Being a professional game streamer is no less real job than being a sport commentator or news reporter. And there is nothing more exciting and satisfying than to be able doing what you like most as a living. If you are keen on streaming, here are some tips on how to turn your passion into profit.
From Twitch perspective, those who managed to make their living from streams are different breed of people: they are addicted to gaming, can’t live without their hobby, have a unique charisma and a combination of business knack, communication skills and a good luck. However, all of them started from scratch having a few followers and equal opportunities. Making money streaming for sure is not an easy task, but no guts, no glory.
There are two main ways of making money with Twitch: a partnership program and accepting fans’ donations. We will tell you more about these two ways so you can understand them a little bit more.
If You Are a Twitch Partner
Being a part of Twitch partnership program gives you potential supremacy: once you become partnered, you are able to earn money from advertising and subscription.
Making Money from Advertising
Everyone who managed to gain Twitch partnership can turn on advertising block (the corresponding button will appear on your account). Twitch offers standard IAB pre-roll and display advertising opportunities. You can choose the frequency and length of advertisements in your Broadcast Dashboard, according to your preferences. Your advertising revenue is generated by visitors to your channel viewing or clicking on ads. You will get paid according to CPM model — for each 1000 views. If you want to add links to help viewers purchase particular games, you can make money from these clicks as well. Twitch is owned by Amazon, so those links will be considered as a part of Amazon Associate Program.
1. Does AdBlock Eats Up Most of Ad Revenue?
One of the biggest drawbacks is that Twitch advertising can be easily blocked by viewers with the help of a simple AdBlock or similar app. However, things can’t be all that bad. Sometimes viewers turn off AdBlock for Twitch or YouTube in order to support streamers they like.
2. When Is It Better to Launch Ads?
You have probably watched other people streams and seen how many of them are overwhelmed by ad interruptions. So, try to avoid turning your streaming channel to advertising junk. You can launch ad blocks when you need to go for a bathroom, break, etc. Running your ads between gameplays or in the end of a stream, after announcing that you’ve finished, can also be okay. That way, advertising won’t be so annoying as if you run ads in the middle of a stream. The main idea is not interfere ad blocks with your streaming content. People who want to support you will stick around for some ads.
3. Does Twitch Advertising Have Seasonality?
CPM prices are very seasonal, that is why, they change frequently from 2 to 10$ for each 1000 views. You can easily distinguish the most opportune times of the year when consumers are likely to spend more: Christmas, start of summer, the beginning of school year, etc. In the gaming world, most buying activities happen around launches and holidays. Remember that seasonality may vary depending on your location and country’s traditions. You can plan your budget throughout the year taking to consideration the following Twitch trends:
- January, February, April and July — months when gamers tend to spend less money
- March, May, August and September — months with average spend
- June, October, November and December — the most fruitful months with the highest spend
4. How Much Can I Earn with Twitch Advertising?
The amount of income from advertising varies depending on your viewership and how consistent your streams are — how many days a week, for how long, with how many breaks, etc. Twitch drafts a contract with each partnered streamer defining your personal rates and rewards. This part of a contract can’t be discussed with anyone, so there is no open info about advertising income. For example, a streamer Daniel Fenner (22,647 followers) has an average monthly ad revenue only $61.92, according to his own blog. However, other sources of income fully compensate Fenner’s efforts. You will be able to receive ad payouts as soon as your balance has minimal $100. Money can be paid by check or via PayPal. Twitch doesn’t transfer ad revenue immediately: it usually takes some time to proceed analytics before issuing money.
Making Money from Subscriptions
To get a “Subscribe” button you should apply for a Twitch partnership. Find more detailed instructions on how to apply for Twitch partnership in our previous post. To become partner you should have 500 viewers per stream or 100,000 YouTube subscibers. This high bar for entry is explained by the fact that Twitch keeps a share of streamers’ revenues. Streamers with such milestones are more likely to have a higher number of subscribers and, thus, will generate more revenue for Twitch.
The amount of money you can earn with Twitch totally depends on the traffic your channel has. Subscribers pay monthly fee of $4.99 to a chosen streaming channel in exchange for a set of features. About half of this payment goes to Twitch, while the other part goes to the streamer. In average, it is about 2,5 $ per each Twitch subscriber.
If You Are Not a Twitch Partner
If you are not partnered with Twitch, donations are the only way to earn money streaming. To be able to accept donation from your viewers, you should set up a donation box. Use one of the services to set up your donation link: TwitchAlerts, StreamTip, NightDev’s alerter, etc. Don’t ask people to make donation. We suggest setting up a donation box only when your chat starts asking for it. Don’t make a donation link too intrusive: if someone really wants to donate your money, he/she will find the link. If you want to use your PayPal account, be aware of pitfalls: PayPal requires verification of non-profit tax-exempt status in case you decide to withdraw funds from a donation account. Read more useful tips about Paypal donation panels here.
There is no a secret tactic to receive high and regular donations. Everything depends on you, your streams and fans. Generally, you should be a good streamer, providing your viewers with interesting experience, entertainment and useful tips. If viewers get some value from you, they are more likely to want give it back in form of donations.
However, there are a few things that can encourage your fans to make a donation:
- Add alert notifications, so that you and your viewers can see the donation and your reaction. Be creative: invent funny and unusual phrases to different donation amounts.
- Fans love when a streamer notices them. So, the titles like “The Highest Donation of the Day” or “Last Donator” may encourage your sponsors to donate more.
- You can create a “Hall of Fame” for fans who donated a certain amount of money.
- Set a goal: buying new equipment, game or feature. There is a special bar on your Twitch account that helps demonstrate your financial progress towards a goal. When a donation is made, the bar shows a progress. Thus, your fans will feel themselves involved in your life and can help to realize your goal.
Watch crazy streamers’ reactions to Top 10 Biggest Twitch Donations:
Case Study: “Trump” of a Streaming World
A popular Twitch streamer Jeffery Shih, better known as “Trump”, has earned a big part of income via sponsorships. Jeffrey chose the nickname “Trump” as a teenager just because he enjoyed D. Trump’s show “The Apprentice” — this was long before D. Trump became a president candidate. Being one of the top “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” competitors in North America, Shih started his career playing “Starcraft” with the viewership of 500 people. Today, Trump’s channel has over 700,000 followers and a similar number of YouTube subscribers. Trump’s stream is interrupted by advertisements, giving him only a tiny part of overall income. Followers’ subscription is a second significant source of money. But, the biggest income items for Shih are sponsorships and tournaments’ prizes. In 2016, he won $1,000 in Battleriff Showmatch Tournament as well as $1,250 in The Curse Trials.
In a popular interview to Forbes Trump explains that everybody can succeed in streaming with enough work and consistency, and it can be achieved as little as six months. Today, Shih’s fortune is roughly 0,3 million dollars and he shows no sign of letting up. Shih considers that gaming industry is still in its infancy and it will take a few years to see his blooming into something bigger.
Jeffrey Shih’s keys to success:
- Consistency and Time Management
A lot of job of being a streamer is not just streaming, but also everything around it: bearing responsibility, developing your personality, providing interesting regular content, etc. Jeffrey Shih sticks to a streaming schedule. Every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., he is online ready to share his skills and commentary with thousands of viewers.
- Doing What He Enjoys Most
Even if game streaming wasn’t his full-time job, Shih would do it because this is what he wants to do. In spite of being introverted and shy, Shih continues streaming to thousands people and enjoying the process every day.
- Educational Aspect
Being one of the strongest competitive gamers, Shih helps his audience learn how to get better at Hearthstone. Shih’s channel was granted the “Most Educational” title at Blizzard’s Stream Awards. Moreover, one of Shih’s income sources is YouTube tutorial videos. Before becoming a full-time streamer, Shih enjoyed doing tutoring and customer support. So, it is not coincidently that in multiplayer games Shih always plays a role of helper and healer — a good example of how to turn your natural aptitudes into a job that you love.
Apart of lucrative motives, Shih is a master of building relationships. For example, he provides “Hearthstone” designers with valuable feedbacks concerning gamer features and design stuff, and more than once his ideas were put into life. Moreover, Shih never forgets about his viewers, keeping eye on a chat window trying not to leave questions unreplied. “I’m proud to have had 25,000 people concurrently watching,” Shih says. “It makes me feel validated in what I do because people are interested in watching, and they are entertained by it. It’s a good feeling.”
Shih spends a lot of time reading and interacting with other pro-gamers to stay on top of the latest industry news. He also finds sponsors who may be interested in his channel.
More information about Jeffrey Shih’s personal life, hobbies and preferences you can read at his detailed FAQ.
Streamers making the biggest money (apart from league players that are sponsored and have 20k viewers) are those with the loyal monthly subscriptions and consistent donations. These people earn enough to not have going to work.
Before making any business plans on how to become rich with Twitch, we recommend you having realistic expectations. The same as if you decide to become an NBA Star, becoming a professional streamer takes a lot of work, practice and some luck along the way.