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how to make money on twitch
Beginner's handbook

How to Make Money on Twitch: 8 Ways to Get Paid Live Streaming

sandra kempele
By on July 7th, 2022 Reading Time: 11 minutes

Live video is a rapidly-growing area of social media, as viewers flock to watch and interact with their favorite gamers, musicians, and content creators in real time. The best part—anyone can join a live streaming platform like Twitch and start monetizing their content once the audience is tuning in. 

But how can you make money on Twitch? There are many built-in ways to make money on the platform through subscriptions, bits, and ads. Even before becoming a Twitch affiliate and unlocking extra revenue features, you can earn an income through other means (like donations or merch) and start building an audience around your streams.

Whether you’re an experienced Twitch streamer, a casual gamer, or simply interested in how to make money from home, you’ll find everything you need to know to make money on Twitch below.

1. Use fan funding

Even more than on other platforms, Twitch users are active, engaged participants who are eager to show support for creators. In fact, 84% believe backing streamers is an important part of the Twitch experience. But how do you turn audience engagement into monetary support?

Patreon

To start with, you can incentivize your viewers to support you with a monthly payment through Patreon, and offer exclusive content or Discord benefits in return. Many smaller streamers choose Patreon to build a reliable recurring income and to bypass the 50% cut that Twitch takes from subscription revenue (more on that later). For example, user Spicysushi uses Patreon to make money off-platform, citing that Twitch takes a large cut of any revenue made on the platform.

Streamlabs Monthly Tipping Service

In addition to Patreon, Streamlabs offers services that are built for seamless integration with a streaming platform like Twitch. Streamlabs monthly tipping is geared towards streamers, offers intuitive integration, and includes additional functionalities like personalized messages. Streamers can recognize supporters while live streaming, with fully customizable alerts popping up any time a tip or a recurring donation is made.

Streamlabs page
Source: Fextralife / Streamlabs

2. Collect donations

There are many third-party app integrations you can use to collect donations on a one-time basis. For example, Donorbox is a popular web application for many streamers on Twitch. One of its advantages is the added security—you have to verify your information before starting to accept donations, ensuring peace of mind for anyone choosing to support you.

Donate button for your channel via Paypal

Having a Paypal donation button is a common and easy way to encourage donations directly to your channel. But keep in mind that PayPal will take a portion of the donation—2.9% of the total on each domestic transaction. An additional fixed fee of $0.49 will also be taken out.

Cryptocurrency

If you want to accept donations without Paypal, cryptocurrency is a good alternative. Most streamers use Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or Ethereum, and link directly to a digital wallet on their channel. That way you can bypass using a third-party app and paying their fees.

3. Sell your own merch

Once you’re getting an average of 40–50 loyal viewers on your stream at the same time, it’s time to consider selling custom merch. This is a chance for your devoted fans to show they’re a part of your community both online and offline and help you make a profit from the sale. Plus, merch repping your brand gives you great exposure.

To get started, think of the items you like to buy and look to other Twitch streamers for inspiration. For example, Lilypichu, one of the top female streamers on Twitch, has her own clothing line that consists of t-shirts, hoodies, and face masks in pastel tones. The merch features her small lily logo and relatable slogans like “Stay Comfy” and “From Friends.”

LilyPichu merch
Source: LilyPichu Official

Easy print-on-demand

With on-demand printing and fulfillment services like Printful that offer free design tools, it’s easy to start selling your own merch and build up hype around your personal brand. 

Print-on-demand allows you to design a range of different products and sell them to fans. You can offer everything from t-shirts and beanies to phone cases and mugs. With providers like Printful, the product creation and fulfillment is taken care of so you can just focus on streaming and promoting your merch. And you don’t have to worry about investing money in stock upfront or having leftover inventory that doesn’t sell—the product is only made once someone makes a purchase.

Many streamers, especially gamers, make money on Twitch by teaming up with brands and adding affiliate links for viewers to make a purchase with a discount. Typically, this means promoting headsets, cameras, gaming chairs, or other equipment during your stream.

Find out How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 5 Steps.

This partnership is different from Twitch’s partner and affiliate program, but the good news is that you don’t need to be a Twitch partner to start promoting products with affiliate links. Check out affiliate marketing platforms like Rakuten and Shareasale to connect with your favorite brands and build relevant brand partnerships. You can also become a Printful affiliate partner and get 10% from every order made by customers you referred. 

Get Started with the Amazon Associates Program

The Amazon Associates Program is another way to earn referral revenue by linking specific products from Amazon on your page. As a streamer, you receive a commission for any purchases your viewers make on Amazon when they use your links. 

Try creating an Amazon Wish List to share the gear you use for your stream set up (lighting, camera, mic) or gather a list of all your favorite video games. To make it easier for your audience to purchase the products you promote, you can even add custom clickable buttons.

5. Collaborate with brands

Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a top-tier content creator to start brand collaborations. Recently, brands have been eyeing micro-influencers to get their products in front of the right people. This is especially true when it comes to capturing the attention of younger consumers who are dedicated to the platform. When you’re loyal to a streamer, you usually trust their views and recommendations.

Promoting a brand

There are tons of different ways you can collaborate with brands apart from offering product discounts. You can start earning by hosting unboxing streams, giveaways, brand shout-outs, product placement, or announcing new product launches. Typically, brands will have a promotion format in mind, but that still leaves plenty of room for creativity on your stream and socials.

Sponsorships

If you have a larger following, getting a brand sponsorship can bring in big revenue. It’s possible to earn anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per hour if you average 10,000 viewers. Sponsorships can also get you a good deal for live appearances. But before embarking on a brand sponsorship, be sure it’s the right fit for your own brand and will resonate with your audience.

6. Become a Twitch affiliate

If you want to unlock additional monetization features for your stream, you should join the Twitch Affiliate program and monetize your content through added benefits.

How to become a Twitch affiliate

Twitch has a built-in subscription revenue model through its Affiliate program. Once your Twitch channel becomes eligible, you’ll receive an invitation via email and a notification on your Twitch dashboard to start monetizing your channel. This automatically adds a subscribe option to your channel. Subscriptions are different from follows, as anyone can become a follower for free, but subscriptions are a paid feature. To become a Twitch affiliate, you should have at least 50 followers and 500 minutes of stream time over a 30-day period.

Subscriptions and Twitch bits

Subscriptions allow viewers to pay a monthly fee to support your channel, either on a recurring or one-time basis. There are three Twitch subscriptions available: $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 per month. Twitch Affiliates earn 50% of the share with the other 50% going to Twitch. In turn, subscribers get access to custom emotes, exclusive chat rooms, and other benefits you can decide to add.

Kitborga on Twitch
Source: Kitboga / Twitch

Twitch affiliates can also earn money through Twitch bits which act as micro-donations. You receive $0.01 for every bit used to cheer and show support in the chat. It can be fun to integrate Twitch bits for viewer interaction—it allows for additional voting in polls, using animated emoticons, or getting recognition. You can display a list of the top weekly or monthly cheerers on your channel page to recognise your top supporters and give encouragement.

Twitch bits
Source: Twitch

Run ads

Affiliates with any size audience can also earn money by running ads. As your viewership increases, advertising revenue from Twitch ads will go up as well. Ad breaks can be between 30 seconds and three minutes long, and the income depends on how many viewers see the ad—the bigger the audience, the more you earn.

Streamers control how often they run the ads (before the video, in the middle, every hour, etc). However, unless you are among the most popular Twitch streamers and qualify for the Twitch Partnership program, ad revenue will likely make up only a small chunk of your monthly income. This is because the new Ads Incentive Program currently offers a flat payout ranging from $100 to $500 a month only to select streamers who already have a medium to large fanbase.

7. Become a Twitch Partner

Twitch streamers who’ve been affiliates for some time and have grown a bigger audience, should consider getting the coveted status of Twitch partner. The Twitch Partnership Program provides access to more tools like subscriber streams, custom cheermotes, stream delays, etc. But ultimately, getting to partner status is a sign that you’ve grown your viewership to a point where you can make a living while live streaming on Twitch.

How to become a Twitch Partner

To qualify for the Twitch Partnership Program you need to demonstrate a large, engaged following and complete the Path to Partner achievements. You can apply once you have:
1) streamed for 25 hours;
2) streamed on 12 different days;
3) have an average of 75 viewers at the same time.

These achievements apply for a 30-day period. Nevertheless, becoming eligible does not guarantee Partner status and is invitation only.

Subscription revenue and ads

Twitch partners with a large following can expect subscriptions to make up most of their revenue. Top female Twitch streamer Pokimane keeps 70% of the earnings she makes from subscribers on Twitch as she is considered a top-tier partner by the platform. This means she takes home $3.50 from every tier 1 subscriber.

As partners, top Twitch streamers can earn at least $10,000 a month from running ads on their stream. Disguised Toast shared as much in an honest video discussing his revenue and explaining how to make money on Twitch as a top gamer.

Partner-only opportunities

Twitch Partners sign exclusivity agreements with the platform. In turn, they enjoy access to partner-only promotional opportunities like Partners Spotlights and Panels, Meet & Greets with fans, Streamer Zones, and lots more. These are fun ways to interact with their audience off-stream and can help secure endorsement deals and better brand sponsorships.

8. Post your Twitch content on YouTube

Many streamers take advantage of multistreaming, which allows streaming on multiple platforms at the same time. Posting your live content both on Twitch and YouTube ensures you can reach a wider audience and is another way of monetizing your stream. Alternatively, YouTube can be a platform where you share highlights and post stream clips for those who missed the live stream on Twitch.

Ad revenue perks

Many Twitch streamers choose to also post on YouTube to earn money through video ads. Running ads on your YouTube videos can significantly boost your earnings, as YouTube offers a default 70/30 ad revenue split in favor of creators. In contrast, Twitch starts out at a 50/50 split, and increases to 70/30 only for the top-tier streamers.

Learn More: How to Make Money on YouTube with a Small Channel

Room to grow

YouTube is less saturated with live-streamers than Twitch, where the top 1,000 broadcasters account for more than half of all hours watched, leaving a relatively small audience for which millions of other streamers compete.

How to build an audience on Twitch

If you’re just getting started, be prepared that it can take some time to figure out how to make money on Twitch. So it’s important to not to lose sight of what will help you do that—growing your audience.

The first thing you should understand is that teenagers and young adults (16–34 year olds) make up the core audience of Twitch users. Young people are increasingly spending more time socializing online rather than offline, using Twitch as a social entertainment space which offers distractions from the real world and a way of interacting with others. Knowing who is tuning in and why can help you anticipate what your viewers are looking for. 

Once you know your audience, it’s important to start building a community. The first step is connecting with like-minded people who’ll enjoy your live streams and be fun to hang around when you’re streaming. That way, you’re creating a welcoming vibe for viewers, and they’ll want to join again.

Community building is a two-way conversation

Interaction is key. Popular streamers are good entertainers whose commentary and conversation with the viewers keep it fun. To keep the interaction flowing, monitor the chat, do shoutouts during the stream, respond to requests, ask questions, and listen to feedback.

Your viewers sometimes will be content creators themselves so engage with other channels, especially smaller streamers in a similar niche. Be active on Twitch chat and on other social media channels to maintain a presence.

Be consistent

Have a set schedule of upload times for your Twitch streams that viewers can rely on and build their day around. Find times that work for you (late evening, lunch time, etc.) so you’re more likely to follow the schedule. Let people know—post the schedule on your stream and other social media accounts. Twitch’s Schedule tool is a handy way to remind viewers when they can see you live, set a reminder, and be notified once you’re online.

Growth factor

You have to be ready to constantly improve, be it a better quality video setup or increased streaming time. Think of the added value you bring to your viewers that makes them come back and tune in. Is it the content, the high-quality audio or video, your skill in a game, or the way you interact with the viewers? Carve out your niche and you’ll be in a good position to build a high-value stream which will hopefully encourage viewers to keep returning to your channel.

Personal branding

Your brand should be unique, relate to your content, or convey something you’re passionate about. Is your channel about a specific game? Are you all about the color yellow? Do you have a character in mind that you want to build your channel around? Picking just one thing will help you create an original brand and make you stand out.

Having a thing you’re known for can also be great for personalized merch. For example, the user Disguised Toast sells a limited edition plushie that looks like toast. Even selling just a single product that’s both fun and relates to your personal brand can become an instant success with your fans.

Disguised Toast merch
Source: Disguised Toast

If you’re curious about selling your own merch, it’s easy to set up an online store and use an on-demand service like Printful to take care of production.


Sell your own merch with Printful


FAQs

How much do Twitch streamers make?

Top streamers make money on Twitch thanks to their huge following which can bring in millions in revenue. XQc, one of the most subscribed to channels on the platform, has reportedly earned more than $8.4 million off the platform in the last three years.

How can I start making money on Twitch?

Begin with building your personal brand and attracting an engaged audience if you want to start earning money streaming on Twitch. Check our tips above for building an audience and having high-value live streams that’ll get you Twitch followers who subscribe, donate, buy your merch, etc.

How can I get paid on Twitch?

How much money you make on Twitch depends on your subscribers, concurrent viewers, how engaged your audience is, how often you stream, etc. Top-tier streamers get paid via the Twitch Partner Program, but getting to a Twitch Affiliate status is a good opportunity for smaller streamers who want to start earning.

How many followers do you need to make money on Twitch?

To become a Twitch Affiliate and start making money through the built-in revenue system, you only need 50 followers. Once you’re part of the Twitch Affiliate Program, you can start monetizing your channel with Twitch subscriptions, bits, and ads. But you’ll need hundreds of regular viewers (approx. 500–700) to start making money more consistently.

How does the payout work on Twitch?

At the end of each month, you can check if your account balance is $100 or more. If it is, a payment will be scheduled for 15 days after the end of that month. If you don’t make over $100 in a given month, the balance rolls over to the next month until this minimum threshold is met. Payout processing times can vary, but it typically takes around 3 to 5 business days.

Is it hard to make money on Twitch?

For many people, streaming is a dream job: you wake up at whatever time you want, you play games, tell jokes, chat, and get paid to do it. Some people go on to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a small percentage even make millions.

For anyone wondering how to make money on Twitch, it’s important to know that there are multiple ways to generate an income as soon as you have a loyal fan base. Just like any other work, it requires showing up, being consistent, and putting in the effort to grow over time.

Eventually, you can build up multiple streams of income and generate revenue outside the platform too, which will help you make it as a Twitch streamer.

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sandra kempele
Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.

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