Twitch Data Shows that Streaming Games Leads to Increased Sales & Player Retention

Twitch Data Scientist Danny Hernandez wrote a very interesting article on the Twitch Blog yesterday morning.

His studies proved that streaming games on Twitch leads to increased sales and player retention.

Below you can find the charts and research points for the case study, for the full read head over to the Twitch Blog.

Watch then buy


  • When a Steam connected viewer watched a game on Twitch, their odds of purchasing the game within 24 hours went up substantially.
  • Danny attributes purchases that fit the “watch then buy” pattern to Twitch.  Check out his footnotes explanation on the “watch them buy” pattern.

Engage Mid Tier Influencers


  • The natural focus is on the absolute top tier influencers. Danny attributes that 46% of sales to broadcasters that average between 33 and 3,333 concurrents.
  • Mid tier broadcasters convert views into purchases 13 times more effectively than top tier broadcasters, and small broadcasters convert views into purchases 1000 times more effectively than top tier broadcasters.

Twitch Increases Player Retention


  • Retention matters a lot. Products that can’t retain users stop growing and eventually disappear.
  • Twitch users engage in a number of complementary activities including viewing, chatting, and broadcasting. All of these activities lead to increased retention in the associated game.
  • Twitch is helping all sorts of games retain their players. And almost half of the observed impact is attributed to the effect of watching, rather than the increased engagement of watchers (number of days played).


  • Danny got excited when he found that viewers who watch Dota at least once on Twitch had a 5% improvement in week over week retention [1, 2 footnotes]. Meaning a user who played Dota in week 1 was 5% more likely to show up in week two if they watched the game at all on Twitch in week 1.
  • This is a huge effect, but that could be because well retained Dota users are more likely to watch Twitch, not that Twitch led to increased Dota retention.
  • As you’d expect, the more you play week one, the more likely you are to play the week two and so on!


  • It’s not surprising that if a player played Dota everyday last week, they are extremely likely to play at least once this week.


  • But regardless of how much you play, Twitch viewers are still more likely to play next week than non-Twitch viewers.
  • So, assuming the relative improvement above, Danny looked at what the improvement in retention would be if viewers had the same days played distribution as non-viewers – 80% retention up from 77%.

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