The Channel Points system is a way for Twitch viewers to earn points by watching their favorite streamer and redeem cool rewards. This system allows streamers to engage with their audience in new and exciting ways and rewards viewers for simply watching a stream. Channel Points was a success not only in viewer retention, but also helped increase hours watched on the Twitch platform.
Channel Points initial launch video showing how Twitch viewers can earn and spend their points. Viewers earn points by watching their favorite streamer on Twitch and can spend them on rewards created by the streamer or Twitch.
The purpose of the Channel Points system was to create a first party viewer engagement and retention system for our streamers and viewers. This system would live in web and mobile platforms and would act as a “grinding” mechanism for viewers to engage with the Twitch Platform, as well as a community building product for streamers.
The Channel Points system was born from understanding streamers and viewers wants and needs and we discovered these by conducting multiple interviews with our users. Partnering with my product manager and UXR, we first interviewed streamers who were using third party loyalty points systems to learn why they ran them and also what their pain points were. On the flip side, we did the same Q&A qualitative interviews with viewers of those systems.
After synthesizing our findings from both types of users, we drafted our initial plans for Channel Points. Our goal was to create a first party loyalty program that would reward engaged users and incentivize them to participate with Twitch. Through various brainstorms and collaborations across Product, Engineering and Data Science we refined our strategy into a single vision. With that single vision in mind I sketched initial concepts and presented ideas to my larger design team. We collaborated together via whiteboard and I incorporated their various feedback, working on various versions of Channel Points continuing to refine the experience all the while being transparent with all stakeholders about design changes.
We initially announced the Channel Points Beta in our annual Twitch Conference and had a small percentage of participants. Our team observed feedback from our beta and I quickly jumped on various design changes addressing their needs before launching to 100% of all eligible Twitch users.
Some key wins from launching our feature and a video of streamers’ reaction to the initial release. Channel Points has proven to be a successful product for our streamers and viewers. Streamers were given tools to help build and engage with their community as well as strengthen their brand. Viewers were rewarded for watching a stream, engaging with Twitch, and given perks usually only rewarded to paying users.
Viewers earn points simply by watching their favorite streamer. Every 5 minutes you watch you are given 10 points. Here's an example of our animation that appears showing the viewer they have earned points.
Every 15 minutes viewers are given Bonus Points which are redeemed by clicking or tapping our prompt, incentivizing them to stay longer in a streamer's page. Other ways to earn points are achieved by participating in other features on the Twitch site such as following, joining a raid, gifting a subscription, "cheering" and even returning with consecutive watch streaks.
Viewers are rewarded with multipliers by subscribing to their favorite streamer. The higher the subscription, the larger the multiplier.
When a streamer becomes partner or affiliate we give you a starter set of Default/Automatic Rewards. These rewards are fulfilled by Twitch and effect chat and the streamer’s emotes. These automatic rewards offer viewers an incentive to participate in the community and give them a taste of benefits if they were to become a paid customer.
Some automatic rewards let you unlock or modify emotes from Twitch streamers for 24 hours. This allows non-paying viewers an idea what it’d be like to own and use that particular streamer’s emotes for a day.
Example of our Unlock a Random Sub Emote reward that features a delightful animation before unlocking an emote for you.
Viewers could modify a streamer’s emotes with their points and then use that emote in chat. We used facial recognition software to better place various modifiers on the faces of emotes.
Some rewards allow your text to stand out in chat or bypass pay-walled chats. These rewards encouraged participation in chat and served to give users recognition in their communities.
In our UX research streamers stressed the desire for more customized branding of their channels and features with a loyalty system. With this in mind, our team created a set of tools so streamers could brand and customize their Channel Points icon, name, and their rewards.
Streamers can access Channel Points under Viewer Rewards in their creator dashboard to modify the Channel Points feature to their liking. Streamers upload their own Channel Points icon and can rename to what they want.
A snapshot of our Manage reward area where streamers can manage all their rewards and customize them as they please. This layout proved effective in managing rewards by giving streamers full control over what would be shown in their channels.
Streamers fill out all the details of their rewards and can even customize the Automatic/Default rewards we give them. A preview of how your rewards would be displayed was shown in real time.
We continue to monitor our users’ feedback as we develop the Channel Points system, and we integrate more features to ensure streamers to reduce streamer burden. One such example is this Custom Rewards Collection, which addressed a streamer need of a quicker way to add custom rewards to their channel as well help them ideate on what their channel could offer.
With 98%+ streamer adoption rate of the Channel Points system, the product has been a huge success. This image highlights some of the many custom rewards and points images that users have created since Channel Points’ inception.