If you’re looking to make some extra cash or even start a new career, then streaming on Twitch could be for you.
On your path from Twitch Affiliate to Twitch Partner, you should continually tweak your content whether you play games or IRL stream. As your audience grows, viewers and Twitch sponsors will want to financially support your channel.
This article will detail how to make money on Twitch and some examples of the most effective ways of making your first few dollars.
Requirements to Make Money on Twitch
For their channel to qualify for potential subscriptions, Twitch streamers must reach Twitch affiliate status by achieving the following milestones:
- Have at least 50 followers.
- They have streamed for a minimum of 500 minutes over at least seven days in the past month.
- They have maintained an average of at least three concurrent views over the last month.
How Do Twitch Streamers Make Money?
Twitch Streamers commonly earn through crowdfunded subscriptions, Twitch bits, and donations. They also generate revenue through ads, sponsorship opportunities, selling their merchandise, affiliate marketing, YouTube videos, and offering live streaming-related services to other broadcasters. Once they start reaching the Twitch payout threshold of $100 regularity, they will be paid once per month.
In a StreamScheme survey, 53% of Twitch Affiliates with smaller followings stated that they generated most of their income through subscriptions. The other 47% was split between bits and donations.
Here are the most common ways that streamers earn money from Twitch:
1. Streamers Earn from Subscriptions
Twitch allows its influencers to provide exclusive perks (extra videos, emojis, etc.) for viewers who subscribe to their channel. Subscriptions start at $4.99 (Twitch has two additional tiers at $9.99 and $24.99). Twitch broadcasters get 50% of each subscription fee. After becoming a well-known Twitch partner, you may be able to negotiate a higher percentage of what you can earn through subs alone.
Note: Each September, Twitch holds a SUBtember event where subscriptions are offered at a discount to new subscribers. This will typically help channels that are aiming for specific milestones.
Sub Incentives For Twitch Users
There are several ways you can incentivize your viewers to subscribe to your channel. The most common incentives include custom Twitch emotes and badges to membership holders and ad-free viewing.
You can also create your unique perks for those who have financially supported your channel. While you should treat all of your viewers with respect and gratitude, people will understand if you give your subscribers preferential treatment. Here are a few ideas:
- Twitch allows you to stream only to subscribers. Have set times when you produce sub-only content. Make it something unique to the rest of your work. Don’t overdo this, as it could alienate the rest of your community.
- Allow subscribers to interact with you in your stream. Let them join you in your game, or let them request songs from your playlist. Create an on-the-spot haiku for them or have designated channels in your Discord for them. There are many ways you can interact with your community. Be creative and come up with something special.
- Always thank those who subscribe. Show genuine gratitude. Not only will this encourage your viewers to continue to subscribe, but it also may inspire others to subscribe as well.
2. Make Money Through Twitch Bits
Bits are an alternate way for followers to tip on Twitch. Viewers purchase them directly from the platform without leaving the site and handing them out to whichever streamer they choose. Each bit counts for a single USD penny. As a bonus, users receive special Twitch badges as they hand out their bits. Twitch users can donate bits to any streamer part of the affiliate program.
As an incentive to subscribe or donate, streamers can set up their stream alerts to display the viewer’s name and action. Twitch alerts can bring a lot of character to your stream and show your viewers that you will go the extra mile for them.
You can create incentives for bits by making conditions for them. For instance, when playing certain games, you can tell your viewers that if they donate a specific amount, you will drop all your weapons, armor, or something else to make the game more interesting.
Manage Your Hype Train Settings
Many viewers are more likely to donate to your channel if there is a hype train. While you don’t want to go off too frequently, make the settings easy enough that they can go off at least once per stream (if you are lucky). This will naturally help you make money on your Twitch channel.
3. Earn Money on Twitch From Donations or Tips
Viewers can donate to Twitch streamers through a donation (or tip) option on their channels through a third-party app such as Streamlabs. To make it easier for people to donate to your channel, create a chatbot command that will give them the link, or set up a Twitch panel in your about me section.
Some creators use this function to “sell” in-stream services. For example, musician trinityflynn will live-learn a song on her channel for $10.
4. Streamers Earn Through Ads
While Twitch creators can get cash from ad revenue, the consensus is that it isn’t worth it. Ad revenue is generally paid per view (generally between $1-$10 per thousand views, depending on the time of the year). Still, with high adblocker usage, streamers can’t rely on their viewer count as an accurate measurement for payment. That said, running the occasional ad can bring in a little extra income to hard-working streamers, just so long as it doesn’t get in the way of your game.
Twitch streamers must reach the Twitch partner program before they can earn off of ads. They can then control how often ads run on their channels. It is best to run ads sparingly, as running ads too frequently can turn viewers off of your channel. Many streamers will run an ad at the beginning of their show, when they need to take a quick break, or at the end of the broadcast, though others choose not to run them.
Twitch streamers must generally complete the following to reach the partner program:
- They must have a regularly scheduled show that runs at least three times per week.
- They must average at least 500 concurrent viewers every time they stream.
- Their content must conform to their ToS and DCMA guidelines.
While exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, the platform generally looks for these attributes before handing out the Twitch partner title. There have also been cases where the streamer exceeds these rules and has been denied the partnership.
5. Upload Content to YouTube
Uploading game compilations, portions of streams, or new content to a classic YouTube channel will give you another way you can monetize your work. Videos on YouTube are easy to search for and have the chance to go viral. If it does, you will get a decent amount of views (from which you can collect ad revenue). Viral videos can also funnel people into your stream channel to watch your future content.
While you may be able to stream for hours, it is best to upload shorter YouTube videos that are between 5-15 minutes long. Try to upload at least once per week. If you post less frequently, YouTube won’t recommend your videos. Make them unique, entertaining, and educational for the best chance for potential followers to view them.
Research Good Video Topics for Best Results
Until you have a large following, compilations of video games generally won’t do well on YouTube. To do well as a newer channel, create content that targets specific search terms for the game that you play. Using a tool like TubeBuddy can help you find a good idea, think of the best titles, and create a clickable thumbnail celebrating games to bring in new viewers to your channel.
You can also funnel Twitch users and fans from your social media to your YouTube channel to help it get its initial growth.
6. Earn Money on Twitch From Merchandising
While your followers are also the financial backers to your merchandise empire, in return for their money, they will receive a tangible object in return. Twitch has built-in ways for you to display your merchandise, and you can also promote it on your social media accounts.
Create Designs For Your Twitch Merchandise
You can reuse your logo or other original graphics related to your branding for your merchandise. Logos and graphics can be created on your own or outsourced to designers on Fiverr or Etsy. Get permission to use the designs for your merchandise.
While you may not earn much from merchandising until you are in the partner program, having them available on your Twitch channel generally won’t cost you anything, and you may be able to make money passively from your merchandise over time.
Stream Platform Widgets and Extensions for Merchandising
You can incorporate widgets into your profile that allow people to browse and purchase your merchandise. The widget Design By Humans can easily be installed on Twitch. This app will post alerts in your chat when a viewer buys an item (which may encourage others to look through your wares).
Streamlabs also allow you to upload images to sell products quickly. They handle all the creation and shipping and handling (it generally takes less than a week). Your viewers can browse items on your profile, and like DBH, an alert will appear in chat when someone purchases something.
7. Streamers Earn Through Sponsorships
Twitch streamers can potentially make money from sponsorships through third-party companies. While streaming platforms do not set these up, there are programs out there that can help. Two sites that match sponsors and streamers are PowerSpike and HelloGamers. You can also meet with agents at conventions or network with them through their companies.
Sponsorships will generally look like one of the following:
- Logo Sponsorships – these sponsors typically want you to put their logo somewhere. They usually don’t pay well unless you have a considerable following.
- Product Sponsorships – Often, sponsors will ask influencers to talk (or create a fun skit) about their product. These clips generally last for about 30 seconds and, depending on the average channel views or the streamer’s content, could be worth several thousand dollars.
- Developer Sponsorships – If you are especially high-ranked in a game or have a large following, you may be approached by game developers to play their popular games. Depending on the game and your following, you may be able to potentially earn several thousand dollars per hour!
- Appearance Sponsorships – well-known and influential streamers are sometimes paid through live appearances at gaming or streaming conventions. These are occasionally coupled with other promotions.
According to one of the top streamers, DisguisedToast, paid live streams can generate between a penny and a dollar per viewer on your Twitch channel per hour. He has personally been paid between $1,000-$10,000 per hour. In February 2019, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was allegedly paid $1 million to play Apex Legends.
8. Broadcasters Earn Through Affiliate Marketing
Broadcasters on all three platforms can make money on Twitch through affiliate marketing. These are generally set up by each creator, not by Twitch.
The most popular affiliate program for streamers is Amazon. All you have to do is set up the Amazon Blacksmith extension. Once you have an Amazon affiliate account, you can set it up with the other extensions in your profile. Promote items that you use or are passionate about on your stream.
You can also set up affiliate programs with unique products or software through their businesses (if applicable). When you use a new device or product, look into the company and see if they have a program available and what you need to do to be paid. You don’t want to overuse affiliates as it could put off your viewers, but a select few could bring you some extra income.
9. What Special Services Can You Offer to Other Streamers?
As an independent streamer, you may need to learn many new skill sets (or develop existing ones) to grow your Twitch brand and channel. If you excel in one specific area, you may be able to market those skills to other streamers (or trade them for services you need). These may include:
Graphic/Animation Design Skills for Twitch Broadcasters
If you develop a knack for transforming basic brand concepts into great designs and logos, you may be able to market your services to streamers who struggle in this area. As you will have already learned the parameters of what works on a personal level, people may be more inclined to work with you rather than a non-streamer.
Where you design emotes or create fantastic Twitch overlays, you can search for potential clients through networking on Twitch forums or Facebook groups or signing up for a Fiverr account. You can also create many art pieces over several live streams.
Content Coaching for Streamers
If you are a natural entertainer, offer to watch streams to give constructive feedback at the end of the stream (don’t do it through the chatbox). If your feedback is excellent and helps them produce better content, you can become well known for being a good coach. You can offer a similar service pre-stream for ideation by looking over their broadcast plans and inserting ideas to improve it.
If you are particularly good at certain games, you may be able to get work as a gaming coach through a company like GamerSensei.
Troubleshooting Support for Broadcasters on Twitch
If you understand the mechanics behind your hardware and software, you are a step up from many streamers. You may be able to assist streamers who have internet issues, problems with their sound or visual quality, or don’t understand how bots and widgets work on their streams.
Video Editing Services for Twitch Streamers
If you have a knack for editing compilations or new content to upload to YouTube, you may be able to help other streamers who struggle in that area. In such a saturated market, the more creative you can adjust their work to help them be found, the more valuable you will be as an editor.
Frequently Asked Questions
When marketing your services to other streamers, it is essential to remember that they should be seen as allies and clients, not as your competition. Genuinely try to help them, don’t sabotage them. Your reputation in the streaming community is important. Many broadcasters try to help each other out and tend to alienate those in it only for themselves.
Additionally, if you can forge connections with other streamers early on as a creator, you may be able to grow together, trading various strengths to make channel growth easier. Reach out to them on your social media as well.