Twitch offers a unique way to build a business. Viewers can watch their favorite content creators play video games or create other forms of entertainment—from the relaxing sensory experiences of ASMR audio to “just chatting” streams. The more viewers your livestreams capture, the more money you can earn, with some streamers making thousands of dollars each month from monetizing their Twitch channels.
In this article, we’ll look at ways streamers make money on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a livestreaming platform for content creators to play video games, esports, music, and more in real time, often simultaneously talking to an audience. Video gaming is the most popular content category on the platform—at any given time of day, more than 3,000 unique games are streamed simultaneously.
Twitch shows viewers live channels they can watch and categories they might enjoy.
Viewers can scroll down the home feed, browse the Twitch directory, and search for specific types of videos they want to watch. They also can subscribe to their favorite Twitch streamers for a small monthly fee.
Many Twitch streams also exist purely for people to chat with one another, and users can browse chat rooms to find a topic they’re interested in. While there are countless uses for this livestreaming platform, finding a popular niche for your channel is key to bringing in a solid income.
What is the Twitch Affiliate Program?
The Twitch Affiliate Program is one of two official programs Twitch offers creators to monetize their channels. Twitch will automatically reach out to accounts that meet certain eligibility criteria to become affiliates.
You may be prompted to join the Twitch Affiliate Program if you meet the following four requirements:
- Reach 50 followers
- Stream for eight hours
- Stream on seven different days
- Reach an average of three viewers
How to make money as a Twitch Affiliate
Once your channel becomes eligible for affiliate status, Twitch will alert you in your user dashboard and you’ll have the opportunity to get started with the additional affiliate features. Being a Twitch Affiliate unlocks two ways to monetize your channel:
Once you get accepted into the Twitch Affiliate Program, you can start offering your own subscription tiers right inside Twitch. The Subscribe button appears below the bottom right corner of your stream, and followers can click to learn more about the perks they get through subscribing.
With Twitch, you can also set up three different subscription levels: $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 per month.
Look at how top streamer Ninja has his tiers set up:
Some of the perks you can offer subscribers are custom emotes to use in chat, subscriber badges that appear beside a follower’s name in chat, ad-free viewing, and subscriber-only streams.
Another Twitch Affiliate perk is Twitch Bits, a form of virtual currency viewers can purchase to send streamers “cheers” while they’re streaming. Streamers typically receive one cent for each Bit they receive during a stream. Streamers can set limits for the minimum number of Bits a follower must send to cheer for them.
Twitch streamers can also create custom Cheermotes (emotes that are unique to a channel) that viewers can use when cheering—the more Bits they spend, the more exciting the Cheermote.
Stream chats show the weekly top Cheerers. For instance, this streamer received 41,700 Bits, roughly equivalent to $417, just from their top 10 cheerers:
What is the Twitch Partner Program?
The Twitch Partner Program is a more exclusive program for Twitch creators with established audiences. It’s considered a level up from the Affiliate Program, and you have to apply to join.
The eligibility guidelines aren’t quite as clear cut for this program, but you need to have an established and engaged audience, stream regularly, and be a role model in your community.
In the Path to Partner achievement dashboard, you also need to complete these milestones:
- Stream for 25 hours
- Stream on 12 different days
- Average of 75 viewers
How to make money as a Twitch Partner
Once you become a Twitch Partner, you’re able to run ads during your streams. By doing this, you can bring in even more income. However, this monetization strategy is most effective if your viewership is high, as you’ll get paid for the number of impressions on each ad.
According to a Quora answer from a Twitch streamer, you’ll receive $3.50 for every 1,000 ad viewers. So if you have less than 1,000 viewers on a stream, you’re making pennies per ad.
However, if you have a big stream with thousands of viewers, running a quick ad or two every 30 minutes to an hour can be a great way to bring in some additional revenue.
Best ways to make money on Twitch
- Accept donations
- Include affiliate links in your profile
- Set up a Patreon
- Seek brand sponsorships and partnerships
- Sell merchandise
- Create a YouTube channel
- Offer coaching
Outside of Twitch’s official programs, there are numerous ways to make money on the platform. If you’re just getting your start as a streamer on Twitch, keep in mind that it can take time for your channel to pick up viewers. To kickstart your channel, consistently go live and stream popular games (or your chosen type of content) that viewers want to see. Here are a few ways to start making money.
1. Accept donations
As a beginner, you aren’t able to set up subscription tiers yet, but you can still receive donations from people watching your video streams. Set up a Donate button through a third-party company such as PayPal, or use a service like Streamlabs to set up a tip page and start getting extra money through tips and donations on your Twitch channel.
For example, take a look at how MuTeX set up his profile. He’s created several panels with links to other social media, their subscription options, and a Donate button for Twitch followers who want to support the channel:
2. Include affiliate links in your profile
To earn money from affiliate marketing on Twitch, you can simply put links to some of your favorite products in your Twitch profile so anyone can browse and buy the items that interest them. This is the method that streamer Alixxa used on her profile:
Each of the above images uses an affiliate link, so Alixxa can get a percentage of any purchase her followers might make, further boosting her monthly revenue.
You can also put your affiliate link in the chat for viewers to make a purchase when you mention a product in your Twitch stream.
To add affiliate links to your profile or to a chat, first sign up for your favorite companies’ affiliate programs and get approved. Or, you might join platform-specific affiliate programs like Amazon Associates. With this program, you can mention Amazon products and include affiliate links to them on your channel. Any time a viewer uses your link to buy that product on Amazon, you’ll earn a commission.
3. Set up a Patreon
Since new streamers on Twitch can’t immediately create Twitch-based subscription programs, Patreon is an option to start making money directly from subscribers. Patreon is a monetization platform that allows content creators to offer subscriptions at a range of price points, with each tier typically including perks. With Patreon, streamers can set their subscription tiers and list what perks come with each level. For example, you might offer a personalized shout-out to subscribers at a certain tier.
4. Seek brand sponsorships and partnerships
Brand sponsorships and partnerships with aligned companies can be a powerful monetization strategy for large channels. While some brands benefit greatly from partnering with micro-influencers (content creators with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers), brands still want to make sure that the streamers they sponsor have a large enough viewership for the partnership to be worthwhile.
Brand sponsorships and partnerships can take different forms. One way a streamer might promote a brand is by mentioning their product or service within a stream. These ads can feel organic—a content creator simply tells their audience about a product or service they love during a regular stream.
However, as a streamer, you need to alert viewers that you’ve been paid to promote that product or service. Additionally, according to Twitch’s Terms of Service, you also need to indicate that Twitch is not behind this promotion, using a disclaimer like, “This is a promotion by [Your Name]. Twitch does not sponsor or endorse this promotion and is not responsible for it.”
Another way to work with brands is to have them sponsor an entire stream. Twitch streamers who partner with brands can display the name of their sponsors within their stream title. This sponsored content stream strategy gets even more eyes on the brand and its offerings, even if viewers miss the exact moments that you actually mention them.
5. Sell merchandise
Offering your own merchandise can be a profitable revenue generator. You might sell items like t-shirts, blankets, hoodies, pens, and hats that have your logo or design on them. Setting up a shop on an ecommerce platform like Shopify allows you to sell merch and generate revenue—while also strengthening your brand.
6. Create a YouTube channel
Consider creating a YouTube channel so your audience can consume and share your content outside of the Twitch platform. From there, you can monetize your YouTube channel, giving yourself an entirely new outlet for generating income.
Learn more: Free video editing software
7. Offer coaching
Consider leveraging your audience to offer services for up-and-coming Twitch streamers. For instance, you can provide coaching services to share your expertise on building an audience on Twitch.
Other services you might consider offering are:
- Profile customization
- Graphic design for panels and banners
- Merch design and store setup
- Building a strong brand as a streamer
Anything you’ve learned how to do through your Twitch channel can become a valuable service for emerging streamers.
How much money can you make on Twitch?
Once you start bringing in revenue, Twitch pays out every 15 days, via methods like direct deposit and PayPal—typically, as long as there is more than $50 in your account. If you want to be paid by wire transfer, you’ll have to wait until you’ve earned $100 to receive a payout.
The amount of money you can make on Twitch depends heavily on how many viewers consistently tune in and the frequency of your livestreams. While a larger audience usually is considered the key to increasing your income, other factors—such as higher-tier subscribers and donors—can impact the amount of money you earn.
To provide an estimate of how much streamers at various viewership levels can earn each month on Twitch, Streamer Facts compiled this analysis:
|# of viewers
|5–10 average viewers per stream
|$50–$200 per month
|20 average viewers per stream
|$200–$400 per month
|50 average viewers per stream
|$500–$750 per month
|100 average viewers per stream
|$1,000–$1,500 per month
|1,000 average viewers per stream
|$5,000 per month
|5,000 viewers per stream
|$13,000 per month
|10,000 average viewers per stream
|$30,000 per month
Getting just five to 10 average viewers per stream can take time, so keep in mind that Twitch may not be the best way to make fast money. However, if your goal is to earn monthly income as a professional gamer, getting started on Twitch is a first step.
How to build an audience on Twitch
There are multiple steps you can take to build your Twitch audience. They include:
1. Find your niche
Finding your niche helps to build an audience interested in the specific content you’re creating and streaming. If your channel is unfocused—streaming a Fortnite game one day and sharing live music the next—it’s more difficult to attract and retain a dedicated audience interested in your content.
Instead, choose one focus area. For example, if you dedicate your channel to Minecraft streaming, sticking with that game enables you to build up an audience of like-minded gamers.
2. Engage your viewers
While a popular streamer might look like they’re just playing a game or talking to their audience, they have monetized the art of Twitch streaming by becoming must-watch creators. Best practices for engaging your audience include:
- Watching other streamers for ideas about strategies
- Being a skilled gamer
- Talking to viewers during streams
- Interacting with viewers through chats
- Hosting special events for channel subscribers
- Holding regular Twitch livestreams
Making these types of efforts can help attract a loyal audience that stays engaged with your content.
3. Build your network
A key aspect of becoming a Twitch streamer is watching and interacting with other streamers. This can help you connect with other content creators and build a community. Plus, if you become friends with other streamers, you can start streaming together as a way to share—and potentially grow—audiences to reach even more fans.
Building your network also includes being active in live chats whenever you’re watching a streamer. This is another effective way to promote your name and channel, increasing the chances that viewers click on your profile and start following you.
4. Hone your personal brand and online presence
Twitch can’t be the only place you promote your streams. Consider creating a website (or at least a merch site), as well as accounts on YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and other social media sites.
Create your own Twitch account and start making money
If you want to make money streaming, joining Twitch and creating your own channel is a great way to get started. By following this guide to making money on Twitch, you can begin building your audience and start monetizing your channel.
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How to make money on Twitch FAQ
How do beginners make money on Twitch?
- Patreon subscriptions
- Twitch subscriptions
- Twitch Bits
- Twitch Partner Program
- Twitch ads
- Brand sponsorships and partnerships
- Affiliate marketing
- YouTube channel
How much money do Twitch streamers make?
You can make anywhere from $50 per month with five to 10 average viewers per stream to as much as $30,000 a month if your average viewership per stream reaches 10,000.
How many views do you need to get paid on Twitch?
In order to become a Twitch Affiliate, you need at least 50 followers and an average of three or more concurrent viewers over the past 30 days. To become a Twitch Partner, you must average 75 concurrent viewers or more over 30 days. Keep in mind that, typically, the more regular viewers you have, the more you’ll get paid. View the Twitch eligibility criteria for more details.
What are some reasons why Twitch streamers don’t make money?
Twitch streamers are less likely to make money if they don’t broadcast regularly, have few followers, or don’t successfully optimize Twitch revenue streams.