How to Do a Subathon on Twitch? A Guide to Twitch's Hottest Trend

Lindsay Hayes

Twitch subathons are basically livestreams that you dedicate to getting more subscribers. Depending on the route you take, there are a couple of incentives that you can give viewers to subscribe to you, like adding extra time to your stream, or having giveaways whenever you reach a certain sub milestone.

Although there are a bunch of different Twitch monetization tools, nothing beats a good subathon. But of course, that's if you do it right. I've done a few subathons before, and I've had made the most cash whenever I've given prizes away after reaching subscriber goals.

So, to answer your question on how to do a subathon on Twitch, I've run through everything that I think you should know, and more.

Read ahead.


How to Do a Subathon on Twitch?

There are a few tips when preparing for a Twitch subathon, and let's talk about them.

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1. Set a Max Time

First and foremost, decide how long you'll be streaming for. The usual stream format for subathons is 24 hours, but the max time limit that you choose is entirely up to you. If you want, you can uncap the stream and keep it going until you get tired. There actually are subathons that are years old and still going on (more on this later).

Like I said in my introduction, you can add more time to the stream whenever you get a new subscriber. To keep track of the added time, you can use a subathon timer. My personal favorite has to be the Heroku marathon timer.

Here's how you can use the Heroku subathon timer:

2. Have a Plan

You need to brainstorm subathon goal ideas, and what you'll be doing on stream. I think speaking to your mod team can help. They can give you good insight on what your audience would want to see, and how many subscribers you can realistically expect.

Also, you'll need to figure out what you'll be giving viewers as incentives for subscribing to you. I've already mentioned that you can add more time to the stream for each new subscriber, but you can also have a giveaway whenever you reach a specific subscriber milestone. To make things easier for you, I actually took a look at some suggestions that I think you might like, later.

I'd recommend keeping your community in mind when planning a giveaway. Your audience might like specific prizes for certain games that you play, over more general gifts, like Amazon giftcards. This is where speaking to your moderator team can really help.

3. Announce the Subathon Streams

You're now ready to announce your subathon. Remember to do this on all social media, and not just your Twitch channel.

When announcing your subathon, don't just send messages about it on your chat. Instead, use the Twitch announcements and panel features. The announcements feature will highlight your text and make it more noticeable, while the Twitch panels will add an infographic below your stream that would tell viewers what you have planned.

Here's how you use the announcements feature:

Here's how you can set a Twitch panel:

4. Go Live

The only thing left to do is to go live. As suggested, talk to your moderator team and get their suggestions beforehand. You might find that your viewers would rather see you playing some new horror game than something else that you might have planned. Also, it's important that you go ahead with the incentives that you promised.

And of course, if you are going to be streaming for over 24 hours, get plenty of rest before you start.

Player with Gaming Keyboard

What Are Some Good Subathon Ideas?

Apart from giving prizes away, there are a few other things that you can do to get users to subscribe to you. I've touched on some of the best suggestions below.

1. Giveaways

First and foremost, I have to talk about giveaways. From all of the suggestions on my list, I think this is what will keep viewers engaged the most. I'm not going to talk about this too much, as I've already covered this in-depth earlier on.

On the same note, you can make donations while on stream. I'd recommend speaking to your community to figure out the best charity or organization to donate to.

2. Add Extra Time

If you want, you can add extra time to your stream for each new subscriber, or specific sub goal that you've reached. I mentioned how specific timers can help with this already.

3. Eat Crazy Food

You can eat exotic or gnarly tasting food whenever you reach a specific sub goal. If you're going this route, you can add a spin to it, like having a countdown for how long until you're allowed to drink a glass of milk or have some water. With each subscriber that you get, you can reduce the timer by a couple of seconds.

4. Put Your Twitter On the Line

If you're alright with the risk, you can give your chat the power to tweet anything from your account. To make things even more exciting, you can delete the tweets only after the subathon ends.

5. Egg to the Head

Egging yourself is another fun idea that's easy. I'd recommend getting friends and family to do the smashing, as this will add to the excitement. As the subcount goes up, keep increasing the number of eggs that you hit yourself with. And once you're up there, you can also add rotten eggs into the mix.

Of course, you don't just have to stick with chicken eggs. Water balloons are also a route you can take.

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6. Custom Emotes

Another good suggestion is adding custom emotes for each goal reached. I really like this suggestion, as your live stream will feel intimate - you and your chat will be doing something for your community. Also, add the part where you find an artist and commission the custom emotes into the stream.

To really get your chat involved, make them vote for what emote they'd want to see be customized. Also, get inside jokes added into the customization to make it feel personal.

7. Do Impressions

Something that's not as exciting as the rest, but is definitely an idea that you can try is doing impressions on your Twitch stream. Now, you can hit it out of the park and get viewers to subscribe if you pick impressions that they'd really want to see, like maybe some active users, your mod team, or other famous streamers. Just remember to work on your improv skills beforehand, as you want to be as funny as possible.

8. Karaoke

How good is your singing? You might be able to raise quite a bit of subscribers by singing on stream. Of course, get your viewers to vote in the chat about what song they would want to hear from you.

While doing karaoke, you can mix it up and put on costumes and a performance. I think this added touch will keep your audience engaged.

Definitely only try this suggestion if you're up for it, as your viewers won't enjoy the stream if you look like you're not having fun.

9. Do a Dare

Doing dares on your stream is a tame idea but can also be fun and engaging. You can up the ante by doing riskier dares as you keep meeting subscriber goals, like shaving your legs or head.

10. Keyboard Binding

If you are playing something while on Livestream, then keyboard binding is a good subathon idea, especially if the game you're playing is competitive. Your viewers will be able to see how you'll survive.

You can give your chat the chance to pick what move they would want to bind. Keep in mind to only do this on a game that you know you can continue with, even with important moves blocked.

What is a Capped Subathon? (and Uncapped Subathon)

An uncapped subathon is a subscriber stream that doesn't have a time limit. In contrast, a regular "capped" subathon will last a couple of hours or even a day max.

Let's talk about how long the longest uncapped subathon lasted:

As of right now, EmilyCC holds this title. She's still doing her subathon and has been going strong for almost two years. She has a pretty large channel, so doing something so grand might have paid off.

Now, should you go for an uncapped stream time? I personally wouldn't recommend it - you could end up streaming for days or even months which would not only affect your personal life but your mental health. Also, having a stream with no time-limit wouldn't be worth it if you don't have that many viewers in your community. You'll end up with a low subscriber count in the end.

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Answered below are some popular questions.

1. What Was Ludwigs Subathon Like?

I can't complete this article without talking about Ludwig's subathon. Without a doubt, it's the most popular subathon that Twitch has ever seen (there's even a Wikipedia page for it). It was a month long stream that revolved around his everyday life. At the end of it, he gained over 282,000 subcribers, and an even more impressive $1.4 million dollars.

Ludwig actually revealed what he did with the cash: 25% of it went to his mod-team, while 25% of it went to taxes, and another 25% of it went to charity, and finally, he kept 25% of it for himself.

2. Who Did the First Subathon on Twitch?

Although there's no official record of this, Reddit users swear that the first subathon was hosted by the streamer, Boxbox. He gained over 3000 subscribers from it, which took place all the way back in 2015.

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Final Thoughts

When planning a subathon, first think about some good ideas. In my opinion, playing a new, interesting video game, or bringing friends and family on live-stream work great. But of course, speak to your mod team for their input on some good subathon stream ideas - they might tell you something that you didn't think of.

You also have to give viewers incentives to subscribe to you, like increasing the stream's maximum time (by a few seconds or minutes per subscriber), or giving away VIP badges.

Also, you can either go with a capped or uncapped subathon. I'd recommend 24 hours maximum, as anything longer is over-kill, especially if you are a smaller channel.

Hopefully, you found all of the points that were run through useful.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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