Video games have always been a spectator sport. Whether you’re passing controllers around with a group of friends or watching transfixed as your coolest older sibling smacks down crazy endgame bosses, there are times when spectating is just as fun as playing. So, it comes as no surprise that so many people are now flocking to Twitch for their viewing entertainment.
Twitch is far and away the platform of choice for streaming video games. Whether you’re doing chill runs through forgotten retro games or organizing high-stakes tournaments for the most competitive multiplayer games in current release, Twitch is the best place to find an audience.
The platform has an average of more than three million concurrent live viewers at any given moment and upwards of a billion and a half dollars in annual revenue. With numbers like that, Twitch makes it possible for many gamers to live their dream — playing video games for a living.
Of course, it’s not just as easy as 1. Login, 2. Play games, 3. Rake in the dough. To get a piece of the Twitch subscription and ad revenue, streamers need to become a part of the Twitch Affiliate program.
What is a Twitch Affiliate?
The Twitch Affiliate program allows dedicated streamers to start earning money from subscriptions, Bits, ads, and in-game item sales. You don’t need to be a Twitch Affiliate to begin streaming and building an audience, but the only way to get a share of the revenue you’re earning for Twitch is to enroll in the program.
The Twitch Affiliate program is invitation-only, but don’t worry about trying to score an invite. Once you meet the qualifications, you’ll automatically receive an invitation via email and on your Twitch dashboard. After you receive the invitation, a link will appear in your Twitch settings that will let you register as an Affiliate.
Twitch Affiliates get some neat platform perks, like the ability to save and rebroadcast past content. But the most significant benefit is the ability to monetize your streaming activities.
What are the Requirements for Becoming a Twitch Affiliate?
The Affiliate program is for streamers who have shown that they can build and keep an audience. Streamers need to meet the following conditions to qualify for the Twitch Affiliate program:
- At least 50 followers
- Have streamed for a total of 500 minutes over the past 30 days
- Have streamed on 7 different days over the past 30 days
- Average of 3 or more concurrent viewers over the past 30 days
It’s not an excessively high bar to clear, but you’ve got to put in the time before you can start earning. Once you’ve hit and maintained these numbers for a couple of weeks, you can expect to receive an invitation to the Affiliate program.
To enroll, you’ll need to provide some additional personal information (for taxes) and link a bank account. You’ll also need to agree to the Terms and Conditions of the program. The T&Cs includes provisions such as not being able to upload your Twitch streams to other sites for a certain amount of time. Also, you can lose your Affiliate status if your stream goes inactive for too long. Twitch may charge you fees if your account is closed, so make sure you read and thoroughly understand the Terms and Conditions before joining.
How Do I Get Started with the Twitch Affiliate Program?
To get started as a Twitch Affiliate, you just need to wait for your invitation, click the “Get Started” link, and fill out the required information, including your preferred payment method. Twitch can pay you via direct deposit, PayPal, check, or wire transfer.
After enrolling, you can adjust your channel settings to start taking advantage of the Affiliate program’s monetization options. You can begin selling subscriptions, receive tips from viewers in the form of Bits, and earn money by showing advertisements. Your viewers can also start earning Channel Points, which provide them with a cost-free way to sample some of the subscriber benefits you offer.
5 Tips for Becoming a Twitch Affiliate
1. Shoot for Quality
It never hurts to look and sound as good as you can. Invest in the hardware and software you need to create a consistent, professional-looking streaming experience. Get the little things like your lighting and background right. If graphics and plugins are part of your channel, make sure you’re using the best.
2. Make a Plan
When you’re getting started streaming, a plan and a schedule are your best friends. A schedule makes sure your audience will know when they can find you. A plan ensures that you won’t be stuck wondering what to do when ten viewers unexpectedly wander in.
It’s not easy to get your 500 minutes of streaming in by popping on whenever you have some free time. You’ll have a much easier time meeting the requirements if you make some commitments and stick to them.
3. Stay Positive
There’s room for a lot of different personalities on Twitch. However, many successful streamers commonly keep things positive, engage with their viewers, and make sure their channel is a fun place to hang out. Streaming for a tiny or nonexistent audience while you’re trying to build up a following can feel discouraging at times, but it’s all part of the process.
It helps to make friends with other streamers. Sending your viewers to another friendly stream when your own stream ends for the day is a tradition on Twitch. It’s easy for the temporary surge in viewership from these “raids” to turn into loyal followers. Talk to people who are streaming similar content, be enthusiastic and supportive, and put some roots into the Twitch community.
5. Build Your Stream Brand
Sometimes you stumble on a great stream by accident, but you can’t find it the next day because the streamer didn’t make enough of an impression with their name or branding. Talk about missed opportunities!
A name, graphics, and content theming that support a memorable and consistent brand can help viewers find you on Twitch and social media. Having a consistent stream brand reinforces the idea that your viewers will get a consistent, high-quality experience when they stop by your channel.
How Do Twitch Affiliates Earn Money?
There are four ways for Twitch Affiliates to earn money: selling subscriptions, getting “Cheered” with Bits purchased by their viewers, selling in-game purchases to viewers during a stream, and broadcasting advertisements.
Viewers can purchase monthly subscriptions to your channel at three different tier levels, priced at $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99. All subscriptions unlock benefits like custom Emotes, Badges, subscriber-only chat, and fewer ads. Higher tiers may offer benefits such as additional Emotes and Badge flair.
Twitch sells Bits (at 100 for $1.40, with discounts for bulk purchases) that viewers can use to tip their favorite streamers. Viewers do this by sending Cheermotes that can be purchased for however many Bits the viewer wishes to spend. Affiliates receive about one cent for every Bit sent their way.
Certain games may be purchasable online or offer in-game purchases while being streamed on Twitch. When an Affiliate is streaming one of these games, and a viewer makes a purchase through the Affiliate’s channel, the Affiliate receives 5% of the revenue. The purchaser may receive additional benefits in the form of a “Twitch Crate” loot box.
Twitch Affiliates get to choose the frequency and duration of the ads displayed on their channel. Payouts from ad revenue used to be limited to Twitch Partners, but Affiliates now get a share of the revenue as well.
Twitch Affiliate vs Twitch Partner
The Affiliate program isn’t the end of the road for Twitch content creators. Serious streamers may be looking to step up to the next level: Twitch Partners.
While the Partner program doesn’t offer new or different monetization opportunities, it does include customizations, support, and promotional options that can go a long way toward growing your audience.
Partners have to demonstrate a higher commitment to streaming than Affiliates — at a minimum, you’ll be expected to average 75 concurrent viewers. But Twitch is also looking for “role models to the community,” so keep in mind that numbers alone might not qualify anyone for a Partnership.
Live the Gamer Dream
Twitch has designed the Affiliate program to be a natural evolution for streamers who put in the time, cultivate an audience, and stick with it. Once you’ve met the requirements, the possibilities for your channel are endless. A typical full-time streamer can potentially make $3,000 to $5,000 per month.
If you’re serious about sharing your love of gaming, there’s nothing but upside when it comes to being a Twitch Affiliate. You get to play games, entertain an audience, and get paid to do so.
This is especially true for streamers involved in competitive gaming scenes. Twitch is already the best platform for broadcasting this kind of content, so you can use tools like Cocmmon Ninja’s brackets plugin to set up a captivating tournament experience. Then you can leverage your Twitch Affiliate benefits to create an even more enjoyable and engaging experience for your players and viewers — while you’re living the gamer dream.