Boost Your Stream with Twitch Hosting Features

So you‘ve just wrapped up another marathon broadcast filled with glorious victories, hilarious fails, and heartfelt conversations with your loyal chat squad. The final "gg‘s" echo through your headset as you bid goodnight to viewers… only to watch 90% of that hard-won audience instantly vaporize into the void.

It‘s the sobering reality every Twitch streamer faces. The second you go dark, so too does your channel as fans click over to the nonstop buffet of other wacky gamers, budding musicians, casual hobbyists, and lifestyle gurus waiting to be discovered across the platform.

But what if you could keep them hooked even while offline? Show your fans some streaming love and engage with fellow broadcasters in the process?

It all comes down to one criminally underused tool designed just for this purpose…

Hosting: The OG Viewership Multiplier

Those early transient days of Twitch saw creators constantly wrestling over how to retain and expand audiences. While individual broadcasts remained siloed, one innovation offered a breakthrough by connecting channels together:

Hosting.

The original hosting feature enabled Streamer A to directly stream Streamer B‘s live broadcast through their own channel once offline. Instead of closing Streamer A’s channel, loyal fans could now seamlessly continue watching similar content curated by the initial broadcaster.

This kept viewers engaged on Twitch while providing massive visibility boosts for hosted channels. Strategic hosting partnerships became vital for discovery and growth, creating pathways for emerging personalities to gain exposure from established creators‘ built-in communities.

Hosting Benefits Snapshot

For Viewers:
+ Uninterrupted content flow  
+ Exposure to new channels
+ Sense of community  

For Streamers: 
+ Audience retention during offline periods
+ Visibility for lesser-known talents
+ Networking and channel growth
+ Reciprocity partnerships

StreamTeam.tv co-founder Duncan Beevers recalls the daily hosting grind: "We‘d have endless spreadsheets tracking every host, follower gain, average viewer count from big streamers. Finding good hosts was probably 50% of my job in the early days of building an audience."

So with such a proven model, why don‘t more broadcasters utilize hosting today?

The Fall Of Twitch Hosting

For smaller channels, hosting provided a vital lifeline for exposure. But many big streamers grew frustrated over a lack of control regarding what content displayed through automatic hosting.

Speedrunner Trihex, an early Twitch Partner, explains:

“I streamed edgy content back then. I’d host people randomly and get angry messages that their kid saw inappropriate stuff that I hosted.”

Explicit content. Toxic conversations seeping into previously friendly communities. Or simply drastic shifts in tone would cause hosting mishaps.

Twitch creators voiced concerns over greater moderation abilities and safeguards. Meanwhile, data showed overall hosting numbers declining each year as channel growth tactics shifted:

Twitch Hosting Usage 

2017 » 13% average monthly hosts  
2018 » 9.9% average monthly hosts
2019 » 7.8% average monthly hosts  
2020 » <5% average monthly hosts

Source: twitchtracker.com

Facing backlash and changing tides, Twitch removed hosting capabilities in late 2020. The familiar "Now Hosting ___" alerts vanished as creators sought alternative growth strategies.

Yet the core value of sharing audiences and supporting smaller channels remained. Twitch’s solution?

Suggested Channels.

Suggested Channels – Hosting Evolved

The suggested channels feature answered calls for greater customization and control over hosting capabilities.

Upon ending a stream, broadcasters can now highlight a personalized selection of recommended channels. Viewers witness these suggestions but retain full autonomy to ignore or browse them as desired.

Hosting vs Suggested Channels

Feature » Hosting » Suggested Channels  

Control Level » Low » High
Content Vetting » None » Manual  
Audience Consent » Auto » Optional
Networking Impact » High » Medium

The more selective, intentional approach empowers creators to boost channels that closely match their communities. Viewers benefit from relevant suggestions aligned to their interests versus jarring random hosting.

Michael a.k.a. Shroud, whose early hosting assistance propelled record-breaking viewership, praises this evolution:

“I likeSuggested Channels way more honestly. I get to give quick recommendations, but people can still clearly see it’s just me making suggestions versus me outright endorsing anyone.”

The numbers speak for themselves…suggested channels are now enabled across 93% of Twitch’s top content creators.

Let’s explore exactly how you can configure hosting through suggestions for your own channel…

Enabling Twitch Suggested Channels

Ready to start showcasing awesome allies once your daily dose of headshots and guitar riffs wraps up? Activating suggested channels is simple. Just follow these steps:

Access Your Creator Dashboard

Hover over your profile icon in the top right corner of any Twitch page and click Creator Dashboard:

Dropdown menu showing pathway to access Twitch Creator Dashboard

This launches your central hub for managing stream settings and tools.

Open Channel & Video Manager

Within the left sidebar menu, choose Channel & Videos which allows customizing all your channel content settings:

Channels & Videos tab highlighted in Twitch dashboard sidebar

Turn On Suggested Channels

Scroll down to Featured Content settings and toggle Suggested Channels on:

Suggested Channels toggle being turned on in Featured Content settings

Alright, time to pick who you’ll spotlight!

Add & Prioritize Featured Channels

Click directly on the blue Suggested Channels link to open a module for manually adding recommendations.

Simply enter any channel name you wish to showcase. Matching options will appear below – click Add to select that account for featuring:

Searching for and adding a specific Twitch channel as a suggestion

Prioritize suggestions by drag-and-drop ordering them appropriately. Add enough quality channels to give viewers content options tailored to their interests!

And just like that, your channel is setup to highlight allies once signing off air. But which choices tend to perform best?

Choosing the Best Channels to Suggest

Twitch veterans agree – who you showcase matters. Beyond boosting smaller creators, suggestions must complement your community.

CouRageJD, renowned for uplifting rising Fortnite stars via hosting, advises:

“You want your fans’ first impression visiting another channel to be positive. Match their energy and interests as much as possible.”

Consider these key criteria when evaluating candidates:

Relevant Content Style

Ensure suggested channels focus on similar games/topics as your own. Fans will appreciate smooth genre/category continuity.

Engaging Community

See lots of chat interaction and moderation? Active fan community increases suggestion clickthroughs.

Production Quality

A visually appealing stream with solid camerawork, overlays, etc indicates an invested broadcaster fans may enjoy.

In other words, choose channels you‘d actively watch and participate in yourself. Suggestions seen as lower quality may damage your own brand integrity.

Strike the right balance, however, as CouRageJD cautions against overfiltering when small channels need that initial signal boost most.

Twitch Raid: Hosting on Steroids

Beyond passive hosting, want to directly transfer your live viewership to an ally? Twitch Raid is like hosting on steroids.

These organized “raids” literally steer your audience en masse straight into another channel‘s stream chat. Raiding creates a surge of exposure and lively interaction for the receiving broadcaster.

Example Raid:

Example of using /raid command and channel name PhantomGalaxy to transfer live viewers

See the chat flood roll in and energy ignite! Raiding works best when you‘ve developed relationships with fellow streamers in your genre. Time raids for when you close shop and friends boot up to keep the party going.

Platform-wide raids also occur during charity events like Twitch’s annual JoyStream marathon supporting St. Jude‘s Children‘s Research Hospital. Thousands converge in shows of community solidarity.

Now let’s examine why channel suggestions and raids matter for every streamer…

The Heart of Twitch Culture

Humans are inherently social creatures, craving both creation and connection. Yet over 15 million twitch channels exist with countless niche interests represented. Fostering engagement between those fragmented communities has become vital.

Hosting features, in all their evolutionary forms, have worked to address this need since nearly Twitch’s inception.

Streamers get the satisfaction of uplifting emerging voices. Viewers gain exposure to fresh personalities enriching the overall content ecosystem. And new broadcasters receive the signal boost often required to escape obscurity in an oversaturated market.

suggestion stats

Make no mistake – channel growth itself may be an individual streamer‘s primary motivation for utilizing hosting features. But the act still facilitates mutually beneficial networking.

Twitch thrives on celebrating creators big and small. No matter your current scope of influence, take an active role in welcoming others into the fold.

Who knows? The tiny channel you showcase today may one day return the favor 10 times over once they join the broadcasting big leagues!

Twitch Hosting: Key Takeaways

  • Hosting connected channels‘ live broadcasts directly through your own channel once going offline. This feature was retired by Twitch in 2020.

  • The new Suggested Channels option lets you highlight recommendations after ending your stream. Viewers can browse and pick featured channels.

  • Raiding sends your live viewers en masse into another channel‘s active chat. Perfect for networking!

  • Choose channel suggestions relevant to your audience offering quality production and engaging communities.

  • Hosting tools represent the collaborative DNA within Twitch culture. Use them to support rising talent!

Now brace yourself as we plunge straight into the rapid-fire FAQs…

Twitch Hosting FAQs

Still hungry for more info? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

Why did Twitch remove standard hosting capabilities?

Lack of moderation control and falling usage rates prompted the retirement. Suggested Channels emerged as a more creator-focused evolution.

What are the main benefits of channel suggestions and raids?

  • Audience retention/reduced churn rate when offline
  • Discoverability for suggested creators
  • Forge networking partnerships & community spirit

Is it OK to suggest someone without asking first?

No explicit permission is needed, but it‘s polite to give streamers a heads up whenever possible to set proper expectations.

What % of top channels have enabled suggestions?

Over 93% of top creators elect to use Suggested Channels based on recent surveys.

How many channels can I add to suggestions?

No hard limit exists, but restraint is advised. Aim for 3-5 quality recommendations so viewers don‘t feel overwhelmed.

Can I suggest channels focused on non-gaming content?

Absolutely! Twitch supports extensive creative categories like music, cooking, sports, charades, dance, and more perfect for suggestions.

What metrics indicate suggestion/raid impact?

Key indicators include source traffic data revealing new referral viewers, follower spikes, and chat activity surges post-host.

And there you have it – everything needed to take your Twitch channel to the next level with hosting features. Now get out there and share the love! Who will you shine the spotlight on once your own daily broadcast wraps? How will you creatively harness this amazing platform‘s interconnected nature?

Momentous, rewarding adventures await. Your empire of joy won‘t build itself!

Game on, broadcast pioneers. Here‘s to the road ahead…

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