How to reward Twitch streamers with Xsolla’s Advanced Attribution Model
November 10, 2020

The right streamer partnership can work wonders for your game’s sales. Working with online influencers has become the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method, and video game streamers are among the industry’s most influential figures. Whether you’re working to generate general publicity or raw sales conversions, influencers can help you accomplish your goals through several initiatives, including sponsored content.

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

The Importance of Rewarding Streamers

When working with streamers, motivation is everything. Their influence can effectively advertise your game and mobilize their audience into potential customers. But that influence depends on their authenticity, and their authenticity depends on a healthy relationship with the game they’re promoting. In other words, keeping them motivated means rewarding them with fair compensation.

There’s a bit more to rewarding streamers than just paying them a flat fee. Depending on how you measure success, be it sales, social media engagement, raw brand impressions, or other vital metrics, some compensation models will be more effective than others. 

Choosing the right compensation model can also ensure a more accurate and fair payout for the creator — a win-win situation. For example, Epic offers the Support-A-Creator program to help customers support their favorite streamers and other content creators by either inputting the influencer’s Epic tag at the moment of purchase or following an Epic Games Store referral link generated by the creator. Both of these methods are used to credit the content creator for the sale, earning them a percentage of the profit.

Xsolla Partner Network is our all-in-one solution for streamer compensation. It handles various streamer compensation types for you. Revenue Share, for example, earns a participating streamer a percentage of every sale they contributed to through provided referral links or Creator Tags. Traditional sponsorship is another type of compensation: a developer sets a payout budget and conditions, effectively commissioning specific content that must perform a certain way — like streaming a game on Twitch and getting a certain number of views.

Advanced Traffic Attribution For Twitch Influencers

Sales attribution can be difficult without the right tools. Xsolla’s Advanced Traffic Attribution for Twitch Influencers helps developers demystify data using a tailored mathematical model. This model allows developers to analyze streamer-fueled sales conversions and calculates appropriate streamer rewards.

You want to compensate your streamers for their hard work and good results, but you may not have access to the right data to do so. Advanced Traffic Attribution solves this scenario by applying extensively-researched mathematical formulas to correctly attribute social metric increases, or even sales, using minimal data. This model can help developers adequately compensate streamers when missing or inaccurate data makes things difficult.

This solution works for both free-to-play and paid games, and while the current model works with Twitch, support for more platforms is on the way.

How it works

To develop Advanced Traffic Attribution for Twitch influencers, Xsolla collected viewing statistics from games whose sales were attributed only through Xsolla, ranging from concurrent stream views, the total number of subscribers, hours viewed, audience growth after the stream, along with other data points to paint a complete picture. The data was then compared to the sales statistics collected over the same period. To filter out false indicators, Xsolla excluded events connected with external sales events, spikes or drops in conversions, Twitch Drop campaigns, and marketing activities on other channels.

The effect of creators can be tracked when there is an increase in viewers at the same time as an increase in sales.

Having filtered that data, Xsolla had a view of only the pertinent events and could now see that their sales increase was correlated with a spike in viewership.

Using predictive mathematical modeling, Xsolla derived a general formula from the acquired data. This formula associates sales data with audience statistics and can predict sales with minimal or noisy data. This way, developers can expect and assess individual streamers whose operations make it hard to attribute success and growth directly.

The flowchart of the Advanced Attribution Model. The total Average Concurrent Viewer (ACV) count of all creators, each creator’s ACV, and each creator’s ACV increase are taken as input. The mathematical model then predicts the amount of new paying users.

While it’s a predictive model and approximate, this model’s accuracy sits at a high percentage of around 70%. This accuracy can differ during promotion campaigns, Twitch Drops, and other external sales events, and Xsolla continually improves accuracy by conducting research with different games and streaming campaigns. Data is collected using games whose sales are attributed only through Xsolla or when developers agree to share sales statistics.

With a confident 70% accuracy rate and the universal formula developed, you won’t need to tweak the model for every game you partner with a streamer to promote. That way, you can implement this method considerably faster without doing any additional research of your own or without setting up elaborate and potentially cumbersome analytics tracking.

Use cases

This advanced traffic attribution model is ideal when a streamer can’t or doesn’t want to use referral links, or their sales platform of choice makes it hard to attribute sales. This way, the streamer can continue creating organic content and still receive fair compensation, especially if they don’t feel comfortable “advertising” your game directly and prefer to make content more naturally.

Using this model can also help attribute sales if a Twitch streamer fails to use a referral link during a live stream but includes a referral link in the published stream’s description. It can help attribute sales on purchases made outside of a controlled ecosystem, including systems that don’t use referral link tracking during a transaction. This model can even help account for when a referred customer forgets to use a given referral code given out by a streamer.

Developers can use this solution as a predictive model for finding streamer partners by assessing a streamer’s potential sales generation and corresponding revenue share. With this information, you can determine the value of a partnership through the Xsolla Partner Network.

Evaluate Streamers before inviting them

One thing to keep in mind is that not every streamer will work out, despite using your best judgment. Whether they spread criticism or hate, create incompatible content, or falsify their numbers by view-botting, they can negatively affect your brand and potentially hurt sales. While truly malicious streamers tend to be rare, it’s still possible to make partnership mistakes.

To avoid potential issues in the future, research the streamers you’d like to invite to the Advanced Attribution Model beforehand. Make sure they’re producing content that’s compatible with your game, see how they’ve handled previous sponsorships or game coverage, and even look at the climate of their surrounding community.

This is a transactional agreement. You know that you’ll be holding up your side of the deal with fair compensation, so it’s essential to protect yourself by verifying that they can, too — both before and during your dealings.

Read our previous blog post for more on approaching, working with, and rewarding your potential streaming partners.

Getting started with Advanced Attribution

To partner using Xsolla’s Advanced Attribution Model, both the developer and streamer need to join the Xsolla Partner Network. If a streamer is not a partner, a developer can invite them to join.

For Developers

To enable the Advanced Attribution Model, developers need to contact their Account Manager, who will help set up the compensation program.

The data from a developer’s Twitch streaming partners is collected first. The change in the influencer’s followers and views are defined using growth percentage data if the influencer has hosted streams as part of the Xsolla Partner Network program before. Otherwise, it’s based on their channel’s initial viewership number. The number of the streamer’s followers who don’t watch the streams, but make a purchase, is predicted using a mathematical model. 

For the payout process, Xsolla will prepare a report with the Predicted Revenue Share for every creator in the program each month. This comprehensive report shows a top-level view of the filtered data, showcasing the spikes in views overlayed with the spike in sales for each streamer partnered with the developer. 

Predicted sales and predicted revenue share are calculated using the formula below:

  • Predicted sales from creator = predicted creator’s new paying Users × average sales per user
  • Predicted revenue share to creator = predicted creator’s new paying users × average sales per user × average amount per payment × revenue share %

A report reflecting this is created and sent to the developer. Next, a participating developer decides whether to pay specific creators, and how much. Much like other attribution models through the Xsolla Partner Network, the developer controls the influencer campaign’s budget and has a top-level view of the data.

After the developer confirms the reward amounts and recipients, Xsolla adds money to the influencer’s balance. To keep this payment separate from other attribution models in billing, Xsolla marks the payment as Advanced Attribution. Any influencer with more than a $100 balance can withdraw the money via PayPal or wire transfer.

For Streamers

To join as a streamer or refer another candidate, register with the Xsolla Partner Network and join a relevant partner program. Once you start working with a developer, you’ll notice compensation tagged as Advanced Attribution if your publisher or developer partner has enabled it through their account manager. We invite streamers to explore this and our other Xsolla Partner Network programs to find their channels’ best compensation model.

The advanced attribution model can make for supplementary compensation, but the payout is decided by the developer and therefore isn’t guaranteed. More direct compensation, such as attributed sales, have a more reliable payout, but developers may use the advanced attribution model to incentivize streamers and reward them with bonuses.

Once registered, streamers can create content for their developer or publisher partners on Twitch and collect payments marked as Advanced Attribution once the payout is calculated and available. Payments and any bonuses are made automatically, and once you have accrued a balance of $100 in your account, you can withdraw it.

Through this attribution model, streamers receive revenue based on a set of parameters. The better they perform, the more their audience grows, and the more income they earn based on the formula mentioned above. But what if a streamer wants to make even more?

While the model doles out compensation based on numbers, the developer has the ultimate say in who gets how much. If the developer notices impactful, quality content coming from a channel, they can increase that channel’s share. Negative or parody-style reviews might increase a streamer’s overall viewership, but a partnering developer might disapprove of its potentially harmful brand association. 

This compensation model pays streamers based on views, but striking a balance between viewership and good, positive content should net developers better results, especially if that content drives sales increases. The Xsolla Partner Network offers a variety of compensation models, giving participating developers a host of options to incentivize their optimum streamer content.

Xsolla Partner Network gives developers the tools they need to work with streamers for mutual success. It can help match your game with the right streamers, optimize campaign tracking, ensure accurate reporting, and power performance-based payments. Our goal is to find what works best for you and put it into action.

Sign up to start working with streamers today, or email us to learn more.

next article