If you’re looking for live-streamed entertainment today, there is no better place than twitch. With over 140 million active users, the possibilities of income seem limitless. But how do you turn the world’s largest live-streaming platform into a source of passive income? That’s the question this article is going to answer.
Quick, sad disclaimer. Before we talk about all the different ways you could earn money from Twitch, remember that starting your live-streaming career with only the money in mind will almost surely result in failure. The vast majority of twitch channels (over 70%) struggle to get more than 5 viewers. This means that you will most likely need a lot of perseverance and passion (and also, let’s be honest, luck) to succeed, and money, while a great motivator, probably won’t cut it in the long run. If you don’t have a passion for streaming, you won’t get far.
But let’s say you’re not only passionate about streaming, but you already have all of the necessary equipment too. In that case, here are the best ways to turn that live-stream, into an income stream.
1. Monetize your Twitch account
This is the main way you can earn any sort of income from Twitch. You really can’t hope to get any money of live-streaming, unless you become a member of the “Twitch Affiliate program”. This is, in a way, very similar to TikTok. There are several criteria you have to meet in order to be able to monetize your channel. If you want to join, you will have to have a channel with:
- 50 followers
- 500 total minutes broadcast
- Seven unique broadcast days
- Three or more concurrent viewers on average
When you join the Affiliate program, it will allow you to earn income, mostly coming from your audience.
income from your audience
- Direct donation. This is the most direct way for any of your viewers to send you money. You have your bank account linked with your Twitch channel, through which your viewers send you donations of varying sizes.
- Bits. This one is more indirect, but still pretty simple. People on Twitch can buy “Bits” (each one worth $0.01), which then allow them to do stream-specific actions, which you as the creator choose. This can be anything from a highlighted message, or even send special animated emotes in chat.
- Twitch subscription. If your viewers like your content enough, they can choose to subscribe to it. Now, unlike with Youtube, these subscriptions aren’t free. The price ranges from $5 – $25 per month per subscriber. This price is then shared 50/50 between you and Twitch, meaning you can earn $2.5 – $12.5 per subscriber you have. Viewers may also “donate” subs, by which they, technically, subscribe to you more than once.
- Video Ads. You can also choose to display ads within your stream, but the payout on these is fairly low. You get around $2 for every 1000 views. Since even some of the larger streamers don’t get much above a 100 viewers, this might actually be the worst option out of all the ones in this article. But you can still do it, i guess.
All the income from these options, however, won’t come right away. Even after you join the Affiliate program, you’re still not guaranteed to make income. You will just have to keep at whatever you are doing and hope for the best.
But while you do that, why not also check other, more alternative ways to promote your content. You don’t have to earn only through your audience after all.
Your income can also come from some sort of a 3rd party. However, before you can even think about getting a sponsorship, remember to build a community first. Most companies and brands might not want to sponsor someone, who just started, and can’t pull almost any views.
To even get a sponsorship, you will probably have to reach out to some companies. Unless you have a big enough presence that companies adres your directly. Some companies even have their own programs to help starting streamers (Like the computer hardware selling company, Corsair).
These sponsorships are often more subtle than the ones on other sites, like Youtube, for example. They often include you showing the brand name logo somewhere, or wearing their merch. Sometimes they can get more creative and complicated, but those are usually pretty rare.
You can also have your own line of “merch”. These are some sort of items, usually clothing, with your channel name/face/logo on them, which members of your community can buy. These are, again, mostly for the “bigger fish”, because you hardly sell any of your shirts, when you don’t even have people to sell them to.
If you get famous enough, it’s also possible that other companies may approach you with the intent of turning you into merchandise (not literally, of course). These are mostly rare though, and as mentioned earlier, only happen to some of the most famous of streamers.
This is one of the better ones if you want to interact with your audience. Stream is a great tool to use affiliate links because your viewers may see you use/review the product in real time. While you are reviewing, you might post the affiliate link into the stream description, or post it to live chat.
Because of all these bonuses, some companies actually prefer having streamers as affiliates. The best candidates are either game companies, whose game you can play and link, or hardware makers, whose products you can use. If your viewers see (or specifically, hear) that you sound great, and then you link your microphone with your affiliate, more people will want to buy it, because they seen it in action already.
More niche rewards
Because of how big twitch is, many companies are developing new ways, in which they can make a profit with it, and help streamers along the way. These are usually only small portions of your earning, but with enough of them, they can grow quite meaningful. One of these companies is, for example, Brave, whose browser let’s you earn money by viewing ads, which you can then donate to a streamer you like.
There are probably many more, but you will have to search for those on your own.
Bonus: Tips on streaming
While we are teaching you all the ways you can earn money with Twitch, why not also show you some ways to increase that income as much as you can?
1. Don’t (always) listen to professionals
Now this may sound really weird. Why shouldn’t you take advice from those who already succeeded? And in that question, you get your answer – they are already on top. They probably got there before you even started streaming. The whole platform has most likely evolved since they were like you, and the strategy that they use likely won’t work for you.
Now, there are many times a professional can really help you start – What equipment should you use, how to use a camera, or even how to light yourself properly. Those are things an experienced person’s advice will always be helpful. But when it comes to what games to play, how to act in your streams, and even how often/long you stream, then that’s only for you to decide.
2. Be honest
There are a lot of ways you can be honest with your viewers, and with yourself. Firstly, you have to be honest in what you want to stream. If you like a specific game, then, even if it’s not the *most profitable*, you should still stream that over the more *marketable* ones, because it’s your game.
People will often want to see someone play your favorite game more, than seeing you play the thing that everybody else plays. This can also work in your favor in the way that, if you stream a game not that many other people stream, you will have less competition and therefore, more possibility of growth.
Another way you should be honest is with your behavior. If you try to act like someone you aren’t, chances are, you’re not going to be able to hold that facade up forever. And when you amass enough viewers and start loosing yourself in you own made-up character, people will take note, and will probably like you a lot less.
3. Be patient
As with all the great things, starting your streaming career will take time. This is what we talked about at the start. Many people enter Twitch with thoughts about easy money and fame, and then crash into the “above 5 viewers” wall. If you think you can just turn on the camera, stream for a month, and you will suddenly turn into the next big star, you might not even bother with starting your camera at all.
All of today’s biggest streamers have their roots years ago. Ludwig, one of the most famous streamers of today, started streaming almost 5 years ago, and only gathered much of his audience in the late 2020 because of the pandemic. In his first 2 years, he was lucky to have more than 10 people on stream, and that’s mostly because he was streaming the popular games, which he was pretty good at.
So, in conclusion, don’t worry if you fail at the beginning. Most people do, and that’s okay. Even though you might have a slow start, with enough patience, you will succeed.