Twitch is a newer platform founded in 2011 that allows creators to stream live to a limitless number of people at once. It started as a tool to stream games but now allows you to create any kind of content – as long as it’s not illicit.
It boasts over 2 million users and many of them have turned it into a full-time career while pulling in millions of dollars a year. It’s natural to wonder how much Twitch streamers make.
Like other influencer focused career paths, earnings vary widely from a few dollars a month to millions a year. In this guide, you’ll learn how much an average twitch streamer can expect to make and the different ways to make money on Twitch.
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How much do Twitch Streamers make?
For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to be analyzing the potential income of a Twitch streamer that has 1,000 subscribers, streams 40 hours a week, and is a member of the Twitch affiliate program.
Keep in mind that there are multiple things to take into consideration when trying to determine income so what we have is are loose estimates.
Basic Twitch income
The core of a Twitch streamer’s money comes from the subscriptions people pay on a monthly basis. There are multiple tiers of this subscription which we’ll discuss later but they’ll earn roughly $2.50 per subscriber.
With 1,000 subscribers, that’s $2,500/m but it doesn’t end there.
Another aspect of their base income includes the advertising revenue from their channel. You do have to be a Twitch affiliate partner for this and it depends on how you use ads. You can use a single ad or multiple ads of varying lengths.
The income potential here is dependent on how many times you insert ads into your live stream. It can range from $1,000 – $4,000+.
Another way to make money from Twitch is through the donation function. If you’ve ever watched Mr. Beast giving Twitch streamers money, then you’ve seen it in action.
Many Twitch streamers incentivize donations by offering special rewards to viewers. Even if you don’t go this route, you can expect a few thousand dollars in donations from your audience. It can range from $1,000 – $3,000+ depending on how much you focus on it.
Virtual cheers are another way to make from Twitch and involve users buying Bits from Twitch starting at $1.40. Every time one is used, the streamer gets a cut of the revenue. This is a negligible amount but ads up if you have a large following.
For someone with 1,000 subscribers, it’ll only be a few dollars at most.
From the basic income that can be derived directly from the platform, a twitch streamer can earn $4,500 – $9,500+
Extra twitch income
The extra twitch income is difficult to predict because it depends on the individual streamer’s skills and the kind of games they’re playing.
The options include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Merch sales
- Brand sponsors
- Game sales
I’ll explain more about each of these methods in the next section but you can expect to make an extra $5,000+ from these strategies. Of course, it depends on how much you focus on it and your ability to promote yourself/offers.
Breaking down how Twitch streamers make money
Let’s look at how Twitch streamers make money in more detail. Broadly speaking, there are three classes of money earning potential on the platform:
- Basic twitch streamers
- Twitch affiliates
- Twitch partners
We’ll lump Twitch affiliates and Twitch partners together because there’s only a slight difference in the way they’re able to earn money.
The first level are the basic Twitch streamers. They’ve not been accepted to or applied to the Twitch affiliate program so are unable to use many of Twitch’s built in revenue generating features. For them they’re limited to alternative ways to make money from Twitch as well as donations.
Donations are the most common way for new Twitch streamers to earn an income. If the people who tune into your channel appreciate the content you’re producing, they often donate. Most donations will be small but if you stream regularly, they can add up.
You can also encourage donations by creating incentives like private access to your personal social accounts, meetups, etc. Of course, it depends on your audience but look into the different ways top Twitch streamers are using it get more people to donate.
There is a small donation fee of around 1% which is negligible for most users.
Brands love to tap into engaged audiences irrespective of size. They’ll just refer to it as micro influencers when you’re really small. The amount you can make from brands varies from $.01 per view to $1 per view. It depends on the type of content you create and the brand itself.
For example, if you’re streaming Fortnite and get a sponsorship from Epic Games, you may be able to get $1/view. If you’re streaming an indie game then it may be closer to $.01 per view.
Once your following grows large enough, brands will seek you out for sponsorship. If that hasn’t happened, be proactive. Look for sponsorship opportunities by communicating with brands directly. It has a lower success rate but may still be worth it.
The logical progression after building your audience is to sell your own branded merchandise. It’s your community and they’d like to support you in many different ways. It’s also a great way to diversify your income.
Instead of relying on donations or brands alone, you’ll be able to strengthen your financial position. Of course, the merch should be badass. Keep in mind that you’ll have to learn a few new skills like distribution and fulfillment.
I have a soft spot in my heart for affiliate marketing. For some reason, it’s not used on Twitch very often. This could be your competitive advantage.
Find products related to whatever it is you’re streaming and register for the affiliate program. Drop the link for your viewers to follow and purchase. Over time, you’ll find interesting ways to maximize your affiliate income.
Twitch Affiliates and partners
You can view the official criteria here but to summarize, you need:
- 50 followers
- 500 total broadcast minutes over the last 30 days
- 7 unique broadcast days
- Average 3 or more simultaneous viewers
This opens up many more revenue generating opportunities for you.
After unlocking the affiliate program, you have the ability to make money on Twitch through direct subscriptions to your channel. The basic subscription is $4.99 and you get a 50% cut of that revenue. There’s also an option to create $9.99 and $24.99 tiers. Most people will subscribe to the lowest tier.
Subscriptions come with perks for subscribers like badges, emotes, and ad-free viewing. For some people, this is just a way to support you and show their loyalty. With 10,000 subscribers, you’ll be pulling in over $25,000/m.
Twitch allows users to buy units called Bits. 100 Bits cost $1.40 and they can be distributed around Twitch as viewers see fit. For every bit that’s used to cheer you on, you earn around $0.01. Twitch describes it as a share of the revenue so the actual amount earned per bit varies.
This will be your smallest source of income but it shouldn’t be ignored. This is the only way some of your fans can support you.
There are many games and in-game purchases that can be bought on Twitch. When you’re playing a game that’s on sale through the platform, there will be an area on your channel page which allows people to make a purchase.
When purchased, you get a 5% cut of the revenue. If someone makes a purchase over $4.99 then they’ll also get a Twitch Crate. It’s often not as lucrative as direct affiliate marketing but it can supplement your efforts.
Ad revenue share
The last way affiliates make money through Twitch is with the advertising revenue share. Twitch gives partners and affiliates a lot of control over how ads are displayed. You can have short 30 second ad or even 90 second ads.
You can show an ad once or you can show ads throughout your stream. The choice is yours. Depending on whether you’re a partner or an affiliate, you’ll get 70% or 50% revenue share respectively. There aren’t any clear guidelines to be a partner except having a significant viewership.
I’d recommend not overdoing the ads on your live streams because it makes for a poor user experience. The one at the front of the stream is the best option then one or two throughout the stream should keep viewers happy.
Many people believe that the earning potential from Twitch is similar to YouTube. I’d have to disagree. YouTube only offers ads but Twitch offers multiple ways to earn from your audience.
If you can amass 1,000 paying subscribers on the platform, you’ll be making roughly $2,500/m. That’s not including advertising revenue or donations. YouTube pales in comparison.
It does require a large amount of time and energy to succeed. The beginning is always the hardest – right? Dedicate at least 40 hours a week to it and you have no choice but to grow.
Daniel Ndukwu is the CoFounder of Growth Boost and the Founder of KyLeads. He brings extensive digital marketing experience to the table and enjoys helping people on their entrepreneurial journey. When not creating internet-first brands, he spends as much time as he can with his family.