Ever find yourself watching a video of someone playing a video game and wondering if you can make money on Twitch?
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It sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s not a dream anymore. It’s now a reality. People have found out how to make money on Twitch just by streaming their gaming sessions.
With Twitch.TV, you can join 3.8 million broadcasters and live stream anything from you playing your favorite game to a tutorial on how to assemble a computer table Ikea-style to more than 15 million daily viewers.
As of 2020, Twitch is the number one esports live streaming service in the world.
And streamers are leveraging the power of the platform to make more money than ever thought possible.
How Much Money Do Twitch Streamers Make?
Making money with Twitch can be impressively lucrative, especially if you’ve got the right mix of personality, skills, and luck.
For example, popular Twitch streamer Ninja (real name: Tyler Blevins) has previously revealed that he earns around $500,000 per month from Twitch Prime subscriptions, sponsorships, and partnerships, as well as YouTube revenues from his 5 million subscribers.
Note that Ninja has been livestreaming since 2008.
Nowadays, though, Ninja exclusively streams on Twitch’s rival Mixer. He’s now worth upwards of $15 million, so he’s not doing too bad.
Not everyone will be pulling that kind of money, of course. But it’s still possible to earn some money.
How much cash you can make by will depend on your popularity, number of subscribers, type of content streamed, and the monetization option you choose.
How Do You Monetize Your Twitch Account?
Donations may seem like an insignificant monetization option, but imagine having a million followers who all decide to each donate a dollar within a span of 30 days.
You’d be a millionaire in a month, just from the donations.
Realistically, though, only a few of your viewers will donate, so keep this as a secondary option for income and don’t depend on this too much.
Another common way to monetize your Twitch account is by joining various affiliate programs and promoting other companies’ and people’s products and services.
You do this by displaying a customized link to a site where your viewers can make a purchase. For every purchase coming from a click to your custom link, you’ll get a percentage of the cost.
This is different from the Twitch Affiliate Program, which you’ll learn about below.
If a brand is impressed with your content and happens to have the same target audience as your videos, they might ask to sponsor a livestream or two (or two dozen, if you’re really good) so you can get paid to promote their brand to your viewers.
To be seriously considered for sponsorship, whether one-off or long-term, you’ll need to have a huge fan base with specific demographics that appeals to a certain brand. Plus, you’ll need to maintain a solid, reliable reputation.
As you know, these don’t come overnight; it takes a lot of work and a lot of livestreams to build a fan base and a good reputation.
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Once you have these, though, it can really open up a huge source of steady income for you.
The Twitch Affiliate Program
Twitch sends an invitation e-mail to any streamer who has been working consistently to produce content.
Those with at least 50 followers, an average of 3 (or more) simultaneous viewers in the last 30 days, at least 8 hours of total broadcast in a month, and at least 7 broadcast days in the last 30 days get an invitation email from Twitch to be part of the Twitch Affiliate Program.
Once you become an affiliate, you can earn by accumulating “Bits” or when people subscribe and support your channel.
You also have the chance of earning from game sales and in-game items that originated from your channel.
Once you’re a Twitch Affiliate, your viewers can subscribe to your Twitch channel.
Subscribing to a Twitch channel is more than just following; it’s following with added monetary support.
There are three subscription tiers currently available to users: $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 monthly subscription.
Twitch also offers Twitch Prime, which is included with Amazon Prime and Prime Video, which viewers can use to subscribe to a channel of their choice for free.
What do viewers get from their subscription? They get unique emotes (or emoji), badges, special alerts, ad-free viewing, exclusive chatrooms, and exclusive competitions.
Which viewers are willing to pay subscription fees? Your genuine fans who truly like and appreciate the content you’re offering.
As for you as a streamer, subscriptions are a good, steady way to make money on Twitch. Also, it’s a good incentive to keep creating content.
Twitch keeps 50% of the fee and the Twitch Affiliate or Partner gets the other 50%.
Twitch affiliates can earn money with shares in the advertisement revenue generated from video ads shown during their streams.
There’s no set income earned this way, but as a streamer’s followers increase, so will their ad shares.
Traditionally, video ads on Twitch streams are disruptive, but Twitch is introducing changes to make advertising on Twitch beneficial to everyone: advertisers, streamers, viewers, and Twitch, of course.
Twitch affiliates (and partners) are now allowed to take ad breaks and show ads via picture-by-picture so viewers don’t miss any of the gaming action. Enabling ad breaks would also allow streamers to disable pre-roll ads, that is, video ads that play before every stream, for a certain amount of time.
This is similar to the primary way of making money on YouTube, which is through ads. There are also a few other ideas listed there that could possibly be used to make money on Twitch as well.
The Twitch Partner Program
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Any Twitch streamer who aims to make it big in the site dreams to be accepted into this program.
Unlike their Affiliate Program, the Twitch Partnership program is exclusive. You’d have to send an application for Twitch to check if your channel is qualified.
There are no published, set criteria on how Twitch Partners are selected, although they are known to consider content quality, average viewership, your engagement with your viewers, and stream frequency and consistency (that is, can they expect new content from you every week on a certain day?).
When you do make it as Twitch partner, you’ll reap all the benefits offered to affiliates, plus live chat privileges, custom emoticons and prefixes, verified user badges, and other exclusive-to-partner perks.
12 Ways You Can Make Money on Twitch
Below are 12 ways people are making money on Twitch to give you some ideas on how you could start and what kind of niches are available on the site.
If you’re just starting out, try and remain mindful of the type of monetization path you’d like to pursue down the line.
Make sure you keep your content relevant to that path to further your chances of succeeding.
1. Live video game, “Let’s Play” style
Twitch.TV is first and foremost the home of esports, so expect the competition among gamers to be fierce.
But if you’ve mastered a particular game and have a unique personality, there’s a good chance you’ll succeed in competing with older, more popular streamers.
The best thing about Twitch is that anyone can do it. Take Mackenseize, for example – she’s been diagnosed with a seizure disorder as a teen.
Now, even if the 25-year-old Hearthstone streamer seizes every once in a while during a stream, her 37,000+ followers continue to support her with every game she explores.
Speedrunning is the same as livestreaming any game, except that the goal of “speedrunners” is to complete an entire level or a whole game as fast as possible.
TheMexicanRunner, for example, is a hardcore speedrunner for classic games and has made a huge following with his NESMania quest, wherein he tries to finish every officially licensed game from the original Nintendo Entertainment System at record-breaking speeds.
3. Talk shows and podcasts
Twitch.TV also has streamers who host talk shows on gaming, where they talk about various games, review them, talk about the latest news, gossip, and issues about the gaming industry, and maybe even interview guests and hold round-table
Other talk shows on Twitch.TV do not focus on gaming.
h3h3Productions, for example, is an Israeli-American comedy channel produced by husband and wife team Ethan and Hila Klein.
With more than 570,000 followers, H3’s main content is a mix of commentaries, sketches, satires, and reaction videos about internet culture, YouTube policies, viral trends, and online personalities.
The duo even interviews YouTubers and celebrities.
Because more and more people and content creators are staying at home these days, expect Twitch to have more and more talk shows covering a variety of topics.
4. Play casino games
If you’re not a fan of video games and instead prefer playing poker and other casino games, there’s a special place for you on Twitch.TV.
Whether you’re a fan of slots, poker, or roulette, there’s room on Twitch.TV for you.
5. Radio-style stream
It’s not as popular as esports, but the Twitch Music category is a goldmine for anyone looking to create content or just chill.
Aside from taking advantage of the Twitch Music Library, which houses precleared music for Twitch broadcasters to use in their livestreams, you can also discover other streamers like NoCopyrightSounds who are focused on providing non-stop music to the Twitch community.
6. Perform music
When the Music category was first launched in 2016, Steve Aoki, T-Pain, Deadmau5, and other EDM artists supported Twitch and the users embraced them wholeheartedly.
Today, big-name artists like Kanye continue to use the platform as a way to promote their music, increase followers, or simply chill with the Twitch community.
Even if big-ticket artists are sure winners on Twitch, it shouldn’t be stopping anyone with real musical abilities to earn money from Twitch, or even make it big.
7. Livestream your art
If musicians can livestream their music, graphic artists can also livestream their art on Twitch.
The Art category on Twitch is one of the most interesting non-gaming categories on Twitch, featuring artwork on different media, physical as well as digital, being created live while audiences watch.
Some watch to relax, others want to learn new techniques they can incorporate in their work, and still others like to see their favorite video game characters or worlds come to being as tangible artwork.
If you do plan to do this, make sure that your “info” section has relevant information and links to your portfolio so that your subscribers can find your other artwork.
Also, if you have a shop where they can buy your art, it’s also important to link to it so they can buy your art.
8. Make crafts
You can find streamers making all kinds of crafts under the Makers & Crafting category.
If you sew or make your own costumes for your cosplay, assemble your own gaming computers, or create jewelry or accessories, this might just be a video category you can get on board with.
Considering this is still primarily a video gaming stream site, you can make more money on Twitch if your crafts are related to games. Not only will more people view your videos, but they’re also likely to buy what you’ve made.
9. Play Magic: The Gathering
The cool thing about livestreaming is that even physical games like Magic: The Gathering can be broadcasted from your home.
And if you’ve been a master-gamer of Magic since it was launched in the early 90s, you can still bring out your card collections and revive the glory of competing against other Magic fans.
However, playing the digital version of Magic: The Gathering, Arena, has been more popular in recent years, enabling gamers who aren’t in the same location to stream their game.
Interested in joining Twitch.TV and earn money from your Magic: The Gathering skills, but don’t know where to start?
10. Live IRL
Twitch opened the IRL category to a ton of criticisms, but once the initial shock has passed, many existing Twitch streamers welcomed the idea and use it themselves for downtime, non-game streaming.
Within the IRL category, gamers could eat, sing, craft, cook, play sports, and other activities without being reprimanded for doing so at their respective game-specific category.
Since then, the IRL category has broken into different categories, but you can still tag videos as IRL.
IRL streams can be anything under the sun. Here are multiple examples that actually happened on Twitch IRL streams:
- KitBoga calls IRS, tax, virus, and other scammers and plays along for hours. He uses a voice changer to get into full characters like old-lady Edna and fools scammers for as long as possible.
- Someone doing math homework
- A guy assembling an Ikea closet
- Someone decorating a Christmas tree
- Architect designing a house
- Fully clothed Andy Milonakis streaming from inside a running shower
- Someone staring at a wall (this kid made $100 for this activity)
- A guy making balloon animals for over an hour
- An American reading books in French
- Bounty hunters who livestream while working
- Someone who made two Google Homes talk to each other for hours
- A garbage collector streaming his job on a regular day
- Japanese man going to his local barber, eating out, and taking his viewers to interesting parts of his city
- An Arby’s employee who streams his entire shift
As you can see, IRL is the most flexible and fastest-growing tag yet still provides a way to make money on Twitch.
As long as you go live with your idea and give it your all, you’d be surprised that there will always be a market for anything streamed.
People generally want to be entertained, taught to do things visually, or just get a good laugh from something totally random.
11. “Just chat” with your viewers
A natural offshoot of the IRL category is the “Just Chatting” category.
Just Chatting videos are exactly what they sound like; it’s you just talking to your viewers and subscribers.
You can try to share your views about the latest news about the topic of your streams, educating people about certain issues that are near to your heart, or maybe even just funny stories.
Even merely asking how they are, answering their questions, asking them questions, and at times merely acknowledging your lurkers (i.e., those in the chat, watching but not commenting for various reasons) can increase engagement with your community, keep them coming back, and spread the word to new viewers.
Aside from your regular content on your channel, having a stream under the “Just Chatting” category every once in a while can boost your popularity, and thus your earnings.
12. Cook food (and eat it!)
Another popular non-gaming Twitch category is the Food & Drink category that has all kinds of food prep, meal prep, cooking, baking, and all other videos related to food.
Videos under the former category Social Eating remain tagged as such but seem to have been lumped in this category as well, where streamers eat live on camera and share their meals with the community.
13. Go to work and make money on Twitch
The majority of game streamers on Twitch have some sort of IT-related jobs or skills.
There’s a huge demand for game development tutorials, so if you’ve got the patience, talent, communication skills, and passion to teach programming, coding, web development, photo/video editing, robotics, or any other tech topics, you’re good to go.
Twitch is where it’s at.
This also goes for specific programs.
For example, if you have advanced knowledge of Blender (the 3D modeling software), you can stream how you do things and you’d be surprised at the interest these streams bring.
If you’re under 20, you might want to check out our list of online jobs for teens for some ideas on jobs you could potentially stream from the comfort of your home.
If you don’t know it yet, Twitch.TV has been promoting professional wrestling in recent years.
They’ve got several big companies already involved and have partnered with the likes of IMPACT! Wrestling and House of Hardcore to grow a Twitch community around wrestling.
If you’re a fan, don’t miss Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy’s Twitch channel, where you can watch streamed pro wrestling and listen to the input from the crowds watching to influence matches.
You can definitely get some ideas on how you can run your own wrestling channel there.
Are You Ready To Start Making Money On Twitch?
The best thing about Twitch is that it’s free to use for all. You don’t have to set out to make money on Twitch, but why not create an account, start streaming while you game or do your other activities, build a following, and see what it turns into?
Who knows, you may be the next hottest Twitch streamer!
Are you a Twitch viewer, subscriber, streamer, or all of the above? Were you inspired by any of the ideas above? Share your story in the comments!