12 May

Memberships Gifting are coming to YouTube and they’ll be available for select channels beginning Wednesday. Memberships are YouTube’s take on Twitch’s subscriptions, which viewers can use to show financial support for creators and get access to certain perks like custom emoji. Twitch users have been able to buy gift subscriptions for some time, but if you’ve wanted to buy gift memberships to other fans of a YouTube channel, you haven’t been able to.

The Beta Program:

The memberships gifting beta will be available to a “small group of creators” to start and will be expanded to more “over the next several months,” YouTube says on a page about the feature. Channels interested in trying the feature can fill out this Google Form, though you’ll need to already be eligible to enable memberships in the first place, which has its own set of requirements. And gifting will only be available for viewers using a desktop browser window to start — buying gift memberships on mobile is something YouTube plans to have in place for the feature’s full launch.

Viewers will also have to opt-in to be able to receive gifted memberships on a channel (which could be a way to prevent harassment, like the changes YouTube made to its version of raids). Gifted memberships will appear in the chat, and you’ll have to click a link and then a toggle to allow gifts. You can get an idea of what the experience looks like in this screenshot, taken from a GIF from YouTube:

Memberships Gifting
Click the toggle to be able to receive gifted memberships. Image: YouTube

What is Memberships Gifting?

“With Memberships Gifting, your channel members can buy a set number of channel memberships [5, 10, 20] in a single purchase, that YouTube will ‘gift’ out to other viewers in your live stream,” YouTube says. “Viewers who receive a gift membership get 1 month of access to your channel membership perks like loyalty badges, custom emoji and more. Viewers who receive gift memberships do not pay any charges and as the creator, you receive your usual revenue share from each transaction.”

How can I get Memberships Gifting enabled for my channel? 

We’re not quite ready to make this widely available just yet, so we’re launching a Beta to get feedback and continue developing features. For example, purchasing gift memberships on mobile isn’t available during the Beta, which we’ll have in place for full launch. 

In the meantime, if you’re interested in getting access to Memberships Gifting as soon as we’re ready to add more creators to our tests, you can express an interest via this form and we’ll let you know if you’re eligible as we roll this out over the next few months. 

How does Memberships Gifting work?

  1. Existing channel members click the $ button next to the live chat to purchase gift memberships on live streams. Memberships Gifting is only available for viewers to purchase on desktop live streams. We’re working on bringing this to mobile soon! 
  2. Viewers opt-in to be eligible to receive gifts on a channel. During the Beta, the only way to opt-in is either to click ‘Allow Gifts’ on a gift membership announcement that shows in the live chat when someone has purchased gift memberships OR by clicking the gift icon that is pinned at the top of the live chat.
  3. YouTube distributes gift memberships to viewers based on how much they interact with your channel. Example, loyal viewers who are always watching and interacting with your content are more likely to receive gift memberships. 
  4. Viewers get notified with a personal live chat message and email if they receive a gift membership! Gift memberships are non-recurring and viewers who receive gift memberships don’t have to pay anything to get access to the benefits.

A few more important details:

Gift memberships use the same 70/30 (Creator/YouTube) revenue split where revenue share is calculated after App Store fees on iOS (if applicable) and other charges like sales tax.

Existing channel members can’t receive a gifted membership, we want to share the love with potential new channel members!

Conclusion:

Gifted memberships are just the latest YouTube versions of major Twitch features introduced to better compete with Amazon’s popular streaming service. But YouTube hasn’t only been competing on features — it’s also enticed some huge Twitch names, including DrLupoTimTheTatmanLudwig, and, in a deal announced just last week, Sykkuno, to stream exclusively on its platform.

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