Guide: Monetising and Growing
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Revenue streams on Twitch
Twitch actually has loads of revenue opportunities now. Here's a rundown of everything you can do to earn money through your stream.
Partners: The Partnership program is for high quality streamers with strong numbers. It's a program you have to apply for, and may have to apply for multiple times before you get accepted. The main financial perks of being a Partner is getting ad revenue, rotating "bounties" for earning opportunities, and the ability to unlock more emotes as you gain more subscribers (which creates more of an incentive for people to sub).
You can recognise Partners by the purple tick next to their name. Partners have all the perks that affiliates do, plus extras.
Affiliates: Affiliates are a baby-step to partner, which gives people great opportunities for revenue, but with much more accessible requirements. Being an affiliate means people can subscribe to you, as well as the ability for people to cheer on your channel.
Subscriptions: Subscribers get perks like talking in sub-only mode, no ads on your stream, and most importantly, your emotes. Subs are the biggest revenue stream for small streamers on Twitch.
There are three tiers of sub. The default, lowest tier, is $5. You get one free $5 sub per month when you have a Prime membership.
Next is a $10 tier, then a $25 tier. Each tier is worth a different amount of "sub points", which are calculated to unlock your emote slots.
Twitch is also integrated with Discord, allowing you to automatically sync up Discord roles with your Twitch subscribers. This means it's easy to create extra sub-only content, by creating a Discord server and subsequent sub-only channels. It's like Twitch's very own version of Patreon~
Emotes: Affiliates start with 5 emotes and 1 animated emote, and you can earn more slots as you gain more subscribers. This gives your audience an incentive to subscribe, to help grow your stream and unlock more art. There's also an extra emote slot for tier 2, and another for tier 3 subs.
People who cheer in your channel can also unlock emotes for each bit tier they reach.
You can upload and assign emotes to various slots and tiers by visiting the Viewer Rewards > Emotes page on your dashboard.
Bits/Cheering: As described in this entry, bits are the main Twitch currency for donating to streamers. It's a way for Twitch to take a cut from donations, while giving viewers extra perks on the platform. Perks include the aforementioned emotes, plus a custom badge in your chat for every new bit tier they reach, as a way of showing off and celebrating how much they've supported you. Partners can also create "cheermotes", which are animated emotes that customise the cheering process.
Bits also make donating a little extra fun, because of the widgets and visual elements you can add to your streams to celebrate them. See here for more detail on this.
Growing your stream
In order to get there, you need to grow. These are general points of advice that probably apply to everything you do online, but definitely help with streaming.
1. Schedule: The most important step to growing your stream and audience, as with any kind of serialised content. Even if you stream once a month, to have that day and time set in stone will mean people can always find you, and that will make them more likely to actually catch a stream. Streaming more often is always going to be better, but if you stick to the same days and advertise that schedule clearly, it’s going to be the best thing for your channel
2. The Benefits of Using a Mic: Some people just aren’t comfortable using a microphone, and it’s definitely understandable. Whether it’s anxiety or just disliking the sound of your own voice, it can be hard to want to turn it on if you aren’t used to doing so. The biggest difference a microphone can make for an art stream comes down to productivity, and being able to talk to people while you work, instead of having to constantly stop and type out responses and lose your place and flow. It also means you’ll always be heard and no one can miss one of your messages in the chat. Many viewers also prefer to "lurk" and simply listen to a stream while they do something else; having a mic means they have something to actually engage with, and a reason to leave your stream open.
3. Tell Everyone: Going live and hoping someone will find your stream isn’t going to get you anywhere! Be sure to cross promote yourself where you know your existing community will be able to find you. Every time you go live make a tweet with a link to the stream, post on your story, notify on Tapas, join a discord for communal promotion and share your stream there as well! Places like Twitter and Tumblr are even more ideal because others can retweet and reblog your live notification to extend your outreach.
4. Crossing Communities: Networking is just as important for growing a stream as it is for growing a comic. Much like you can’t expect anyone to find you if you don’t tell them where you are, no one is going to know you if you stay inside a little bubble. Watch more streams, host and raid others, get involved with other communities and encourage others to make content as well. The best kind of community is a community of peers, and you’ll all play your own part in encouraging and helping each others streams grow.
Furthermore, networking with the intent to make friends is always going to be more beneficial than networking for the sole purpose of getting yourself ahead. You’ll form meaningful friendships and your content will be all the more worthwhile when you’re being genuine about it and the way you share it.