A Guide to Making Money on Twitch

A Guide to Making Money on Twitch

Is making money on Twitch as easy as it seems?

If you’ve ever wondered how to make money on Twitch, this article will function as a guide to monetizing your Twitch channel.

If you’re an avid video gamer, at some point, you’ve probably wondered to yourself if there was a way you could make money off your passion. 

Sure, there is the path of the eSports superstar, but that’s a road only a few gamers can realistically travel, and you might not either have the talent or the dedication necessary for such a grueling career. 

Naturally, you could try making games yourself, but that would also require you to learn how to code, which can come with its own set of non-gaming-related challenges. 

So if elite-level eSports gameplay or coding is not in your immediate future, what other alternatives are available to you?

Many gamers find their lane in online streaming and social media-based careers for monetizing their passion for video gaming. 

Examples like:

  • A Personal blog
  • A Facebook page
  • An Instagram account
  • A Patreon membership
  •  A YouTube channel

These social media platforms are viable ways to help get your name out there and start the monetization process. However, most gamers only want to focus solely on gaming and work their way towards building a full-time income as fast as possible. 

One way gamers achieve their income goals is by using Twitch.tv, the live video streaming service of choice for serious gamers who want to make extra cash from their favorite pastime.

More than just a live video streaming platform, Twitch is a living community that consists of both gamers and fans. Gamers on Twitch create and brand their very own channels and attract fans to their content. 

Fans can commit to their favorite Twitch streamers’ content and provide compensation to their favorite players in a ton of different ways. On the other hand, fans receive value by engaging with their favorite content creators and engaging with other fans who share similar interests.

In this article, we will be breaking down the best Twitch monetization methods and provide a complete guide on how to make money on Twitch.

These ways include the following:

  • Donations
  • Subscriptions
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Sponsorships
  • Ads
  • Other ways to make money on Twitch

Donations

Donations on Twitch are precisely what they sound like and are also one of the easiest ways to monetize your viewing audience on Twitch. On Twitch, viewers can donate money directly to your channel, which can come in various amounts.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, when it comes to Twitch donations, there’s a series of decisions you think about before bringing out the red Salvation Army bucket and asking your viewers to donate to your cause. Here are a few things to consider when optimizing your channel for maximum donations.

Picking the right game

The first decision you will need to make is choosing the right game. Viewers on Twitch will likely gravitate to a particular game they are already passionate about or looking to get into. For this reason, it’s why the first thing you should do on Twitch to start making money begins with picking a suitable game. 

When choosing a game to stream on Twitch, you need to think about two factors: 

  1. The popularity of the game
  2. Your personal enjoyability of the game 

It would be best if you liked playing the game, as you could be realistically spending hundreds or even thousands of hours playing the same game. If your enthusiasm for the game starts to dwindle, you can bet that your audience will sense the lack of interest and begin to find other alternatives to your channel.

The viewers themselves must also enjoy watching others play the game. Before choosing your game, make sure to research the overall popularity of the game on Twitch. 

Typically, it’s easier to jump on the “bandwagon” of an already popular game rather than attempt to go your own way. If you enjoy a popular title that many existing viewers already want, consider streaming that game on your channel to start.

As you begin to attract more and more viewers to your Twitch channel, they will start to follow you, increasing the size of your audience.

However, you should be cautious and keep in mind that even though a game may be popular and viewers enjoy watching, the game may not lend itself to long-term playability. 

For example, Assassin’s Creed is a great game, and many people enjoy watching on Twitch. However, once the game is beaten, you may need to consider switching to another game entirely to keep your fans engaged with your channel.

The problem this can present is that you may have amassed many viewers only because you were playing the new Assassin’s Creed, and many viewers were attracted to your channel by this fact alone. 

By switching to another game title, you may alienate some of your viewers, causing them to jump ship. 

Many of the most popular Twitch streamers avoid this altogether by picking a game that is most well known for its multiplayer or Battle Royale competition-style format.

Choosing a game with a popular and repeatable format like Battle Royale helps provide the confidence that your viewers will likely stay engaged to your channel over the long run because each of your live matches is an entirely new experience.

If you pick the right game upfront, you will likely be able to develop a longer and more intimate relationship with your viewers because you have a passion for the game, and your viewers will enjoy watching your love on display. 

Also, picking a game with a suitable format allows you to keep your audience happy and engaged. Making good decisions in both of these areas will ultimately lead to more donations to your channel.

Building trust with your audience

One of the keys to maximizing the donations to your channel is to develop trust with your audience. 

Many amateur gamers believe that their elite gameplay alone is enough to shake the loose change out of the pockets of their viewers. However, if you are serious about receiving donations on your channel, you will need to build trust with your viewers. 

Making Money on Twitch Requires Building Trust with Your Audience

Believe it or not, your channel is a business, and your viewers have many expectations. 

This includes that you will be on time and ready to stream on a fixed schedule. It’s critical that your audience can depend on you to keep them entertained and engaged consistently, which means you will need to post your streaming schedule on your page on day-1 and stick to it. Period.

We all know the feeling of watching TV and thinking our favorite show is about to come on at a particular time, only to find out that it didn’t. If your viewers feel let down or that you didn’t meet their expectations, they will be far less likely to donate to your channel.

Entertaining your audience

One of the best aspects of Twitch is that it allows you to sell your personality and energy in exchange for donations.

Now, this doesn’t mean there’s a button that your viewers can push to buy your personality, but as you continue to entertain them, they will feel more and more comfortable wanting to support your channel. 

One of the biggest mistakes gamers make when starting is assuming that streaming is the same as playing video games. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

As a streamer, you are now in the entertainment business and not the video game business. Even though you may be heavily engaged in playing the game, your #1 priority should always be to keep your audience entertained.

It would be best to ask your viewers questions, respond to messages, and narrate your gameplay. The best streamers make their audience feel integral to the on-screen action. It would help if you even took time to talk to your viewers about non-gaming-related topics. 

Invest time in getting to know the people behind the keyboards and, most importantly, always be authentic. If you can accomplish these things, then donations will come.

Subscriptions

Although donations are a significant income source for Twitch streamers, they have two gigantic flaws. 

  1. Individual donations are only one-time sources of income. 
  2. Donations frequency and amounts are also highly unpredictable. 

If you are serious about learning how to make money on Twitch, you should focus most of your time promoting subscriptions to your channel. When a viewer subscribes to a channel, they pay a monthly fee, and they receive exclusive access to your channel in the form of emotes, badges, ad-free viewing, special chat features, etc. 

As a streamer, you will receive a share of the monthly subscription sale. This is the #1 monetization tool that allows streamers to truly focus on their passion because their viewers make monthly payments to the channel, which is a significantly more stable form of income. 

You will likely find that channels that receive a steady influx of donations will inherently see more revenue in the form of subscriptions as well.

As your audience grows, one of your primary growth strategies should be to keep your viewers actively engaged with your content. This is the reason why the subscription model is vital to streamers. 

Not only will this make you more money, but consistent and predictable cash flow will allow you to reinvest back into your channel and improve your channel. 

For example, maybe you need a better studio set up and purchase a new Blue Yeti Microphone or a gaming PC

The subscription feature on Twitch can help give you the financial confidence that your investments into your channel will pay off because you are providing the viewers with a higher quality product. 

It’s truly a win-win.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a more complicated way to make money on Twitch, but it also has a lot of profit potential. In its purest form, an affiliate marketing program allows someone to advertise products on a Twitch channel and receive a commission from the sales of that product.

Typically, you would want to keep your products as close to your niche as possible – in this case, video games. Since your audience watches you stream video games, they are probably more likely to purchase video game-related items, thus increasing your “conversion rate” and increasing your sales. 

You can advertise unrelated stuff but don’t plan to have high expectations that your viewers will buy it. In most cases, streamers will put affiliate marketing ads directly on their channel page, so all viewers need to do is click on a link to be taken to a product or service checkout page.

The metric you will want to evaluate when it comes to affiliate marketing is your conversion rate. Conversation rate is the number of potential people that could sign up for a service or purchase goods, compared to the number of people that purchase that service or good. 

For example, if you had 100 viewers and 50 of them bought a product you advertised, your conversion rate would be 50%. 

There are various strategies across different media for “increasing conversion rate,” but one of the best ways on Twitch is for you to be a subject matter expert on your game of choice. 

Whether you realize it or not, many of your viewers will look to you as an expert in your game of choice. Because you have established trust with your audience, they will likely be interested in your opinion on gaming-related products as well.

At first glance, this type of marketing may sound a lot like influencer marketing, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Influencer marketing is typically when a company sends you a product to review and promote to an established audience due to your high-profile nature in a particular niche. 

When just starting on Twitch, influencer marketing is usually not a viable option for most streamers. Affiliate marketing generally has a much lower barrier to entry, allowing you to pitch your viewers products that you believe are beneficial. 

Remember, authenticity is vital when pitching affiliate products to your viewers. Don’t try pitching products just for the sake of making a quick buck, as your audience will recognize this, and you will lose any trust you have worked hard to build. 

Before pitching any affiliate product, try the product out yourself to provide accurate and genuinely helpful feedback.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships typically require a streamer having an established reputation and a large audience on Twitch. However, once you reach this status, sponsorships can be a massively lucrative way to make money on Twitch. 

Sponsorships involve you working directly with companies or their marketing agencies to promote their product. The influencer marketing we mentioned above is one example of a kind of sponsorship.

When it comes to sponsorships, typically, companies themselves will reach out to you with sponsorship opportunities.

This is by far the most common way to secure sponsorship opportunities, mainly because companies have already done their research on you, your audience, and the monetization potential from promoting their products to your channel audience.

Keep in mind; the most lucrative eSports sponsorship deals are typically reserved for streamers who have massive followings and a proven channel monetization track record. 

If one day acquiring sponsorships is your goal, the best advice is to build an entertaining channel and establish trust with your audience. Over time you will increase your chances of big companies knocking on your door for sponsorship opportunities.

Advertisements

When you grow your audience to a significant enough size, you will also begin to see income from advertisements displayed on your stream as you play. 

Ads are not as lucrative as other ways of making money on Twitch, but they nonetheless can contribute to your channel’s bottom line. Like advertising networks like Google Adsense program for website owners, Twitch uses targeted ads based on a range of criteria and differ on their payout depending upon what is being advertised. 

Related Post: How to Grow Your eSports Brand with Facebook

Other ways to make money on Twitch

The methods above are the most common ways that streamers make money on Twitch. However, there are many different ways you can successfully monetize your channel:

Sell branded merchandise.

Remember the days when people on the internet would create their own t-shirts, coffee mugs, and artwork? Well, people are still very interested in buying physical goods, and your Twitch channel could be a great way to monetize your own brand. 

Keep in mind that as you build your channel, you are also establishing a unique brand. Over time your viewers may become interested in buying goods with your branding. 

Publish a video game eBook

Do you have secret insider strategies on video games or sure-fire ways to increase gaming performance? If so, you could publish an eBook guide to your favorite video game and offer exclusive tips and tricks just for your Twitch audience.

Sell your own music.

One way to entertain your audience is to play some fly tunes in the background of your stream. If you happen to be a music artist, you could play your own music in the background and provide your audience with links to download your music.

There’s a ton of ways to make money on Twitch.

As you can see, there are many lanes you can take on the highway to making money on Twitch. 

The big question that every new streamer has is, “where do I start?” 

The truth is, the best place to start is not focusing on making money on Twitch but focusing your energy on creating the most entertaining channel possible. 

The reason being that if you start with making money as your only goal, you will likely make a series of bad decisions that aren’t in the best interest of your audience, which could cause them to go looking elsewhere.

Also, always be keep in mind that the platform has sole authority to ban your account at any time, so make sure to operate your channel within the Terms of Service policy.

As annoying as it sounds, the best advice is to be patient. Invest in your gaming setup and delivering high entertainment value to your viewers.

The desperation to make money is evident and will prevent you from establishing trust with your audience. 

Lastly, always remember that if you take care of your audience, they will likely reward you in return in time.

About dg

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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