The popularity of livestream gaming is growing. In Q1 2021, viewers watched 8.8 billion hours of video game live streams. In Q1 2020, that figure was only 4.9 billion hours, according to Statista — demonstrating massive growth in the video game live streaming industry. It’s only natural that major web platforms will compete for a piece of the pie. Case in point: Facebook Level Up, which aims to attract budding streamers to Facebook, similar to YouTube or Twitch.
Facebook Level Up: The Basics
Facebook has two programs for emerging gaming creators who want to earn money with their content. First, you join the Level Up creators program. Once you meet certain requirements in Level Up, you have the opportunity to be promoted to a Facebook Gaming Partner.
The requirements to join the Level Up program are fairly straightforward:
- Create a Facebook page under the “Gaming Video Creator” category, or convert an existing page to this category. The admin of your page needs to be 18 or older.
- Stream a minimum of four hours, and over the course of at least two days, within the 14 days prior to applying.
- Acquire a minimum of 100 followers to your page.
- Ensure your page has been active for a minimum of 14 days.
- Keep your page in good standing by following all of Facebooks’ community standards and partner monetization policies.
You’ll be able to track your progress within the Creator Studio dashboard. Once you’ve met all of these requirements, visit your Creator Studio dashboard and direct your attention to the left sidebar. Click “Apply Now” to join the program.
Creators report that approval to the Level Up program is fairly speedy. Once approved, you gain a few benefits that can help kickstart your streaming career, such as:
- You get a nifty badge added to your page, which lends credibility within the gaming community.
- You unlock the ability to stream in HD (1080p + 60fps).
- You can monetize your stream with Facebook Stars — viewers can buy Stars, then send them to you as a gift — each Star is worth $0.01 to the streamer.
- You access fan subscriptions and live ads for further monetization once you meet the criteria.
Creators: What You Need to Know
The requirements for the Level Up program are fairly easy to meet, but it’s important to take the time to understand the Level Up requirements. In order to get approved, your stream will have to pass a quality inspection review, which is performed manually by a human.
So, in the eyes of Facebook, what makes a quality stream?
Overall, Facebook and other platforms do not tolerate controversial content. That means you shouldn’t be cussing extravagantly, showing too much skin, or playing niche games that contain particularly taboo subject matter. And you must know and follow Facebook’s community standards. That’s not to say you have to tailor your stream to children, necessarily — but it’s smart to maintain a professional demeanor as you play. After all, if you climb the ranks and manage to get accepted as a Facebook Gaming Partner, streaming could very well become your full-time job.
One very important point to mention is the usage of copyrighted music — don’t do it. If you play music on Facebook, it needs to be royalty-free. So, you might not be able to play your favorite tracks — but there’s actually some pretty decent royalty-free music available if you look around.
As far as monetization goes, we recommend focusing on being genuine and enjoying your streaming while you’re still a member of the Level Up program. Your primary goal should be to establish a dedicated follower base — which means interacting with them — and figure out your streaming persona. Although you may receive Stars from viewers here and there, it’s unwise to put too much weight on receiving them. People donate to streamers they love watching — focus on making your stream an invaluable part of your viewers’ days, and the donations will follow in time.
Our Thoughts on Level Up’s Potential Impact on the Streaming Ecosystem
Twitch, YouTube and Facebook all allow for anyone to start streaming immediately. However, the requirements to make money with each platform vary greatly.
YouTube may be the toughest. To monetize their channel, streamers need:
- More than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months
- 1,000 subscribers
To become a Twitch Affiliate (the Twitch equivalent of a Level Up partner), a streamer needs to accomplish the following within the last 30 days:
- At least 50 followers
- At least 500 total minutes broadcast
- At least seven unique broadcast days
- An average of three or more concurrent viewers
YouTube and Twitch are attractive for established personalities who can easily meet those requirements. But for newbie video game streamers, choosing Facebook can be an easier way to start out. Since Facebook Level Up allows streamers to start making money ASAP in a way that YouTube and Twitch don’t, we predict an influx of new gaming streamers gravitating towards the platform.
But is it right for you in particular? Let’s say you’re confident that you will become an established video game streamer. Due to its significantly larger gaming user base, Twitch is the holy grail of video game streaming partnerships. But keep in mind that it’s also the most difficult to get accepted into.
For reference, there are 9.52 million registered streamers on Twitch, according to Statista. About 1.2 million of them are Twitch Affiliates (Twitch’s comparable program to Facebook Level Up) and only an estimated 51,000 are Twitch Partners (the equivalent of Facebook Gaming Partners), says Business of Apps.
Trying to get partnered on Facebook instead of Twitch might be the better choice if you stream within categories that have significant competition on Twitch. Although Facebook’s smaller viewer base might not allow you to grow your stream to tens of thousands of concurrent viewers, at the same time, there will be fewer newbie streamers to compete with when you’re getting your foot in the door, which may allow you to grow your stream and get partnered faster than on Twitch.
Making the Quantum Leap to Facebook Gaming Partner
Although getting partnered on Facebook is easier than it is on Twitch, the requirements aren’t necessarily a walk in the park. In general, Facebook looks for these attributes when reviewing your application:
- Steady follower interaction and gifting of Stars
- Inclusive and positive content (in other words, good vibes)
- Strict adherence to the community standards
- Proper tagging and management of streams (in other words, understanding how the platform works and taking advantage of common features)
Once partnered, streamers unlock tons of benefits:
- Significantly more attractive monetization options, including ads, ad management, paid supporters and subscription gifting
- Direct support for any problems that may be encountered
- Access to the exclusive Creator Support group to share tips and tricks on how to grow your channel
- Special features like raids, chatbots, branded events and creator events
Once you’re a Facebook Gaming Partner, you’ve reached the highest status on Facebook in regards to Facebook video game streaming. However, as a creator, your goal should not be to get accepted into this program, necessarily. Getting accepted into this program is merely a byproduct of having a successful stream.
So, start streaming on Facebook, then apply to the Level Up program once you meet the minimum requirements. From there, build the best stream that you can. Don’t worry too much about monetization or partnerships yet.
Once you achieve a strong base of followers who love watching you play, it’ll be easy to make your stream as profitable as possible.