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How to Do a Subathon on Twitch

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Streaming can be an expensive hobby. Fortunately, there is a way to offset the cost with donations and subscriptions. Here are five ways to subtly encourage people to sub to your Twitch channel.

Once you’ve seen some initial growth and have a decent amount of viewers, consider doing a subathon to up your Twitch game and monetize your channel. Not only do subathons allow you to interact with your community in different ways and generate a lot of hype over time.

This post will cover what a subathon is and explain how you can host one on your own channel to generate excitement (and hopefully subs) from your viewers.

What is a Subathon on Twitch?

When a streamer hosts a subathon, they essentially choose to trade action for subs. The actions will vary from stream to stream. For instance, a streamer may add a set amount of time to the stream or do something special after receiving a set amount of subs. Examples will include dancing on stream or playing a specific game.

A streamer often sets up a marathon timer that can be viewed on screen. As people sub or donate, the timer will be extended to a pre-determined maximum time.

The current record for the longest subathon is Ludwig’s subathon on Twitch. It ran for 31 consecutive days – from March 14 – April 13, 2021. He spent time talking about his personal life, sleeping, and playing games.

While a subathon marathon is typically about length of time, there have been other creative ways to entice people to subscribe or donate to a channel, such as completing a set amount of tasks (such as saying “Mario” 1 million times).

How to Set Up a Subathon on Twitch

There are several things you will need to do to prepare for a Twitch subathon. Not only should you have clear goals set in place, but you will need to bring your mods on board to help you with the process.

This post will cover what you should do before and during the stream:

  1. 1. Plan the Stream Events in Advance

    Once you’ve decided to host a subathon, take the time to plan out what you intend to do and the incentives you will use to entice people to sub. Talk to your mods and community to get hints on what they want to see.

    After you have a basic plan, work out how many subs each incentive should get or how much time each sub should add to your stream. Many streamers also set a limit for the total length of time they will stay live so that the stream doesn’t impact their personal lives. Popular times are 24 or 26 hours, which can really stretch you but can be recovered from. Take any health concerns into consideration.

    Remember that the goal is to keep your audience engaged throughout the subscriber marathon. You can play video games, talk to friends, set up a game show for your viewers, or more. Just remember that subathon streams can take a mental toll on your body, so it is good to stay hydrated and healthy throughout.

  2. 2. Announce the Subathon

    After you’ve planned out your subathon, announce it to your community and on your social media accounts. Try to set up several announcements over a week to ten days to put the idea in your viewers’ minds so that they plan to be there. Let them know a few of the incentives they can expect to generate hype.

  3. 3. Install a Subathon Timer

    If you’re planning to increase your live time with each stream, add the Subathon Evolved timer to help you keep track of how much longer you need to stream. You can customize the timer widget to your times, set limits, and even showcase it on your stream.

    You will need to have an active Streamlabs or StreamElements account connected to get your timer settings to work properly.

  4. 4. Create Panels and Commands

    Create a Twitch panel that will explain the event, what each sub tier is worth, and the incentives to meet specific sub-goals. That way, people can scroll down to learn more instead of you having to explain it over and over.

    You can also create a command to explain your goals (or direct them to the Twitch panel). Let your mods know the details as well so that they can assist in answering specific questions that your viewers may have.

  5. 5. Go Live and Follow Through With Your Incentives

    After everything has been set up, go live and follow through with what you promised your viewers you would do. If you plan to stream for 24 hours or more, make sure to get plenty of rest before you begin. Have any items you need to complete tasks on hand (unless you promise a future stream).

Subathon Stream Ideas

The best subathon ideas are those that will resonate with your specific community. Pay attention to what your viewers are saying or asking for and play into their wants.

That being said, there are some general ideas you can use that are popular in most communities on Twitch:

  1. 1. Add Extra Time

    One of the most popular Subathon methods is adding time to your stream’s end. The amount of time you should add should reflect on the size of your community.

    If you have thousands of viewers, adding a few seconds (like Ludwig and his 10-second increments) will act as an incentive, whereas if you have a few dozen viewers, you may want to increase the time in 10-15 minute increments to give them value.

  2. 2. Eat Weird or Spicy Foods

    You can also decide to eat weird or spicy foods after hitting specific sub-milestones. Viewers love watching people eat spicy food, such as peppers (bonus points if you can set a 3-minute timer between the time eating it to when you drink milk or eat bread to relieve the pain) or strange foods, such as dried tarantulas.

  3. 3. Play a Different Game

    If your community has frequently asked you to try out a new game (or to play a specific game with them), turn that into a subathon prize. This also works for specific categories (such as an art or music stream).

    The key is listening to what your particular viewers want to see from you. Let them know when you will deliver the stream in the future so that they can stay hyped.

  4. 4. Giveaways

    You can also have specific items to giveaway once certain sub-thresholds are met. To increase your chance of earnings, let people know that only those who subbed or gifted subs to others will be eligible to win.

    Keep track of how many each person gave so they can have “extra” chances to win.

  5. 5. Mix and Match

    You don’t have to stick with one subathon strategy. Choose a bunch of ideas and give your viewers options for what they can sub. For instance, at 5 subs you can eat a pepper, at 10 subs you can dance for 10 minutes, and at 50 subs, you can give away a game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Do an Uncapped Subathon?

The answer to this question is “it depends.” If you have a smaller viewer base, it is less risky to do an uncapped subathon as they will be less likely to subscribe enough to make you create a super long stream. If you have a larger viewer base, it is typically better to conduct a capped subathon.

What Should You Consider Before Your First Subathon?

Depending on the conditions of the subathon, you should consider what you may need to stock up on before you begin. If you think you may stream for 24 hours or longer, you should ensure you have enough food, drink, and a place to rest (if necessary).

You should also plan on ways to minimize the negative effects this may have on your mental health. Plan a break before and after the subathon so you can spend time with your family and friends to regroup.


Remember to always be grateful to those who support your stream. Streamers who think they are owed something often turn most viewers off. Being truly grateful will encourage more donations overall.

You should also plan a mini celebration for when the clock strikes that you are done. Thank your new subscribers and your loyal viewer base for supporting you throughout the subathon, then go get some well-deserved sleep.

About the Author


Chris is a digital marketer with a strong background in small business and influencer branding. He applies his knowledge of content and promotional strategies to design actionable advice for new and intermediate streamers. When he’s not busy crunching analytics, he can be found in the salt pits of League of Legends.

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