There are streamers on Twitch earning six and seven figures a year. And while Twitch is the go-to platform for gamers, you don’t have to be a gamer to make money on this platform.
What is Twitch?
Amazon-owned Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers and other lifestyle casters. Communities are built around a shared and streamable interest, with Twitch streamers broadcasting their gameplay or activity by sharing their live screens with fans and subscribers.
Twitch isn’t just for gamers, either. There is a wide variety of content that includes live and recorded broadcasts of music, sports, travel, food and talk shows.
Twitch offers free and paid versions, with paid tiers removing ads and offering more features.
Activity can be live-streamed from a minute to 8 hours or longer. Users find streams by browsing various categories. Channels can be followed, resulting in activity updates and notifications.
Think live-streaming social media and you get the idea.
How do You Build a Twitch Audience?
In one word… gradually. Like any other platform, it takes time to attract an audience. Successful channels are built up over years by continuously producing material.
The first step is to find your niche, whether it’s gaming, talk show, food, music or whatever works for you.
The second step is to differentiate yourself from others. Maybe you’re not the best game player by a long shot, but if you’re funny, helpful or entertaining, you can build an audience.
Create a regular streaming schedule so your fans know when to tune in and watch.
Use your existing social media accounts, such as Facebook, YouTube and so forth, to promote your Twitch broadcasts.
Make yourself known to other Twitch users by engaging with their streams.
Interact with your viewers. Ask them questions, make jokes, respond to their chats and so forth.
The #1 key in Twitch is to be entertaining. If you can do this, fans will tune in time and time again to see what you’re doing.
How to Make Money as a Twitch Novice
You don’t need a huge audience to begin making money with Twitch.
1: Take Donations
Twitch users routinely donate money to their favorite streamers. Add a “donate” button to your channel using Paypal or a third-party app such as Streamlabs to collect donations.
Don’t be shy about asking. In your videos, gently remind people that you gratefully accept donations and that those donations make it possible for you to continue streaming.
2: Find a Brand Partner
Companies use Twitch streamers to promote their products, giving the streamer a kickback in return. This is a partner relationship, not to be confused with Twitch’s Partner and Affiliate Programs which we’ll cover in a moment.
For example, if you’re a gamer, than potential partners will be selling items such as hardware, software, headsets, chairs and even energy drinks.
If you’re not yet a big time gamer or streamer, you will likely need to find these partners yourself rather than wait for them to find you. Watch to see who sponsors other Twitch Streamers in your genre who have comparable fan bases and approach those companies first.
3: Sell Merchandise
If you have a particularly dedicated audience or even just a super-catchy name, you might sell your own t-shirts, mugs and so forth.
Set up shop with any of the t-shirt producers, make the designs yourself or hire a graphic artist, and then promote your wares on your Twitch channel.
How to Make Money as a Twitch Affiliate
When you meet specific criteria, you can become a Twitch Affiliate. Once you reach the following milestones within the past 30 days, you’ll be eligible to receive an invitation to become an Affiliate:
- Minimum 500 total broadcast minutes
- Minimum 7 unique broadcast days
- Average of 3 or more concurrent viewers
- At least 50 followers
Once you join the Twitch Affiliate Program, you can earn money on Twitch through:
Viewers can subscribe to your channel to unlock benefits like exclusive chat rooms, emoticons and merchandise discounts. These monthly subscriptions start at $4.99 and as an affiliate you will receive a cut.
5: Virtual Cheers
Viewers can give monetary support via virtual cheers, called “bits.” Viewers buy bits in different colors and sizes and then dole them out to their favorite broadcasters who receive a cut.
6: Game Sales
Whenever you play games that are sold in the Twitch store, a “buy now” button appears on your channel. When viewers purchase the game and in-game add-ons directly from your channel, you receive a 5% cut.
How to Make Money as a Twitch Partner
This is the top tier for Twitch earners. Anyone and everyone on Twitch who is earning 6 or 7 figures is a Twitch Partner.
7: Revenue Sharing
You must apply for partnership, and if accepted, you will receive a share of ad revenue generated from your Twitch page.
Requirements for Partnership include:
- Streaming for 25 hours in the last 30 days
- Streaming for 12 unique days in the last 30 days
- Reaching 75 average viewers in the last 30 days
When you reach these requirements, a button will appear on your dashboard that allows you to apply for Partnership. Twitch usually gets back to you within 7 business days with their decision.
Note: Not everyone is approved for Partnership Status the first time around. If you are not approved, keep trying. Make sure you act professionally on your channel, that you have a content strategy that reflects who you are and that you continue to build your following.
And as a Partner you are also more likely to receive endorsement deals and lucrative brand sponsorships, too.