When it comes to making money with video, most streamers want to make money with livestreaming. Currently, Twitch is one of the best platforms to do that. Some of its top creators can make six to seven figures in just a single year. Twitch streamer Ninja earned over 5 million in 2020, making him the highest-paid Twitch streamer. Now, the majority of streamers on the platform never come close to this figure. However, you do not need millions of followers to make money on Twitch.
If you want to turn a profit on Twitch, we will walk you through the steps you need to take to monetize your streams.
Step one: build your audience
It’s true you don’t need a massive audience however you still need an audience to start making money on Twitch. Your audience is your stream’s foundation. Without an audience, your stream can’t steadily build itself up. Additionally, your follower number is crucial. You need at least 50 subscribers.
How to build your audience
The key to building your audience from the ground up is to engage with people. Valkyrae, Twitch streamer and The Game Awards’ Content Creator of the Year, says Twitch, while gaming-focused, is primarily a social platform. “Even though Twitch is video game[-focused], it’s a social platform,” Valkyrae says. “You need to socialize, talk to your chat. Know people. Put yourself out there.”
Your audience is one of your most powerful tools as a streamer. Not only does your audience help you build your online presence, but they also allow you to gauge how your stream is progressing. Any increase or decrease in engagement becomes instantly clear. You can also get content ideas from community members. You always want to keep coming up with new, exciting ideas, because eventually repeated stream content will become stale.
Engagement doesn’t just happen during streams with your chat. Collaborating with other streamers allows you to interact with new communities and win over some viewers. Streamers you interact with may even raid your stream. Raids send over a streamer’s viewers to another stream when they end their stream. Growing your community relies more on who you socialize with and how you socialize rather than how good you are at gaming.
How to make money when first starting out
It’s going to take some time before you can become an Affiliate on Twitch. Even after you become an Affiliate, it may take some time before you start making money. Sometimes, it takes streamers years to start making a living off of their streams. There are other ways outside using your perks as an Affiliate to earn money by streaming on Twitch. Here are a few ways to earn money when you’re not in the Affiliate program.
Generous audience donations could make a huge difference. Popular streamer Ludwig said when he started on Twitch, it took him a while to make money. It was hard for him to keep streaming, but the few large donations he received from a few chat members kept him going. You can set up donations by linking Paypal to StreamLabs.
Brands are willing to fund streamers they believe will help them grow their business. If you don’t know any brands, try reaching out. Many brands are open to sponsoring streams. It might be hard to do when starting, but smaller companies may be willing to grow alongside you. Just remember, only work with brands you feel comfortable working with. Just because a brand wants to advertise doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you, your stream, and your audience.
Selling merch is a great way to earn money and spread the word about your brand. Many online retailers produce whatever merch design you have in mind and give you a cut of the profit. You cover the production cost. Depending on how you price the merch, you can make back a decent amount of revenue.
Next: become a Twitch Affiliate
To monetize your stream, you need to be a Twitch Affiliate. Twitch put in place its Affiliate program to gauge which streamers are qualified to monetize their channels.
Twitch Affiliate eligibility
- Stream at least 500 total minutes in the last 30 days (This equals out to be about 8.3 hours in a month. Broken out into weeks, it is about two hours per week)
- At least 7 unique broadcasts days in the last 30 days (which is about two streams per week)
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
- At least 50 followers
How you earn money as an Affiliate
Once accepted into the Affiliate program, you can receive revenue through subscriptions, bits, and ads.
Subscriptions are the primary way Twitch streamers earn their revenue. The way subscriptions work, viewers who subscribers get access to special chat perks non-subscribers don’t have. For instance, they can get unique emotes only subscribers can use. Twitch’s subscriber system works in a tiered structure. A tier one sub costs $4.99 a month, meaning if a subscriber buys one tier one sub, they pay $4.99 per month for the subscription. A tier-two and its tier-three subs cost $9.99 and $24.99 a month. If someone gifts 100 tier one subs to a streamer, in total they pay $500.
Always remember people to subscribe to the channel. Sometimes, a call to action is all a viewer needs to sub to your channel. Additionally, Twitch allows Prime users a free monthly tier-one subscription. Remind people to use their Primes. Many people forget they have a free subscription, so reminding them will likely lead to them using it on you.
Bits are another major way streamers earn money as an Affiliate. They are virtual emotes viewers can buy to support streamers. Viewers buy Bits to Cheer in chat. The way it works, the more bits you buy, the more animated the emote looks. The streamer receives a cut of the money paid to buy the Bits. Prices vary from $1.40 for 100 Bits up to 25,000 Bits for $308.
As an Affiliate streamer, you’ll also earn money from the ads Twitch runs on your channel. Your channel engagement and size determines how long and often mid-roll ads run on your channel. You also can run ads through your Twitch dashboard.
Finally: Become a Partner
The final step is to become a Twitch Partner. Twitch Partners earn revenue similarly to Affiliates. They still make money through subscriptions, ads, and bits. Essentially, Partners get more control over their finances on Twitch. For instance, they can run more mid-roll ads than Affiliates. Additionally, Twitch covers revenue payout fees for Partners. Affiliates must pay depending on the payout method. Also, Partners receive a channel badge, certifying them as top streamers.
Twitch Partner eligibility
- At least 25 stream hours in the past 30 days
- Stream on at least 12 unique days in the last 30 days
- An average of 75 average viewers in the last 30 days
Get to streaming
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to earn a living on Twitch. That goes for making money with video in general. While many say it’s too late to make it on Twitch, due to the number of streamers on it, that’s far from true. If you take the time to build your community, reach out to other streamers, and continually engage with the community, you can make it on Twitch. Remember, while you can make money on Twitch, it’s not an easy way to make a quick buck. You’re going to have to give it your all if you want to turn your passion for gaming into compensation. Money should never be the end goal for streaming on Twitch; it should be a perk you get along the way.