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How Much Do Twitch Streamers Make?

By Paul Traficanti

in Influencer Pricing, twitch

Posted July 6, 2018

Never could any of us have imagined that playing video games online could become a proper profession -and a lucrative one at that, but that’s exactly what the incredibly popular live streaming platform Twitch, has made possible.

Numerous professional and amateur gamers have been able to take their passion for gaming and monetize it. Some streamers have made a full-time career out of it, dedicating at least 40 hours every week to playing video games and streaming to their audiences.

The most successful of them have garnered a following of millions of subscribers. People regularly tune in to their channels to watch them play and learn from them. Their animated and witty commentary are an added attraction.

[Check out our list of tech influencers]

The questions that continue to arise about these full-time gamers are; how much money do Twitch streamers actually make? And how are they able to earn as much as they do?

To answer both questions, let’s take a look at the potential revenue streams and how much Twitch streamers can earn from each.

1. Affiliate Marketing

This should not be confused with the Twitch Affiliate Program. This is your plain-and-simple affiliate marketing method where streamers collaborate with brands and get paid to promote products to their followers on their channels.

Amazon’s affiliate program is very popular on the platform. Streamers share affiliate links for products listed on Amazon and then earn a percentage of the sales that they generate.

Most gamers like Kaceytron, featured below, provide a list of the equipment they use with links that redirect users to the listings on Amazon.


Image via Twitch

2. Twitch Bits

Twitch Bits are probably the smallest form of payments that streamers receive. Think of them as mini-donations that viewers make via Amazon payments. When a viewer purchases a Bit, they’re purchasing an animated GIF to use in chat rooms.

twitch bits

Image via Twitch

Bits are a fun way for users to express their reactions to the happenings of the stream. Twitch pays the streamer one cent for each bit that is used in their chatroom, and while that may not seem like much, there’s potential for it to add up quickly with 550,000 monthly active users on the platform. Fans spent close to $2 million on Bits within just the first three months of the affiliate program.


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3. Subscriptions

Subscriptions are a recurring source of income for streamers on Twitch. Streamers can offer users subscription packages to their channel which start at $4.99 and go up to $24.99. By subscribing to a channel, users can enjoy extra perks.

Subscribers have access to features like special emojis, special alerts, exclusive chat rooms, and ad-free viewing of the video streams. They also have access to take part in any special competitions organized by the streamer.

twitch subscriptions 

Image via Twitch

Depending on the streamer, subscribers get different rewards for each tier that is offered. These could include special emoticons or even exclusive merchandise.

Revenue from these packages are split equally between Twitch and the streamer. Content creators, however, must earn at least $100 before the platform pays them. Big names like Summit1G, who have close to 25,000 subscribers, rake in $75,000 monthly just from subscriptions.

4. Donations

Barring mini-donations in the form of Twitch Bits, the platform doesn’t directly allow donations. For this, Twitch streamers must set up their own links on apps like PayPal. They can also create a profile on third-party platforms like Patreon and then advertise those links on their Twitch pages.

twitch donations

Image via Twitch

This allows users to contribute and show their admiration for their favorite Twitch streamers beyond the bracket Twitch subscriptions allow. Plus, they don’t have to split the donation amount with Twitch.

5. Partnerships

This is a revenue stream meant for the elite - the best broadcasters, gamers, and teams. The Twitch Partner Program is invite-only. Membership is decided based on their content, average viewership, and streaming frequency.

twitch partner program

Image via Twitch

In the Twitch Partner Program, members are able to collect money through both monetization and channel subscriptions. The primary monetary benefit for Twitch Partners is the additional revenue Twitch pays them for their monthly subscriptions. So, while a normal user would earn $X from subscription packages, Twitch Partners would earn $X + $Y revenue for a similarly priced package.

In addition, they’re also able to run commercials and video ads on their channels - an option non-partners do not have. The ad revenue must be shared with Twitch which, in turn, pays the Twitch influencer according to a flat-rate CPM.


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6. Personalized Merchandise

There’s no shortage of fanboys and girls on Twitch. There are numerous users who are willing to buy personalized goodies from their favorite gamers and streamers. Merchandise like t-shirts and coffee mugs sell well on the platform.

Numerous streamers leverage merch as a revenue stream. They often add links to their landing page on their Twitch channel and that redirects to their online store where fans can order whatever merchandise they fancy.

kitty plays store

Image via Twitch

7. Sponsorships

Twitch may not be a household name like other social media platforms, but it does sport one major advantage over others: followers on Twitch are some of the most enthusiastic viewers out there. They follow their favorite streamers and professional gamers with a lot of passion.

Numerous brands are leveraging this high-intensity affinity shown by fans by sponsoring major Twitch influencers. It could be as simple as having them sport some brand clothing or having them promote a company’s products. Sponsorships on social media are a brilliant marketing strategy, especially if you’re looking to branch out to target a new kind of audience.

Twitch sponsorships

Image via Twitch

8. Games and In-Game Items

Another option Twitch Partnership Program members have to earn money is to sell games and in-game items. Doing so entitles them to a 5% share of the generated revenue. Companies often reach out and offer partnerships to Twitch influencers who’ve built a significant following for playing one game.

The popular game, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), for example, has an official roster of content creators that play and stream the game a lot. They’ve even designed special in-game items for some of them like Kate Stark - pictured below. =

Brands in the gaming niche often leverage influencer marketing tactics like these to drive in-game purchases

 Games and In-Game Items

Image via Twitter

Earn as You Play on Twitch

So there you have it! These methods are how many Twitch streamers are monetizing their passion for gaming, and how much they’re earning from each option. Whether it’s through the subscription packages, or affiliate marketing, there’s many revenue streams to choose from. And you don’t even have to be a gaming expert; so long as you can add value and captivate audiences with your commentary, you’re good to go.

Are there any other ways for Twitch streamers to earn an income playing games? Tell us what you think through your comments.

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