So you’re well versed with the rising trend of Twitch streaming, vlogging, and gaming and thinking about getting involved in the action?
Well, you’re in the right direction, as even Google Trends suggest Twitch is among the top streaming websites with growing popularity.
But how do you make money on Twitch? Do you even make money playing games?
Well, it’s no secret that streamers on Twitch can make a pretty decent income, and the more viewers, followers, and subscribers you have, the more money you stand to make. In fact, if you’re amongst the top 100 streamers, you can make up to $32,850 USD per month!
Even if you’re not in the top 100, you can easily make $3,000 to $5,000 a month using a mix of Twitch monetisation methods to get going.
But before we discuss the various ways of monetising your Twitch streams, let’s quickly brush up on some basics.
Ensure You’re Eligible To Make Money On Twitch
First things first, you need to verify that your Twitch account is eligible to make money on the platform.
For starters, you need to have an audience. None of the monetisation methods will work if you don’t have viewers, followers, and subscribers.
You must also be 18 years and above to make money on Twitch (but there are workarounds for this). Moreover, you need to accept the terms of service laid out by Twitch and abide by its guidelines for your account to remain eligible for monetisation. For example, you can’t stream copyrighted content or engage in hate speech.
Besides these, you need to have
- At least 50 followers,
- At least 8 hours of streaming in the last 30 days,
- At least 7 days of streaming over the previous 30 days,
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers, and
- At least 500 total broadcast minutes over the past 30 days.
If your account meets these criteria, you can move forward with becoming a Twitch Affiliate and monetising your Twitch streams.
How Do Twitch Streamers Make Money
There isn’t only one way to make money on Twitch. In fact, streamers usually use a healthy mix of different monetisation methods to gain the most benefit from the platform. However, you’d need to be either a Twitch Affiliate or a Twitch Partner to monetise your stream. Once you join either of the two, you can start earning through:
- Advertising Revenue.
However, to qualify as a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, you’d need to fulfil certain criteria.
Days of streaming in the last 30 days
Hours of streaming in the last 30 days
Hours of streaming in last 30 days
(Becoming a Twitch Partner requires a manual review from Twitch staff, and they consider factors beyond the minimum eligibility requirements, such as chat activity, entertainment value, stream frequency, community engagement, and revenue generation.)
But if you want to venture out and make money from other sources, you can do so by:
- Third-Party Affiliate Links
- Sponsorships and Partnerships
- Merchandise Sales
While I’ll be sharing information about all of the monetisation methods, you’d need to put your brains to work to combine various methods to make the most money.
Twitch Affiliate Program
A Twitch affiliate is a qualified streamer eligible to make money on Twitch. That is, it’s a way for Twitch to accept you as a legitimate streamer and allow you to make money through creating content and bringing more viewers to the platform.
Once you become a Twitch affiliate, you can immediately start making money through:
- Subscriptions: Where users can subscribe to your channel by paying a certain amount monthly.
- Cheering with Bits: Where viewers use bits or special emoticons to show their support for your stream by donating money.
- Advertisement: Where Twitch shares a portion of the ad revenues with you.
You can track your progress towards Affiliate status within your creator dashboard itself.
Twitch Partner Program
Twitch partners are a group of streamers who have proven themselves as legitimate content creators on Twitch. These influencers have built up a sizeable audience and are now making a living from streaming.
There’s a dedicated Path to Partner section in the Achievements tab of your dashboard, where you can track and monitor your progress.
Once you become a Twitch Partner, you will have access to additional monetisation methods such as:
- More channel emotes,
- Customisable cheermotes (Bits)
- Subscription Gifting,
- Ad-Free Viewing for Subscribers.
You can also leverage Twitch’s promotion system for your stream and gain more viewers by getting featured on the website’s front page.
Ways Twitch Pays Its Streamers
While Twitch Affiliate and Twitch Partner programs are the primary ways of monetising your streams, Twitch actually pays you using these three mediums:
Like YouTube, Twitch also has an ad-funded model where streamers get a share of their revenue.
Before you start making money from ads, you need to sign up for Twitch’s ad incentive program. Twitch will then review your channel’s content for compliance with the advertiser-friendly guidelines. Once approved, your stream will be eligible to run ads and earn money from it.
The best part about Twitch’s ad-funded model is that you control how many ads you wish to run in each session. There’s an option to select the number of ads per hour, so you don’t have to worry about running too many.
The tricky part? Your ad revenue heavily depends upon your viewership, so it is necessary to grow your audience before you think about making money from ads.
The more tricky part? You can’t just run ads without being a Twitch Partner or Twitch Affiliate.
Twitch gives more exclusivity than other streaming platforms when it comes to streaming. One such feature is that of subscriptions.
You can offer exclusive content (emotes, badges, polls and other rewards) to your subscribers who pay specifically to watch your content.
Consider it to be an exclusive membership to your channel for viewers, who pay a monthly fee of $4.99, $9.99 or $24.99 (depending upon the tier).
The bad part? Twitch keeps 50% of this fee while you get the rest.
You can customise your subscription service and add exclusive benefits for subscribers, like badges, new emoticons, and special access to the chatroom and private streams.
Your subscribers can even gift a subscription to other viewers, which could further boost your income.
Bits is a donation model where viewers can donate money by cheering with bits. The Bits are virtual goods that the viewers can buy for real money and use to show their support for you in chatrooms. Consider them to be digital cheering tools or simple donations where you get 1 cent for every Bit used.
Twitch keeps track of the total number of Bits donated in every session and pays you according to it (usually 1 bit = $0.01). So if a viewer donates 100 bits, Twitch will pay you $1 for it.
Non-Official Ways To Make Money On Twitch
While the official ways to make money on Twitch are limited, that doesn’t mean you can never make extra income.
Here are some non-official ways to monetise your streams for both – streamers with a huge audience and those just starting out:
Brand Sponsorships And Partnerships
If you’re a streamer with substantial viewership and a good reputation, you may add sponsorship to your arsenal of income sources. You can reach out to a brand or company and strike a deal with them for a fixed period.
In return, the brand will be featured on your channel in various ways, like live-streaming product unboxing sessions, announcing promotional offers during breaks, or even using its logo on your stream’s thumbnail.
Even game companies may approach you to promote their new product or help them increase their game’s engagement.
But know that sponsorship deals can only come to you once you’ve made a name for yourself in the streaming community.
Moreover, this comes under influencer marketing, so you may also have to abide by certain legal clauses depending upon the country you are streaming from.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote another company’s product and get paid for every sale or lead generated through your promotion efforts.
Let’s say you partnered with Razer, the popular gaming equipment manufacturing company, to promote their new gaming headset. Once your viewers purchase the product through your link, you get a certain percentage of commission on every sale.
The easiest way to start affiliate marketing is to join Amazon’s Associates Program and start promoting products from its site. Twitch even supports Amazon affiliate links, which means you can start selling products and earn a commission on every sale.
You may also join other affiliate programs for gaming peripheral companies like Logitech, Corsair, etc. to draw more income streams from your channel.
Donations are a great way to get started if you’re among those streamers aspiring to earning money before reaching affiliate status.
You can add your PayPal ID or Bitcoin wallet address in the chatroom, and viewers who wish to donate money to you may do so directly. You can even create a Patreon account and allow your viewers to become patrons and donate small amounts of money in return for exclusive benefits. These exclusive benefits could be exclusive coaching sessions or even access to a private Discord server.
Selling Customised Merchandise
A great stream-monetisation idea for mid and high-level streamers with a dedicated fan base is to sell customised merchandise.
You can get your own t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags printed with your logo or something unique that resonates with the streamer brand you are trying to create.
You may even offer gaming merchandise like mousepads, gaming headsets and keyboards. You only need to set up an online store (preferably Shopify) and direct your viewers to it during the stream.
The best part is that you don’t need an inventory of all these products. You may use a number of dropshipping companies that will take orders from your store and ship them directly to your customer, so you don’t have to worry about stocking up or managing delivery services.
Coaching And Consulting
If you’re good at a certain game, you may also offer coaching or consulting services to viewers who look up to you as an expert in the field.
You can start by teaching new gamers the game’s basics, offering consultancy services for competitive players, and even running Q&A sessions on your stream.
Many streamers use it as a lucrative way to make some extra money. You can decide an hourly rate for yourself or charge per session depending on your expertise and viewer demand.
And if you’re thinking, who would pay for something like this? Go check Fiverr or a similar freelancing platform and you’ll find a whole bunch of professionals offering these services.
Making money playing games is not impossible. Whether you are a regular streamer or just a casual gamer, there are plenty of ways to monetise your Twitch channel and make money by playing games online.
However, if you want to make it big, you’ll need patience, consistency and dedication. Aim for Twitch’s Affiliate Program first, then move forward to become a Twitch Partner.
Once you do, you’ll have access to more monetisation options and the ability to turn your passion into a profitable business that can potentially replace the income from your day job.
Twitch Monetisation FAQs
To make money on Twitch, you need to become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner. For Affiliate, you must have at least 50 followers and meet minimum streaming metrics in the last 30 days. For Partner, you’d need to meet even bigger streaming requirements. Once you become an Affiliate or Partner, you can earn money through subscriptions, bits, and ads.
It varies widely. Small streamers can earn anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per month, depending on their subscriber count, viewership, and how generous their followers are. Top earners can rake in up to $500,000 per month
For official monetisation, you need to become an Affiliate or Partner which requires at least 50 followers and consistent streaming metrics. To make money through donations, the number of followers depends on how much people are willing to pay for your services.
A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.