How to Make Money on Twitch [Step-by-Step Guide]

Intro

Getting paid to live stream takes time, energy, and content that makes people want to watch you. The people who are getting rich by streaming are an incredibly small minority. On Twitch, for example, the top 1,000 channels get 53% of all viewing time. Twitch has more than two million channels, but if you’re ready to put in the work — a lot of it — you can make money by streaming too.

This list highlights nine methods to generate income from live streaming — from the most common and easiest to implement to the more complex and unorthodox.

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How to Get Paid on Twitch as an Affiliate

To become a Twitch Affiliate, you need to meet a specific set of criteria — you must have:

  • At least 50 followers
  • Broadcasted a total of 500 minutes over the last 30 days
  • Broadcasted on at least 7 unique days
  • An average of 3 or more concurrent viewers

When you become a Twitch Affiliate you gain access to 3 additional forms of monetization:

  • Subscriptions
  • Twitch bits
  • Game sales

Subscriptions

Twitch allows viewers to subscribe to their favorite Affiliates and access exclusive perks for a monthly fee.

Typically, subscription perks include exclusive chat rooms, subscriber-only streams, unique emoticons, and merchandise discounts.

There are three subscription tiers available: $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 per month. 

The best part? Twitch Affiliates earn 50% of this month (with the other half going to Twitch). As a result, subscriptions are often streamers’ most significant and steady form of income.

Twitch Bits

Once you’re a Twitch Affiliate, you’ll be able to accept donations directly through the platform in the form of Twitch Bits.

Viewers can purchase Bits or earn them by watching ads or filling out surveys. Bits come in different sizes and colors.

Bits are essentially virtual cheers or tips — viewers give them to streamers in the chat when they enjoy the stream and want to support the creator.

Twitch Affiliates receive $0.01 for every bit given to them. This might not sound like much, but it can add up over time as your viewership grows.

Game Sales

As a Twitch Affiliate, you can earn money from selling games on your channel.

All you need to do is stream yourself playing a game that’s available in the Twitch store. Then, your profile will automatically display a “Buy Now” button that allows viewers to purchase the game and in-game add-ons.

Twitch Affiliates receive 5% of game sales purchased through their channel — so make sure to promote games you love!

How Do Streamers Make Money on Twitch?

In figuring out how to make money on Twitch, the strategies used by many Twitch streamers fall into one of the following five buckets:

  1. Donations – A feature that lets viewers tip you via PayPal with the click of a button.
  2. Twitch Bits – Twitch’s internal currency, purchased in cash and used to tip or cheer on streamers in the moment.
  3. Subscriptions – Paying a monthly subscription to access a streamer’s best content and special perks.
  4. Ad Kickbacks – Receiving a percentage of ad revenue from ads that play on your channel’s videos or streams.
  5. Offline Sales – Directing your audience somewhere off of Twitch to purchase your service, program, or product or buy something on an affiliate link.

How to Build an Audience on Twitch

If you really want to know how to make money on Twitch, it all comes down to this: grow a sizable audience.

Let me be honest: This takes an enormous amount of time and work — and even then, success is far from guaranteed.

Still, how can you build a community and increase your Twitch viewership? Here are 4 best practices to follow.

1. Find Your Niche

To attract attention, you need a way to stand out from the crowd. So, look for ways to carve out a niche for yourself. 

For example, perhaps you become an expert at a new game that’s growing in popularity. Or maybe you’re not the best gamer, but you’re witty and fun. 

2. Build a Following on Other Social Media Accounts

Compared to many social media platforms, Twitch offers very few ways to promote your streams. So, venture out to other platforms to build an audience.

For example, you could build your audience on YouTube or grow an Instagram following. Then you can promote your Twitch streams to your followers.

Take Real Summit1g — he often shares stream highlights on his Instagram account:

3. Network with Other Streamers

Networking and supporting other ambitious and popular streamers is a great way to generate new opportunities.

For instance, if you engage with another streamer and are active in their chat, the streamer and their viewers may visit your channel and follow you.

Plus, if you build friendships with other streamers you can plug each other’s channels and host each other. This will help cross-pollinate your audiences and attract new viewers.

4. Engage Viewers

Whenever a new viewer joins your stream, you have a golden opportunity to convert them into a true fan who’ll subscribe and promote your stream to their friends.

So, engage them in every way you can.

Ask viewers questions, respond to chat comments, crack jokes — ultimately, create highly entertaining content to get viewers to tune in regularly.

No. 5: Offline Sales

The previous four monetization strategies all take place on Twitch, but remember that you could also direct viewers off the platform and over to another website where you promote affiliate links, products, programs, or services. For example, some top Twitch streamers choose to develop their own branded merchandise, such as t shirts. Others, like Knotbusch, link to their website so that interested parties can contact them about potential commissions.

Subs

This is another option only open to those who are part of Twitch’s Affiliate or Partnership programs. Once you have enrolled in one of these programs, a ‘subscribe’ button will automatically be added to your page and your viewers can sub to your channel. Subscribers get access to premium-only features for that streamers channel, such as custom emotes and other perks—meanwhile, the streamer get to split the cost of a subscription 50/50 with Twitch.

Subscriptions range in price from $4.99 up to $24.99 a month, so they can form a significant source of recurring income for the most popular Twitch streamers.

Income Sources Available to Twitch Affiliates and Partners Only

If you wish to join the Twitch Affiliate Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Stream for at least eight hours in the last 30 days
  • Steam on at least seven days in the last 30 days
  • Receive an average of three viewers per stream
  • Grow your audience to 50 followers

If you meet these criteria, Twitch automatically invites you to become an Affiliate.

Twitch offers you a few additional earning opportunities as an affiliate. These are still available should you manage to make the jump from Affiliate to Partner.

Twitch Bits

Twitch Bits are effectively mini-donations from viewers. They pay for them using either Amazon Payments or PayPal. Bits are a type of virtual currency that gamers can “spend” on their favorite gamers’ sites. Twitch pays their Affiliates and Partners one cent for every Bit fans use on their channels.

A viewer can Cheer with his Bits. When a viewer Ch

A viewer can Cheer with his Bits. When a viewer Cheers, he uses his Bits to pay for the right to participate in a chat on a particular gamer’s chat channel. He can also use Bits to buy emotes he can use in the chat – with the bigger, more animated emotes costing more Bits. A viewer earns a Cheer Chat Badge in any gamer’s chat channel in which he participates. The more a viewer chats in a channel, the more Bits he spends, and over time he can earn a better Cheer Chat Badge.

You can set the minimum number of Bits needed to send a Cheer message in your channel, so people don’t spam your chat with multiple uses of single Bits.  Likewise, you can set the smallest emote somebody can use in your channel.

You can also add a StreamLabs Tip Jar widget to your stream. This shows an image of an empty glass filling up as people use Bits on your channel. This helps encourage your followers to use more Bits to “fill up” your glass.

Twitch Subscriptions

Twitch Subscriptions provide a recurring income to streamers. You can encourage your followers to subscribe to your channel for either $US4.99, $9.99 or $24.99 per month. The money collected is split 50/50 between Twitch and the streamer (although a few top streamers have been able to negotiate a higher percentage).

As soon as you sign up as an Affiliate or Partner, a Subscribe button will automatically appear on your page.

Streamers can set up alerts to encourage gamers to subscribe. These are signs that pop up on the screens saying that somebody has bought (or renewed their subscription) to your channel. These are particularly popular with Twitch users who love to see their name on their favorite gamer’s page.

How much money can you make on Twitch?

The amount of money you can make on Twitch depends heavily on how many viewers consistently tune into your livestreams. The larger your audience, the larger your income.

To provide an estimate of how much streamers at various viewership levels can earn each month on Twitch, Streamer Facts recently put together this analysis:

# of viewers

Estimated income

5-10 average viewers per stream

$50-$200 per month

20 average viewers per stream

$200-$400 per month

50 average viewers per stream

$500-$750 per month

100 average viewers per stream

$1,000-$1,500 per month

1,000 average viewers per stream

$5,000 per month

5,000 average viewers per stream

$13,000 per month

10,000 average viewers per stream

$30,000 per month

50,000+ average viewers per stream

$100,000-$200,000+ per month

Popular Twitch streamers can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in recurring income each month. Making money streaming is possible—you’re just going to have to work at it.

Getting just five to 10 average viewers per stream isn’t going to happen overnight, so keep in mind that Twitch is not the best way to make money fast. However, if your goal is to earn monthly income as a professional gamer, getting started on Twitch should be your first step.

How To Make Money on Twitch as a Streamer

Everyone starts with little to no audience. Don’t let that discourage you from considering streaming as a side hustle and possibly streaming your way to a full-time income. As your audience grows, your earnings will increase. Here are some ways you can make money on Twitch as a Streamer.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Donations

If you have a PayPal or PeachPay account, you can create a Donate button and add it to your channel. Anyone who likes your content can easily click over to your PayPal or PeachPay account and donate to you.

Amazon Associates

Sign up with Amazon Associates, and you can earn by linking to specific Amazon products from your channel. If someone goes through one of your links to make a qualifying purchase, you receive a commission.

Selling Your Own Products

You can add links to your own products from your Twitch channel if you have an online store. You can get new viewers on both sites if you also promote your Twitch channel on your online store.

Bonus Offer: Bank of America $100 Bonus Offer for new Online Checking Accounts. See page for details.

9. Coach/teach/offer lessons

Share your knowledge through live seminars, workshops, or classes. If that sounds too academic for your taste, consider becoming someone’s mentor, coach, or teacher. As long as you have the skills or knowledge other people want to learn, you can earn money from sharing your expertise, and live streaming can help.

A common format is spending one-on-one time with s

A common format is spending one-on-one time with someone who is paying for lessons or coaching sessions, helping them achieve their goals. For example, you can offer a couple of one-on-one lessons every month to the people who pledge your highest tier of support on Patreon. You can also do one-off transactions.

Many streaming platforms are evolving in a way that benefits this revenue model. An increasing number are allowing co-streaming, for example, which is perfect for coaching someone on playing a video game. As platforms improve their overall quality, the dreaded lag time is disappearing, making it easier to communicate via chats. Plus, some platforms allow call-ins. With the right combination of platform and service, you can start critiquing people’s in-game builds, showing them new skills and even preparing them for jobs.

How Much Money Can Twitch Streamers Make?

Earnings on Twitch can greatly vary depending on several factors, including the number of Twitch subscribers you have, the different monetization opportunities you have, and how regularly you’re producing content. Many Twitch streamers report income between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, but it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact average since earnings aren’t public.

How To Make Money as a Twitch Partner

As a Twitch Partner, you don’t get access to any additional ways to earn on the platform, but you likely will get more exposure, enabling you to make more than at the Affiliate level. Twitch Partners also have a better chance of getting brand sponsorships and endorsement deals since they can get more exposure on the platform than other Creators.

Partners also receive other perks, such as video-on-demand features, access to Partner-only opportunities and priority tech support.

How to Maximize your Revenue on Twitch

Once you get started on Twitch and start earning a little money, you can start ramping up your effort to gain a large following and maximize your revenue. Here are some ways to increase your Twitch earnings:

  1. Build a connection with your subscribers: The more you connect with your subscribers, the more likely they will stay loyal and continue subscribing. Make time to engage with them and feel part of the experience. Always keep an eye on other streamers to see how they keep their audience happy and gain inspiration for your channel.
  2. Listen to feedback: As your following increases, listen to the feedback coming in to improve. You can incorporate feedback as it applies, and make sure to highlight when you do so that subscribers know that you’re actively listening to them.
  3. Cross-post your stream by posting Youtube videos: You can increase your earnings by posting clips of your live stream to other third-party services and platforms such as a Youtube channel for additional exposure and revenue.
  4. Optimize your Twitch profile description: Ensure that your Twitch profile is optimized and easy to find to attract more subscribers. Look at what your favorite streamers have in their profile to understand how to optimize yours.
  5. Promote yourself on other social media accounts: Use social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to promote your Twitch profile and attract new users. You can post short clips of your streams as a Youtube video on platforms to gain more subscribers.

How to Set Up a Twitch Channel

Users create a channel that streams live game play videos, coming to the site from computers or consoles. When you watch a given video you can see the game play, plus a webcam video of the person playing the game. The player will generally provide audio commentary.

Sometimes it’s serious commentary to help other players through a game. Other times, the commentary is funny – think reaction shots and intentionally bumbling game play.

So, the three components of a Twitch channel are the game play itself, the webcam video of the player and the audio commentary. That means broadcasters need a computer or console and other gaming equipment, plus a camera and a microphone headset for broadcasting purposes.

Twitch channel streams are 24-hour streams. Of course, you don’t have to be playing video games 24 hours a day, but your channel will be out there. You can upload pre-recorded videos, but in general the purpose of Twitch is to provide the site’s users with access to live streams of game play. For broadcasters, Twitch can be a side hustle, a complement to a career in e-Sports (competitive gaming), a hobby or a full-time job. It’s also possible to invest in e-Sports.

Signing up for a Twitch channel just takes a few minutes. You can create your own login information or use your Facebook account. The process for broadcasting will depend on how you’re playing games (computer vs. gaming console) and on the specific equipment you’re using. As you might expect from a gaming community, Twitch users offer plenty of online support in chats and forums that can be a great resource for anyone who’s just getting started.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do You Start Making Money on Twitch?

    In order to start to make money on Twitch, you will need to reach Twitch Affiliate status. This will allow you to get paid through subscriptions and Twitch bits through Twitch as you have fun live streaming your favorite video games. The better your content, the more you are likely to earn.

  • How Hard is it to Make Money on Twitch?

    While it is relatively easy to get some money on Twitch, it requires quite a bit of time and effort to begin making money at a level where you can reach a full-time income. That being said, with a strategy on how to grow your channel, you will typically find a way to earn by playing video games.

  • How Many Twitch Followers Do You Need to Make Money

    While there is no set number of followers that you need to get money on Twitch, many streamers begin making their Twitch payout every month once they reach 800-1,200 followers. Your goal should be to create a strong community around your content by playing games that your viewers are interested in watching.

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