How To Make Money on Twitch in 2021: Your Guide

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If you’re an avid gamer, then you’re probably already familiar with the popular streaming channel Twitch. Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform. The company was founded in 2011 as a spinoff division of Justin.tv. In 2014, it was acquired by Amazon and renamed Twitch Interactive. It’s one of the best ways to turn your love of gaming into an income.

You may not earn millions of dollars, like other popular Twitch streamers. But you can make a decent living on Twitch if you follow the right steps. This article will outline effective ways help you build your audience and start making money on Twitch in 2021.

How To Make Money on Twitch Without An Audience

Everyone starts with as little to no audience. Don’t let that discourage you from considering streaming as a side hustle or a full-time job. The beginning will be incredibly difficult, but as you grow your audience, so will your earnings. Here are some ways you can make money on Twitch from the start:

Donations

One of the benefits of accepting donations is that you don’t have to be an affiliate or a partner to start making money. All you have to do is set up a donation box on your channel.

More From Your Money

You’ll start by registering for an online payment service like PayPal, so you have a way to accept the funds. From there, you’ll need to set up an alert service that will generate a unique URL that will pop up during your live broadcasts.

And finally, you’ll add a “Donate Now” button so your subscribers can easily see it. It’s a good idea to set up a minimum donation amount of at least $5. That way, you won’t be flooded with spam donations.

Affiliate Marketing

Once you’re a Twitch affiliate, you can start earning money through affiliate marketing. This means you’ll set up referral links for your favorite products. When your subscribers follow the link and purchase one of those products, you’ll earn a small commission.

It takes time to generate income from affiliate marketing, but it can be quite lucrative if you stick with it. And there is an endless number of products and services you can promote on your channel.

Advertising

You’ll have to join the Twitch Partner Program before you can earn money from ads. According to CNBC, the average streamer makes $250 per 100 subscribers in ad revenue.

Twitch uses standard pre-roll and display ads, and you can choose the length and frequency of the ads. The company pays streamers based on a Cost Per Impression, or CPI, model. You’ll earn money for every 1,000 views of an ad on your channel.

How To Make Money on Twitch With An Audience

Once you’ve built up an audience, earning money on Twitch gets easier. Not only can you make money from the methods above, but also from brand sponsorships and merchandise:

Brand Sponsorships

One of the best ways to start earning real money on Twitch is through brand sponsorships. If you build up enough of a following, companies will pay you money to promote them during your live streams.

More From Your Money

This could look like wearing a certain outfit during a live stream or using a particular type of gaming equipment. You’ll work out those details with the company that’s sponsoring you.

As a Twitch Partner, you’ll have the best chance of landing branding sponsorships. However, it isn’t a requirement — you can land sponsorships as an affiliate. You just need to show companies that you have an engaged following and that it’s worth their while to sponsor you.

Sell Your Own Merchandise

If you build up enough of a following on Twitch, you could eventually sell your own merchandise. This is the path other popular streamers have taken. Selling your own products can give you more control over your income and allow you to build a business.

If you’ve built a loyal base of followers, they would probably love to buy clothing or products with your logo on them. For instance, former Twitch streamer Tyler Blevins — better known as Ninja — released his own clothing line and shoes with his logo on them.

To sell merchandise, you’ll typically share a direct link from your channel to your third-party store. This will allow fans to browse through your products and purchase the items they want.

How To Make Money Through Twitch’s Affiliate Program

One of the easiest ways to get started is with the Twitch Affiliate program. To join, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • You’ve broadcast for at least 500 minutes in the last 30 days
  • You’ve broadcast on seven separate days in the past 30 days
  • You’ve had an average of three concurrent viewers in the past 30 days
  • You have at least 50 followers

Assuming you meet these guidelines, you can sign up as an affiliate and start monetizing your Twitch channel. Most affiliates earn money in the following three ways:

How Affiliates Earn Money

  • Subscriptions: You can earn money by accepting subscriptions from your viewers. There are four different subscription options to choose from: $4.99, $9.99, $24.99, and the Prime free subscription.
  • Game sales: Affiliates can also earn money from the sale of games and in-game items. You can make a 5% revenue share on all purchases from your channel.
  • Bits: As an affiliate, you can enable bits on your channel so viewers can offer support without leaving Twitch. Bits are a form of virtual currency that viewers can buy to cheer on their favorite streamers. As an affiliate, you get a share of the revenue from bits purchased on your channel. 

How To Make Money Through Twitch’s Partner Program

The Twitch Partner Program is the next level up from being an affiliate. Once you qualify, you’re automatically invited to join the affiliate program. But you must apply to join the Twitch Partner Program.

Out of the 2.2 million broadcasters on Twitch, only 27,000 are currently part of the Partner Program. And as a Twitch Partner, you’re more likely to snag brand sponsorships and endorsement deals.

As a Twitch Partner, you’ll have the ability to earn money through subscriptions, ads and bits. You’ll also receive the following special features to help you grow your channel:

  • Custom chat badges
  • Custom emoticons
  • Custom bit badges
  • A verified user badge
  • A free lifetime channel subscription

Things To Consider

Making money on Twitch is not going to be easy, but it is possible if you stick with it. Twitch works just like anything else — it takes time and consistency to build up a following. You can’t just do a few live streams and expect to start earning thousands of dollars every month.

Advice

If you’re serious about making money on Twitch, your first goal should be to join the Affiliate Program. Once you’re an affiliate, you can start making money from subscriptions, bits and game sales.

And from there, you can work your way up to the Twitch Partner Program. Being a Twitch Partner will give you access to more opportunities to grow your channel and earn revenue. And it will also help you stand out to potential brand sponsorships.

In the beginning, the most important thing to focus on is creating great content and engaging with your subscribers. It will take time to build up a following, but if you stick with it, your hard work should eventually pay off.

Making Money Guides

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who covers a variety of personal finance topics, including investing, loans, and building credit. In addition to writing for GOBankingWrites, she currently writes for clients like Quicken Loans, Credit Karma, and the US Chamber of Commerce. 

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