Twitch is sharing a roadmap for features it’s working on for 2023. Among them are changes to how ads are served, new first-party tools to help with chat engagement, and tools to help streamers manage their brand deals. But the most important thing is to make pre-roll ads less annoying.
For 2023, Twitch is working on changing the way ads are shown during a stream. As described in an open letter from chief product officer Tom Verrilli and chief monetization officer Mike Minton:
In the first half of this year, we’re making two changes to improve the way ads work for viewers and channels: First, we’re updating how disabling preroll works for channels. If three minutes of ads are served per hour by any means, all prerolls will be disabled. They no longer need to be broken into 90-second ads every 30 minutes. Second, we apply our Picture-by-Picture experience to most pre-rolls. roles that viewers do see.
Pre-roll ads have been a constant pain point for streamers and viewers. If you click on an interesting channel while browsing Twitch, there can be up to three minutes of ads to watch before you can even see the stream. A frame-by-frame solution seems to be a good compromise, as it would at least allow a viewer to preview the content they’re interested in without an ad wall, while Twitch gets its allotted ad time.
Twitch is also experimenting with ways to let viewers know ads are on their way during streams, and that may even include a snooze option for mid-roll ads.
Twitch is also working on special assets for streamers to use for sponsorship deals. According to Verrilli and Minton:
We’re testing features with select streamers to make sponsorship deals more effective and authentic on Twitch, making them more lucrative for the streamer and impacting the brand. Starting with channel skins and clickable brand images, streamers can easily place these brand assets on streams, above chat, and other places on your channel page for a less distracting and more engaging sponsorship experience.
Twitch is also working to strengthen its analytics offerings to help streamers understand where their viewers are coming from and optimal times to stream certain games or within certain categories. A way to reach viewers when creators are offline is also being worked on, in addition to several mobile updates to bring a viewer’s mobile experience more in line with what they would see on desktop or elsewhere.
Better ways to share your streams on other platforms are also on the table:
We’re launching tools to help you edit and export your clips for vertical short video formats and make it easier to promote your stream on other platforms by working with Twitter to improve how clips and links to live streams in the feed are played.
It’ll be interesting to see in Twitter’s new world order how Twitch gets the notoriously fickle Elon Musk to cooperate, especially now that Twitter’s skeleton crew seems to be struggling to keep the site’s burgeoning features going. But hey, there’s always TikTok.
Speaking of TikTok, Twitch will be launching tools to help streamers edit and export clips from VODs optimized for vertical short video formats. Steamers can also pin up to 20 clips to a channel page, add emotes to stream titles, and even enable a new Sound Bites feature for viewers. Sound Bites are sound alerts triggered by viewers, much like OBS and other third-party tools allow streamers to offer them with channel points. Twitch’s own implementation will make viewers pay to play sounds, in a new method of monetizing channels.
To help users keep up with the many changes that may be coming to Twitch, the platform is introducing an experimentation page that lets creators and viewers know what kind of projects Twitch is working on. For now, Twitch says it will make more announcements in the future when these changes go live.
Verrilli and Minton also reviewed the platform’s 2022. Milestones included lowering the payout threshold from $100 to $50 and launching the Guest Star tool, which allows streamers to collaborate in a simpler, built-in way.