A GUIDE BY BF REBORN:
How to Stream on Twitch (and make Money)
Why did we write this guide?
Twitch is emerging as a new source of entertainment for millions of viewers every day, and with millions of viewers comes lots of opportunity. Although seemingly simple, there is a lot that goes into being a successful streamer. We wanted to provide those looking to succeed with a comprehensive source of information on how to do so.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is for anyone, begginner through advanced, who is serious about becoming or growing as a streamer on Twitch.
How should you use this guide?
Beginners are advised to start from the beginning and to read the guide in the order it appears. More advanced streamers may be tempted to skip to the end, but we advise you at least skim the other sections to ensure you have a firm conceptual base of the ideas and methods discussed.
CH 01: The Basics
What is Twitch TV?
In short, Twitch is a website that allows viewers to watch other people play video games (or other activities) live from their computers, game consoles, or other mobile devices. Twitch is the most popular website for watching live-streamed video games in the world.
Twitch is mostly free for viewers and broadcasters unless they decide to subscribe or donate, which we will go into much more detail in later chapters. Anyone can both watch live streams or broadcast themselves (for free).
You can watch or stream virtually any game you can think of, as well as some non-gaming “IRL” activities. When browsing the site, the games and individual streams are ordered by the number of people watching that particular game or stream.
Viewers watch other people play games on Twitch both out of love for the games and for a sense of involvement and community. There is a whole culture that has grown from viewers interacting with both other viewers and the streamers that they are watching.
Many people just lurk without interacting with others, but the big advantage of Twitch over other sources of media is interactability. Each stream’s chatroom is where this happens and is shown in the below image on the right side of the screen:
If you are unfamiliar with Twitch, there may be an overwhelming amount of things going on when you visit the site. There’s a lot ot digest, but don’t worry. It’s all relatively simple when you take some time to understand it. Here are some terms and their definitions that you will see throughout this guide:
Twitch Terms Glossary
Admin – Some users have a yellow badge next to their names. These are admins. They are paid by Twitch to basically enforce the rules and make things run smoothly.
Affiliate – Once you have been broadcasting and meet some requirements, you can become a Twitch Affiliate. You will gain access to some features that normal users do not have access to.
Bits – These are essentially Twitch money. They are purchased with real world money and then given to broadcasters by viewers with “Cheering.” You can earn money through Bits once you become a Partner or Affiliate.
Bot -A robot in the chat designed to serve a wide range of services. They can moderate the channel, provide information, and more. They are of great use for broadcasters since they are fully automated and lessen the workload.
Broadcaster – Also known as a Streamer, this is the person who is playing the game and being watched by others.
Chat – A live chatroom for the specific channel. Only users that are signed in with an account can send messages, but everyone can see messages. The chat is often moderated by the broadcaster, bots, moderators, etc. The chat is also where you can see the ever popular Twitch emotes.
Cheer Badge – A badge that users can get next to their names depending on how many Bits they have cheered to the Broadcaster. The badges may change depending on the amount given. Some streams have custom badges (Partners only).
Cheering – This is how viewers give Bits (Twitch money) to Broadcasters. In the chat, the viewer can type “CheerX” where X is the amount of Bits they would like to give.
Emotes – Small pictures that can be used in chat by using specific chat commands. They are basically emoticons. Some emotes are avaiable to all users, while you must subscribe to a channel to get access to others. If you subscribe to a channel and get access to their emotes, you can then use them in other channels on Twitch.
Follow – A free option that allows a user to get alerts when a certain broadcaster goes live. They will also appear on a list on the users screen when they sign in. Each channel also keeps track of how many people are following it.
Friend – When one user accepts a friend request from another user, they become your friend. You will be updated when they enter your channel, and you can see their status (busy, away, etc).
Global Moderator – An upaid volunteer that has been selected by Twitch. They have access to moderator functions in every channel. You will see a dark green badge with an axe next to their names.
Host – Hosting is one way to provide support to another channel. A broadcaster can transfer his viewers to another channel and is often done when ending their stream. Getting hosted can be a great way to get many new viewers very quickly.
Lurker – Someone who is viewing a stream but not participating in the chat.
Moderator – People chosen by the broadcaster to enforce the rules in the chat with a varitey of tools. They have a bright green badge and a sword next to their name.
Partner – You can apply to be a Partner with Twitch once your channel has met certain requirements. This unlocks many options designed to help support yourself financially. Partners have more options available than Affiliates.
Prime – A subscription service made through Amazon. Amazon owns Twitch. For a recurring fee, users can get a range of benefits such as viewing the channel without ads.
Subscription – For a monthly fee, a user can subscribe to a channel and get access to emotes and other benefits. Each channel may have different benefits. There are different levels of subscription, which the broadcaster gets a percentage of.
Views – The number of times a channel has been viewed by viewers throughout its life.
Viewers – The people viewing a stream at that time.
CH 02: Hardware
Getting up and running intially on Twitch can be done for relatively cheap (or free if you already have the essentials). However, if you are serious about improving the quality of your stream to attract more viewers, we advise that you invest in some eqiupment.
Everyone will have different starting points, goals, and budgets for their stream. Throughout this guide, we will attempt to provide a variety of choices to suit your needs.
Don’t stress about your gear too much in the beginning, but do know that many of our gear recommendations will have positive impacts on your stream quality and thus your viewer numbers and earning potential.
A professional stream needs:
Let’s dive into each category.
What kind of PC you use depends largely on what type of games you are going to be streaming. If you are going to be playing less graphically intense retro style games, then you could technically get away with streaming on a laptop! However, if you are going to be playing newer games with HD graphics, your computer will have to be a bit more powerful.
Twitch recommends the following for your streaming rig:
- Intel Core i5-4670 or AMD Equivalent
- 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Windows 7 or newer (Mac works, too)
While the requirements that Twitch states aren’t too bad, streaming can be very intense for your computer. Clear, high resolution streams without lag are much more enjoyable to watch than pixelated, laggy streams.
We’ve put together some streaming PC builds for every budget range that will get the job done. However, you might not need to invest in a whole new computer. You can use our pc build recommendations to get ideas for individual parts to swap out, too.
Your microphone is another crucial piece of gear. Streaming on Twitch is all about interacting with your viewers, and your microphone is the device that allows you to do that. You might be able to get away with a low quality mic at first, but do not underestimate quality that a good mic brings to the table.
Just as people don’t want to watch laggy, pixelated streams, they also don’t want to sit and listen to low quality sound for extended periods of time. It’s uncomfortable and annoying, and it inhibits your ability to communicate with and engage your audience effectively.
Your gaming headset might be OK in the beginning, but you will eventually want to upgrade to a dedicated mic.
Some people have reasons for why they prefer to not use a webam while streaming. We advise that unless those reasons are REALLY good, you should use a webam. They make your stream more personalized, reinforce your brand, and take advantage of Twitch’s key feature: Interaction.
If you decide to stream without a webcam, know that your gameplay and communication with your viewers needs to be that much better. There are always exceptions to the rule, but it’s never safe to bet on being the exception.
Any webcam will do the job better than no webam, but if you want to appear professional and you have a decent internet connection, you will need a camera that can match your connection in terms of quality.
Capture Card (Consoles Only)
If you are going to be streaming console games (not including PS4 and Xbox One), you will need to pick up one of these. Think of it as the bridge between your PC and the console. Like when choosing computer hardware, the quality of the capture card you require will depend on the quality of graphics coming from the console. Older consoles won’t require as robust of a capture card.
PS4’s and Xbox One’s allow you to stream directly from the console without any extra devices or software. However, you will also miss out on the level of personalization that you can get from using a capture card in conjunction with streaming software on your PC. We recommend always going with a capture card if your budget allows it.
Now that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, there are a host of extras available that can further improve upon the sound and video quality of your stream. Green Screens, professional lighting setups, headsets, and more can help to refine your craft and set you apart from other streams.
CH 03: Software
Next, you will need to download broadcasting software to get your stream up and running. Twitch gives a list of their recommendations, most of which have both free and paid options. One popular free option is OBS (Open Broadcasting Software). Your broadcasting software will act as the main control center of your stream and is where you will be doing things like organizing the layout of your stream.
You will need to:
- Download and install your streaming software of choice
- Configure your sources (webcam, mic, gameplay feed, images, etc)
- Get your Stream Key from Twitch and enter it into the Stream Key field in your streaming software (Find your Stream Key by logging in to Twitch -> Dashboard -> Settings -> Stream Key -> Show Stream Key).
Let’s go into more detail with some of the more technical parts of the process. We will use OBS terminology for the following instructions, but the other programs work similarly.
Setting your Stream Sources
Sources are the meat of creating your stream. They are all the different inputs that will be organized as part of the output that your viewers will see and hear. You will be able to group sources together and organize them however you want to create ‘scenes.’ Some examples of different sources are your capture card, game, webcam, mic, text, and images.
Let’s set a couple sources. To set your game source, do the following:
- Select ‘Game Capture’ from the sources panel and enter a name of your choice.
- After your game is open, select ‘Capture Specific Window,’ and then choose your game from the list.
The same process can be followed with any other kind of application. To set your webcam’s source, you need to:
- Select ‘Video Capture’ from your sources.
- Select your camera, and hit OK.
And if you want to show your whole desktop, you can set a source for ‘Display Capture.’ Have a look at all the sources and make sure you set up everything that you want your viewers to see or hear.
Note that the software will stack each source on top of eachother visually. If you can’t see one of your sources, check to make sure that there is nothing being shown on ‘top’ of it. You might have to click and drag some things around as well as resize them to achieve the look you want.
You will generally want to have your game at the ‘bottom’ of the stack, with everything else on top of that, being careful not to overlap anything important.
Scenes are sets of groups of sources that you have saved to be able to switch to at the click of a button. Using scenes is a must-do for creating a professional stream as well as saving you time.
For example, you can have a preset ‘scene’ for when you are playing a game, another scene for when you are on your desktop, and another one for when you are away from your computer and will return soon. Each scene will include it’s own background display, webcam positioning, text, and other elements.
Being able to quickly switch between scenes will ensure that your viewers aren’t left waiting while you fiddle with settings. No one wants to wait while you reposition and resize overlays and other elements.
Streaming Software Settings
Each streaming software that we recommend gives a host of settings that you can adjust depending on your hardware and needs. If you don’t really know what you’re doing, the default settings will usually be just fine.
If you are really trying to create a high end stream, you will need a specialized computer for the job. Be sure to read our chapter on streaming hardware.
We are not going to go too deep into settings because they will vary greatly from computer to computer and depending on your specific needs. Twitch gives some information on choosing the right settings (Warning: may be overly technical for some).
If you are having trouble, here are a few pointers:
Many people think that streaming at 60 FPS should be easy, but it’s actually very difficult on your computer. Try setting it to 30 FPS if you are having problems.
Twitch recommends a bitrate between 3000-6000. We wouldn’t advise going much higher than 3000. Higher bitrates will make the stream unwatchable for people on lower end devices. If you are getting complaints, this is a good place to start. Sometimes even going down to 2500 is a good idea.
Always always ALWAYS use a wired connection unless you have no other choice. You are going to be transferring loads of data, and wireless often just can’t handle it.
720 or 1080… that is the question. You will have to find a good balance between your resolution and your FPS. When in doubt, start lower and work your way up to see how things perform.
Customizing your Stream
If you are trying to make it as a streamer, then you definitely need to have some kind of branding. This can be as simple as your name written in a special font in Photoshop or some kind of logo you’ve had a friend whip up for you (or yourself if you are a Photoshop whiz). You can also head over to Fiverr to find someone to take care of your logo.
Whatever you choose to use as your branding, you need to slap it on top of your stream. You can do this by setting an Image Source in your broadcasting software. Make sure to put it on stop of everything in the stack so it’s not hidden.
Aside from branding, you can use this same technique to overlay any kind of information you want on top of your stream. You can get as creative as you want with this, but keep in mind that you don’t want to clutter your stream up too much. Useful information should take priority.
Alerts… and More
Whenever someone subscribes, donates, or takes some kind of action, you can have them automatically thanked and given attention with an alert that flashes up on the screen. This will make your viewers feel special and encourage participation on your stream.
Aside from alerts, there are a TON of other ‘widgets’ provided on the internet for a variety of other things you can overlay on your stream such as Chat, Goals, Counters, and more. The possibilities are endless, so you should have a look and see what’s out there and what you want to include on your stream. Streamlabs provides a good amount of these widgets.
While you are streaming, people will be chatting away in your stream’s chat. Although it’s always a good idea to interact with your viewers as much as possible, there are some monotonous and time consuming duties that would be better left to a bot.
Song requests, moderating, spam protection, information requests… many things can be handled by a bot. There are lots of choices out there, but some popular options are Nightbot, Moobot, and Streamlabs Chatbot. All are great choices, so just choose which one is best for your stream.
CH 04: Picking a Game and Strategy
What game should you stream?
Ah… the age old question. Depending on who you ask, the answer to this will probably be completely different. In the quest to build an audience and make it as a streamer, this is an obvious starting point and crucial decision to make. But, don’t sweat it too much. You can change at any time.
Should you play the most popular games?
Yes and no. The advantage of playing a popular game is that there are tons of people watching people play it. The disadvantage is that there are tons of people playing it! It’s easy to get lost in a sea of other streamers, and you will really have to do something special to stand out above the rest.
Play something you Enjoy
If you are having fun, your viewers will pick up on it. People don’t want to watch someone who isn’t having a good time… except in some instances where the chat gets joy out of taunting and laughing at an obviously tilted and miserable player. Playing a game you enjoy will make your life easier and will make your stream more fun.
Play something you are Good At
Obviously, if you are really good at a particular game, people will want to watch you play it. Viewers enjoy learning from more skilled players. Chances are that they play the same game themselves. Being good at a game is also a particularly exceptional way to stand out from other streamers playing the same game.
Play something New
Many streamers like to broadcast themselves playing through a game for the first time. It’s enjoyable for their viewers to watch them try to figure things out without having to figure them out themselves. The streamer will also often rely on their viewers for tips and help when they get stuck.
Don’t be afraid to expirement
Browse Youtube and Twitch, see what people are playing and not playing, look for openings, and jump on any opportunities you might see along the way. Not many people playing a game? Maybe you can get some loyal viewers from being the only one there. A new game came out recently that people are excited about? You can bet that being one of the first people streaming it would be helpful.
Find your Niche
Unless you are godlike at a game, finding other ways to make you stand out from the masses of other streamers is important. If you take a look at some of the top streamers playing at any given time, you will notice that many of them have a “thing” that makes them special or different from just some dude sitting in a dark room playing a game.
Here are a few examples:
Kripp the perpetually salty Hearthstone streamer. Apparently salt is a Niche.
Dunkey the Donkey. This guy provides some hilarious commentary and has even inspired legions of Dunkey Copies.
Captain Burke the gaming pirate. People like pirates and games. People like Captain Burke.
A girl with… social skills? Seriously though, we’re not here to hate on anyone. Do what you gotta do.
CH 05: Account Setup
Set up your Twitch Account
This part is pretty self explanatory. Head over to Twitch and click the Sign Up button in the top right corner. Fill out some standard information, verify with an email address, and you’re done. You also have the option to sign up using your Facebook account. Whatever floats your boat.
Once you are verified, go ahead and sign in. We recommend that you have a quick look around your Dashboard and Settings which you can find in the top right corner.
Setting up Your Profile
Just like on any social media platform, you should make use of your profile and fill it out completely. People who wander across your stream might want to know a little more about you, and this is the perfect place to take care of that.
If someone is looking at your profile, they are obviously looking to learn more about you. Give them lots of info! Some common things that other streamers include here are some personal information, games they like playing, history with gaming, sponsors, computer specs, friends or other streams to follow, etc.
You can also use graphics. Feel free to make your own if you are computer savvy enough, or there are tons of premade templates out there just a quick Google search away.
If you are serious about making money on your channel, at some point you will want to shop around for some affiliate offers. An affiliate offer (not to be confused with the Twitch Affiliate program) is when you post a link somewhere, someone else clicks it and buys a product, and you get to keep a percentage of the money from the sale. We will cover this more fully in our chapter on further monetization.
CH 06: Your First Stream
Going live on Twitch
So you’ve got your gear together, got all the software you need, configured the settings, set up an account and filled out your profile with lots of branding, you’ve picked a game and you have a solid gameplan for what makes you different from other streamers… It’s finally time to do what you came here to do. STREAM.
Now, make sure that you Stream Key (found in your Twitch dashboard) is entered into your streaming software (such as OBS). Before you push the ‘Go Live’ button just yet, there are a few more things to do. Back in your Twitch Dashboard, you will see the following:
Here you need to give your stream a title. You have a lot of freedom here, and feel free to get creative/funny with your title, but it’s also recommended you put some useful information in there as well. After all, people need a way to know what your stream is about.
Language, game mode, character class, ranked/unranked, tryhard, etc are all things you may opt to include in your stream title. For example:
- BFREBORN [LoL] Ranked ADC all day – Come Watch Me FEED
Don’t overthink this too much. Be funny, give some info about what you’re doing. That’s it. This is the first thing your viewers will see as far as you promoting yourself.
Self explanatory. Set the language that you are going to be speaking in. Twitch is a global service, so this is important information for some people. You can limit the language viewers are able to use in chat if you want as well.
You can set up to 3 communities that your stream will show up in. Examples are Chill Streams, Comedy Streams, Speedrunning, IRL Streamers, etc. This is just another way for people to find your stream, so be sure to have a look and find which communities you think your stream should show up in.
Game / Category
Select the game or category that you are streaming. This is obviously very important. If you are streaming Fortnite, you want to select Fortnite. This is not the place to get creative. If you change the game you are playing mid-stream, be sure to change this information in your Twitch dashboard.
Use social media to promote your stream. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever you use to connect with people. More viewers is better, right? In the beginning, you may not have much more than your personal friends on your social media. Let them know you are going live anyways.
Later down the road, you will start to gain viewers and followers who would like to know when you are going live. Start doing this from the beginning so it becomes a habit.
It’s time. With your stream key entered into your broadcasting software of choice, push the Go Live button. That’s it. You’re Live!
So now what?
First and foremost, chill out and have some fun. You are doing this because you enjoy gaming, after all. Don’t stress about low viewer numbers in the beginning. Everyone starts from the bottom.
Interact with your Viewers
People will float in and out of your stream. Say hello, ask them how they are doing, answer their questions, etc. You will even start to build relationships with some of your viewers. This is a great will to start building a loyal audience. People have to like you! Show them that you like and care about them, too.
You can even include your viewers in some activities, like letting them choose what character class you play, what game you play, what music you listen to, etc. This is the major advantage of Twitch over traditional media… you get to interact directly with your viewers while you are live. Take advantage of it!
You have bots, and you may even have some mods, but make sure you keep an eye on chat. It’s advised that you don’t tolerate things like racism/bullying, not just because they are bad, but because they will turn other viewers off. Keep things comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.
Streaming on a schedule can be very beneficial. People will get used to you being on at certain times of the day and tune in automatically. Also, be prepared to stream a lot! One very important aspect of streaming is always being out there, building your audience and building your brand… especially in the beginning!
CH 07: Twitch Affiliate
What is a Twitch Affiliate?
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate is your first real milestone as a Twitch streamer on your way to making some money. A good way to think about being a Twitch Affiliate is being a part-time streamer. Luckily for you, it’s pretty easy to become a Twitch Affiliate, and once you do, you unlock some great benefits. Most importantly, you gain the ability to:
- Earn money from people subscribing to your channel
- Earn money from people cheering you with Twitch Bits
- Earn money from Game Sales or in-game purchases
You can see all of the benefits and information about Twitch Affiliates on Twitch’s official page here.
You will earn money from each person who subscribes (recurring monthly) to your channel. Viewers can subscribe for $5, $10, or $25, and as an affiliate you will keep 50% of that. Make sure to always thank people when they subscribe to your channel.
Cheerng with Twitch Bits
Viewers can ‘cheer’ for you with Twitch Bits, which is like Twitch money. Viewers can choose the amount they want to cheer to you, with 100 Twitch Bits equaling $1 for Twitch Affiliates. Again, always thank those who cheer you with Twitch Bits.
If a viewer clicks the link for the game you are playing and purchases the game or makes some in-game purchases, you will earn some income from the amount that they spend.
How much do Twitch Affiliates Make?
As you can see, about 50% of affiliates earn under $100 per month, and about 33% of affiliates earn over $750 dollars a month. Don’t let this discourage you. Because becoming a Twitch Affiliate is relatively easy (there are currently over 150,000 Twitch Affiliates), many affiliates are not necessarily trying to hard to push their earnings higher.
Not too bad for a part-time job!
Like we said before, becoming a Twitch Affiliate is your first milestone along your journey to making money on Twitch, and not the end goal. You will eventually want to become a Twitch Partner, which we will talk about in the next chapter.
How to Become a Twitch Affiliate
You cannot apply to become a Twitch Affiliate. Instead, once you meet certain criteria, they will invite you via email, notification, or announcement in your dashboard.
The criteria for becoming an affiliate are as follows:
- You have broadcast for 500+ minutes in the past month
- You have broadcast on 7+ unique days in the past month
- You averaged 3 or more concurrent viewers in the past month
- You have at least 50 followers
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to become a Twitch Affiliate. You can keep track of your progress in the ‘Path to Affiliate’ section of your Twitch dashboard. Again, you can find more information on Twitch’s offical page.
Tips for becoming a Twitch Affiliate
We believe that anyone who is serious about becoming a streamer won’t have too much difficulty in becoming a Twitch Affiliate. To reiterate some points from the previous chapter, while you are streaming you should:
- Have Fun
- Interact with your viewers
- Monitor Chat
- Be consistent
If you are doing these things, you will become a Twitch Affiliate in no time and be on your way to earning some money on Twitch.
CH 08: Partner Program
What is a Twitch Partner?
If being a Twitch Affiliate is like being a part-time streamer, then being a Twitch Partner is like being a full-time streamer. There are currently over 25,000 Twitch Partners. Being a Twitch Partner is similar to being an Affiliate, but sweeter. Here is a chart detailing some of the differences between the two:
How to Become a Twitch Partner
Becoming a Twitch Partner is a bit trickier than becoming an Affiliate. To start off, there are no set requirements. You have to apply to become a Partner, but there are no specific requirements. Twitch evaluates each application on a case-by-case basis.
Twitch gives some advice for applying to their partner program here.
Don’t Give Up
Have fun, and don’t get discouraged when you get rejected (’cause you will). Just think of this as part of the process. You can apply to be a Twitch Partner as many times as you want, and they encourage you to do this. They do however ask that you don’t immediately re-apply too soon after your last application. Give it some time, and make some changes.
Ask for Feedback
Like when you get rejected from a job you really wanted, it’s always OK and a good idea to ask the interviewer why you were rejected. They might have some extremely valuable advice for you to help you achieve your goal.
Be Active in the Community
Talk to other streamers. Join their streams and watch them. What do they do well that you could implement on your stream? Make friends of other streamers and your viewers. Twitch is all about interaction.
Constantly Improve Your Stream
Continue to improve upon all the technical aspects of your stream – bots, overlays, sound, video quality, etc. Make everything work seemlessly and effortlessly. Continue to interact with your audience and find new ways to make your stream more inclusive with activities. Continue to focus on building your brand and defining yourself as an individual in the streaming community.
Don’t take things too seriously. If you aren’t enjoying it, then what’s the point?
How much do Twitch Partners Earn?
How much you can make as a Partner will vary greatly depending on how many viewers/subscribers you have. The streamer ‘Ninja’ makes over $500,000 a month… which is just crazy. Are you going to be making that much money any time soon? Chances are probably not.
Focus on your stream and your viewers, and the money will come.
CH 09: Further Monetization
Monetizing your Twitch Channel
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate or Twitch Partner are a start, but they are just a piece of the proverbial money pie. Here are some other ways that you should be monetizing your channel.
Yes, people can donate money to you by cheering you with Twitch bits. But, do you know what’s better than that? Cutting out the middle man and getting donations sent directly into your bank account.
Twitch doesn’t support any way to donate other than their own Twitch Bits method, so if you want to set up donations on your stream (which we wholeheartedly recommend), then you need to do it yourself. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to do by setting up a Paypal.me link.
We prefer this method because it’s simple, clean, and easy. Once you have your link set up, all you need to do is display it. We recommend you display your Paypal.me link in the following locations on your stream:
- Your channel page. This is the most important place to put the link. Bonus points if you make an image or graphic in photoshop to accompany it and really draw attention to it. You don’t want your viewers to NOT see this link.
- Your chat. You can have a bot post your link in your chat every now and then if you’d like, or you can do it yourself. This method is very attention getting and easy for the viewers to see and click on.
- An overlay. You can use your streaming software to create an overlay on your screen advertising this link. Your viewers won’t be able to click on it, but they will be able to see it! We advise doing this over asking for donations verbally. No one wants to feel pressured to donate, it should be their choice.
After you set up your Paypay.me link, you can connect it with a 3rd party service like StreamLabs. This will give you more control over your donation ‘settings’ and let you activate alerts and notifications for your donations. Many streamers like to set minimum donation amounts so that they can’t be bombarded with tiny donations of a few cents. We suggest setting a minimum of a few dollars.
You should also be aware of Chargebacks. This is when a scammer makes a donation and then later files a complaint to Paypal in order to get their money back. There is really no way to protect yourself from this, and Paypal usually sides with the person who made the donation. We think that using Paypal, although having this one flaw, is still the best way to receive donations because it’s simple and common.
To encourage donations, you can:
- Set daily donation goals. You can use a service like StreamLabs to help you display this on your stream with a progress bar.
- Create a Donor’s list. Again, you can use a service like StreamLabs to display either the top donor’s of the day along with the amount they donated, or the most recent donors and the amount they donated.
- Alerts. Like previously mentioned, StreamLabs also can take care of this. An alert will flash on the screen along with a sound clip of your choice notifying you and other viewers of the donation.
- THANK YOUR DONORS. Once the donation alert flashes on the screen, thank your donors verbally! The importance of this cannot be understated. Let them know that you receieved their donation and are very thankful for it. They are supporting your stream and are your most prized possession. Make them feel special!
Like mentioned previously, another great way to monetize your Twitch channel is by adding Affiliate Links to your channel page. These are NOT to be confused with becoming a Twitch Affiliate. They are two completely different things.
Affiliate links are special links that send you to another online merchant to make a purchase. If someone clicks one of these links, goes to the website, and purchases the product, then you get a cut of it. The most popular affiliate program is probably Amazon, but there are many more such as Target, Walmart, etc. In essence, you are helping these companies sell their products.
You can find more info about Amazon’s Affiliate Program here, or you can search Google for more. There are tons!
One great way to include these links on your channel page is by letting your viewers know what computer and other hardware you are using. You can just drop the link right there in case one of your viewers would like to use the same equipment you’re using.
There are lots of affiliate offers and programs out there on the web. Go take a look on Google and see what you can find!
Once your viewership reaches a certain size, sponsorships become another way to monetize your broadcast. Companies will pay you or give you free products in exchange for you to use them, talk about them, or play them on air.
If you are just getting started, do be aware that most companies will not see any advantage in sponsoring you. You will need to put in some groundwork before you are able to land any sponors yourself.
I used to watch a big Starcraft 2 streamer a few years back, and he was always drinking from a big Monster Energy cup (his sponsor). Many of the viewers became quite worried about his health and would ask him how much Monster he drank in one day. Apparently, he just drank water out of the big, branded cup, and that was enough to satisfy his sponsorship agreement.
Make and Sell your own Merch
This one might be a little more work than the other monetization options, but it will definitely appeal to some people. Especially if you have some good ideas!
You can create merch than revolves around your brand, or if you have some other idea of merch that will appeal to your viewer base, you can have a go at that. Although it might be cool to make a bunch of merch with your brand all over it, we wouldn’t go this route unless you are becoming a little bigger and gaining lots of support.
There are plenty of 3rd party services that allow you to make and sell your merch online. Have a look and pick which one best suits your needs.
We hope that you have learned something useful and that we have been a help to you on your journey to become a Twitch streamer… and to make some money!
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Thank you, and Happy Streaming!
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