How Do Twitch Streamers Make Money?

Streamers earn money on Twitch through crowdfunded subscriptions, viewer donations, and ‘Twitch Bits’ (another form of viewer donation). They also make money from ads, brand sponsorships, affiliate marketing, merchandise, and game sales. Plus, some Twitch streamers also generate revenue from YouTube videos and crowdfunding on Patreon.

  1. Donations
  2. YouTube
  3. Patreon
  4. Affiliate marketing
  5. Brand sponsorships
  6. Merchandise
  7. Subscriptions
  8. Twitch Bits
  9. Game sales
  10. Ad revenue

When Does Twitch Pay You?

Once you figure out how to make money on Twitch, the platform will pay you every 15 days if your account balance is more than $100.

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How to Make Money on Twitch as a Partner

If you become a top-performing Twitch Affiliate, you can apply to join the Twitch Partner Program.

Twitch Partners receive all the same benefits as Affiliates, with one addition: Partners also receive a share of the ad revenue generated from their streams.

Twitch Ads

Pre-roll ads are shown on Twitch before viewers can join a stream. Plus, Partners can trigger mid-roll ads during a stream whenever they like — for example, many Partners show ads when they take a bathroom break or grab something to eat.

How much do Twitch streamers make from ads?

Twitch ads are typically worth between $0.002 and $0.01 per view depending on various factors, such as the:

  • Number of concurrent viewers
  • Viewers’ geolocations
  • Viewers’ genders and ages
  • Game being streamed
  • Seasonality (for example, ads are typically worth more during the holidays)

To give you an idea of how much this is, if you were to earn $0.007 with 1,000 viewers, you would make $7.

So, ads typically aren’t the most profitable way to earn money on Twitch, but if you have an enormous amount of viewers, the money can add up!

Merch

If you have a large online following in 2020, your own line of merch is virtually mandatory at this point. Producing your own merchandise is easy today. In fact, the only thing you need to produce is the digital designs. You can then sell your products to order using a custom merchandise store like Spreadshop. The great thing about print-to-order merchandise is that you don’t have to pay for production upfront. This means that you don’t have to worry about ending up with a garage full of unsold merchandise that you have no use for. You also don’t have to worry so much about your own ability to sell to your audience.

Many of the biggest Twitch streamers today are essentially brands at this point. Combining your Gamertag or online handle with a suitable graphic to produce a logo will further help you to sell your merch.

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 on Twitch: Your Options

Now that you’re familiar with Twitch and its soaring popularity, let’s delve into the million-dollar question of how to make money on Twitch.  While you may not realize, there are a few various ways that go beyond delighting in rounds of video games. 

To give you a great idea of your options coupled with the platform’s earning possibilities, we’ll begin with a breakdown of the platform’s go-to gaming streamer, Ninja. 

Although many Twitch streamers are earning a great living from the platform, there’s no denying that Richard Tyler Blevins, commonly known as Ninja, is the highest-earning Twitch streamer. He earned more than $5.5 million in one night by streaming his gaming session of Fortnite and other renowned titles.

That’s all the motivation you need to want to learn the ropes of making money on Twitch. With that being said, let’s discuss each of his Twitch-related streams of income. 

  • YouTube
  • Paid sponsorships
  • Bit donations
  • Ad revenue
  • Subscriptions 

As seen with all top Twitch streamers, most of Ninja’s earnings stem from subscriptions, averaging at about $4 million annually solely. He also earns a pretty penny from YouTube, sponsorships, bit donations, and ad revenue, all of which are crucial pieces to the Twitch puzzle of earnings.

Let’s explore each. 

1. Subscriptions: Twitch Partner Programs and Affiliates

Earnings reports show that Twitch streamers can earn the lion’s share of their income from their subscriber base. Viewers can take their pick from the following subscription levels:

  • $24.99
  • $4.99
  • $9.99

When you begin your journey as a Twitch broadcaster, the earnings from your subscribers will be split at a ratio of 1:1. With the growth of your subscriber base, Twitch will start taking less and less of a cut, so it’s no surprise that some Twitch broadcasters take home up to 100% of their subscriptions.

Most importantly, subscriptions are recurring, so you’ll earn an income from your subscribers every month. Twitch doesn’t allow just anyone to earn money this way.

To start gaining subscribers and getting an income from them, you must be a Twitch Partner or Affiliate that is strictly by invitation. To get an invite, you’ll need to lay the groundwork with consistent streaming. 

2. Paid Sponsorships

Similar to becoming a Twitch Partner or Affiliate, earning an income from paid sponsorships requires patience. Once you build a rapport with gaming companies and grow your audience, it’s a no-brainer that you can get paid to promote various products during your live streams. 

You can also earn extra money from game developers by streaming their games for exposure and increased publicity. 

3. Ad Revenue 

It’s worth noting that ad revenue is reserved for Twitch partners. Upon reaching this level, which isn’t hard to get to with consistency, the payoff can be worthwhile.

The average Twitch streamer earns about $250 in ad revenue per 100 subscribers they have. 

For marketing, Twitch offers pre-roll and display ads. Every broadcaster earns based on the popular cost per impression (CPM) model.

That means the more people who see your ads, the greater your earnings. When it comes down to getting started and learning the ropes, there’s a high likelihood that your first revenue stream will stem from bit donations that your audience throws your way. 

Like Bitcoin, a Twitch bit refers to a virtual currency. The platform’s audience can buy and claim bits, to use emotes in the chat rooms of their favorite broadcasters.

These emotes are called bit gems, and Twitch pays you $0.01 whenever someone uses one in your chat room. 

4. YouTube

Through the streaming activity, YouTube is unarguably one of the best ways to rake in money from Twitch.

Each time you upload a Twitch video to YouTube, you can reach a wider audience, boost your subscriber base, and earn extra cash. 

5. Affiliate Marketing

Besides bit donation, becoming a Twitch affiliate are ways of making money on the platform before becoming a Twitch Partner. 

Gaining sponsorship and being an affiliate are closely similar, with the only difference being that with the latter, you don’t earn a fixed rate. Instead, you get a commission of the sale every time someone clicks on a link. 

You can become an affiliate of your favorite products and earn a commission by promoting a service or product to your audience. Twitch users typically earn affiliate commissions via coupon codes.

When someone uses your coupon code to buy something, you get a percentage of the sale. 

For instance, you can market your preferred gaming chair as an affiliate or share a coupon code that a manufacturer gives you to share with your audience. Once they use the code to buy the chair, you automatically receive anywhere between 10% and 50% of the sale. 

Your earnings with affiliate marketing and Twitch depend on the size of your audience, how much they buy, and their level of engagement. That means you can earn peanuts if your audience is small and not engaged. 

6. eSports

Did you know that eSports players make a staggering $3 million annually and that the average eSports salary is $60,000 yearly? That probably makes you want to reevaluate your life.

While these earnings don’t stem solely from Twitch, there’s no denying that showing off your FIFA or Madden skills on your Twitch broadcast can get you noticed, signed, and paid by a reputable eSports team. While it’s a long shot, if you have the skills, it’s worth a try. 

How to Make Money on Twitch: Strategies and Tips

“I remember my first stream was using simply the Twitch app on my Xbox after I set up my Twitch profile and got to hit the go live button,” says Westlund. “I believe I streamed for three or four hours with a grand total of zero views.”

Knowing how to make money on Twitch is a different story from actually doing it. You’ll need to learn how to attract a loyal audience who keeps coming back and enjoys watching your streams enough to pay you. A good way to do this is by studying other channels with a critical eye. 

Focus on Your Streaming Game

“I took the time to research what Ninja was doing, what set him apart, what worked and what didn’t work,” says Westlund. “I really dove into every aspect of what would make me successful. From learning about proper ways to light my stream area, to my background, to upgrading my camera.” 

It’s also important to pay attention to what makes for engaging content — and sometimes, what doesn’t. “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, after a break in a game reach for their phones and just stare at it while they have people who are watching them!”

Upgrade Accordingly

It’s easy to want to invest in all the best equipment from the get-go. But Westlund advises against that, since it could cause financial stress that ultimately impacts the quality of your streams. 

So, Westlund upgraded his equipment step-by-step, and that’s how he advises others to follow. “My first $100 payout allowed me to purchase my green screen to upgrade my stream quality.” Later, Westlund added a new PC and a DSLR camera, too.

Focus on Streaming as a Job

“The biggest thing is the consistency; so many people start and stop and start again. They don’t put forth that consistent effort day in and day out,” says Westlund. “I had a set schedule and I kept showing up even when I didn’t want to.”

And here’s the part that’s maybe not so fun about making money by playing games on Twitch. Just like with any other hobby-turned-side-hustle, the boundary between being a fun hobby and being a job can happen real quick. 

If you like the social side of gaming and can turn that into a money-making opportunity, it’ll probably still be a lot more fun than working a part-time gig at a retail store. But it also means that something you used to do just for funsies might become real work, and a little less (or a lot less) fun. 

And for some, that can easily lead to burnout. Even Westlund himself is taking a break from streaming right now, possibly for good.

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.

Subscriptions

There are three tiers of paid subscriptions on Twitch: $4.99 a month, $9.99 a month, and $24.99 a month. Anyone with Twitch Prime gets one free Twitch Prime (Tier One) subscription with their Amazon account per month.

Because of the ease with which people can subscribe and the perks involved, like channel-specific emotes, this is one of the most popularly marketed revenue sources by streamers. 

Each tier unlocks different perks for viewers depending on how the streamer sets it up. This includes anything from enabling the settings on your channel to have VODs, subscriber-only chat, or ad-free viewing. Affiliates take home half of the proceeds they make from subscriptions. Streamers in the Partner Program often earn a slightly larger percentage that depends on an agreement with the platform.

How Much Do Twitch Streamers Who Average 1000 Views Make?

How much streamers make will depend on many different factors, but for a streamer who averages 1000 views, they can expect to make $2,500 per month (before Twitch fees) if half of their followers are also subscribers. This is of course not counting other means of money-making on the platform such as bits and donations, advertisements, and outside tactics like selling merchandise, sponsorships, affiliate links, and more.

Conclusion

Ever since the beginning of the internet, people have looked for opportunities to do interesting new things online and earn some money in the process. If you want to use live streaming to generate income, you can pick one of the methods from this list — or all of them. It’s up to you. With a little help from a multistreaming tool like Restream, you can even earn money on several streaming platforms all at once. Keep in mind that you have to create content people want to see. Once you build that audience, you need to make sure you keep it. When it comes to live streaming and making money, your audience is your biggest asset.

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