Amazon’s Twitch Prime Move – How can we see the result?

When Amazon made their move to create Twitch Prime (in what I called the best marketing move of all time), they had all the data – cross usage rates, demographics, subscription rates, etc. Now as we look from the outside, particularly as we’ve developed a number of alternate hypothesis, can we see and evaluate the success of the program?

As outsiders, while we don’t have direct access to the data, there are a number of point we can observe.

Market Embrace

Amazon is leveraging market forces, expecting that the benefits to streamers and viewers are enough to drive adoption. We can watch what streamers do to see if they are seeing the benefits. If Twitch Prime is creating value for them in the form of incremental subscribers, successful streamers should be heavily promoting it to their viewers.

We can certainly see some adoption today in on-stream pitches, stream titles, channel pages and social media mentions.


At the moment, I would hypothesize that there is a lot of excitement over Twitch Prime so current promotions aren’t necessarily market tested. The real proof will be in a month or two to see how normalized the messaging becomes.


We can also watch what Amazon does. They may opt to drop or modify the program if it isn’t delivering the results they are looking for.

Increased Viewers

It is a few steps away, but we could predict that because of Twitch Prime, more people participate on the platform, driving incremental views. Similarly, if viewers subscribe to more channels, they are more likely to regularly watch more, boosting total hours watched and views.

Total views and current viewers are the only numbers available, but watching them over time may provide some insight into overall platform growth thought there are many non-Prime factors impacting these metrics.

Watching Chat Participants

Twitch provides a chat interface where viewers interact with each-other and the streamer. A couple of features of the chat makes it worth watching. Users have “badges” that indicate if they are Prime Members, Subscribers, Moderators and a number of statuses. When viewers subscribe, a message is also sent to the chat.

Twitch Chat showing badges and subscription messages.
Twitch Chat showing badges and subscription messages.

What to look at in the example –

  • Sirlexon – the ‘POW’ is the badge that indicates subscribers while the crown indicates Prime members
  • You can see that Bline_Ophtalmologist subscribed using Twitch Prime
  • EQWashu has a sword that indicates they are a moderator
  • Franch1s3 has no badges

What this means is that we can test our hypothesis by counting users in the twitch chat to see how many users are subscribers and/or Prime members.

Twitch Prime: Alternate Hypothesis

I proposed yesterday that Twitch Prime is an amazing move by Amazon to help turn streamers into salespeople for Amazon Prime. Clearly, people love the new program and perks – it is showing up all over twitch in channels I follow. For example –

Twitch Prime Sign-up banner for The Attack
Twitch Prime Sign-up banner for The Attack

If you want to hear 10 minutes of Amazon love, here’s Day9 and friends discussing Twitch Prime and how great Amazon Prime is (beyond just for the twitch offerings…). It also touches on the oh-so-important community parts of twitch and subscriptions.

Even when streamers aren’t giving direct calls to action to join Amazon Prime, they can’t resist discussing the other positives to Prime. Day9 is a big enough deal in the streaming world that he’s heard from many other subscribers and raises a couple of interesting points based on what he’d heard –

  • Some streamers reported their subscribers quadrupling over the weekend when TwitchPrime was announced.
  • Instead of hanging out watching for 6 months before becoming a subscriber, with Prime they’re more likely to dive right in a to test the community waters.
  • The first subscription is the highest hurdle – so the motivation may be to drive those incremental subscriptions as people are more likely to make a subsequent full-cost subscription.

That last point could serve as an alternate (or additional) motivation for Twitch Prime. Tomorrow, I’ll explore how these hypothesis could be tested.

The Marketing Genius of Twitch Prime

Amazon rolled out Twitch Prime at this year’s TwitchCon and I’m convinced that it is the most genius marketing move of all time. Lets walk through it.

Amazon bought Twitch, a video game streaming site for ~$970M in 2014. At the time, the purchase was justified as buying the platform and audience to help it compete in the future of online video consumption against Netflix, Hulu and more importantly, YouTube. At the time of the sale, Twitch had 55 million users, accounted for over 40% of all online  live video, and had users spending over 100 minutes per visit on the site.

Video streamers on twitch become celebrities and create communities with their viewers. Streamers get paid in a number of ways, but the most important is that fans can subscribe to their channel, typically for $5/month. There are usually some associated perks, but the main draw is to support the streamer and to be part of the community.

Needless to say, streamers have gotten extremely good at attracting subscribers with sub goals, calling subscribers out by name , and pushing the community aspects. It is hard to understate the strength of the communities that are created out of this system and the loyalty of subscribers – NPR should be jealous.

Into this comes Twitch Prime, where Amazon Prime members receive a number of Twitch-specific perks. The most important is that prime members receive one free channel subscription. Streamers get paid the same as for a regular subscription but prime members don’t pay anything.

Excited yet?

The immediate effect is that all existing prime subscribers can have a lot of subscriptions that they can “give” to steamers, and there is some evidence of that happening –


Looking further out, the impact will go well beyond people connecting their Amazon and Twitch accounts.

Twitch Streamers are now Amazon Prime’s sales force.

Why just subscribe to a channel when you can sign up for Prime and get a ton of ever-expanding perks? Streamers are already adjusting –

2016-10-05-08_10_06-top-channels-twitch 2016-10-05-08_13_01-top-channels-twitch 2016-10-05-08_14_07-top-channels-twitch

The strength of this move is staggering – it takes a functional, fairly corporate product and makes it a badge of community for an attractive demographic resistant to other forms of marketing. It is every marketer’s goal to turn customers into advocates, but Amazon has, by making a small incentive tweak, introduced a whole new platform strategy that feels like a win to everyone involved.

HowTo Get Your PMP: Overview

Five years ago I received my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI. In the time since, I’ve regularly given advice to peers on how to get certified and what it takes to keep current. Over the next four posts I’ll be covering what worked for me, updating this post to serve as a table of contents.

DISCLAIMER: This is what worked for me – everyone learns differently and PMI keeps evolving their requirements and process.

  • Counting Up Work Experience
  • Satisfying The Training Requirement
  • Passing The Test
  • Continuing Education

Here’s the short version for the impatient –

  • Don’t read the PMBOK for your primary source of studying – it is meant as a reference and doesn’t work as a textbook. Read a study guide, such as Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep instead.
  • Been working over 5 years in a role slightly beyond an individual contributor? You have the experience needed without needing to have had the title of “Project Manager”.
  • Get as many practice tests as possible and do them all.
  • Working as a PM? You’ll only need a few PMI webinars to satisfy your CEU’s.

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