Twitch is going to make pre-roll ads way less annoying

Twitch is sharing a road map for features it’s working on for 2023. Among them are changes to the way ads are run, new first-party tools to help with chat engagement, and tools to help streamers manage their brand deals. But the biggest is making pre-roll ads less annoying.

For 2023, Twitch is working on changing how ads are displayed 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 the way disabling pre-roll works for channels. Running three minutes of ads per hour in any way will disable all pre-rolls – they no longer have to be split into 90 second ads every 30 minutes  Second, we’re applying our Picture-by-Picture experience to the majority of pre-rolls that viewers do see. 

Pre-roll ads have been a consistent pain point for streamers and viewers. If you click on an interesting channel while browsing Twitch, there can be anywhere up to three minutes of ads to sit through before you get to even see the stream. A picture-by-picture solution seems to be a decent compromise as that at least allows a viewer to see the content that interested them upfront without an ad wall while Twitch gets its designated ad time in.

Twitch is also experimenting with ways to give viewers a heads up that ads are on the way during streams, and that might even include a snooze option for mid-roll ads.

Twitch also is working on special assets streamers can use for sponsorship deals. According to Verrilli and Minton:

We’ll test features with a select few streamers to make sponsorship deals more effective and authentic on Twitch, thereby making them more lucrative for the streamer and more impactful for the brand. Starting with channel skins and clickable branded graphics, streamers can easily place these brand assets onto streams, above chat, and other places on your channel page for a less disruptive and more engaging sponsorship experience.

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Twitch is also working on beefing up 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 in the works, in addition to various mobile updates to bring a viewer’s mobile experience more in line with what they’d 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 form video formats and making it easier to promote your stream on other platforms by working with Twitter to improve how clips and live stream links play in the feed.

It’ll be interesting to see in Twitter’s new world order how Twitch will get the notoriously capricious Elon Musk to cooperate, especially now since Twitter’s skeleton crew seems to be having a hard time keeping the site’s nascent features running. But hey, there’s always TikTok.

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Speaking of TikTok, Twitch will launch tools to help streamers edit and export clips from VODs that are optimized for vertical short form video formats. Steamers will also be able to pin up to 20 clips to a channel page, add emotes into stream titles, and even enable a new Sound Bites feature for viewers. Sound Bites are sound alerts triggered by viewers, much like how OBS and other third-party tools allow streamers to offer these with channel points. Twitch’s own implementation will see viewers paying to set off sounds, in a new method to monetize channels further.

To help users keep track of the many changes potentially coming to Twitch, the platform will introduce an experiments page that’ll let creators and viewers know the kinds of projects Twitch is working on. For now, Twitch says it will make more announcements in the future as these changes go live.

Verrilli and Minton also reviewed the platform’s 2022. Among the milestones was the lowering of the payout threshold from $100 to $50 and launching its Guest Star tool, which allows an easier, built-in way for streamers to collaborate.

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