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How To Measure Church Analytics on Twitch
A Case Study on a Digital Church
Since August 2020, I have had the pleasure of streaming more than 900 hours. Of those 900 hours, the streams of Checkpoint Church have reached 3,269 different viewers. 541 of those different viewers said something in the chat box. Those messages total up to 106,444 chats sent. Of those 3,000+ unique views, 1850 have chosen to click that ‘Follow’ button and learn more. Between those 1850 followers, the total number of minutes watched since 2020 has been 340,854. That’s 5,680 hours or 236 days spent total watching our live streams over three years.
In this article, I am seeking to explore what numbers I have discerned as the most valuable analytics for the purpose of building a church community through a streaming platform like Twitch.
First, however, there is a more pressing matter.
Before you even start looking at numbers, there is a much more important question to ask of your livestream.
Why does it exist?
For Checkpoint Church, it exists as the ‘coffee shop’ where we intend to meet people for the first time. We want this space to be the first experience that most of our intended audience gets.
For the pandemic church, the livestream served as a life raft between the existing congregation and the beloved church building.
For the post-pandemic church, the livestream may serve as ‘that thing’ that we don’t know what to do with, but we have the equipment now and better try to figure it out or die trying.
But it can be more than that - if you take the time to consider the ‘why’ behind your ‘what.’
Since I’m unable to answer that for you, I’ll walk you through my thought process.
Case Study: Checkpoint Church
Our Why: We stream on Twitch to meet new people for the first time and introduce them to our community.
How We Measure Success: Someone keeps showing up on Twitch until they join our Discord Server (more on Discord in another post in the future)
Okay - so considering our ‘why’ and our ‘how,’ here is the ‘what’ we’ve discerned:
We stream a variety of games three days a week on Twitch.
Because it’s what our demographic is watching. And it allows for synchronous relationship building. Interacting live with the chat is more personable than engaging in a comments section post-release.
Why a variety of games?
Because we want to reach as many first-timers as possible, picking a niche game will allow for a deeper community around a single game. While that is a good goal, it is not our goal.
Why three days a week?
Because two wasn’t enough. And three isn’t either. But three is what we’re able to offer.
Because we want to reach nerds, geeks, and gamers, and - for now - Twitch is where they are most reasonably centralized.
So, now the critical question:
What analytics matter to this ‘why,’ ‘how,’ and ‘what?”
We focus on two big ones: Unique Viewers and Unique Chatters.
According to Twitch, Unique Viewers are “the number of unique people who viewed your live streams.”
And Unique Chatters are defined as “the number of unique viewers who chatted.”
These two numbers share a lot of ground. The apparent common denominator is the word ‘unique.’
Given our focus on reaching new people, if this number drops or levels out, we need to change our model. Our congregation on Discord should remain familiar. But our Twitch should constantly be bringing in new eyeballs - all streams should be different.
For this reason, I would quantify our number of unique viewers as a success for our intended goal. We have nearly double the number of followers in our unique viewer count.
Someone with different goals may feel discouraged that 1400ish people chose not to follow and see this as a loss. However, if the goal is to reach wide, we have done so.
As for unique chatters, should we count them as a failure? It’s drastically lower than the unique viewer count.
I recommend not counting this one out.
In my conception of relationship building, I see connections built as a series of ‘yes’ decisions.
A possible pathway of ‘yes:’
Will I click this random channel? Yes.
Will I stay longer as a viewer? Yes.
Will I follow this channel? Yes.
Will I say something in the chat? Yes.
Will I join the Discord server? Yes.
And so on and so forth. At any point in that line of questions, a person can say ‘no,’ and the pathway ends.
But the Unique Viewer only needs to say ‘yes’ once, whereas the Unique Chatter must say ‘yes’ three times in this scenario. That’s a far cry from the first one.
Consider the traditional church context; how often do you ride by the church sign before deciding to go? How many times will you visit before going up to the pastor? How many conversations with the pastor before you join?
Relationship building is all about getting to the next ‘yes.’
So, 541 of our Unique Viewers made it to the third ‘yes.’
One in every six viewers makes it to the third ‘yes.’
Furthering the coffee shop example, I wouldn’t estimate I speak to more than one out of every six people I meet at the coffee shop in a given visit. So, this number satisfies my expectations.
But what about your church?
What analytics make sense for our context is, well, contextual. The observations above are most effective in my current discernment of a high niche church plant on Twitch.
Perhaps your church would be best served by streaming to Facebook. Or YouTube. Or directly onto a Discord server.
Perhaps you are like our friends over at Lux Digital Church, who hosts a worship service every Wednesday night for over 60 people at once. Concurrent viewers would likely be the most vital for this kind of gathering.
My friend and fellow subscriber of this newsletter, JateLIVE, streams are focused on viewer engagement. He often looks at the number of chat messages sent. If he notices in his monthly review that there are significantly fewer messages than the year prior, something might need to shift in his stream.
This doesn’t even begin to analyze the demographics provided by other hosting platforms. YouTube will allow a more profound analysis of ‘who’ is watching you so that you can better know your audience.
World 1-2 Complete
In a future post, I will break down what to actually do with all of these numbers once you know which are most vital, but this feels like enough to throw out all at once.
What analytics have you found the most helpful for live streaming? Still trying to figure it out? Leave a comment below, engaging the community with your thoughts. Peruse the comments and weigh in on the ideas of someone who shares below.
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To close, here are some engagement questions:
What is the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of your livestream?
What analytics are you finding helpful in digital ministry?
Any questions you have for me or Pixel & Pulpit?