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With an average of 15 million daily active users and over 3 million broadcasters each month, Twitch streaming has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment on the planet—and fulltime streamers are the ones reaping the loot.
Popular Twitch streamers like Disguised Toast are making as much as $20,000 per month from ads, subscriptions and donations. Shroud is estimated to earn as much as $350,000 each month. And of course, there’s Ninja, who was making more than $500,000 per month organically on Twitch, even before signing a short-lived deal with Mixer.
Streaming may seem like all fun and games, but it takes a lot of hard work to become an official Twitch Partner or Affiliate and start streaming full-time. In this blog, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about making money on Twitch to help you kickstart your streaming career.
Monetize your stream and join the likes of professional streamers like UmiNoKaiju making a stable income from Twitch.
The first step to making money on Twitch is to become a Twitch Affiliate. Affiliates are able to earn revenue through subscriptions, ads and donations in the form of Cheering or Twitch Bits (more on that later).
Once you become eligible for the Twitch Affiliate program, you’ll receive an invite to apply to the Affiliate Onboarding process. After completing the onboarding process, you can start monetizing your channel as an Affiliate.
In order to enter the upper echelon of Twitch streamers, you’ll need to become a full-fledged Twitch Partner. Designed for those who stream a variety of content and have a sizeable audience, the Twitch Partner program grants streamers additional perks like custom Cheermotes, additional broadcast storage and more.
Plus, as a Twitch Partner, you’ll only have to wait 45 days for payment (as opposed to 60 days for Affiliates). Best of all, Twitch covers the payout fees for all Twitch Partners, letting you keep more of your earnings each month.
Once you unlock the Path to Partner achievement, you’ll see a button to apply for full Partner status. Twitch staff manually review all partnership applications within seven business days. Once your application is approved, the banner on your dashboard will update and you’ll receive access to all of the extra perks that come with Partnership status.
You don’t have to be Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco to generate revenue from Twitch subscriptions and ads—but it doesn’t hurt.
One of the largest sources of income for Twitch streamers is subscription revenue. By subscribing to a channel, viewers gain access to an array of perks like a special subscriber badge next to their username, custom emotes and ad-free viewing. Viewers can choose to subscribe to your channel at four different levels:
Many streamers use different perks in each subscription tier to help incentivize viewers to subscribe. One of the most common techniques used to get more subscribers on Twitch is to make your chat window subscription-only—meaning only those who subscribe to your channel can participate in the chat.
And then there’s the Twitch Prime subscription—all Amazon Prime members receive a $4.99 credit each month, which they can use to subscribe to any Twitch streamer they want.
Twitch Affiliates keep 50% of their subscription revenue, while the other half goes to Twitch. However, top-tier Twitch Partners have successfully negotiated rates up to 70% or more.
The next largest source of revenue comes from Twitch Bits. Bits are essentially a digital currency used to tip streamers on Twitch. Viewers can Cheer in increments of 1, 100, 1000, 5000 or 10,000 Bits. Streamers get to keep one cent for every Bit donated, making the different increments of Cheers worth 1¢, $1, $10, $50 and $100 respectively.
Many streamers choose to incentivize donations with on-stream shout-outs, which is a great way to increase your streaming revenue.
Every time you open up a Twitch stream, you’re greeted with an ad, which generates revenue for that streamer. Until recently, only Twitch Partners were able to monetize ad breaks. However, after a recent update, Twitch Affiliates are now given the same advertising capabilities.
In addition to pre-roll ads, Affiliates and Partners have the option to trigger mid-roll ad breaks. You can adjust the length and frequency of mid-roll ad breaks through your dashboard. Just be careful—too many ads may drive your viewers away.
Ad revenue is calculated on a click-per-mille basis, or CPM. Twitch pays streamers for every thousand views, and prices have been known to fluctuate between $2 and $10. According to CNBC, most streamers average about $250 per 100 subscribers each month, making advertising a lucrative option for those with large followings.
Paid live streams, sponsored content, affiliate links, merchandise and tournaments—like the League of Legends World Championship—are additional ways to generate revenue.
While subscriptions, donations and ad revenue are the primary ways to generate revenue on Twitch, there are other ways that you can use your platform to bolster your income.
Sponsorships are one of the most common ways that streamers leverage their Twitch accounts to make money from other sources. Once you gain a sizable following, video game developers may begin to contact you to play their games in paid livestreams. The rate for paid livestreams varies greatly depending on the developer and the streamer, but most streamers report making between 1¢ and $1 per viewer.
Another common form of sponsorship is paid video content. Companies often ask streamers to create product endorsement ads, which can rake in as much as $5,000 for a 30-second video. Some companies will even pay you to make an IRL appearance at product launch parties, conventions and livestreaming events.
Streamers who are just getting started are more likely to land smaller sponsorship opportunities like paid social media posts or product placement opportunities. Many companies will gladly ship you products in exchange for a shout-out—everything from clothing to furniture and even USB microphones…
Another simple way to monetize your Twitch streams is to host affiliate links. When streaming a game that is available for sale or has in-game items for sale on Twitch, you can set up a purchase link to appear on your channel. Affiliate links aren’t just exclusive to gaming content—you can link to gear, subscriptions to services and more. If any of your viewers purchase content from the links, you can earn up to 5% of the revenue share.
As your popularity grows, you may want to start offering merchandise on your Twitch channel. While Twitch doesn’t directly host merchandise sales, you can create a custom shop on a third-party platform like Merch.ly or Bonfire and host links on your Twitch channel.
Depending on the type of game you stream, you may be able to enter a competitive tournament—like the League of Legends World Championship—which can pay out tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. However, you’ll have to beat some of the best players in the world to take home the gold.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a full-time career as a pro Twitch streamer. For more information on how to stream on Twitch, including the best microphones for streaming and how to find your voice, check out our step by-step guide to Twitch streaming.