The HashtagME crew on Twitch have decided to try incentive based viewing for its followers.

The twitch channel has adopted stream elements to award its live broadcast viewers with ‘hashtags’ or points which accumulate over time.

These hashtags are accrued by viewers, with one ‘hashtag’ or point for every 10mins watched that is recorded by the stream elements feature.

The accumulated hashtags can then be redeemed in the stream elements store on a first in first serve basis to get actual real life prizes such as steam game codes, bags and other items that Hashtag has collected over the course of its normal day to day activities as part of the website and its award winning podcast HashtagRadioNZ.

“Rather than use a competition based strategy to accrue readers or watchers, we decided to use the stream elements store to reward those followers and supporters of HashtagME.” said HashtagME Managing Director Charis McAwesome.

“Competitions are notorious for terrible retention rates, were users of social will engage once for the purpose of the competition and then never engage again.”, McAwesome explained “The incentive based viewing model allows us to give those prizes to true supporters of the brand whilst at the same time promoting a company’s products whilst eliminating the noise of professional or habitual competition hunters ”

“As a tech/gaming and pop culture website and podcast, we are sent products to review or give away as part of our Network, with our audience being a key target and demographic.  Companies will actually see first hand how desirable their product is, while viewers are rewarded by actually receiving product and for us we get the engagement and natural growth albeit accelerated.

Should this work well for our twitch viewers we are hoping to emulate this model across our Facebook, Youtube and twitter channels utilising their respective live features”.

McAwesome was inspired to implement a incentive based viewing model, after watching award winning NZ comedian Steve Wrigley adopt the stream elements store to allow his followers to purchase game elements to either assist or ruin Wrigley’s live game play on his twitch channel Wrigglemania.

Then after McAwesome wrote an article on incentivising mobile gaming  using a points system to advertise to mobile gamers in order to provide a more relevant way to reach its audience, she proposed the idea of combining the outlet with the advertising avenue as a better way to reach its customer base and reward them at the same time.

The trial has launched and is currently running up for grabs on the store for its twitch viewers are stream keys for Rise of the Tombraider, Dead Rising, Renegade Ops, Bionic Commando, Zeno Clash 2, Rollers of the realm with a Razer backpack, Final Fantasy Bag and a Dishonored 2 tin plate due to placed on the store this weekend ranging from #40 hashtags to #100 hashtags.

“We have a couple of viewers already who are closing in on 40 hashtags after just one of the night streams, so it wont take them long to purchase at least one of the higher tier products” said McAwesome.

The HashtagMe crew streams every Monday to Wednesday (2pm Sydney time or 4pm NZT) with short streams “Help me Review” where @CharisMcAwesome plays in order to review new games sent to the team.

While both @Phidmcawesome of and @CharisMcAwesome broadcast longer streams such as ‘Retro Az Strim’ where the duo bust out old gaming consoles and their respective games, in this drip down memory lane on Thursday nights, with Friday nights reserved for ‘Scares and Beers’ “..and they can go for ages, depending on if we are any good and how many drinks we have” Charis says of the longer streams.

Incentive based viewing for Facebook and Periscope will be announced once enough data has been accumulated from the twitch streams ” in the meantime we are just happy to see how it goes with twitch before scaling up to include other platforms” said McAwesome.