Customizable Tags on Twitch: Useless Garbage or Fine Promotion Tool?

Customizable Tags on Twitch: Useless Garbage or Fine Promotion Tool?
Tags on Twitch help to describe a stream beyond a category or a game being broadcast. People can easily find the content they’re interested in, cause tags are used to filter broadcasts.

If one wants to watch some Minecraft speedruns, he doesn’t have to search them manually. It’s enough to pick the game and add the “Speedrun” tag. And that’s all.

Tags were launched on Twitch just in 2018 and immediately turned out to be one of the most effective tools for both: streamers and viewers. Broadcasters could attract the most loyal and involved audience, and users didn’t have to spend much time finding streams they’d like to watch.

Twitch develops this tool well, collects feedback from viewers and streamers, and adds new usable tags. In May 2021, the platform added over 350 new tags. And now they went further and allowed streamers to create their own unique customizable tags.

Tags tool becomes more flexible: all about current changes

Recall that Twitch changed the tags policy at the beginning of August 2022. And they highlighted three main features of them:

  • Customized tags allow streamers to describe broadcasts in their own words. Actually, even 350+ tags were not enough for broadcasters. Twitch users could propose new tags by filling out a specific form, but it took a long time to consider it, and they also can be rejected with no explanation.
  • Twitch has doubled the number of tags that may be attached to a stream. Earlier, a broadcaster could add just five tags, but now it’s ten. And this is logical, cause Twitch managers assumed people would use customized tags pretty often.
  • The search system was also upgraded. Now, if a user loof for specific tags, the search engine highlights streams using this tag and places them at the top of a page. If one searches tags, he finds just tags, not descriptions or headings. This motivates streamers to use them more often.

It’s been a month, so we can draw the interim conclusion about renewed tags tool and look at how popular streamers use it now.

Customizable tags: pros and cons

Now, we’ll look at custom tags from a streamer’s point of view. They are fine for individualization. Using unique tags allows a broadcaster to stand out from a crowd.

Just like that:

Here is a bunch of custom tags: Vibes, Folk, Acoustic, Unplugged, and Looping

Here is a bunch of custom tags: Vibes, Folk, Acoustic, Unplugged, and Looping. And even if you’ve never seen this guy, you already know what he’s doing: he plays looping music. It’s when a streamer plays any musical part as a repeating section and then records other parts one by one over it.

Looping is popular on Twitch musical streams, but earlier, it had no separate tag. People had to search it manually among other music streams.

Custom tags reduce competition a dozen times. Cause people use a similar tag much less than a similar category.

You can see custom tags on the Homepage carousel too, but it shows only a random two of them. It’s a bit weird solution, cause all tags matter, but people don’t see them.

You can see custom tags on the Homepage carousel too, but it shows only a random two of them

Using tags is critical for searches. Cause at the very top, the system shows streams with a tag similar to the keyword. There are some odd features because of it.

For example, somebody writes “Illustration” to the search bar. First, Twitch will show him streams tagged “Illustration”, then some channels with this word in their logins or descriptions. Further, there are Categories, if any. So even if this word is in the broadcast heading, viewers may just not see it in search results.

So even if this word is in the broadcast heading, viewers may just not see it in search results

This feature actually makes streamers use tags more often. Cause if not, a stream is almost invisible in search. It’s become pretty close to absurd, cause some broadcasters even duplicate the stream’s category into the tags bar. Just like that.

And it makes sense cause when someone writes “Tub” in the search bar, this stream will be higher even for the “Hot Tub” category itself, just at the very top

And it makes sense cause when someone writes “Tub” in the search bar, this stream will be higher even for the “Hot Tub” category itself, just at the very top.

On the other side, it may not be for beginners who make their first steps on Twitch. The coverage of newbie broadcasters used to be pretty low. And now, if they don’t use tags, it will be even lower. It just becomes impossible to attract an audience without money and all these non-obvious whistles and bells. Now, it’s not enough to make high-quality and involving content — a streamer has to know how exactly Twitch works.

But this applies only to beginners and mid-level streamers. Top broadcasters who have over 100k followers may not use tags at all. And it will not affect the coverage of his streams. For example, the most famous xQc rarely uses tags. But he got over 115k new followers over the past month. Easy peasy.

Another way of using custom tags is streaming rubrication. A content maker can create separate topics or sections of his live broadcasts. All he has to do is to create a few unique tags that no one uses. When a viewer clicks on the tag, he’ll instantly get all streams on the subject.

We tested it — everything worked fine. But streamers don’t use this feature. It takes much time, but we actually don’t know how this affects the promotion within the platform. Twitch is testing custom tags, so all may be changed in the nearest future.

NB. Twitch announced that tags would play a bigger role in the future. As they say in its blog, tags will create more opportunities for streamers. They will integrate tags into the system that check organic movements within communities.

Of course, they don’t reveal any engine details. It’s possible and likely that using tags will increase the coverage of live streams. But what about custom tags? Who knows. That’s why popular streamers just wait.

Earlier, Twitch messed up a few times during such updates, so waiting may be a wide strategy.

However, custom tags have more pros than cons. They narrow an audience, reduce competition between streamers, allow broadcast rubrication, and provide a better search. If one overlooks that it becomes almost mandatory to use the feature, everything else is fine.

But for beginners, changes in using tags just make their way to success harder. Newbies have to use tags to be seen by viewers. So it goes.