For all those aspiring streamers, there is one question we all ask, “How do I make money on Twitch?” This is a very important question as Twitch is one of the more successful streaming platforms for the growing gaming and eSports communities. The landscape within gaming is changing rapidly from just those who are on YouTube recording gameplays to live streams. Therefore, for many gamers, it is very important to know how to make money on Twitch.
The everlasting question from the older generations is, “Why would you ever want to watch someone play video games?” While we aren’t here to answer that question, we can say definitively that the genre remains incredibly popular, especially among younger gamers. However, Twitch is not only about video games – it is an evolving platform that is just getting started.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a live streaming platform for content creators that has been owned by Amazon since August of 2014. It is one of the premier streaming services, specifically for gaming creators, with many big-name gamers and celebrities streaming on the platform.
When Amazon took over in 2014, Twitch became an even bigger name streaming platform that brought in more partnerships with major sports leagues. This has gone from eSports leagues to the English Premier League in soccer. The Wall Street Journal says that the NFL (National Football League) is also streaming its Thursday Night Football games on Amazon.
This service is still on the upswing and something that is going to play a major part in culture over the next few decades. Financially, this company has been increasing profits for the past few years. Making money on Twitch is something that many people will jump onto the bandwagon for.
Money to be Made on Twitch
Twitch is constantly growing especially during the pandemic (even if it’s not as fun as live sports) which has led to more money entering the company. CNBC says that the company’s growth in the first quarter of 2018 was 49% to $5.44 billion. This gain is partly from the acquisition from Amazon and Amazon Web Services. The company was making money though even before Jeff Bezos bought the company for $970 million.
How did Twitch make money before Amazon? It has been the top streaming service for gamers for years according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Their income comes from the number of people who use Twitch and the ads that are run in during streams. Many Twitch users have been using the service for years which has led to profits along with the rise of eSports.
How to Set Up on Twitch
Starting on Twitch is very simple. For the most part, all you need is a camera, a video game console/PC, and a microphone. This set-up is not complete without a Twitch account, however. Creating an account is easy, all you need to do is create a username and password. To have a base account it does not cost you any money at all.
When you’re starting you really do not have any real following until you start being more frequent. As just a streamer, you do not get all the benefits that other users get to have.
Gaining Followers on Twitch
Although starting on Twitch is fairly simple, gaining a following on the service is not. Twitch recommends one thing you can do is customize your channel. When customizing your channel, it needs to be able to stand out because it is the central hub of your streams. Personalizing your channel also helps you gain followers on Twitch since the first channel page is the first impression for potential followers. Within the channel pages, let you be ‘you’ and show your audience what you want them to see.
Another way to gain a following while on Twitch is by streaming consistently. Having a streaming schedule is key to growing your followers since it is important to show your dedication. Look at big-name streamers like Ninja – on their homepage, there is a tab that shows their streaming schedule. If you are not streaming on a schedule, potential viewers may not join because they do not know when you are going to be streaming next.
How to get Viewers on Twitch
The biggest way to get both followers and viewers is to stream only one game at first. This helps you gain a loyal fan base that knows what you are going to do each stream. It also can attract more fans who follow that one game rather than specific streamers. This increases the viewership that you receive per stream. Twitch’s money algorithm also wants you to stream one game to begin with, to gain a captive audience.
Using other social media platforms is another great way to increase the number of people that visit your streams. If you have a big following on other social media platforms you can use them to promote and tell people when you are going “live.”
Making Money if You’re Not a Twitch Affiliate or Partner
There are different types of creators on Twitch and all of them can make money in some capacity. Even if you’re not a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, all creators on the Twitch can make money through various avenues. Most everyday Twitch users don’t have enough of a following to make revenue through their channel alone and will have to come through other means. Some ways for people to make money on Twitch are considered “off platform,” but they are available to everyone.
Affiliate links with brands other than Twitch is is a common way for many Twitch streamers to make money. These links will lead to you receiving a percentage of the money that your viewers pay using your link. The most known affiliate program is Amazon, which owns Twitch, and is easy for Twitch streamers to get access to. Influencer Marketing Hub says that the affiliate program is called Gear on Amazon. Sales of a specific product can also help you make money.
Let’s run down a quick list of ways to make money for non-Partners and Affiliates on Twitch.
Sell Merchandise on Your Channel
A popular way to make money once you have a bigger following is to sell personalized merchandise. The easiest way to sell merchandise is to set up an online store and link it on your Twitch channel. This will help you make money from Twitch because once you have a following your viewers will be prepared to pay for your customized merchandise. Selling merchandise is not directly related to Twitch, which is why it is available to any Twitch streamer.
You can also promote your merchandise on your other social media outlets and in your feed. Then, lead your fans to the online shop.
Donations on Twitch
Donations from followers and viewers on Twitch is another way to make money from the service. Asking your followers for a donation also helps you interact with them more and entertain the other viewers as well. Twitch’s Bits is a way to ask for donations but that is only if you are an Affiliate. However, you can personally start asking for donations before that.
First, you will have to set up an online payment processing system such as PayPal. To get the money you would ask your viewers for money by giving them the PayPal or other payment details. You can also set up a donation goal that will keep viewers engaged with the stream. It also gives the viewer an incentive to help you out.
Another, easier, way to collect money is through a third-party website like Patreon. Many streamers do end up using a third-party website to get their donations.
Because Twitch is the main streaming service for many gamers and has an enthusiastic viewership it makes an ideal venue for brands. A viewer on Twitch tends to stay on the site more than any other social platform, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. This means more money from brand deals for streamers than people would think.
Influencer marketing from brands on Twitch is happening more and more because brands are starting to feel an affinity with not only the streamer but also their viewers. Brands realize that the viewer is the most important way for both the company and you (the streamer) to make money. This leads to brands that appeal to “gamer-type people” investing in the influencer marketing on Twitch.
Since companies make sponsorship deals outside of Twitch, they are available to any streamer. But like any influencer marketing having a big following helps so don’t expect to get big-name brand deals if you only have a few followers on Twitch. For the most part, sponsorship deals happen when a streamer hits the Affiliate level.
If you are a really good gamer, you can enter tournaments as another way to make money. This can be by yourself or with a team and you receive money after every game you win. In the end, there is a grand prize for the winner of the whole event. To make money in these events you need to be able to showcase your skill and qualify for the tournament. Twitch will give you money from streaming your content while you play in the tournament.
This way to make money from Twitch is not usually for the average gamer. Most professional gamers and teams enter these events and average gamers cannot beat them. However, there are some tournaments for smaller and average gamers.
Become a Twitch Affiliate
The Twitch Affiliate program is a program that allows streamers to make a living from what they love doing. Medium.com shows that the Twitch Affiliate program is more like a “part-time” job, while Twitch says that the Affiliate program brings streamers closer to their dreams and build towards the coveted status of Twitch Partner.
How do you become a Twitch Affiliate?
There are many requirements for the Affiliate program. The Twitch Affiliate program is for those streamers who have at least 50 followers. Being an Affiliate, you also need 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days, 7 unique broadcast days over the last 30 days, and an average of 3+ concurrent viewers over the last 30 days. Becoming an Affiliate gives you access to some additional ways to make money on Twitch.
Being an Affiliate also allows you to:
- Earn on Twitch with Bits
- Earn money through subscribers
One way Twitch allows Affiliates to make money is through their Twitch Bits program. This program is effectively mini-donations from viewers. Bits are a type of virtual currency that a viewer can “spend” on their favorite gamer. Twitch will give an Affiliate one cent for every Bit that fans use on their channel.
This adds up to more money for the streamer because 1,000 bits are $10.00 for the viewer. Also, a viewer can cheer with his Bits. According to Twitch, cheering shows the same support for the Affiliate that a subscription does. A viewer can earn a Cheer Chat Badge to show that their support is recognized by the Affiliate. This will last indefinitely but only on the channel that you earn it on.
Twitch subscriptions also provide money to the Affiliate. Subscriptions are a way to make money monthly from Twitch. Viewers/followers can subscribe to your channel for the prices of:
- or $24.99
As the streamer, you get to collect 50% of the subscription price. The subscription button will appear on your account as soon as your sign up as an Affiliate. Subscriptions are a significant way for streamers to make money from Twitch since it has the most profit. It encourages viewers to support you especially if you include a notification. The notifications pop up on the screen telling other users when a viewer has bought (or renewed) a subscription to the streamer.
Financial Potential: How Much Does a Twitch Streamer Make Per Sub?
Once you’re an Affiliate, Twitch will give you 50% of what a follower pays to subscribe to your channel. This leads to someone with about 1000 monthly subs to make around $2.5k to $30k per year. It also depends on the type of monthly plan a sub chooses to pay the Affiliate.
Become a Twitch Partner
A Twitch Partner is different than an Affiliate. To become a Partner, you need to be invited by Twitch, but you can start by requesting. There are no official requirements, however, there are some posted by Wallethacks.com:
- Stream for 25 hours in the last 30 days
- Stream for 12 unique days in the last 30 days
- Reach 75 average viewers in the last 30 days
Partners are also different than Affiliates because of the different rewards that they receive. Partners have more benefits than Affiliates and everyday streamers because Twitch wants them to stay. They also have better ways to make money from their streams on Twitch.
These ways include:
- Selling Games and In-Game Items
- Selling T-shirts
- and Video Ads
Selling Games and In-Game Items
Probably one of the biggest differences between Partners and Affiliates is the ability to make money by selling games and in-game items. Influencer Marketing Hub says that they can receive a 5% share of the revenue. If you play a game that has in-game items, there will be a purchase box that automatically pops up underneath the video box for the viewer.
This is not just for in-game items but it can be for the whole game too. If you play a relevant game, a purchase box also pops up for the viewer to buy the game. However, only a Partner can receive any money from the purchase of the game. Another perk of being a Partner is that they can sell their t-shirts on the official Twitch t-shirt store.
Twitch Partners can run ads on their streams. This is different than an Affiliate because they can select how often they run their ads. Also, Partners can choose how long the ads run during the stream. Partners will have to share their ad revenue with Twitch, but it is still a sustainable amount of money.
To make money from the video ads, Twitch pays you a flat-rate CPM (cost per 1000 views). This rate does change throughout the year, but a typical rate is $1 to $2 per 1000 views. There are different places you can put the ads, pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. This should be experimented with to see which types resonate with your audience.
A Final Word on How to Make Money on Twitch
To answer the question, “Why do you watch people play video games?” I do it because it supports those who have the talent to make money on platforms like Twitch. Making money on Twitch is not easy and it requires the dedication and love for video games.