YouTube recently announced the death of fan funding, replacing it with Superchats, a way for viewers to throw some money at their favorite creator in live streams.
In today’s episode of Tube Talk, Jeremy Vest speaks with Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators about how to enable Superchats and how to make the most of this new revenue opportunity.
Enjoy, and please share if you find this episode valuable!
Jeremy Vest: Hey everybody. This is Jeremy Vest from Vidpow.com. Today I have Tim Schmoyer. How’s it going Tim?
Tim Schmoyer: Hey. It’s good. Good to hang out with everybody again.
Jeremy Vest: With video creators.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah.
Jeremy Vest: Tim and I were at a conference a couple of weeks ago. Just randomly he was like, “Let’s do a super chat”. I was like, “That’s cool”. It ended up being me, Roberto, Tim, and Daryl Eves.
Tim Schmoyer: We did a mobile livestream together from my phone. Spontaneously in the middle of a party.
Jeremy Vest: It was so random. But it was pretty amazing. Tim Schmoyer, what is a super chat?
Tim Schmoyer: When you’re live streaming on YouTube, people can now just throw money at you while you’re live streaming. That’s basically what it is.
Jeremy Vest: Who qualifies to livestream with the super chat feature?
Tim Schmoyer: Anyone with, is it 1000 subscribers, for the super chat?
Jeremy Vest: Yes.
Tim Schmoyer: 10,000 for the mobile live streaming. 1000 subscribers, and you can enable it. You first have to disable the old school fan funding thing on your channel, which probably by this recording is already gone anyway. That’s already gone. But you still have to go into your channel settings and enable super chat. Accept a bunch of terms of service and agreements and things, and then you’ll be good to go.
Jeremy Vest: Let’s get this right. I’m a fan. I’m watching a YouTuber live. They’re doing a super chat. I am just like, “You know what? I’m going to give this YouTuber five, or 25, or 100 dollars”. What compels people to give money, and what do they get in return?
Tim Schmoyer: This is a really fun conversation to have because, I think I’ll just call it how it is. What people are paying for is attention. They want attention from the person that they’re watching. That sounds like a bad way of saying it. I don’t think it’s bad. But basically it’s a way for getting noticed, or at least increase the chance of getting noticed when someone is live streaming.
Let’s say for example when we were doing it. I don’t know what the chat rate was, but it was going by pretty quickly. It’s hard to actually read the conversation that’s happening in chat and keep up with it, especially while you’re live streaming. However, when someone does a super chat, let’s say they give five bucks. When they give that five dollars, they can put their message in with that five dollars. Now it turns into the big bright green. Instead of one line of text it’s taking up three or four lines of text. Really big, bold. You can’t miss it. It stands out in the chat.
One, it captures my attention. I’m like, “Oh. Someone gave me five bucks. Thank-you so much, Barbara”, or whoever. I can see their message and talk about it. But it also then gets pinned, well at five dollars or more, it gets pinned to the top of the chat. It actually stays there. The more money someone contributes, the longer it stays up there. Up to five hours if someone gives you 500 dollars. But the most I’ve seen so far is a 50 dollar one. In that case, it gets pinned for 30 minutes.
Jeremy Vest: I’m guessing that had something to do with my beautiful face on your … I’m just kidding. Didn’t we get a 50 dollar one when we were there?
Tim Schmoyer: We did. That’s the highest super chat I’ve ever gotten was that 50 dollar one when we were doing it.
Jeremy Vest: As a creator, do you actually find this as a real business plan, if you will to supplement income? Or do you think it’s just kind of a cool thing? To me it’s almost like you’re a waitress and you get some tips sometimes. You know what I mean? I don’t think it’s something you can count on to pay your mortgage. But what is it for creators? What’s the real opportunity here?
Tim Schmoyer: I’ve done a lot of live streams. With super chat, I’ll just say that I am always amazed at how much people are willing to give during these. I don’t ask for it. It’s not a call to action. I’m not eliciting them. I’m just doing my live stream, and people just give. One, because they’re really supportive and they appreciate what we’re doing on the video creator’s channel, in the community. Two, I think they like it. Like, “Hey. I can be a bigger part of this livestream. I can take a next step in this community”. I think that’s the big opportunity, to answer your question.
Kind of similar to how a lot of creators use Patreon. It’s money. But really it’s about community development. It’s the people who, “Not only do I say I support you, but I am literally going to put my money where my mouth is and support you and support this community, and show everyone else that I’m a supporter. I’m about this community, and that this is important and valuable to me”. I think that’s the real opportunity for a creator, is to use it for community development. It’s just like Patreon.
Jeremy Vest: Very cool. It reminds me of Kickstarter. A lot of Kickstarters have the first level package where it’s just like, “We’re a fan. We appreciate what you’ve built here”. It’s between one and five dollars typically. You would be surprised how many thousands of people have supported between one and five dollars on a Kickstarter. They couldn’t afford whatever the product was, but they just had real appreciation.
I think you obviously, video creator, puts out a lot of great content that have really helped people grow their channels. I think sincerely they’re just like, “You know what? Thank-you. You’ve helped me. Here’s a couple bucks”.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. I’ve found that usually once one person kind of breaks the ice with a super chat, it’s usually a low one like a one or two dollar super chat. But once one person starts it, I see that other people, “Whoa. That really stood out to me. I can do that too”. Then it kind of gets the ball rolling. Then you’ll see a few. This is my experience anyway, maybe not for everyone. But it usually starts with a few one or two dollar ones. Then it starts going up to five and 10. Then 10 and 20. Then that one that you were on with me, Jeremy. At the end there’s someone giving 50.
I think it’s kind of like, I don’t really know the right word for that. Not the power of suggestion, but maybe social proof or something. When people see someone else do it, they seem to be more likely to start jumping in and participating themselves.
Jeremy Vest: The moral of the story is, make sure your mom is always giving a couple of bucks to get the party started.
Tim Schmoyer: I would recommend, yeah you could start it that way. But all it really takes, and this is not to be manipulative by any means. This is, hopefully you guys listening to this have hearts like this. You’re not being manipulative. But when that super chatter person, I guess I could call them a super chatter, when they do that and they get a reaction from you when you’re live streaming, that totally fuels it for that person and for everyone else who’s watching. They’re like, “I can get a reaction from that person as well”. That’s what I do.
For me, it’s because I genuinely am blown away that people would just give money to support what I’m doing. I have plenty of products and courses and books and things like that that they could buy. But on a livestream, what they’re getting is my reaction, my gratitude, my thanks. They’re getting it kind of as face to face as they’re probably going to be able to get. They’re willing to pay for that.
I would say if you guys are doing this and you do get super chat, one, make sure that you’re thankful and that you express that. That you give them that reaction that they’re looking for. Two, I would say if possible, feature them somehow. Whether it’s at the end of your next video on your channel, or giving them a thank-you in the description of the live replay. That’s what I did actually on a few. Not the mobile live streams because it’s more difficult to do it on my phone. But when I’m streaming on desktop, when it’s over I go through and I take, you can see all your super chats in the sidebar of YouTube when you’re logged in. There’s a little menu item there. I just copy and paste all of the channels from everyone who contributed, to the description of the video.
During the livestream I tell them that. “If you’re watching the replay of this, everyone’s channel who is doing super chat is linked up below”. It’s got an extra incentive. I know some creators will follow back anyone on social media who does the super chat. They say, “Put your Twitter account in your super chat and I’ll follow you back”. Some people like Hank Green, they’ve used super chat to let people donate towards charity, but also the super chatters get to pick the topic of the next video that their creator is going to make. Just a lot of fun interactive things that you can use super chat for, to give more value to your community and also as a way for them to get value and support you back.
Jeremy Vest: That’s awesome. One more question, and you don’t have to answer this because it’s pretty personal. Do you ever see a day where your super chat revenue is going to outperform your Adsense revenue? Or has that day already come?
Tim Schmoyer: I would say for many creators it could be here very easily, very quickly. Because let’s just say you have a two dollar RPM, which is what you’re earning. You earn two dollars for every thousand views on YouTube, after all the cuts and everything you’re taking. If one person gives you two dollars in a super chat, the math is going to break down because it’s typically a 70/30 split. 70 goes to the creator, 30 goes to YouTube. Out of two dollars, the creator is getting a dollar 30 or something like that? Which would be equivalent to getting 1300 views, so to speak.
If someone gives me 50 bucks, that’s like giving me, I’m doing the math real quick in my head, 25,000 views on a video, right there. You can see how this could quickly add up to being a pretty big contender with Adsense. Not only for YouTube, because they’re taking 30 percent. Which I’m glad of by the way. I’m happy. It’s not the normal cut that YouTube takes. It’s more than the fan funding but it’s less than Adsense. I think they’re motivated to make this a really good product because of that. Which I totally see in some of the stuff that’s coming up. There’s a lot of cool features coming up with super chat.
I think it could get there. Especially for those gamers who are live streaming every night. There’s a streamer in my neighborhood that I know. She streams every weeknight. Every night except for Sunday nights. I don’t know what total she gets, but it’s a few hundred dollars an evening from live streaming. The most I’ve seen is, someone got in one live stream, is 4000 dollars in a livestream.
Jeremy Vest: I wonder what PewDiePie is making on a livestream.
Tim Schmoyer: I don’t know. But to answer your question, yes. I could see it compete. Especially for smaller creators who have a small, intimate community, who is super dedicated, but it’s just not large. You’re not getting the massive views, but you’re still providing excellent value to those people who are there. Absolutely, it would replace, it would outperform Adsense.
Jeremy Vest: Awesome. Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators, how can people find you?
Tim Schmoyer: You can find me @timschmoyer on Twitter, or youtube.com/videocreators is where I’ve got weekly YouTube training videos going up every week there. Or at the Video Creators podcast, where Jeremy is a guest as well.
Jeremy Vest: You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Vidpow bam everywhere. Until next week, keep talking tube.