How to Plan a Subathon Successfully on Twitch or YouTube! [7 Amazing Tips]

Doing a Subathon is no easy task, but with great effort comes great rewards.

Subathon amplifies your growth and you can achieve your sub-goals like subscriber count sooner than you can imagine. First and foremost, you need to plan before you begin your Subathon journey.

Subathons, a blend of ‘subscription’ and ‘marathon’, have become a popular way for content creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube to engage with their audience and boost channel growth. This article aims to guide you through the process of planning a successful subathon, making it an enjoyable experience for both you and your viewers.

Understanding Subathons

Subathons are unique events where the duration of a stream is extended based on viewer subscriptions and donations. They can last from a few hours to several days, testing the streamer’s endurance and creativity.

How to plan a Subathon successfully on Twitch or YouTube?

With the growing popularity of streaming platforms, subathons have become a go-to strategy for content creators looking to expand their audience and increase viewer engagement.

You can follow the steps below for planning a Subathon:

  1. Set clear Subathon goals
  2. Research Subathon ideas in your genre, relevant to your audience
  3. Arrive at a number of subs for each incentive
  4. Pick incentives wisely for each milestone
  5. Plan the appropriate time for a Subathon
  6. Plan some giveaways during the Subathon
  7. Look for collaborations with other streamers

1. Set clear Subathon goals

Setting clear goals for your Subathon will allow you and your audience to make you achieve the goal faster. What do you hope to achieve? Whether it’s gaining new subscribers, increasing viewer interaction, or raising funds for a cause, your goals will shape your subathon strategy.

For example, if you are nearing a certain number like 1000 or 5000 subscribers, set the goal to reach the desired number.

person researching subathon on computer for subathon goals
Think about your Subathon Goals

Subathon Goals can be of many types, here are certain examples.

  1. Time-based goal– These are generally capped Subathon, which have a time limit like a 24-hour Subathon
  2. Subscriber-based goal– You run a Subathon and end when you reach the subscriber number that you aimed for
  3. Game-based goal– This is when you end the Subathon when you finish a game or achieve some milestone in the game you are playing
  4. Donation-based goal– When you set a goal for the amount of money you raise as donations, these can be linked to charity events
  5. Undefined goal– These are uncapped Subathon, where you do not set a time limit and it is up to the audience when your stream should end

These goals are just the most popular ones, it is up to you to keep a goal that resonates with you and your audience while doing subathon planning.

2. Research Subathon ideas in your genre, relevant to your audience

Content is king in a subathon. Planning diverse and engaging activities keeps your audience hooked and encourages them to participate actively.

To begin planning a Subathon, you must start with researching a creative hook. Think of ways to keep your audience engaged, and set targets and outcomes you would like to drive from the Subathon.

Diverse Content Ideas

Mix up your content to keep things fresh. Incorporate gaming sessions, Q&A segments, guest appearances, and creative challenges to cater to a wide range of interests.

Interactive and Engaging Segments

Plan segments that involve viewer interaction, like playing games with subscribers or having live discussions. Engagement is key and at the heart of a successful subathon.

Researching what other streamers are doing for a Subathon in your genre is something you should do as part of your initial research. Check for popular streamers who play the same game or have a similar content structure to yours. Understand what they did for their Subathons. You can also check Google images and search for content ideas as well.

This is just an activity to gain some inspiration, you definitely don’t need to copy their style or content. You can check out the famous Ludwig subathon for ideas on how he went about doing an uncapped subathon, and what kind of results he saw.

person scrolling the web on computer
Research your Subathon genre

Note the following key takeaways from other streamer’s Subathon

  1. What games or content other streamers were streaming during the Subathon
  2. How are the streamers interacting with the audience during the Subathon
  3. Which activities were engaging or funny during the Subathon
  4. What kind of incentives did they plan to give for achieving the sub-goals
  5. How was the audience reacting during the Subathon, was it any different?
  6. What expectations did the audience have for the streamer
  7. What didn’t go well during the Subathon

This will enable you to form an idea about what to expect and what to do during your Subathon.

3. Arrive at a number of subs for each incentive

Arriving at the number of subs you want to keep for each incentive might be tricky at first. You obviously cannot copy what other streamers have done during their Subathon as it might not be applicable to you.

If you keep the number of subs for your incentives too low then you might finish all of them in a few hours. And vice versa – if the number of subs to get the incentive is too high then you might fail to achieve them and risk the chance of making your stream boring.

How to arrive at the number of subs for each incentive?

To arrive at the number of subs for each incentive, you will need to look at your own Twitch or YouTube analytics dashboard.

  1. Know how many subs you achieved during the month, week by week from your analytics dashboard
  2. Find out your average viewers during your regular streams and the number of subs gained during the stream
  3. This will give you an estimate of subscribers you can achieve per hour for your stream
  4. Keep your subs required for the incentives closer or a little higher to your average sub/per hour number. It will help you set the pace of your Subathon

For example, if you see that you gain 5 subscribers per hour when you stream, you can keep the first incentive in your Subathon when you gain 5 subs, the next incentive can be slightly spaced out with, for example, 6-8 subs for the next incentive.

4. Pick incentives wisely for each milestone

Your incentive selection should be carefully done. Your audience should approve of the incentive for a particular milestone.

You can stack the incentives as per the increasing order of entertainment value as per your audience. Start with something which is easy and appropriate for a few subs, and move on to other incentives later which have higher entertainment value.

Person asking to think wisely about incentives
Pick Incentives Wisely

For example, cutting your hair or dying your hair to some weird color are incentives that can be harder for you to do. These kinds of incentives can be kept for a higher number of subs.

Sample of Incentive per milestone

Subs MilestoneIncentive
0 – 10 SubsPlay your favorite game with reverse controls for an hour
10- 20 SubsDraw a self-portrait
20 – 30 SubsEat a chilly and speak for 1 minute without drinking water
Sample milestones per incentive

person thinking of subathon incentive ideas
Subathon Incentive Ideas

Incentive Ideas for your Subathon

If you are looking for Subathon incentive ideas, read my article on how to do a Subathon on Twitch, where I have prepared a list of 36 Subathon incentive ideas to perform during your Livestream.

5. Plan the appropriate time for your Subathon

Your Subathon will need your undivided attention when you are doing it, so you will need to plan your day accordingly.

Subathons are usually, capped, uncapped, or goal based. Based on the type of Subathon you are planning to do, set aside and block that amount of time.

Managing Stream Duration

Set a reasonable cap on the stream duration to avoid burnout. Balance between creating excitement and maintaining your health. Do keep in mind that a long Subathon of over 24 hours is super tiring and can drain your energy. Many streamers have said that after the 15 -16 hours mark, they feel tired, sleepy, dazed, and confused.

Person saying its important to time your subathon
Time your Subathon

How to plan the appropriate time for your Subathon?

  1. Decide your Subathon type, whether you want to do a capped, uncapped, or goal-based
  2. Calculate the time needed for doing the Subathon you decided on, for example, capped Subathon can be for 12-24 hours. For uncapped and goal-based subathon, you will have to estimate how long it will take to complete the desired goals or limit of your uncapped Subathon
  3. Plan your day accordingly, and make sure you have time at your hand to complete the Subathon. Usually, streamers do it around weekends or during holidays to ensure they can dedicate the time

What is a Subathon timer? Where can I get one?

After seeing some of your favorite streamers, you might also be wanting to display a cool subathon timer. The subathon timer is nothing but just a clock to keep track of how much time has passed since your stream has started. The unique trick to this clock is that whenever someone subscribes, donates bits or money, or purchases streamloots, the timer increases.

Here is a cool subathon timer I found, with its code, so you can use it readily for your stream. Read the article here to set up a Subathon timer on Twitch.

6. Plan some giveaways during the Subathon

During the Subathon, you would have some top sub gifters or donators. You should plan some giveaways for rewarding them. Offering giveaways and other incentives encourage viewers to subscribe.

Person saying how to plan your giveaways
Plan your Giveaways

Planning giveaways can make your stream more interesting. These can be planned using contest or quizzes that you have planned for the Subathon.

Here are some Subathon giveaway ideas:

  • Physical products
    • Console, controller
    • Favorite book
    • Gift cards
    • Personally signed/ written note
  • Virtual products
    • Shout out on stream
    • Custom emotes
    • In-game skin/ costume

a. Decide what you want to give away

Choosing a giveaway is up to your budget. It can be of non-monetary value as well. These could be a physical prize, such as a gaming console or a gift card, or a virtual prize, such as custom emotes, personal notes, or even shoutouts in your stream.

You can also offer exclusive perks and rewards for subscribers, such as access to exclusive content or early access to future streams, to incentivize people to subscribe.

b. Decide how you are going to select the winner

Next, you should decide how the winners of the giveaways are decided.

Ways you can decide:

  • Use a random number generator at regular intervals to pick a winner
  • Have viewers enter a contest, you can either choose the comments section or them doing a specific action like subscribing or answering a question
  • Select the top gifter or subscriber

c. Announce the giveaways

Once you have decided on the details of the giveaways, you should let your audience know about them.

You can announce the giveaways through various methods like

  • On your stream, you can let your audience know over a period leading to the Subathon
  • On your social media channels, promote the giveaways and display participation rules
  • Include giveaway information in your stream overlays and alerts

This will help build excitement and encourage viewers to participate.

d. Plan to fulfill the giveaways

This could involve purchasing the prizes, asking for a mailing address from the viewers, and shipping them to the winners. In the case of virtual prizes, find out ways to share them with your viewers, it can either be from your streaming platform or others.

Make sure you have everything ready before the Subathon starts, so you can focus on keeping the subscriptions coming in during the event.

7. Look to collaborate with other Streamers

Collaborate with other streamers or content creators to cross-promote your Subathon and reach a wider audience, and consider hosting special guest appearances or events to keep things fresh and exciting.

Person saying it's fun to collaborate with other streamers
Collaborate with Streamers

How to collaborate with other streamers?

  • Reach out to other streamers directly or through social media, email, or by joining a streaming community and see if they are interested in collaborating
  • Discuss ideas for the collaboration, which could be a co-stream or a multi-stream on separate channels
  • Agree on the details of the collaboration, such as “when” and “where”, and the role of each person
  • Agree on how to promote the collaboration and share the audience between your streams
  • Take care of technical aspects of the collaboration including equipment and software

Overall, collaborating with other streamers can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can help you grow your audience and reach new viewers, and it can also help you build relationships with other streamers in the community.

8. Promoting Your Subathon

Promoting your Subathon effectively is crucial for its success, as it helps in attracting a wider audience and generating excitement.

A strategic approach involves utilizing multiple channels for promotion. For instance, social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are invaluable tools.

Crafting engaging posts that highlight the unique aspects of your Subathon can stir curiosity and anticipation among your followers. It’s also beneficial to create a countdown to the event and share behind-the-scenes preparations to build momentum.

How to promote your Subathon?

If you are a beginner, you can adopt a more community-focused promotion strategy.

  • Start by engaging your regular viewers during streams
  • Discuss plans for the Subathon and seek their inputs on activities and incentives. This approach will help build a sense of community involvement and anticipation
  • Use your Twitter account to announce the Subathon
  • Post regular updates, including countdowns and highlights of what to expect, such as special game playthroughs and viewer interaction segments
  • Reach out to the network of your streamer friends, arranging to appear on each other’s streams in the days leading up to the Subathon. This cross-promotion will be beneficial in reaching audiences that have similar interests but are not yet aware of your channel

9. Analyzing the success of your Subathon

Analyzing the success of your Subathon is a critical step in understanding its impact and planning for future events. The key lies in utilizing the right tools and interpreting the data effectively.

For measuring success, various analytics tools provided by platforms like Twitch and YouTube can be instrumental.

For instance, Twitch’s Dashboard provides detailed statistics about viewer demographics, engagement patterns, and revenue generated, which are crucial for evaluating performance.

In addition to that engage with your audience through post-Subathon surveys or direct interactions on social media. It can provide valuable insights.

This feedback will help you understand the audience’s perspective – what they enjoyed most, what could be improved, and suggestions for future streams.

This way you can not only find out about your strengths and areas for improvement but also align future content and strategies with your audience preferences, setting the stage for continued growth and success in your streaming career.

How long should a Subathon Llst?

The duration of a Subathon can vary greatly depending on your goals and endurance. Some last for a few hours, while others can extend to several days or even weeks. It’s important to plan a duration that’s manageable for you and engaging for your audience.

What are effective ways to incentivize viewers during a Subathon?

Offering unique incentives like exclusive content, special shoutouts, merchandise giveaways, or playing certain games can encourage viewers to participate. Tailor these incentives to match your audience’s interests for maximum engagement.

How can I ensure my Subathon is successful?

Success hinges on thorough planning, engaging content, effective promotion, and active viewer interaction. Utilize social media, collaborate with other streamers, and ensure your content is varied and interesting throughout the event.

Is it necessary to have a large following to host a successful Subathon?

Not necessarily. A well-planned Subathon can attract new viewers and grow your audience, regardless of its initial size. Focus on quality content and effective promotion to reach a wider audience.

How do I manage my health during a long Subathon?

Prioritize your health by taking regular breaks, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. Consider having segments where you can rest or involve less intensive activities.

What technical setup is required for hosting a Subathon?

A reliable streaming setup is crucial, including a good quality microphone, camera, stable internet connection, and streaming software. Ensure you have backups in place for technical issues.