How to Make Money on Twitch [Step-by-Step Guide]

Have thoughts of ditching your 9-5 to earn a full-time income playing video games crossed your mind? Do you want to learn how to make money on Twitch and turn those thoughts into a reality?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s digital era, people are making huge amounts of money, hand over fist on Twitch, by playing video games. It’s, therefore, not a surprise that as of 2021, there are 9 million unique streams each month.

If you can’t beat them, join them. But to get off the sidelines and earn money, you need to have a game plan.

While it sounds hunky-dory, learning the ropes of how to make money on Twitch is no easy feat. You’ll need to exercise a little patience. After all, good things take time. 

Everyone’s Twitch journey kicks off with streaming to an empty audience, which can take the wind out of your sails. To start gaining followers and earning a consistent income, you need to stream like your life depends on it. That means consistently churning out engaging content. 

Although it’s a doable and straightforward process, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. The good news is, if you follow this guide to the letter and stick to it, it will help your efforts pay off. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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woman computer gamer earning money streaming on twitch

What Is Twitch?

Before we delve into how to make money from Twitch, let’s start with the basics. Twitch is one of the major streaming platforms for gamers across the globe, allowing them to stream their gameplay in real-time and make money while doing so. 

It began in 2005 as Justin.TV, named after its founder Justin Kan. It was initially formed as a 24/7 live streaming or broadcasting service, but after receiving mixed reviews, viewers were allowed to join in the action after creating their streaming channels.

That paved the way for the modern platform that’s now known as Twitch TV. 

In 2014, Twitch was ranked 4th globally in traffic, after Netflix, Google, and Apple. With this off-the-chart-record, it was later sold to Amazon at a staggering $970 million. There’s no denying that you can make money on Twitch. 

Today, the platform averages more than 100 million unique viewers who use the platform to keep up with their favorite streamers. And the numbers keep soaring. 

Every year, Twitch has been growing by 60% and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Its growth is starting to kick into high gear, ushering in more income opportunities for you and other new gamers.

Besides streamers or broadcasters, gaming publishers and media outlets have their channels on the platform to give sneak peeks of product and game launches in the pipeline. 

Additionally, Twitch hosts a myriad of charity and competitive gaming tournaments, eSports events, and marathons. Regardless of whether it’s chatting with other gamers, reveling in the wealth of games available, or competing in eSports, there’s a little something for everyone on Twitch.

How to Make Money on Twitch: Your Options

Now that you’re familiar with Twitch and its soaring popularity, let’s delve into the million-dollar question of how to make money on Twitch.  While you may not realize, there are a few various ways that go beyond delighting in rounds of video games. 

To give you a great idea of your options coupled with the platform’s earning possibilities, we’ll begin with a breakdown of the platform’s go-to gaming streamer, Ninja. 

Although many Twitch streamers are earning a great living from the platform, there’s no denying that Richard Tyler Blevins, commonly known as Ninja, is the highest-earning Twitch streamer. He earned more than $5.5 million in one night by streaming his gaming session of Fortnite and other renowned titles.

That’s all the motivation you need to want to learn the ropes of making money on Twitch. With that being said, let’s discuss each of his Twitch-related streams of income. 

  • YouTube
  • Paid sponsorships
  • Bit donations
  • Ad revenue
  • Subscriptions 

As seen with all top Twitch streamers, most of Ninja’s earnings stem from subscriptions, averaging at about $4 million annually solely. He also earns a pretty penny from YouTube, sponsorships, bit donations, and ad revenue, all of which are crucial pieces to the Twitch puzzle of earnings.

Let’s explore each. 

1. Subscriptions: Twitch Partner Programs and Affiliates

Earnings reports show that Twitch streamers can earn the lion’s share of their income from their subscriber base. Viewers can take their pick from the following subscription levels:

  • $24.99
  • $4.99
  • $9.99

When you begin your journey as a Twitch broadcaster, the earnings from your subscribers will be split at a ratio of 1:1. With the growth of your subscriber base, Twitch will start taking less and less of a cut, so it’s no surprise that some Twitch broadcasters take home up to 100% of their subscriptions.

Most importantly, subscriptions are recurring, so you’ll earn an income from your subscribers every month. Twitch doesn’t allow just anyone to earn money this way.

To start gaining subscribers and getting an income from them, you must be a Twitch Partner or Affiliate that is strictly by invitation. To get an invite, you’ll need to lay the groundwork with consistent streaming. 

2. Paid Sponsorships

Similar to becoming a Twitch Partner or Affiliate, earning an income from paid sponsorships requires patience. Once you build a rapport with gaming companies and grow your audience, it’s a no-brainer that you can get paid to promote various products during your live streams. 

You can also earn extra money from game developers by streaming their games for exposure and increased publicity. 

3. Ad Revenue 

It’s worth noting that ad revenue is reserved for Twitch partners. Upon reaching this level, which isn’t hard to get to with consistency, the payoff can be worthwhile.

The average Twitch streamer earns about $250 in ad revenue per 100 subscribers they have. 

For marketing, Twitch offers pre-roll and display ads. Every broadcaster earns based on the popular cost per impression (CPM) model.

That means the more people who see your ads, the greater your earnings. When it comes down to getting started and learning the ropes, there’s a high likelihood that your first revenue stream will stem from bit donations that your audience throws your way. 

Like Bitcoin, a Twitch bit refers to a virtual currency. The platform’s audience can buy and claim bits, to use emotes in the chat rooms of their favorite broadcasters.

These emotes are called bit gems, and Twitch pays you $0.01 whenever someone uses one in your chat room. 

4. YouTube

Through the streaming activity, YouTube is unarguably one of the best ways to rake in money from Twitch.

Each time you upload a Twitch video to YouTube, you can reach a wider audience, boost your subscriber base, and earn extra cash. 

5. Affiliate Marketing

Besides bit donation, becoming a Twitch affiliate are ways of making money on the platform before becoming a Twitch Partner. 

Gaining sponsorship and being an affiliate are closely similar, with the only difference being that with the latter, you don’t earn a fixed rate. Instead, you get a commission of the sale every time someone clicks on a link. 

You can become an affiliate of your favorite products and earn a commission by promoting a service or product to your audience. Twitch users typically earn affiliate commissions via coupon codes.

When someone uses your coupon code to buy something, you get a percentage of the sale. 

For instance, you can market your preferred gaming chair as an affiliate or share a coupon code that a manufacturer gives you to share with your audience. Once they use the code to buy the chair, you automatically receive anywhere between 10% and 50% of the sale. 

Your earnings with affiliate marketing and Twitch depend on the size of your audience, how much they buy, and their level of engagement. That means you can earn peanuts if your audience is small and not engaged. 

6. eSports

Did you know that eSports players make a staggering $3 million annually and that the average eSports salary is $60,000 yearly? That probably makes you want to reevaluate your life.

While these earnings don’t stem solely from Twitch, there’s no denying that showing off your FIFA or Madden skills on your Twitch broadcast can get you noticed, signed, and paid by a reputable eSports team. While it’s a long shot, if you have the skills, it’s worth a try. 

Getting Started Making Money on Twitch

Armed with the insight into how to make money on Twitch and live stream, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Like blogging and social media marketing, earning from your Twitch account boils down to growing, maintaining, and engaging your audience. 

For consistent earnings with Twitch, you’ll need anywhere between 300 and 500 consistent viewers. That’s the minimum range of viewers tuned into your Twitch channel for most of your stream. While it may seem daunting, it’s doable.

1. Set up a Twitch Account

To stream your gaming session to the vast Twitch community, you’ll need to follow renowned streamers and interact with them and their audience via Live Chat. To do so, you must create a Twitch account.

That entails clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button situated at the top right page of Twitch.tv. Upon doing so, a form will appear. Fill it in correctly. 

Besides creating a password and username, it’ll ask for your date of birth and email address. If you’d rather to skip this info, you can set up a Twitch account via your Facebook account. Once you select ‘Connect with Facebook,’ you’re good to go. 

2. Use the Right Equipment

Regardless of whether your goal is to earn an income from Twitch Xbox One, Twitch PS4, or Twitch PC, you’ll need the ideal equipment. The gaming console route is the go-to option for a wealth of gamers. 

If you decide to embark on the same journey, you’ll need a capture card for live streaming. Contrarily, if you opt for live streaming via a PC, ensure it meets the following minimum specs. 

  • OS: Windows Home Premium
  • CPU: AMD FX-6300 or Intel Core i5-4670
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM

To live stream on Twitch with a PC, broadcasting software is also a requirement, so I recommend:

  • Wirecast
  • Open Broadcaster Software
  • XSplit

Besides these software and hardware requirements, consider investing in a webcam and microphone. Using these will allow your audience to hear and see you clearly, build a rapport, increase engagement, and in turn, make more money.

Other gaming equipment we recommend is:

  • Microphone: The Blue Yeti X is super-easy to set up and is beginner-friendly.
  • Webcam: Logitech C922 Pro Stream
  • Chair: Given that you’ll be reveling in video games for hours on end, comfort is crucial. You also want to look good on your live streams, and it’ll pave the way for you to pursue affiliate sales or sponsorships from gaming chair manufacturers. A great option to consider is the Merax Racing Gaming Chair that won’t break the bank. 

How to Make Money on Twitch: The Steps to Streaming Success 

Now that you have the right equipment and created a Twitch account, it’s time to stream, lure in a large audience, and keep them coming back for more. Let’s explore how to do this in 6 steps. 

1. Select the Right Game to Twitch Stream

Since your endgame is to lure in Twitch viewers in droves and earn the profits you dream of, it pays to be strategic when choosing video games to play and stream. Gamers are into the latest and most popular games, so opting for the older and least played options will likely backfire. 

Selecting a popular game means competing against more streamers which means a breakthrough will be challenging.

Currently, the top 5 video games available for live streaming on Twitch are:

  • Counter-Strike Global Offensive
  • League of Legends
  • World of Warcraft
  • Escape from Tarkov
  • Just Chatting

Rather than opting for these increasingly popular games with a plethora of streamers, your best bet is browsing Twitch and opting for games with 10 to 30 streamers. That means these games rank well on the platform and give you more room to shine and increase your audience.

2. Networking 

Like other ventures, you’ll receive a wealth of conflicting advice on how to make money on Twitch. Any successful streamer on the platform will tell you the importance of networking with other popular streamers. 

Build a rapport within the Twitch community will provide you with invaluable tips, a wider audience, and increased exposure. Take the time to engage with other streamers and gamers in their chat rooms. 

If you seem knowledgeable and interesting, you’ll prompt some of their viewers to also follow you on your channel.

Currently, the most popular Twitch streamers are:

  • Riot Games
  • Ninja
  • Myth
  • Shroud
  • Tfue

3. Engage Your Audience

Making money on Twitch comes down to luring in as many followers as possible. Beyond incredible gameplay, engaging your audience is paramount.

The Twitch platform allows you to do more than play video games for hours on end. You can also paint or cook, among other activities, to engage your viewers on multiple levels. 

You can broadcast these activities in Twitch’s ‘IRL’ and ‘Creative’ sections, with each option allowing you to increase your audience, engage with them, and make money via affiliate sales and bit donations. 

4. Grow Your Following 

Although you can never have too many followers, those who frequent your channel shouldn’t be fair-weather viewers, quiet lurkers, bots, or trolls as they don’t provide real value. To elevate your viewership on Twitch, avoid using view bots or paying people to grow your channel.

While these tactics will boost your view count, they won’t translate to money. Instead, to grow your followers:

  • Have giveaways for your loyal viewers
  • Interact with other streamers
  • Comment on gaming sites
  • Upload your streaming videos on YouTube
  • Host streamers on your channel at least once or twice a week
  • Join other streaming and gaming communities

5. Leverage Social Media 

It comes as no surprise that successful streamers use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep their fans up-to-date with their day-to-day and gaming life.

Social media presence can do wonders in boosting your exposure to potential Twitch followers. 

6. Create a Website to Drive Traffic 

Although it’s not a necessity, creating a website will usher in more money-making opportunities and allow you to attract an entirely different viewership. There are always people searching online for written content, rather than just videos. 

Your website will allow you to deliver this content, reach a wider audience, and drive them to your Twitch channel. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to making money on Twitch, there are vast opportunities. Although it can be overwhelming for beginners, with consistency and following this guide to the letter, you’ll begin gaining traction and attracting followers. 

For more ways to earn an income online, check out our guide on how to make money online for beginners. There are several online platforms, in addition to Twitch, you can use to earn some extra cash. 

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Want somewhere to track your money across all accounts?  Grab this free financial dashboard to track your savings, retirement, net worth, and more!

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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