If you followed the five steps outlined in our how to become a Twitch Affiliate article, completed all of the requirements to achieve Affiliate status, and registered your account, you’re ready to start earning money through Twitch! Unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop here. Income through subs, bits, and donations won’t come rolling in on its own: you have to give your viewers incentives to support you and your channel.
As a streamer, you may be wondering what you need to do when you become a Twitch Affiliate. Let’s look at a few important things you should take care of right away in order to maximize your channel’s earning potential. If you haven’t reached the Affiliate milestone yet, you can still prepare several of the things on our list so that you’re ready to go the moment you can officially monetize. Keep in mind that all streamers, regardless of Affiliate or Partner status, can earn income through Streamlabs merch and tip pages—both free to use!
1. Upload Emotes
One of the best ways to entice viewers to subscribe to your channel is to offer a variety of unique, high-quality emotes. Subscriber emotes can be used in chats all across Twitch and if done well, have the potential to draw unique viewers to your channel. It’s not uncommon for people to subscribe to streamers just to gain access to their special emotes! If a viewer is thinking of subbing to your channel but you don’t have any emotes available, that can be a big deterrent.
There are several different ways you can acquire emotes for your channel. The easiest and most cost effective way is to make your own emotes for free with Streamlabs Logo Maker. You can also commission an artist or purchase premade emotes from somewhere like Etsy. You can read more about emote guidelines and upload procedures in our article on how to add follower emotes. Twitch estimates that streamers with emotes receive at least 3x the amount of subs, so definitely make emotes a priority when customizing your channel.
2. Upload Sub Badges
Subscriber badges will appear next to viewer’s usernames in chat, depending on how long they’ve been subscribed to your channel. Typically, sub badges start out plain and get fancier the longer a person has been subscribed (they evolve like Pokemon!). A sub badge for someone who has only been subscribed for a month will look very different from someone who has been subbed for one year. Of course, people who aren’t subbed don’t get a badge, so the idea is to effectively brand your badges to inspire viewers to subscribe!
You can obtain sub badges pretty much the same way as emotes: through DIY, purchasing, or commissioning. The pancake badges pictured above are available as a set on Etsy and do a great job of showing how the badge gets “cooler” the longer a viewer is subscribed—just who wouldn’t want the fancy pancakes with all the toppings? Choose a sub badge theme that makes sense for your channel branding with different varieties the longer someone is subbed and you’ll be on the right stack, err…track to success.
3. Configure Your Ads
Signing up as an Affiliate with Twitch means that ads are mandatory: you cannot turn off ads if you wish to remain a part of the program. While no one loves to sit through an ad, there are several things you can do to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for your viewers. Too many streamers pay little to no attention to optimizing their ads, which hurts not only the viewer but the streamer’s income and average view count: don’t let this happen to you!
By default, Twitch will run ads automatically on your channel. You can “snooze” them to a certain point, but doing so will encourage pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads occur right when a viewer joins your stream, so if they were popping in quickly to see what you’re all about, a pre-roll ad is likely to chase them away. Furthermore, since you can’t really control the timing of automatic ads, they can potentially run at inopportune times. Image an ad right in the middle of a really exciting moment in your stream—talk about frustrating.
This is exactly why Twitch encourages Affiliates and Partners to run ads manually. We have a guide all about running ads you should check out to make sure you’re fully up to speed. Essentially, if you give your viewers ample warning of when an ad is coming, schedule them as “water breaks” or transitions between streaming activities, and tease your viewers about what’s coming up after the ad, you can encourage as many viewers as possible to stick around.
4. Encourage Bit Donations
Bits are Twitch’s form of virtual currency. Viewers buy bits with cash and then use those bits to trigger certain stream reactions. The trouble is, if you don’t have any fun reactions set up, a viewer is unlikely to throw any of their hard-earned bits your way. Twitch has a few basic reactions you can configure, but where bits really shine is with Extensions.
One look at the Extensions page and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with all of the options. From viewer engagement tools to extensions that interact with certain games, there’s a little something for everyone, depending on your style of streaming. We wrote about one of our favorite extensions, Stream Avatars, as well as how to download and install extensions. Streamlabs has several extensions to encourage bit donations, including Leaderboard and Bits that we think you’ll enjoy. Either way, get your streams set up with a few different extensions to encourage bits—you’ll be glad you did.
5. Configure Your Channel Points
Channel points are an excellent way to make your streams more interactive and to encourage viewers to keep chatting. Channel points accumulate the longer a viewer watches and the more they chat, so having some fun rewards lined up is essential. While the streamer doesn’t receive any monetary gain, an active and lively chat is worth its weight in gold.
If you’re looking for inspiration, we have a great article on channel point ideas. While there are a lot of old standbys streamers often choose (hydrate, stretch, “highlight my message,” etc.), channel points are an excellent opportunity to highly brand your streams. For example, VTubers may choose specific actions that are only applicable to virtual avatars (our article on VTuber assets explains this in more detail). Artists may choose to add “Draw a character from memory” as a redeemable action whilst another streamer might have “Talk in a funny voice.” You can really get as specific and creative as you want with your channel points.
Typically, a streamer will have at least 5 to 10 channel point actions, though Twitch allows up to 50. Plan your actions accordingly—low point rewards should have easy (or even automatic) actions. Save high channel point rewards (1000 and up) for important actions such as letting the viewer choose what channel you raid or unlocking an invite to your channel’s Discord server.
Becoming an Affiliate on Twitch is one of the first steps to turning your streaming hobby into a lucrative career. While you can still earn money on Twitch without this milestone, Affiliate status enables additional money-making benefits. In addition to financial support, utilizing the tools available to Affiliates will make your streams more interactive and fun for your viewers, which is what live streaming is all about! Take some time to customize your channel using the steps we talked about today to ensure you’re optimizing all that Twitch Affiliate status has to offer. For those who are looking for their next challenge, check out our article on how to become a Twitch Partner.