So you're excited to get started with Twitch – but how exactly do you make money? There's an affiliate part, a partner part, and can you increase your income with YouTube at the same time? Part 2 in the series of how to make money with Twitch covers these topics in-depth.
III. Affiliate vs Partner, What's The Difference?
1. Becoming a Twitch Affiliate
In order to receive an invite to the Affiliate Program, you must meet 4 requirements:
- Stream for 8 hours in the last 30 days
- The stream has been on for 7 days in the last 30 days
- Reach an average of 3 viewers per stream
- Grow your audience to 50 followers
Once an individual requirement is met, a checkmark will appear under “Path to Affiliate”. If any of these checkmarks are lost, then you'll need to complete those requirements again. Once all 4 checkmarks are achieved, an invite button will be displayed on your Achievements page and an email will be sent to you.
Once invited, you'll be directed to the Settings tab of your Dashboard. It is here where you'll begin the onboarding process to monetize your channel.
Bits are a currency used on Twitch to provide the streamer with a small tip through “cheering”. You can cheer on the streamer for a minimum cost of $.014 per Bit. The streamer themselves receive $.01 for every Bit received. That is roughly 70% of the revenue share while the other 30% is sent to Twitch.
Setting up your channel to use Bits is a short process of 4 steps that you'll need to complete.
- Supply general information
- Agree to the Twitch Affiliate Program's terms with a signature
- Complete the Royalty and Service tax interviews
- Provide payment details by filling out the Tipalti form
You'll also need to setup two-factor authentication in order to receive your payouts. This will help to keep your account secure and ensures that your payouts are received by you. To ensure you can set up 2FA, make sure your Twitch account has been verified and that you have access to a computer. 2FA cannot be set up mobile.
Once 2FA has been set up, you'll be able to choose your method of payouts.
You'll be able to select direct bank deposit (3-5 day wait), wire transfer (1-3 days), PayPal (1-2 days), or check (1-2 weeks) to receive your payments. There is also the option to hold payments until you specify your desired method.
B. Affiliate Payout
Affiliates are eligible to receive pay once their accrued revenue balance reaches the $100 mark. If you fail to reach this minimum, the amount rolls over to the following month until the threshold is met.
The payout period for an Affiliate is 60 days. This means that you'll receive your payments 60 days from the end of the month you reached the $100 threshold.
C. Affiliate Subscription Program
Affiliates are eligible for a subscribe button that allows followers to become subscribers for a monthly fee. All options that are also afforded to those in the Partner Program are available to Affiliates as well. A subscription can be acquired for $4.99, $9.99, $24.99, and the Twitch Prime free subscription.
Affiliates also get one global subscriber emote for all subscribers, with the options of adding two additional for $9.99 and $24.99 subscribers.
D. Game Sales
An Affiliate can opt to sell games or in-game items on their channel for additional revenue. This offer area will appear on all channel pages whether the streamer is an Affiliate, Partner, or not. The Affiliate is eligible to earn up to 5% revenue share on purchases that originate from their channel.
Making one of these purchases is not only beneficial to the streamer, but those who make the purchase can also receive a loot-crate if said purchase is $4.99 or more. The Twitch crate contents will vary between an exclusive emote, chat badge, or some Bits.
2. Making Twitch Partner
What equates to the Holy Grail of streaming online games for a living is the coveted Twitch Partner Program. Few people have reached the status of partner but that hasn't demotivated the millions of streamers from making the attempt to acquire the position.
The most popular gaming personalities from around the world are what make up the bulk of the Partner elite. Once you're “in the club” you can begin earning revenue through advertisement streaming and additional perks that a member of the Affiliate Program cannot yet access.
Once becoming Partner, should you not wish to take part in the subscription program, you may opt out at your leisure. If you change your mind later on, you're able to file a ticket via help.twitch.tv and get set up.
A. Partner Subscription Program
Very similar to the Affiliate Subscription Program with a few minor additions. Partners have a bit more free reign and options with their subscribers, such as:
- A Subscriber Badge for display exclusively on your channel
- Emoticon code prefix preference
- Up to 50 subscriber exclusive emoticons
- Subscriber-only chat
- Excluding subscribers from Slow Mode (chat room speaking delay)
- Archive Restriction
- Video quality restriction
- Ad-Free for Subscribers
- International Payment Acceptance
B. Streaming Advertisements
During a live stream, Partners are able to run commercials for additional revenue. How often and how long is also entirely up to the Partner. Additionally, every 1000 advertisements shown on stream will grant the Partner an industry-leading CPM.
Corporate performance management (CPM) is the area of business intelligence involved with monitoring and managing an organization's performance, according to key performance indicators such as revenue, return on investment, overhead, and operational costs.
Ad management is left entirely up to the Partner.
Below is the chart presented on the Twitch help site for the differences between being a part of the Affiliate and Partner Programs.
IV. Twitch vs YouTube Gaming
YouTube gaming is Google's response to the juggernaut that is Twitch.Tv. Which may sound a bit funny seeing how the YouTube platform came first. YouTube even made an offer to purchase Twitch at one point but history shows that this scenario had Amazon walking away as the victor.
So why even bring up YouTube Gaming in an article that's supposed to be all about Twitch?
In addition to the similarities and differences, there's a list of pros and cons on why you should choose one over the other. In truth, a lot of current Twitch streamers got their start uploading their gaming sessions to YouTube. So it seemed only right to understand the comparisons and contrasts of these two major streaming platforms.
1. Similarities & Differences
The most obvious similarity between the two is the audience they are attempting to attract. With over 470 million gaming video viewers worldwide, both platforms are working hard to consume as much of that pie as possible.
A. The Focus
Twitch is more focused on the live-streaming aspect whereas YouTube Gaming leans more towards pre-recorded videos. This alone has most broadcasters and eSports organizations settling more towards Twitch as their primary live stream host.
YouTube has been around a lot longer than Twitch and is, therefore, a bit more familiar to the masses. However, Twitch has been the live stream king for quite a while now and it shows in their congruent user base.
YouTube Gaming has been on a roll over the last two years, taking in a larger viewer base than even Twitch but still fails to match it's streamer numbers.
B. User Interface
The user interfaces (UIs) of both platforms are somewhat difficult to navigate if you're new to either. YouTube tends to throw a bunch of information at you from the onset. This may seem like a jumbled mess but it actually puts everything at your fingertips making it likely that you'll find what you're looking for.
Twitch opted for a more minimalist approach with it's UI. A carousel of featured live streams across the top, the most viewed games just below, and a section of the top live channels below that.
Each channel comes equipped with a live stream and a chat box area. The chat itself varies from channel to channel but it's safe to say that both platforms have their share of toxicity.
Already established YouTubers who wish to stream on YouTube Gaming will find that their channel's followers are not transferred over. Discovery isn't the issue but rediscovery may cause a problem. One that Twitch does not face. It was built specifically with live streaming in mind and has no older accounts to transfer.
One of the biggest things going for YouTube Gaming over Twitch is the live broadcast rewind option. YouTube Gaming gives viewers the ability to essentially TiVo a stream being broadcast live. This is something Twitch has yet to implement.
3. Do I Have to Choose?
Ultimately, we have two very similar platforms doing essentially the same things. One is more known for its live stream capabilities. The other more so for video uploads and viewings.
Twitch may actually be a bit more difficult to get your foot in the door as a decently paid streamer in comparison to YouTube Gaming. Seeing as there are already so many large and well-known streamers featured on Twitch, those starting out may feel YouTube Gaming would make a better platform.
Although Twitch may be flooded with streamers, should you become well known, and your channel begins to flourish, Twitch is definitely the more lucrative option in the long run.
If you decide that Twitch is the platform for you, that shouldn't automatically discount YouTube. Uploading your streaming videos (preferably well-edited ones) to the YouTube platform can be an excellent source of secondary income. It also offers another platform to get your name and brand out there.
It's always beneficial to have supplemental income from multiple sources. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Speaking of which…