Top gaming streamers often get big headlines for the lucrative payouts their Twitch streams generate — and for good reason. Popular eSports streamers such as Richard Tyler Blevins and Shroud, with millions of loyal followers and subscribers, often generate income in the multimillions. And those earnings are likely to rise as the industry continues to grow. WIN.gg reports that the esports industry is projected to rake in revenues of $1.8 billion by 2022. Additionally, The Business of Apps reports the top Twitch streamers who dedicate 40 hours a week to gaming average between $3,000 and $5,000 a month.
However, Twitch is now reaching audiences beyond gaming enthusiasts with a broader selection of content. This is beginning to open up money-making opportunities for a wider range of streamers. Twitch channels are now starting to cover everything from cooking and travel to music and art. There are now ample opportunities for a new generation of streamers to provide non-gaming content, and there are audiences who are interested.
Although the majority of Twitch streamers don’t earn in the multimillions, they can still take advantage of opportunities to earn money on the popular live-streaming platform. Twitch offers streamers a variety of ways to get paid for their content through different types of monetization features. That’s great news for content creators looking for new revenue streams so they can keep doing what they enjoy most. Here’s a look at some of the top ways that streamers are getting paid on Twitch — and how you can, too.
Donations and Paid Subscriptions
Streamers can set up donation buttons linked to their PayPal accounts on their Twitch channel pages. If viewers like a streamer’s content, they can show their appreciation by donating money to them in different increments. Viewers may naturally feel compelled to do this, but streamers often request donations, too.
Viewers can also subscribe to a streamer’s Twitch channel for a monthly minimum of $4.99. They can also pay $9.99 or $24.99 a month, depending on how much they value the content and want to show their support for it. Streamers get half of each subscription fee, as they also do with Twitch Prime Subscriptions. Streamers who have higher numbers of subscribers receive up to 70% of each subscription fee.
Attracting More Subscribers
Subscriptions are an important source of revenue for Twitch streamers. To increase your earnings on Twitch, approach streaming with as much dedication, enthusiasm, and focus as you would any profession that you’re passionate about. If you want to make a living on Twitch, it’s important to remember that you’re essentially running your own business.
Stream as much and as frequently as you can so you can hone your skills. You should also use high-quality equipment; it’s important to invest in the tools that make it easy for your audience to see and hear you. It’s also crucial to engage with your audience by responding to their chat messages. Make sure your actions and interactions show how much you value the streamers’ presence.
Think long term. Focus on continuing to improve your skills so that your audience has a reason to subscribe. Building a large Twitch subscriber base isn’t something that happens overnight — another reason it’s important to spend as much time as possible streaming. Boost the visibility of your Twitch channel by promoting it on your social media accounts.
Twitch Affiliate Program
With Twitch’s Affiliate Program, streamers can earn money from sales of items like video games and related products they promote. Typically, streamers can earn about 5% of each sale. To become an affiliate, streamers have to have at least 50 followers and have broadcasted a certain number of minutes over the previous 30 days. They also have to average at least three people viewing their streams at the same time over the previous 30-day period.
Twitch Partner Program
When streamers grow their subscriber and audience numbers large enough, they can become Twitch Partners. Twitch Partners are eligible for benefits including bits, subscriptions, ads and emotes. They can also get access to customized special features, like emoticons, emoticon prefixes and chat badges. Partners earn credibility and prestige that make it easier to attract more subscribers and bigger audiences, too.
Streamers can make ad revenue based on the number of subscribers they have, too. This further highlights the importance of being consistent in creating content to raise subscriber numbers. For every 100 subscribers, streamers can earn about $250 a month in ad revenue.
Twitch viewers can buy bits to redeem for Cheer emotes that they then can use to show support for a streamer in their chat. Every time a viewer uses a bit in your Twitch channel’s chat, you earn $0.01.
Streamers earn money from sponsorships when, for example, gaming companies pay them to play their games or use related products. Some of the top brands sponsoring eSports teams include Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, Disney, Honda, Intel and Pepsi. Sponsorships aren’t just limited to the big corporations though. Streamers can also approach small, local businesses that are relevant to the content of their streams. They can work with these local companies to partner for sponsorships.
Competition Prize Money
The eSports competitions that Twitch streamers compete in award substantial monetary prizes to the winners. According to Esports Observer, in 2019, more than 4,000 eSports tournaments paid out more than $211 million to streamers.
Some of the top eSports competitions include The International, the League of Legends World Championship, and the Fortnite World Cup Finals. According to Esports Observer, The International tops the list, having offered a prize pool of nearly $34 million in 2019. Not surprisingly, it also has the highest viewership of all the eSports tournaments.
The Fortnite World Cup Finals runs a close second, having offered a prize pool of $30 million in 2019. A big chunk of that money went to one person. Kyle Giersdorf, also known as Bugha, took home $3 million as The Fortnite World Cup Solo Champion. Each of the competition’s top 100 solo players took home a minimum of $50,000, as did each of the players in the top 50 duos teams.
Some of the top professional eSports leagues to consider joining include the Call of Duty World League and the Overwatch League. These leagues comprise the most elite gamers who compete in potentially lucrative, high-stakes tournaments like The International.
Top Twitch streamers can also leverage their celebrity status through merchandising items such as T-shirts and mugs featuring their logos. Custom merchandising appeals to fans who like to associate themselves with their favorite streamers. Buying merch is another way fans can show their appreciation for the streamers by helping them earn more money. It’s also free advertising — the eSports equivalent of wearing a jersey with a football player’s name and number on it.
Plenty of online shops produce and sell custom merchandise for streamers. Streamers can then link to the online shops featuring their merchandise on their Twitch channels. For example, Top Twitch eSports gamer Imane Anys, better known as Pokimane, has her own “Pokimerch” site selling custom clothing. She further promotes the merchandising site on her social media channels, providing herself with another revenue stream in the process.
There are numerous ways to earn money from Twitch, but it all starts with streaming. Start by creating a library of content that viewers can access, and stream on a consistent schedule. After you build up your channel and gain subscribers, then it’s time to pursue avenues like merchandising, competing and becoming a Twitch Partner.
Ready to get started? Check out our Guide for Twitch Influencers.