platform. Especially for smaller creators.
👍 Twitch has a larger Community
One of the best things about Twitch is the lively community this platform has.
Go to any medium-sized streamer’s Livestream and you will see an active chat discussing whatever is going on. You’ll see loyal subscribers with 16-month sub streaks and you’ll see emotes being spammed in the chat.
Twitch is a lively place with a huge community feeling attached to it. As a viewer, you don’t just feel like a viewer, you feel like you’re part of something bigger.
This is a great reason why Twitch is profitable for streamers, people pay because they want to be part of your community.
No platform, including YouTube, has been able to copy Twitch in that aspect.
This community feeling is not just felt by viewers though, it is felt by the streamers as well.
As a Twitch streamer, you’ll feel right at home with your little community. But above that, you’ll feel at home in the Twitch community in general.
Twitch streamers help each other out. They hang out and collaborate, which in turn leads to mutual growth.
When a Twitch streamer goes offline, they send their viewership over to a similar streamer (raiding).
Twitch is also an active community off-twitch on subreddits and discord servers.
And of course, you have Twitch Con, the annual event where live streamers hang out IRL.
Twitch is one big community of live streamers, it’s hard to beat that.
👍 Twitch Viewers come for the content
On Twitch, as compared to YouTube, viewers come because they want to watch a live stream.
Many of these viewers consume live streams for multiple hours per day.
The zoomer generation is spending time on Twitch in the same way that millennials spend time in front of cable tv.
This kind of behavior is unique to a platform such as Twitch which has turned itself into THE destination for live streamers and viewers.
Twitch viewers are dedicated and actively engage with the streamer and the other chatters.
👎 Twitch has a Lack of innovation
While YouTube as a company is always innovating, Twitch, on the other hand, seems to be stuck in the past.
Twitch has done nothing to improve the discoverability of streamers. They have added zero innovative elements in recent years.
Besides the front page (which does next to nothing for small streamers) Twitch has no algorithm.
If you want to find a streamer to watch on Twitch, you head into a category and scroll until you find someone you like.
This is fine for streamers with over 100+ viewers who can quickly get discovered but the large majority of small and beginner streamers on Twitch have to go off-Twitch (e.g. to YouTube) to get any kind of discoverability.
The future looks scary for Twitch.
If they don’t start innovating soon, Twitch could eventually die off.
👎 Twitch has Poor customer service
Twitch has been known for handling things very… poorly.
Twitch often gets criticized for the way they handle DMCAs and how they ban streamers for no reason.
And sometimes they don’t ban streamers at all…
For example, Twitch has been giving an awful lot of chances to streamers such as IndieFoxx (6 bans this year alone) while permanently banning other streamers after just 3 strikes in total.
And when you get in trouble on Twitch, you’ll get an unhelpful automated response.
Twitch is a bit of shitfest that way.
The rules aren’t very clear and Twitch seems to have an odd and willy-nilly way of enforcing their own rules.
Twitch vs YouTube
Youtube is better at…
- Innovation (future-proof)
- Perks for small streamers
- More customization
- Content Variety
Twitch is better at…
- Viewer experience
This comparison should make your choice pretty straightforward.
YouTube and Twitch are widely different streaming platforms.
Twitch has a tight-knit community, great viewer experience, and amazing monetization options but is flawed in many aspects such as innovation and discoverability.
YouTube, on the other hand, is innovative, has a discovery algorithm that rewards good content, and allows for more content variety and customization.
Our Recommendation: Twitch
We recommend Twitch to beginner/small streamers.
Perks of streaming on Twitch:
👍 Monetize earlier
👍 Make more money
👍 Community of streamers
Aside from the clear monetization benefits, Twitch is the better platform for its integrated community of streamers and viewers.
On YouTube, you can quickly feel alienated as a streamer.
The lively Twitch community will make you feel like you’re part of something.
Because of this, small streamers are more likely to stick to streaming.
Read our Twitch Growth guide to learn how you can attract viewers to your stream.
Twitch Affiliate vs YouTube Partnership
- Requirements: medium
- 70/30 revenue split
- Monetized videos
- Requirements: easy
- 50/50 revenue split
- Strict rules
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate is notoriously easy to pull off.
But YouTube has a better revenue split: 70/30 compared to Twitch’s 50/50 split.
And sure, you can re-negotiate your split on Twitch, but only top-tier partners qualify.
One big pro from the YouTube partnership is that you’ll also be able to monetize your videos with advertisements as well.
While on Twitch you only earn money while you’re live, on YouTube, you can earn money from your videos which are live all the time.
Of course, Twitch has prime subs and gifted subs.
And those subscriptions, which are free to the viewer but make the streamer money, are a big reason why Twitch streamers make more than YouTube streamers.
TL;DR: YouTube has higher requirements, a better split but worse revenue. Twitch has low requirements and higher revenue but strict rules and a worse split.
Which is better: Twitch or YouTube?
Clearly, both Twitch and YouTube have their advantages and disadvantages.
The immense differences in the way YouTube and Twitch function, make the decision process (in my opinion) very straightforward.
When YouTube is the better than Twitch:
👉 You are already established on YouTube
👉 You want to grow quickly (& don’t care about monetization)
When Twitch is the better than YouTube:
👉 You are a small or new streamer
👉 You are looking to make money
Basically, the majority of people reading this article would be better off on Twitch.
For the time being.
While I believe YouTube streaming is looking very promising towards the future, I simply wouldn’t want to give up on the advantages Twitch brings to the table just yet.
New and small streamers will have a better time on Twitch, a platform that is designed for live streaming.
The community will make you feel like you’re part of something bigger, the interface is simpler, the viewers will be more chatty and you will make more money.
These are advantages I wouldn’t give up on just yet.
YouTube doesn’t feel like a live streaming platform just yet. It’s still being largely overshadowed by videos.
This will result in you feeling alienated as a live streamer on the platform.
While you might get discovered more easily, your viewers will be less chatty and they won’t spend any money.
It will also take a while for you to make money at all because YouTube’s monetization system isn’t as small-streamer friendly as Twitch’s is.
On Twitch, you just need 3 average viewers and 50 followers to qualify for Affiliate which gives you access to subscribers and advertisements.
On YouTube, you’ll need more than 1,000 subscribers to qualify for monetization.
Not only that, but you will make significantly less per viewer on YouTube than you will on Twitch.
Small streamers on Twitch can make $1500 per month from just 100 viewers on Twitch thanks to subscribers, advertisements, and donations.
A similar-size audience on YouTube will make you just $300.
If you don’t care about monetization and just want to grow quickly, sure give YouTube a go.
Additionally, if you are already established on YouTube and have a big following, you’ll want to live stream on YouTube.
In the end, it all comes down to this:
👉 Small/new streamer looking to make money? Start streaming on Twitch.
👉 Established YouTuber, or just looking to grow more quickly (even if you will make 80% less)? Start streaming on YouTube.
Why are Twitch streamers moving to YouTube?
YouTube has been acquiring large creators through exclusive contracts.
- Valkyrae switched from Twitch to YouTube in 2020
- DrLupo, TimTheTatman and Ludwig switched from Twitch to YouTube in 2021
Does this mean YouTube is better than Twitch? Not persé.
This is what YouTube wants you to think though.
The reality is that we have a streamer war going on right now between YouTube and Twitch.
YouTube is spending massive amounts of money to get significant streamers such as Ludwig to sign an exclusive contract with them.
The money behind these contracts is the driving factor for these moves.
When it comes to subscribers, these streamers are definitely making less money on YouTube than they did on Twitch.
While YouTube has its own subscription model (they are called channel memberships) their subscription model is much less appealing than subscriptions are on Twitch.
YouTube also doesn’t have Primes. Which, as we pointed out earlier, makeup 40% of the subscriptions that top streamers have.
Flashback from earlier…
42.4% of xQc’s 83,565 monthly subscribers are Twitch Primes. Without Twitch Prime Subs, xQc would be missing out on 35,470 monthly subs or $124,145 per month.
xQc would miss out on at least $124k per month or $1.5 million per year if he streamed on YouTube instead of Twitch. Solely because of Twitch Primes.
For this reason, YouTube is paying creators massive amounts of money to get their audiences over to YouTube.
YouTube is spending more than they are making on these creators, but unlike Twitch they aren’t acquiring for profit, YouTube is acquiring streamers to establish themselves as the next #1 streaming platform.
The Future of Twitch vs YouTube Gaming
While Twitch is undoubtedly the number 1 streaming platform today, it does look like this might change into the future.
Stronger yet, I am convinced that YouTube will beat Twitch in the future.
Not only has YouTube been investing a lot of money into signing top streamers away from Twitch, but they have also been working on a problem that Twitch has been struggling with for a while: discoverability.
We mentioned this earlier: on Twitch the only way to be discovered is if you already have viewers.
That’s simply the reality of the outdated chronological browsing system that Twitch still uses in 2022. A system that favors BIG streamers and overlooks SMALL streamers.
Twitch forces streamers to look for other sources of discoverability such as YouTube and TikTok.
YouTube is trying to fix this problem by using a machine learning algorithm.
And this same algorithm has been successful on YouTube before. How do we watch videos on YouTube? We select videos from our homepage, which has been optimized based on data that YouTube has on us. And when we use the search function, YouTube doesn’t favor the most-watched video, they recommend the one that most closely aligns with our interests.
If Twitch doesn’t make a dramatic change in how discovery works on their platform, we fear that YouTube might become the dominant streaming platform in the coming future.
Right now, this is what Twitch has going for itself over YouTube:
- Twitch has Prime Subs
- Twitch has Twitch culture
But YouTube is already fighting tooth and nail to take these elements away from Twitch.
By spending millions on acquiring streamers such as TimtheTatman, Valkyrae, DrLupo, and Ludwig, YouTube is attempting to establish a culture of their own.
These are creators with tens of thousands of viewers. Each of these creators already had massive youtube channels and thus already had massive viewership on YouTube itself. YouTube’s strategy couldn’t be more clear: they are converting their VOD viewers into LIVE viewers.
And it is working out.
Almost every single creator who signed an exclusive contract with YouTube saw a GROWTH in viewership after moving from Twitch to YouTube.
Give it just a couple more years of YouTube buying up massive creators and establishing themselves as a live streaming platform.
And what about Twitch Prime Subs? Right now, Twitch is keeping the small streamers on their platform through free Twitch Prime Subscriptions.
But what if I told you that YouTube could easily recreate that? YouTube already has YouTube premium, their own subscription model which boasts over 50 million subscribers. How much longer until they copy Prime Subs and make it possible for Premium Members to get a free channel membership for their favorite streamer?
Watch your back Twitch. YouTube is coming for you.
Twitch versus YouTube FAQ
Can I stream on YouTube and Twitch at the same time?
You can stream on both YouTube and Twitch at the same time as long as you haven’t signed a contract with a platform (e.g. Affiliate or Partnership contract with Twitch).
This process is called multi-streaming and it can be very beneficial to smaller creators in terms of growth. Why not expand your reach by streaming to both YouTube and Twitch?
One of the easiest ways to get started with multistreaming is through Streamlabs.
Why do Youtubers stream on Twitch?
There are multiple reasons why most YouTubers still stream on Twitch. One school of thought is diversification. When you stream on YouTube as a Youtubers, your entire revenue source is dependent on a single platform. And YouTube is known to quickly demonetize its creators over mistakes in the past.
On the other hand, Youtubers still see YouTube as a video-sharing platform and Twitch as a streaming platform. And the same mindset goes for the viewers.