Earning money on Twitch is a tough, yet possible task. It requires a mix of commitment, creativity and marketing savviness to make it work but is often highly rewarding – a lucrative. In this guide we’ll take you step by step on how to make money on Twitch.
Step 1: Signing Up
If you already have a Twitch channel, skip to the next section
Every journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step. Creating a lucrative streaming side-hustle or full time job starts with opening up your own channel on Twitch. If you have a Facebook, the process takes less than 30 seconds. If you don’t, it will take about 2 minutes. Once you’re all set up with the account, you are technically eligible to start posting videos to your stream and making money from Twitch.
What You Need to Start Streaming
To start streaming, you need either a console like a PS4, Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch or a gaming PC. In general, audiences are going to want to see high quality streams playing the most popular games which require the latest generation of gaming platforms. If you are using a gaming PC, you’ll want to make sure your hardware is up to snuff. If you’re using a desktop, you should be equipped with powerful RAM, a higher end graphics card – most likely the GTX series 1060 and up, and an Intel or AMD processor. If you’re on a laptop, consider an Alienware or a Microsoft laptop.
Step 2: Creating Content
If you already have videos on Twitch and don’t need to learn more, skip to the next section
If you want to earn money on Twitch, your content needs to be some combination of original, amazing, witty, funny and interesting. That may sound cliche and vague, but that is essentially what it boils down to. People are going to watch you on Twitch for the following reasons:
- You’re amazingly skilled at a certain game
- Approach your gameplay from a uniquely comical perspective
- Focus on a perfecting or completing a certain part of a game like collecting all items
- Providing an interesting commentary on a certain game
To be completely honest, if you cannot create a channel that masters one or more of those approaches to your stream, it’s going to be hard to grow your audience and earn on Twitch. There are over 500,000 channels and the vast, vast majority do not make money. There needs to be a reason why your channel is worth watching over the thousands of others.
Twitch’s most well known streamer – Tyler Blevins aka Ninja, has attracted hundreds of thousands to his stream through a combination of the 1st and 2nd. Ninja has been a pro-gamer for over a decade which means he has extraordinary skill – which definitely gave him an edge. He also combines his skill with comedy – often putting on funny impressions while streaming. A combination of skill and comedy made his channel attractive – among other reasons which we discuss next.
Step 3: Gaining Followers
If you have followers and want to know how to monetize, go to the next section
Once you are start producing quality content, you need to shift your focus on follower acquisition. As we will discuss more in the next section, you will need at minimum 1,200 to 1,500 followers to make a full time living off your Twitch channel. You will need at least 50 followers to make any sort of revenue from Twitch. Even just reaching 50 followers can be months worth of effort however.
1. Streaming Steadily and Often
To become a Twitch affiliate (when you can start monetizing your account) you need to stream for at least 500 minutes (~8.5 hours) within 30 days and have at least 7 unique broadcasts in that time. If you work an exhausting >50 hour per week job, that means streaming for about 2.5 hours on each and every Saturday and Sunday in a month – and that is only the bare minimum.
It is crucial to understand that if you want to earn significant money from streaming, it has to be more than just a light hobby. That is why people who have part-time jobs or have flexible schedules will be most privy to success. We would recommend you stream several times per week, and stream for a significant amount of time. Twitch streamer Ferretbomb, who has 39,000 followers, recommends streaming for at least 4 hours each time. He says it’s difficult to build momentum if you’re streams are too short. It is crucial to stream long enough so you can capture viewers with varying free time.
2. Making Sure You are Playing the Right Game
If you’re on Twitch to make money rather than just the fun of it, you’re going to need to play the right games. You may love Tony Hawk’s Underground and are really good at that game because you’ve been playing it since you were eight years old, but there really isn’t a market of viewership for that game. Being cognizant of which games are popular – or even better- going to become popular – is a great way of increasing your follower count or knowing where to stay clear. It’s arguable that Ninja would not be as big as he is today had he not switched from PUBG to Fortnite. Initially it seemed like a bad move, but Ninja correctly guessed Fortnite would become a phenomenon. When peek Fortnite craze hit, he had already positioned himself as it’s biggest streamer.
The Most Popular Games on Twitch
|League of Legends||126,441|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops 4||50,590|
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||45,158|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||32,157|
See full list here
Conversely, if you became a Fortnite streamer tomorrow, you’re most likely going to struggle to gain followers since there are so many. Finding a game that is in demand is not the same as the most popular games on the market. You want to find a niche. Games that attract at least a few thousand people but are not overwhelmingly filled with streamers. When you begin to build an audience can you play more mainstream games.
3. Going Beyond Twitch and Marketing Your Channel
We highly recommend you actively market your channel to gain more followers. There are millions and millions of gamers out there and not all of them are perusing Twitch looking for your content. You will need to leverage other social media like Instagram and Twitter to lure potential followers to your Twitch channel. Ninja has over 3.5 million followers on Twitter and a whopping 11.3 million followers on Instagram which is almost equal to the 12 million followers he has on Twitch.
Of course, this is all easier said then done. Marketing itself takes time and effort. If you are already pushed to your time limits with just streaming, you are going to need to choose marketing efforts which take little time and are scalable. Posting to Twitter and Instagram are certainly less time consuming and should be in any Twitch Streamers toolkit. Other efforts like building a website and blogging using SEO are time consuming and may not be feasible to pair with your streaming efforts.
4. Give Aways and Promotions
People love free stuff and running interesting promotions and give aways on your channel are good ways to gain followers. This will require some monetary investment however since you are not making any revenue from your channel yet. We recommend only investing what you can afford to lose. That may mean setting aside $500 to purchase a graphics card as a giveaway. Here is a good guide on running a give away.
5. ValueGamers’s ValuePartnership
You can also use ValueGamer’s free ValuePartnership. We create a space to showcase what it is about you and your channel that is unique and use our site and other social media to promote your channel. For inquiries, shoot us a message at [email protected]
Finally, we come to how to make actual money on Twitch. Now that you have a channel with numerous followers there are several ways you can go about monetizing. The first thing you need to know though is that there are different levels of monetization on Twitch: affiliates and partners.
Twitch Affiliates vs Twitch Partners
Becoming an affiliate has a much lower barrier of entry. As we mention above, you need to stream about 500 minutes in 30 days over 7 unique streams. You also need at least 50 followers. Becoming a Twitch partner however is much harder. Only about 2 to 3% of Twitch users are partners due to the much higher barrier of entry. When it comes to being a partner, the sheer number of followers you have comes 2nd to the number of people you have consistently watching your streams. A person whose streams attract 500 people per stream but has 1,400 followers is much more likely to become a partner than someone with 2,000 followers but only attracts 100 people per stream.
Becoming a Twitch partner is also more than just the metrics. Twitch wants partners that engage with their followers via chats and “develop strong communities”. Meaning, you just can’t be a guy who plays games, you need to have a personality with your channel.
Monetization as a Twitch Affiliate
Most of you reading this will fall into the affiliate rather than partner bucket. Luckily being an affiliate still allows you to earn money. There are three main ways to earn as an affiliate as of late-2018:
- Game Sales
Loyal followers of your channel can pay $5, $10 or $25 to subscribe to our channel. While that may sound straightforward, you need to remember there needs to be a very compelling reason people should subscribe to your channel. Usually things like exclusive chats and giveaways are things that incentivize people to subscribe.
Bits are somewhat similar to subscriptions without the commitment. While streaming, viewers can cheer you on with bits in your chat. These bits are usually used to gain attention within the chat. Your viewers can also be doing them to just support your channel. Affiliates earn $1 for every 100 bits they receive.
Finally, affiliates can earn money through game sales. For example if you are playing Call of Duty Black Ops 4 on our channel, people can purchase the game through your channel (through Amazon) and you would get about a 1% commission on that sale.
Being an affiliate should just be the 1st part of the process if you want to make real money on Twitch however. In a 3,000 respondent Twitter poll, 50% of respondents (whom were Twitch affiliates) earn less than $100 per month. Twitch says affiliate will soon have the ability to run ads on their channels as well. This should prove to be a boon for most affiliates. Early to mid-2019 is the best bet for ads coming to Twitch affiliates.
Monetization as a Twitch Partner
If you become one of the special few partners on Twitch, turning streaming into a full time living becomes very possible. You’ll be able to use the same means available to affiliates with the key difference of also being able to use ads.
Once you are a partner, you can play ads for different organizations and companies during your stream. Dependent on the number of who watch will determine how much you get paid. Most ads on Twitch will be on a CPM basis or cost per mil. Simply that means there’s likely a fixed rate for every 1,000 people who watch your ad.
Usually when you reach partner status as well, you can earn more money through donations. If you are creating really great content, loyal viewers may send you donations through external means like Paypal, Venmo or Zelle.
How Much You’ll Earn Per Follower on Twitch
If you are tl;dr, the rule of thumb is you’ll make about $2 to $3 per follower per month. Ninja makes about $3.50 per follower but he is at the top of the game streaming world. The more followers you have, the less Twitch takes from your earnings. It’s realistic to expect as a Twitch partner you will learn about $2 to $3 per follower per month. To live a comfortable life in most cities in the world, you would need to have about 1,200 to 1,500 followers.
Conclusion: How to Earn on Twitch
If there is one take away you leave this article with it should be this: earning big bucks on Twitch is difficult but not impossible. It requires having an understanding of the market – what people are finding interesting, funny, enjoyable, etc. It also requires knowing how to market your channel and turn it into a brand. A combination of marketing and gaming skill is the key to getting to that magic number of 1,200 to 1,500 Twitch followers to be able to turn a once hobby into a full time thing.