Do you like video games and sports? Do you like good relationships with other gaming nerds? And are you looking for a fun hobby that has the * potential * of making money? If so, you’ve probably heard of Twitch by now, and if you play your cards (or your keystrokes) right you could develop a decent side business for yourself.
This is exactly what attracted the experienced player Branden Westlund (StealthAssault7) to the platform. “I started Twitch over three years ago when I saw the opportunity and the possibility,” he says. It was well worth it too – Westlund was actually able to repay all of its student loans by livestreaming Fortnite games.
It’s an idea that sounds like Midas itself – turning the gameplay into cold, hard cash. But being good at games and running a Twitch business are two different skills. If you are good at gaming, you also need to know how to make money on Twitch.
How Twitch works
First, a primer: Twitch is a live streaming platform. It’s something like the livestream option on Facebook or Periscope (RIP), only it’s always just live streams. And it’s massive: almost four million people are watching at the time of writing, according to Twitch Tracker. In December 2020 alone, people saw 1.8 billion Hours of live streaming content.
Anyone can join Twitch and start live streams on any topic they want (within limits, of course). People use Twitch to stream cooking shows, book club discussions, arts and crafts, and more. However, Twitch is really known for its most popular livestreams: esports and gaming.
“It’s like a football game on a local channel,” says Westlund. “It differs from Twitch in that you can chat with the person you are watching and they can read your chat and interact with you in real time!”
Anyone can stream on Twitch, and there are ways to make money off of the platform, which we’ll break down below. But to make the real money, you need to become either a Twitch Affiliate or a Twitch Affiliate.
Twitch partner and Twitch partner
Just like with YouTube, you unlock new earning opportunities as soon as you reach a certain threshold. The first threshold is that Shrugging partner, which you can join once you have reached these milestones for at least 30 days:
- Have at least 50 followers
- Stream at least eight hours
- Stream on at least seven different days
- Have an average of three viewers per livestream
The highest level is that Twitching partner Program. Twitch partners are generally popular live streamers or those who meet these milestones for at least 30 days:
- Stream at least 25 hours
- Stream on at least 12 different days
- Have an average of 75 viewers per livestream
However, this is the hard part – reaching these milestones will only enable you apply become a Twitch partner. It doesn’t guarantee you will get it; Twitch only approves certain live streams after review.
How To Make Money On Twitch: Techniques And Options
The potential for making money with Twitch is huge: The hugely popular streamer Ninja (aka Richard Tyler Blevins) is said to have signed a multi-million dollar contract with Twitch himself in September 2020. Obviously, not everyone will make that much. Your ways of making money also depend on what type of streamer you are: a regular user, a Twitch affiliate, or a Twitch affiliate.
Regular twitching users
As a normal user, you don’t yet have access to any of the tools that bigger names use to make money right through Twitch itself. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t make money. Here are some other ways you can make money live streaming on Twitch:
- Donate. You can ask for donations directly from your followers via Paypal, Venmo, etc. You can also set up your own Patreon account on Twitch and use this way to solicit recurring donations.
- Affiliate links. Twitch is owned by Amazon, which makes it very easy to add affiliate links for products you like right on your channel. Remember – to have partners Left is separate from being a Twitch Affiliate.
- Selling items. Just like with Instagram and TikTok influencers, print-and-ship websites let you create your own branded merch. Streamers usually sell things like t-shirts, mugs, hats, and other items that are branded for their channel.
- Sponsorships. You can partner with a company that offers products for the gamer culture, such as: B. game chairs, computers or other items. This differs from affiliate links in that you partner with the sponsor directly instead of receiving a percentage of the referral sales.
Anyone can use these options to start making money on Twitch anytime. But in practice, you still need at least some following to really make money. Nobody wants to wear your shirt if, for example, nobody knows who you are. And companies don’t pay sponsorships if no one sees your channel.
Typically, to make real money, you want to have enough followers to at least work your way through to the next level.
Once you’ve reached the partner thresholds, you can apply to become a Twitch partner. This opens up two new ways to make money yourself directly on Twitch:
- Bits and Cheers. Viewers can spend real money to buy “Bits”, a type of game currency. Viewers can then spend those pieces to receive special emotes and badges that better highlight their comment in chat for people to see. As you spend more money, better emotes and badges will be unlocked. For every bit that viewers spend, you – the streamer – get $ 0.01. Get more people cheering you on with Bits and you will make more money.
- Subscriptions. Viewers can pay for a monthly subscription to your channel at one of three different levels: $ 4.99, $ 9.99, and $ 24.99. Each level offers something new to subscribers, such as special emotes and chat badges. Twitch then splits the cost 50/50, with streamers receiving half of that monthly fee.
- Video ads. You can choose to play ad videos during your live stream. Depending on how many people see the ads, you will get a cut in advertising revenue.
Top level streamers have a few other ways to make money on Twitch:
- Ad-free viewing option for subscribers. You can offer the ad-free ad as a discount to subscribers. This could help increase your number of subscribers.
- Custom emotes for cheers. People who pay for Cheers while chatting with Bits can only access custom emotes for your channel. This could encourage them to throw more money in your way if it is something different and shiny.
- Special emotes for subscribers. People who subscribe to your page have access to up to 60 new emotes that can be used to cheer you on in chat.
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate has several other benefits too. For example, Twitch gives you priority customer service and you don’t have to pay for your withdrawal fees.
How To Make Money On Twitch: Strategies And Tips
“I remember my first stream simply using the Twitch app on my Xbox after I set up my Twitch profile and hit the go-live button,” says Westlund. “I think I was streaming for three or four hours with zero total views.”
Knowing how to make money on Twitch is a different story than actually doing it. You need to learn how to attract a loyal audience that keep coming back and watching your streams enough to pay you for. A good way to do this is to examine other channels with a critical eye.
Focus on your streaming game
“I took the time to examine what Ninja did, what made it stand out, what worked and what didn’t,” says Westlund. “I’ve really looked at all of the aspects that would make me successful. From learning the right ways to light up my stream area, to my background, to updating my camera. ”
It’s also important to pay attention to what constitutes embedding – and sometimes not. “I also did the little things like never looking at my phone when I was streaming and always trying to interact with my audience,” says Westlund. “You wouldn’t believe how many people grab their phones after a break from gaming and just stare at them while they have people watching them!”
It’s easy to want to invest in the best equipment right from the start. Westlund does not recommend this, however, as it can lead to financial burdens that ultimately affect the quality of your streams.
So Westlund has upgraded his equipment step by step, and so he advises others to follow suit. “With my first $ 100 payout, I was able to buy my green screen to improve my stream quality.” Westlund later also added a new PC and DSLR camera.
Focus on streaming as a job
“The greatest thing is the consistency. so many people start and stop and start over. They don’t make these consistent efforts every day, ”says Westlund. “I had a fixed schedule and kept showing up, even when I didn’t want to.”
And here’s the part that might not be as fun when making money playing Twitch games. Just like with any other hobby turn-side hustle, the line between a fun hobby and a job can happen very quickly.
If you like the social side of gaming and can turn it into a money making opportunity, it will probably still be a lot more fun than doing a part time gig at a retail store. But it also means that something you used to do just for fun becomes real work and a little less (or a lot less) fun.
And for some, this can easily lead to burnout. Even Westlund itself is currently taking a break from streaming, possibly forever.
How much can you make on Twitch?
“I think if people want to make money on Twitch they are preparing to fail,” says Westlund. As with any money making, you need to have a passion for it first, and money will follow suit. Even so, it is still possible to make real money. How much you can earn depends entirely on your level of commitment and skills. And there are other non-money benefits too.
“I met some amazing people and have remained close friends with many to this day,” says Westlund. “I often feel a little guilty when I know I won’t go live for a long time, possibly never again, because I’ve built a community that revolves around positivity, acceptance, and fun.”
And for Westlund that was the real win.