So you want to share your passion with the world on the internet and earn an income too?
It’s no longer impossible with the rapid rise of video sharing and live streaming. Youtube and Facebook have been on the game of video entertainment for so long. From popularizing the culture of vlogging, video snippets, and commentaries, these media platforms ensure millions of viewers every day. Competing alongside them is Twitch, a popular online service for digital video streaming.
Twitch is the platform choice of gamers. It puts no filter and boundary between the streamers and their viewers. You probably heard it before or had seen its logo in gaming video compilations on Youtube. Due to its popularity, everyone is now asking the million-dollar question.
How do Twitch streamers earn money even just being in the comfort of their house or studio?
Read on to know how to make money on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a popular website for video streaming. Founded in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, it started as a niche for gameplay live streams. However, it had wholly branched out and is now championing streams dedicated to popular creative categories. Twitch Creative is where viewers can watch creators who make streams for their art, music, skills, design, or anything under the sun.
It continues to grow and solidify its popularity, boasting two million streamers every month. Amazon purchased it in 2014 with a $970 million offer. One of the significant changes in the streaming service following the purchase of Amazon is the usage of Bits. It is a digital currency acquired with Amazon Payments.
During peak hours in the United States, Twitch accounts for nearly 2% of traffic running alongside Netflix, Google, and Apple. It also counts for 40% of all live-streamed internet content. Now appealing for gamers and non-gamers, more than 15 million people use Twitch every day. It is hugely popular among the gaming industry. Famous video games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and Grand Theft Auto V are usually presented on the streaming website.
Streamers can earn huge money on the platform, with ‘Ninja’ one of the famous creators on Twitch reportedly earning $500,000 per month. Streamers can make money through subscriptions, partnerships, and other off-platform methods.
How Does Twitch Work?
You can watch Twitch on its official website, gaming consoles, and apps for mobile phones. Twitch apps are available on iOs and Android, Amazon’s Fire TV, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Roku, and the NVIDIA SHIELD. With the use of a webcam and microphone, any users can also set up their live stream.
You don’t have to login and pay to watch broadcasts on Twitch. However, a Twitch account gives you the ability to add your favorite channels to a follow list similar to Youtube’s subscribe button. Also, you can participate in the streamer’s chatroom.
The home page of Twitch shows the popular and trending streams on the platform. You can choose who to watch from thereon. To discover more streamers, you can browse the games category, or explore other kinds in the Communities, Popular, Creative, and Discover tabs. If you want to know more creators, you can look them up on Twitter and Instagram. A lot of them are very active in social media as well.
Features of Twitch You Need to Know
The live stream of Twitch shows the game being played and the streamer at the corner of the screen. While playing, the streamers are giving their commentary or sharing personal stories to their viewers. There’s also a chatroom for the viewers, which can be very toxic at times due to the frequent use of offensive language. Due to Twitch being live and uncensored, controversies arose in the past years regarding the proper conduct of streamers.
Popular broadcasts often use human moderators to keep chat rooms safe and welcoming. Users can also filter foul language in the chatroom. They can adjust it through the settings button on their account. The behavior of streamers in the platform is one of the factors they can solidify an official partnership with Twitch.
Direct messages and chat rooms
To be able to access the chat rooms, users have to log in first. Once you get in, you can now interact with other users. Twitch’s version of private messaging is through its ‘whisper’ feature. It allows users to talk privately and interact with each other. You can also adjust your privacy setting to block or prevent messages or whispers coming from strangers.
Users between the ages of 13 to 18 will need supervision from parents or legal guardians before accessing its services. This process is to make sure that their Terms of Service will be properly understood. However, in some countries, the digital age of consent may vary.
Organizations and online services must abide by their law before they use data of users under that age. Take into consideration these types of restrictions in building up your Twitch account.
Costs and Payments
Twitch is a free service, and everyone can access its broadcasts. Costs and payments can only be transacted if debit/credit card or gift card is placed within the account. If users would want to access extra features or support a streamer directly, they can opt to pay.
Twitch uses ‘Bits’, which is a virtual currency used to support or ‘cheer’ streamers. Users can purchase Bits if they want to give financial support to the people they’re watching. ‘Cheering’ is a term used in the platform if a user wants to support a streamer.
Hosting Esports Tournaments
Twitch also hosts live competitive tournaments like esports tournaments with full commentaries. Popular gaming conventions like Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), BlizzCon, PAX Prime, and Penny Arcade eXpo (PAX) East also use Twitch services to live-stream news, events, and demos. This feature adds to the attraction of the platform to game enthusiasts.
Discovering new games, receiving game tips, or seeing their favorite players play are the alluring aspects of Twitch to gamer-type individuals. The skills and characters of the streamers are also one of the things Twitch has brought to the table. Viewers are not only on the platform for the games but the entertainment as well.
How to Make Money on Twitch
Twitch streamers earn money in many ways. They can profit from sponsorships and other money-making methods inside or outside the platform. The popularity of the streamers brought by Twitch also led them to become prominent figures on Youtube and other social media platforms. Their vast following paves the way from more brands reaching out to them. Some streamers are also playing professionally in the gaming industry.
Build your Account
In understanding how to earn money on the streaming platform, you have to know what type of Twitch user you are. In general, there are three types of users:
- Everyday Twitch Users
- Twitch Affiliates
- Twitch Partners
If you’re only using Twitch for your enjoyment and you have no intention of earning money from it, then you’re an Everyday Twitch User. However, if you are committed to earning from Twitch, then you have to set your goal on being a Twitch Affiliate. Twitch offers extra earning programs if you become an affiliate. To be one, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Eight hours of streaming in the last 30 days
- Streamed at least seven days in the last 30 days
- Gain an average of three viewers per stream
- Grow your account to 50 followers
If you want to make Twitch as a full-time job and a main source of income, then strive to be a Twitch Partner. Unlike the affiliate program, Twitch partnership is an invitation-only offer. The following criteria can help you get the collaboration:
- Quality content
- Conduct proper behavior and interaction with your audience on Twitch and other media platforms
- High viewership
- Stream frequently at least three times per week in a scheduled manner
There are many off-platform methods of earning but are only limited to streamers with a devoted audience. Users must be realistic in setting their goals. You have to build up a following and improve your streaming skills before you consider earning money on the platform. A huge following can lead you to many opportunities. So get creative on getting your streams out there.
Join Affiliate Programs
Different from Twitch Affiliate Program, Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products online. Twitch streamers will provide a customized link to their watchers where they can buy the product. If the viewer purchased the product through the link, the twitch streamer would receive a percentage of the money they spend. Most Twitch streamers connect to networks that sell products specifically for gamers.
Amazon offers the best-known affiliate program in the world called Gear on Amazon. Since Amazon purchased the streaming platform, Twitch streamers can efficiently work as an Amazon Affiliate. Streamers would put Amazon products in their widget, redirecting their viewers to the product page.
It’s only logical to restrict the products you’re marketing to remain credible to your viewers. Endorse products that you use and adore, so that you can give honest feedback to your audience. Of course, avoid getting two competing products.
Once you start gaining a considerable number of viewers, you can start creating your merchandise. Be practical and make sure that there are people who are willing to pay for your merchandise. Or else, you might be in debt due to your inability to pay the manufacturer’s service in creating your shirts or mugs.
You can set-up an online store on your page and then place a link directing the viewers to your products. When streaming, promote it, and attract your fans. Create merchandise that is personal and relatable. Often, established Twitch streamers would use their quotes or memes on t-shirts popularized in their account.
Getting sponsorship is one of the most common earning methods in any media platform. Since Twitch attracts game enthusiasts the most, game-related companies would likely sponsor the streamer on Twitch and engage them in influencer marketing.
Companies that mainly focus on gaming hugely benefit from Twitch sponsorship. Such as companies selling technology products such as computers, gaming consoles, or products beneficial for tech-savvy and gamer people.
Getting Twitch Bits from Viewers
You can also receive mini-donations from your viewers through Bits. It is a virtual currency obtained from Amazon payments or PayPal. Viewers use Bits to ‘cheer’ on their favorite gamers. Every Bit that a fan uses, Twitch Affiliate and Partners earn one cent.
Giving ‘cheers’ in Twitch allows their audience to access many features. Viewers can participate in the chatroom and buy ’emotes’, which get expensive as it gets bigger throughout time. Viewers can also get a Cheer Chat Badge. The more they participate and give you Bits, the better badge they can get.
Streamers can also use the StreamLabs Tip Jar widget on their page. It displays an empty glass being filled as their audience gives Bits to their stream. It helps stimulate their viewers to fill the glass by giving them more Bits.
Twitch partners can choose to have ads on their streams. They share advertising revenue with Twitch. Twitch partners can pick from pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll advertisements. They can also be in charge of their frequency and duration. However, they have to omit at least eight minutes between commercials.
Basis of Twitch payment is on flat-rate CPM (cost per 1000 views). Per thousand views, partners can earn from $1 to $2. The CPM can differ depending on the time of the year. For example, companies are willing to pay more if there’s a special season like Christmas, or there’s a product launch.
Many streamers are hesitant to get ads on their shows. Many viewers tend to show contempt when sudden ads appear in their watching time.
Earning Through Subscriptions
Twitch provides an earning for streamers subscriptions’ gain to their affiliates. Viewers can subscribe to channels by paying $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 per month. The earnings will cut in half between Twitch and the streamers.
A subscribe button will automatically appear in your page once you become a Twitch affiliate. A streamer can set up alerts to encourage subscription. Signs will pop up on the screen every time someone renews their subscription.
Most of the ways presented here are primarily based on viewership. Before thinking of earning money, you must be clear on what type of streamer you’re going to be. Build a relationship with your audience and engage with other streamers. Be patient as success won’t come overnight. Work hard on your stream, and don’t be afraid to be unique to stand-out.