How Do Twitch Streamers Make Money?
Green Screen – Twitch Stream Setup in OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS
Have you wondered how and how do Twitch Streamers REALLY make money? Streaming on Twitch isn’t just all about selling games and services. There is quite a lot of different kinds of income generating options for Twitch streamers these days.
You wanna know how Twitch Streamers make money?
Well, you came to the right place, my name is Disguised Toast, and I’ll be giving you an insider look at just how Twitch streamers make their income. I’m someone who has been in the top 10 list for the most viewed Twitch stream on both a weekly and a monthly basis, so hopefully this lends a bit of credibility to what I’m about to tell you.
Alright, so, Twitch streamers have about four different ways to make money. They can do donations, ads, subscriptions, and sponsorships. So let’s do the easy ones first, donations.
Very straightforward, viewers can directly donate money to the streamer using credit cards or PayPal and they would get the majority of that donation. Sometimes the platform takes a 1% cut, but it’s negligible.
My donation total is about $2500 a month, which is actually on the lower side for someone with my viewership. I don’t incentive donation, other streamers do, and they get more donations because of it. It’s really up to the individual streamer to incentivize donations, you know. Some streamers even give out private Snapchats to their viewers if they donate a certain amount.
Next, we have ads. Every time you open up a Twitch stream, you get served an ad. And, when it happens, the streamer makes a tiny bit of money. In addition to the initial ad you get from opening up a Twitch stream, every partner streamer also has access to a special button, the ad button, and when they press this ad button, all their viewers get served an ad, and they make a decent amount of money because, you know, that’s a lot of ads going out at the same time.
If I was to press it, that’s 10,000 people all getting a 30-second advertisement. And it’s really up to the streamer to control how many times they want to press this ad button, because you know, it’s like a golden goose, right? You squeeze it, and instead of a golden egg, popping out, it’s some cash. Some streamers just smash it nonstop, they can serve like five minutes of ads if they really want to. Some streamers never press the button and they never serve any extra ads. So, if you ever wondered why a streamer you’re watching just keeps getting ads, ads, ads, ads, it’s probably because they keep playing Whac-A-Mole with the button and making money off it.
For me, I make about $4,000 a month off ads, and that’s from someone who never presses the ad button. It’s just the initial ad you get when you open up my stream.
Now this is where the money starts ramping up. Viewers can pay $5 a month to be subscribed to a channel, and in exchange they get a little bit of benefit, such as a special sub badge, access to sub emotes, for example, my sub emotes include a three-part dab emote, and if you’re a sub of mine, you can use the dab emote anywhere on Twitch to get attention.
I would also like to point out that I understand dabbing is not cool, I just do it ironically. I don’t really dab because I think it’s cool or anything. Streamers can also set their chat to sub mode only, which means only people who are subscribed, paying that five bucks a month can talk in chat.
Now keep in mind, streamers do not keep all this money. Twitch will take 50% of it, yes, 50% of it goes to Twitch. If you’re a top-tier partner, you get to keep 70%, so only $30 goes to Twitch. Like top-tier partners, there’s no hard definition, but generally anyone averaging 10,000 viewers or more is considered a top-tier partner for these 70-30 split purposes.
Why don’t we use some examples, let’s look at the number one Twitch streamer, Ninja. Currently, he has 121,000 subs publicly displayed on his stream, now if we multiply this by $3.50, that’s $423,000 per month off subs alone. This is just talking about subs. Pubg streamer, Shroud, has 42,500 subs. We multiply this by $3.50, and we get $148,000 per month. That’s quite a decent amount of change.
Also, I would like to note that not every subscriber is paying the five dollars, Twitch has something called Twitch Prime, which you get when you link your Amazon Prime account to your Twitch account, and when you do this, you get a free sub to any channel, every month, for free. Not sure if you guys have heard about Twitch Prime, probably one of your streamers may have mentioned it at one point.
– Do you know about…
– No, what’s that?
– So, if Johnny, the 13 year old Twitch viewer asked his mommy to link her Amazon Prime account to his Twitch account, then Johnny gets to subscribe to a channel on Twitch for free every month, and maybe Johnny will to go twitch.tv/disguisedtoasths, and click that free subscribe button. For the record, streamers still get the same amount of money from a Twitch Prime sub as they would from a regular sub. And for those curious, my sub count is at about 4,000, which means I get $14,000 off my subs every month.
Sponsorships and Sponsored Streams
And finally, the fourth category, the big one, sponsorship. This one is so comprehensive that I will probably have to do another standalone video on it because sponsorship has a huge range, but to give you the basics, here are ways a Twitch streamer can get sponsored to do something: a sponsored stream, a sponsored YouTube video, a sponsored live appearance at an event, a sponsored tweet, or a sponsored Instagram post.
A sponsored stream is when a streamer is paid to play a certain game. For example, recently, EA paid all the top streamers on Twitch to play Battlefield V. You can tell because all these streamers put the hashtag ad in their title, hashtag ad or hashtag sponsored. This is because they are legally obligated to do so by the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. The hourly rate for this paid gameplay usually ranges between one cent to one dollar per viewer, which means someone like me, who averages 10,000 viewers, can get paid between $1,000 to $10,000 per hour to play a game.
And yes, I have done $1,000 per hour and I’ve also done $10,000 per hour, personally. So, that’s a pretty wide range, right? At the very end, you have 10 times what you get at the beginning, and the reason for this is, there’s a lot of factors, like how fun is the game? How much money does the company have? A mobile game from Asia will probably have deeper pockets than an Indie passion project on Steam.
So, one personal example I can give you is Battlerite. Every time they ask me to play their game, I don’t really care about how much money they’re offering because the game is fun and I enjoy playing it. So, even if it’s like $1,000 an hour, it’s like, yeah, I really enjoy your game, I’m gonna do it. And it sounds weird, right? Me being okay with only getting paid $1,000 an hour, and it’s a weird thing when you hear it out loud, like, hear me say, I’m okay with getting paid $1,000, but that’s just how the industry is.
On the other hand, I’ve turned down games offering $10,000 per hour, and that’s because the game they want me to market is just… What’s the nice way to say it? Dog shit. Yeah, that’s putting it nicely. And when games like that happen, they will essentially have to pay me Scrooge McDuck swimming in cash level amount of money for me to be okay with playing it.
If I’m going to force myself to go through three hours of mind-numbing gameplay, it needs to be worth it, and for it to be worth it, there needs to be a lot of money on the table. And a lot of you might think of me as a money-grubber because of this, and that’s fine, I’m just trying to give you a realistic mindset that I have when dealing with sponsorships.
I know there are people in the real world working a nine-to-five job every day just to get by, and here I am expecting more money to play bad video games. It can definitely warp your perception on the value of money.
Sponsored YouTube Videos
Are around $5,000 per video for a 30-second ad. Live appearances at events ranges between $5,000 to $10,000, tweets and Instagram posts are usually packaged into the deals, because you know, our main platform isn’t Instagram, it’s not Twitter, it’s Twitch. So, those are added onto our deals. And I said at the start, all these numbers I have given you is based off my own experience as a Twitch streamer who averages 10,000 viewers.
It is consistent with my friends who have 500 viewers, it is consistent with my friends who have 50,000 viewers. So, in total, I get about $20,000 per month off ads, subscribers, and donations, that’s essentially my base salary, and any sponsorship I take on top of that is just bonuses.
I really hope this video gives you guys a better idea on how much money a top Twitch streamer can make. I’ve been told by quite a few of my colleagues that this video is a bad idea, because you’re not supposed to tell the public how much money you make because they might see you differently, you know.
They might think you’re doing something only because of the money, some of them might lose trust because of this, but honestly, I just wanted to do something educational and transparent about something I know about and I know that people are curious about, so if you found this video to be eye-opening or helpful, please leave a like below and comment your thoughts or questions.
I wouldn’t mind doing more of these videos where I talk about what it’s really like to be a Twitch streamer. Hope you guys enjoyed it, and I’ll see you guys next time. Bye.
Credits and 1+ rep: For Disguised Toast for the video! Make sure to follow him and his stream for future content.