Streamlabs – How it works
There are many great tools for streamers that enhance a channel and simplify its monetization. One of the most popular and most comprehensive projects in this field is Streamlabs (formerly TwitchAlerts). It not only allows you to manage your donations and set up alerts, but also combines the complete administration of your streams in one place. This includes statistics, alerts, layout and overlay elements as well as a very powerful chatbot. We are going to introduce the tool and show you what great features it has to offer.
Beginners Streamlabs settings and tools for beginners
Streamlabs provides a clear interface with an incredible number of settings. These are consistently arranged in a meaningful way, but can nevertheless easily overstrain a new streamer. For this reason, we will discuss each page of the tool in detail in the following article. Let’s start with the settings that are interesting for beginners.
The Dashboard Basic information
On the dashboard you can find basic information about your stream, such as the number of followers, the amount of donations and current events (e. g. new followers, subscribers, hosts, etc.). The dashboard also shows the status of your account, of your payment methods and of your Tip Link profile. The respective module can then be opened and edited with a click from here.
My donations A financial overview of donations on Streamlabs
As a streamer you can make money in different ways. But for the beginning, only donations are relevant, because subscriptions, advertising revenues, etc. will be unlocked with the upgrade to Twitch Affiliate or partner. That’s why we will only deal with the page «My Donations».
Here you can look at all donations individually and filter them according to certain criteria. Using the buttons on the bottom right-hand side of the page, you can display and hide deleted donations or chargebacks. In addition, donations can also be added manually to ensure seamless accounting. At the top you will also find some tabs to show the top donors, blocked donors or cheers. Add the URL below to your channel description so that your viewers can make donations.
Please note that you can only receive donations if you have set up an account (credit card, Paypal, etc.). To do this you have to leave the current page and click on the the menu item «Donation Settings» on the left side. There you can set up different types of accounts.
The alert box Display alerts with image and sound in the stream
A further settings page, which contributes to improve your stream especially at the beginning. Under the category «Widgets» you will find the menu item «Alert Box» on the left side. There you will find the hidden URL, which you can add as browser source to your streaming software (OBS, XSplit, etc.) and with which you can display alerts and notifications. You can use the checkbox to decide which alerts are important for you. In principle, mainly follows and donations are relevant, but it doesn’t make any difference whether you turn the other alerts on or off. As long as something is not available for your channel, it just won’t be displayed. Below the URL for your browser source you will find buttons for test alerts that should appear in your OBS.
Below you can set up colors, texts, pictures, sounds, etc. for the different alerts. In the General Settings section, you can enter some standard values that will be valid for all alerts.
Stream Labels Show current information permanently
Streamlabels isn’t really a widget, but a small tool that you have to install on your computer. This makes it possible to add almost any current information about your own stream live without having to manually edit any text files. Information that can be displayed include the latest follower, the total amount of donations, the donor with the highest donation and many more.
The tool has to be started during the stream. It creates the necessary files in an output folder (In the screenshot: red dot), which can then be for example added to OBS using a text source. The area marked in blue shows the latest events such as donations, follows or subscriptions.
But the tool can do even more. Via the tab «Live Actions» the streamer can activate further widgets without being in the browser on the Streamlabs page. Supported widgets are the End Credits, the Spin Wheel for raffles and the Discord Bot, which can be used to post a message to your own community server when you go live.
The Wish list Financing the start
The wish list is also quite interesting. Although you shouldn’t expect too big donations at the beginning of your streaming career, you can support the will of your viewers to donate if you give them a goal for what you want to use the money.
On the wish list you can write everything you need to upgrade your stream. Whether it’s a new webcam, a specific game or a new gaming mouse. If a viewer chooses to buy you one of these items, he has to donate the value of that item to you. Of course, it’s up to you what you actually buy from this money, but to avoid disappointing your viewers it’s advisable to buy the goods the viewers donated for.
Since upgrades of your equipment require large amounts of money and especially in the beginning there probably won’t be a selfless donor who throws a hundred euros or more into your donation pot, it is a good idea to define a donation goal. How this works we will explain in the next paragraph.
Goals Focusing on the goal
In Widgets -> Goals you can find three different kinds of goals: Donation Goals, Follower Goals and Bit Goals. You can set a Goal Amount, a Title and a Starting Amount for each of them separately. In addition, you can also set an end date when you would like to have reached the goal of donations, followers or bits. Once you have set up the goal, you will find many options to display it by clicking on «Settings».
Once that’s done, all you have to do is copy the widget URL into a browsersource of your streaming software and add it according to your layout. Your stream will then always show your viewers the current status of the goal.
The Tip jar Visualizing followers and donations
The tip jar is a great way to not only display alerts and notifications but also follows, donations, subscriptions and cheers. It is basically a small animation in which the viewer interaction is dropped into a virtual tip jar. You can choose between different tip jars and you can design the graphics for the different interactions of the viewers on your own. It can either be used in combination with an alert or as an alternative to one. As with alerts, it is possible to display only certain user actions or, for example, make the display dependent on the amount of the donation. In this way it is for example possible to display small donations and followers only in the tip jar, but large donations and subscriptions as alerts. This is especially useful for successful channels where the small viewer interactions would otherwise fill the entire stream with alerts.
Advanced Advanced settings and tools on Streamlabs
We’ve only listed a few tools for beginners above. This is because elements such as subscriptions are not relevant for new and unknown streamers. They won’t be activated until you reach at least the affiliate status. So you don’t have to worry about it beforehand. Of course, newcomers are free to read into the possibilities and use them if necessary. But whether this makes sense for you personally you have to decide for yourself based on your current situation.
Integrations Expanding your network
On the page «Integrations» it is possible to link different networks and platforms to your Streamlabs account. Patreon and Discord, but also other donation providers such as Tipeeestream are included. This makes it for example possible to display an alert on a Pledge on Patreon or to add a bot to the Discord server, which posts messages about your Twitch stream. In this way you can automate many of the work steps that you would otherwise have to do manually on these platforms (such as information on Discord that your stream is starting now).
Shared access If you don't want to stream alone
It can be quite complex to moderate your Twitch channel. More and more followers and donations mean greater effort and often a bot isn’t simply enough. The moderation of alerts with user-defined texts (e. g. for donations) takes a lot of time and often there is no time left for the actual business of a streamer (playing and commenting on a game). In such a case, an additional moderator, who checks the messages in the background and lets them pass or blocks them would be helpful.
To avoid having to share your own account with someone else, you can share your acces to your Streamlabs interface. Of course, you should also trust the person you allow to access it, as this feature can do great damage quickly.
Alert Profiles Different alerts for different programs
At the beginning a single profile will probably be sufficient, but if your stream grows and you have a regular schedule, you may want to use other alerts and notifications for different games or «shows». For this reason, you can define so-called «collections» here, which can then use new browser source links to display other overlay elements than your standard collection. If you want to change the program, just change the collection and go back to your stream. This saves time and reduces the risk of making a mistake or overlooking something during the changeover.
With the credits it is possible to list the followers, donors, subscribers, etc. of the current session again and to thank them all. This is especially helpful when the number of donations becomes so high that you simply don’t always see them live in the stream. In the settings for this widget you can (as everywhere else) set what kind of viewer interaction you want to show. In addition, you can set the title and subtitle, design of the credits and their speed. The titles of the individual categories, such as followers, moderators or subscribers, can also be adjusted.
Other modules and widgets Settings on Streamlabs that we have omitted
Some functions of Streamlabs we didn’t discuss in this article. For example, the «My Subscribers» page, which offers an interesting but not necessarily up to date insight into the list of subscribers but doesn’t otherwise offer any great features. The API settings aren’t relevant for most streamers either as they are more addressed to developers of tools and programs. Other functions such as the Viewer Count or the Streamboss are mostly self-explanatory. That’s why at this point our article is finished. If you have any questions, please visit our Community on Discord. They will certainly help you there.