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The Only Guide You Will Ever Need To Make Money On Twitch
It was early August 2019 when the gaming world was struck with a surprising announcement that Twitch’s brightest star and Fortnite pro player, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, was leaving the platform to sign an exclusive deal with a rival Microsoft-owned streaming service Mixer.
Leaving behind an army of almost 14.7 million followers, Blevins was making $500,000 per month off his streaming activities on Twitch.
Boasting a 3.7 million monthly streamer base with 565 billion minutes watched so far this year, Twitch is the undisputed king of gaming live streaming and there is space for everyone to earn money.
How Do You Become The Next Ninja
In this article we are going to talk about how you can monetize your Twitch channel.
It will be broken down into two parts: ‘’how to go pro’’ and ‘’how to become a legend’’. The former is for those who want to up their game and would like to learn the basics of how to start earning money streaming on Twitch. Meanwhile, the latter is for the mid-level people and will guide you towards advanced channel monetization.
If you are a fledged streamer and feel like the ‘’pro’’ gig does not apply to you, just skip the following few parts and jump straight to the ‘’legend’’ game.
Before we address our respective parts, there are two things available to anyone, even if you have just landed and this is your first day on the Twitch universe – you could start making money.
Let’s dive right in.
Adding Affiliate Links To Your Twitch Channel
Chances are you have shopped on or at least visited websites like Amazon and eBay. Not only are they massive online retailers with a wide range of products, but they also have appealing affiliate programs.
By putting a unique affiliate link in your channel description, you will earn a percentage of every purchase that someone makes after clicking on it, irrespective of the number of followers you have. If possible, insert the link into a visually appealing product banner and place it right on the top to draw the most attention.
Importantly, Twitch does not help you with finding and signing up for your future partner sites. You play solo here.
There are many more companies out there who you could become an affiliate for. Each entity also has their own program terms and commision rates, so make sure to familiarize yourself with their requirements to ensure you are eligible.
Receiving Donations From Your Twitch Stream Viewers
It is a bit of a hard fact to comprehend but the biggest known donation on Twitch yet amounts to $75,000. That is right. You are just playing your favourite game and suddenly someone deposits a hefty sum into your PayPal account.
Such generous gifts are quite rare to say the least, but it is not uncommon to receive tens or hundreds of dollars from an admirer who happens to love your stream. This does not necessarily correlate with the number of followers to make money, sometimes having a few loyal ones could deliver this revenue stream for you.
It will also be useful to enable alerts whenever you have a donation landing in your PayPal. This way you will be able to thank people on the spot while streaming, which will significantly contribute to their satisfaction level and loyalty.
For a step-by-step guide on how to set up your donation button, check out our article here.
Going Pro: Twitch Affiliate Program
We are gradually moving to a juicier stuff.
Unlike the external affiliate websites and donations, the Twitch affiliate program has a set of platform-related requirements to be met by streamers for eligibility.
This is a fairly conservative criteria. Apart from the 50 followers that might take some time to gain, the rest of the conditions are generally not an issue for someone committed to streaming regularly.
Upon becoming eligible and getting invited to the program by Twitch, a number of revenue streams will become available to you.
Making Money As A Twitch Affiliate
The first way the program allows you to make money gaming is the ability to accept paid subscriptions. There are three value tiers: $4.99, $9.99 and $24.99. Each one of them implies a 50/50 split between you and Twitch.
Irrespective of the tier chosen by a subscriber, you will get half of the amount on a recurring monthly basis, unless the subscription is cancelled by a person.
Cheering with Bits
Bits are essentially a virtual currency that your stream viewers could buy to support you in chat by cheering. For every Bit purchased, you will be getting 1 cent. This does not look like a great bargain at first sight.
However, if you are able to build up an engaged audience who is eager to show their distinctive support consistently in chat then those cents could quickly accumulate and convert into whole dollars.
Whenever you play a game on stream that is available for sale or it has in-game items that are being offered for purchase on Twitch, an offer to buy will appear to your viewers below the video screen.
Unlike the equal split enjoyed by the affiliates for subscribers, you will only receive a 5% commision every time someone makes a purchase from your link.
Announced just earlier this year, affiliates will now be allowed to make money off Twitch ads. No concrete details have been revealed as to how this will work so far. It will likely be based on the CPM (Cost Per Mille) model. The latter implies that for each 1,000 views of an ad served on your channel you will get a certain amount of money.
For an affiliate to be able to withdraw money from Twitch, you have to accumulate at least $100 in any given month. If this threshold is not achieved, whatever amount you have will just continue into the next month until you hit the required $100.
Twitch offers the following payout methods:
- Direct Deposit – the fastest and cheapest option that lands funds directly into your bank account. Only available to US residents though.
- Local Bank Payout or eCheck – this method is new and very convenient for the affiliates based outside the US. It allows to convert money from USD to your local currency for a fee.
- PayPal – always an option if you fancy it
- Wire Transfer and Checks – the least suitable alternatives that typically involve higher processing fees
- Hold Payouts – if you would like to keep accumulating cash, this option allows you to keep your money until you are ready to release it.
It is also important to note that any eligible payouts are distributed by Twitch 15 days from the end of each month.
Becoming A Legend: Twitch Partner Program
You have conquered the affiliate land and are now ready to graduate to a whole new level by joining the Twitch partner community.
Out of millions of broadcasters, there are below 30,000 partnered streamers.
The path to partner is understandably more demanding compared to the affiliate one. What is more, upon meeting the above requirements, you will just be able to unlock the option to submit a partnership application to be reviewed by Twitch.
They are likely to closely look at aspects like the type of content you broadcast, average concurrent viewership and stream frequency, on top of the minimum conditions. The ultimate decision is at Twitch’s discretion.
From a monetization perspective, the most evident gap between partners and affiliates used to be that of ad revenue share. With affiliates now confirmed to enjoy that monetization feature as well, both programs offer similar revenue streams.
However, it is not a coincidence that the number of partners is rather small in relation to the total amount of streamers on Twitch. These are the top-performing creators who tend to have significant and engaged audiences. With that comes a special distinguished status and social legitimacy. Which results in broader monetization opportunities outside those offered by Twitch.
As a partnered streamer, it is likely that you have built up a close-knit community of devoted users who eagerly anticipate the next time you will go live with your killer stream. Such a social connection and dedication go a long way. You have every right to offer them an opportunity to bond with you further. This is where your merchandise joins the server.
You could put your personal branding on anything from pens, cups and scarfs to mouse pads and wallpapers. It does not necessarily need to be you pictured smiling with a thumbs-up (or it could, your imagination is the limit here within a reason), but a distinctive logo that your audience is used to and can identify themselves with, will be perfectly fitting.
Once you have your merchandise sorted, put a nice panel link to where it could be purchased in your channel description and let your viewers know it is there. Make sure you do not over promote it, as your audience is there for your streaming skills and not sales ones.
I see you. This is you on the streaming pedestal, with an engaged army of followers and subscribers who has just launched their merchandise collection to the delight of a loyal audience.
When you get to that level of popularity and marketability, you could approach corporate brands regarding the possibility to endorse their products. With over 50% of Twitch users falling into the 18-34 age category, a successful streamer’s channel could serve as a perfect gateway to that golden demographic that brands always cherish to market to.
In a situation where your personal brand is so strong that it cannot be overlooked, companies might approach you directly and offer to promote their products on your channel.
The conditions of such deals, including compensation, are always discussed between you and the brand, without any involvement from Twitch.
We have covered the Twitch monetization opportunities available to you. In this section we will list some of the useful tips to follow, in order to optimise your channel monetization efforts.
- Do not be inclined to ask for donations directly on stream. It is true that you are essentially providing free content for people to enjoy and also invest some cash into your gaming and streaming equipment. But having a call-to-action button in your description will suffice for your audience to donate, if they decide to.
- Focus on the quality and frequency of your content. People appreciate authenticity and transparency, and it certainly shows when it comes to streaming. Enjoy yourself doing what you love and the audience will come, which will open up the monetization gates.
- Reach out to your friends to naturally aid the growth of your channel. Let’s say you would like to consistently have those 3 concurrent viewers and above or are 5 followers short to get to the coveted 50 and complete that affiliate eligibility. Do not be shy to kindly ask your friends to tune in and/or follow your channel.
- Be open to potential offers from esports organisations. It is common across the industry for orgs to house their own stream teams for both internal and external collaborations. Depending on the offer you might get, it could involve financial compensation and/or some products from their sponsors for you to keep and, of course, promote on your stream.
- Be patient. There are millions of streamers but the number of viewers is even greater. Do not panic if you are not monetizing your channel the way you want, keep grinding and money will come.
Dos And Don’ts
Building on the previous sections, below are some things you should do and, conversely, avoid doing in your quest to get rich streaming.
What to do:
- Always thank people when you receive a donation
- Choose gaming-related products to promote through your external affiliate links. Even better, if it is the gear you are using to game and stream yourself
- Unless you already have, complete the Twitch affiliate eligibility as soon as possible to open up the revenue streams
- Promote your channel on social media. Building a cross-platform audience will also help down the road, when monetizing things like merchandise and brand endorsements
- Create a personal streaming schedule and stick to it. This will not only help to keep and grow your audience but also greatly assist you in completing the path to partner with frequent streams.
What to avoid doing:
- Refrain from any inappropriate content that might violate Twitch’s community guidelines and policies, putting your marketability in trouble in the process
- Do not promote yourself on other streamers’ channels
- Never directly ask followers or guest viewers to subscribe to any of the paid tiers or purchase bits
- Be careful with the type of language you are using while streaming. Twitch is an international community and words could get twisted quickly
- Do not beg for endorsements, when approaching potential sponsors. Staying professional is key.
These aspects could directly or implicitly influence your monetization potential, as you turn from a creator to role model for your audience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turning to our penultimate section, here are some of the FAQs worth addressing.
How much money do Twitch streamers make?
The range is pretty wide. Amounts go from a few dollars to $100 and $1000 and into the hundreds of thousands per month, as in Ninja’s case mentioned in the very beginning.
Can I become a partner by skipping the affiliate route?
Yes, you potentially could but it is highly unlikely. To be considered for a direct application, you would need to prove you have a sizeable audience on platforms like YouTube and Twitter or both. Even then, it is fully up to Twitch to decide whether you qualify.
Why is the bits revenue share so low?
This is what Twitch thinks is the right amount to share, probably given the high frequency at which they could be bought. Who knows, maybe bits to money ratio will increase in the future, as Twitch develops the monetization features.
How many subscribers do I need to make money on Twitch?
Any number above zero will give you a recurring monthly revenue.
Are my Twitch earnings taxable?
Yes, usually they are. Consult a tax professional in your country of residence to see if there is an exemption.
We have covered all the currently available monetization features directly within Twitch and beyond.
From the external affiliate links to brand endorsements, there are also many opportunities in-between. It is a process that requires time. But with the hard work and dedication will come the financial rewards.
To learn separately about various monetization aspects we have discussed, check out our blog here.