So you want to know how to make money streaming. If you’re ready to put in some serious work, we’ll tell you about the different ways you can make money on Twitch. There are ways to get paid directly through Twitch as well as ways to use your Twitch platform to make money outside of Twitch (no affiliate or partner status required).
Ways to Get Paid Directly on Twitch
In order to start earning money directly on Twitch, you need to be an affiliate. We have a guide on reaching Twitch affiliate status that will help you on your journey. Once you reach this milestone, you can start making money through Twitch via:
Viewers can subscribe to your channel on a one-time or recurring basis —Tier 1 ($4.99), Tier 2 ($9.99) or Tier 3 ($24.99). If you are outside of the US, these prices will vary. Twitch will take a 50% cut from the cost of each sub, which is the standard agreement In the past, larger streamers from a select group received 70% of their subscriber revenue, but a change in policy from Twitch in September 2022 effectively discontinued the admittance of new streamers to this program. Thus, any streamer who is not currently in this selected group can expect to receive 50% of their subscriber revenue.
One of the best ways to get people to subscribe to your channel is by providing them with great emotes. You can also select different emotes to be available at different tiers, which may encourage people to subscribe at a higher tier. Streamlabs offers resources to help you create your own emotes such as Emote Maker, Emote Creator Tool, Logo Maker, and Mojichat. We also have a helpful post on emote guidelines which will get you started.
Subscriber badges, ad-free viewing, and subscriber-only streams and chats are nice perks that streamers can also offer their subs.
For many creators, gifted subs count for just as much revenue as regular subs, if not more. People love to give! When a viewer subscribes to your channel, Twitch immediately offers them a 20% discount on a gifted sub, encouraging them to get in the gifting spirit. At the top of the Twitch chat box, you can see the names of people who have gifted the most subs.
Viewers can “cheer” in your channel with bits. Twitch pays $0.01 for each bit you receive, which is not a lot but can add up over time. If you receive bits through a channel extension, Twitch pays you 80% of that $0.01, while the remaining 20% goes to the developer. You can check out the variety of extensions available for use here.
Bits are a great way to interact with your viewers and make your streams more fun and entertaining. Many streamers report that their bit payout is roughly the same amount as their sub payout (less of course when subs and gifted subs are combined). Once you reach affiliate status, make sure to utilize this valuable tool to its fullest.
Ad revenue typically makes up the smallest part of a streamer’s payout. The amount you will make from ads is affected by a variety of factors such as your CCV (Concurrent Viewership), the length of the ad, etc. Essentially, the larger your following, the more you will make from ads. With ads, you risk losing viewers, which won’t bother big streamers who may make enough from subs and bits. For small streamers, the small amount you’ll make may not justify the risk.
Ads do have a few perks though. If you time an ad right (typically midstream) not only can you take a much needed break, you can save your viewers from “pre-roll ads” (ads a new viewer sees when they first click on your channel). Studies show that many people click away during pre-roll ads and, as a result, will never see your content.
Twitch offers tools like automatic ad scheduling and “snoozing” to make them easier to manage. Streamers who are new to running ads will likely need time to find the best ad placement and duration for their viewership.
To sum it up, Twitch offers a variety of ways for streamers to make money directly through the platform. However, Twitch can change their policies at any time and streamers on the platform will be subjected to these changes, potentially resulting in a loss of income. Therefore, most streamers choose to diversify their income as much as possible by making money outside of Twitch with some of the many other avenues available.
Ways to Monetize Outside of Twitch
Subs, Bits, and Ads: These are the items that will get you paid directly from Twitch if you’re an Affiliate or Partner. However, you can use your Twitch platform to help you make money in other ways (without reaching affiliate status!) such as:
You don’t need to be a big streamer to make money with merch. Anyone using Streamlabs can make their own merch store and stock it with tees, bags, hats, and more. Your Streamlabs merch store can be set up with a Twitch extension, meaning users can shop while watching your stream at the same time.
Streamlabs Logo Maker can help you design merch even if you have no art skills. Text-only merch has great selling potential too, so don’t get intimidated by the design aspect. If you know your audience, you can design merch that you think they’ll enjoy and wear it on stream. Since Streamlabs lets you adjust the cost of your merch, you can control the amount you’ll receive from each unit sold.
Monthly tipping from Streamlabs is the perfect way for fans to support your streams, especially if you haven’t reached affiliate status yet. The best part? Streamlabs doesn’t take a cut. You’ll receive 100% of the tip amount directly to your PayPal account—nice! Viewers can choose how much to tip and whether the tip will be one time or monthly.
Streamers don’t often ask for tips directly on stream, but if done in the right manner, it can produce effective results. It’s crucial to be humble, genuine, and to make it clear that tips are never expected but always appreciated. Remember that if your only goal with streaming is financial gain, viewers will likely sense this and be very reluctant to give you their hard-earned cash.
Similar to tips, donations are another way for viewers to support your channel. A Streamlabs donation bar is the perfect way to show viewers that you’re hoping to reach a certain goal, whether it be for an upgraded microphone or new game you’re hoping to play on stream. While many streamers often put donation money directly into enhancing their streams, it’s not uncommon to ask for help with tuition, rent, or even surgery expenses for a beloved pet. If you’ve built a strong community, odds are they’ll give you their support if they’re able.
If you’re wondering how to get sponsored on Twitch, the truth is that bigger streamers are more likely to get approached. Fortunately, there is another way. With the help of Streamlabs and Powerspike, you can apply for sponsorships directly rather than sit around and wait for them to come to you. If you correctly market yourself and show sponsors what you can do for them rather than the other way around, you can increase your chances of success.
Also known as “Amazon Associates,” this affiliate marketing program is easy for streamers and other content creators to set up. You need to apply through Amazon, then promote links to Amazon products of your choosing on your website (in this case, your Twitch channel). For streamers, posting links to your stream setup and any other gear your use makes the most sense. If someone buys an Amazon product through your link, you’ll make a small commission. The percentage you’ll receive varies depending on the item you’re linking to—PC parts receive a 2.5% commission whilst Amazon games receive a whopping 20%.
Membership Service (Patreon, Ko-Fi, Buy Me a Coffee)
A successful membership service can be a lucrative business for many creators. Different from tips and donations, members will likely expect something in return. Some creators send physical products, like stickers or artwork every month, some share valuable knowledge or tutorials, and some simply offer members-only content like videos, Zoom parties, etc. Tech savvy creators can make game mods and offer them to members. There are thousands of ways to start your own membership service as long as you’re offering something people want.
Every creator who makes a living through Twitch has diversified their income in some, or all of the above mentioned ways. Furthermore, smart streamers know how to utilize other platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and even LinkedIn to drive traffic to their streams, expand their network, and, as a result, create more opportunities to build income.
Remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to reaching Twitch affiliate or partner quickly. What worked for another creator may not work for you. The key is to prioritize learning and growth—Streamlabs University is a great place to help you do just that. Staying on top of current trends and useful tools is crucial too, but you can count on the Streamlabs blog to do that work for you.
Hopefully we answered the question, “How do Twitch streamers make money?” Now that you have all this knowledge, we can’t wait to see what you’ll create with it.