How to Become a Twitch Affiliate & Earn Income
For many Twitch streamers, gaining Affiliate status is the first step to making a living from live streaming video games.
It provides monetization opportunities and customization options that aren’t available to ordinary Twitch accounts.
Savvy Twitch Affiliates can build on this momentum to increase their audience size and eventually become Twitch Partners, with even more monetization opportunities. But it all starts with one broadcast, a handful of viewers, and you.
Here’s what you need to know about the Twitch Affiliate program and how you can make it work for you.
What Is the Twitch Affiliate Program?
Twitch Affiliate program provides enhanced monetization features for consistent, high-quality streamers who have a small to medium-sized audience. Becoming a Twitch Affiliate is the first step to becoming a Twitch Partner and is a milestone for many up-and-coming streamers.
What Is the Difference Between a Twitch Affiliate and a Twitch Partner?
A Twitch Affiliate has a smaller audience and fewer monetization features, while a Twitch Partner has a large audience and lots of monetization features.
One way to think of it is that Affiliates are in the minor league, while Partners are in the major league.
Here’s the reasoning from Twitch’s perspective: By paying their broadcasters money, Twitch encourages them to create more content and drive traffic to its platform. Affiliates are streamers that show promise at attracting a decent amount of traffic, while Partners have a demonstrated history of doing so. The flexibility and compensation differences reflect the volume of traffic Affiliates and Partners attract.
There are a lot of differences (big and small) in what Twitch provides Affiliates and Partners. Here’s a chart created by Twitch on their Joining the Affiliate Program page that goes into detail:
A few significant callouts are the amount of Unlockable Sub Emotes (5 for Affiliates, 60 for Partners), video on demand (VOD) storage (14 days for Affiliates, 60 days for Partners), and the verified channel badge, which Twitch reserves for Partners only.
Should You Become a Twitch Affiliate?
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate gives you more control over your Twitch channel and more options for monetizing your streams.
For most streamers, this is enough of a reason to try and become an Affiliate. But it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks of becoming a Twitch Affiliate.
One important caveat you should keep in mind is that by becoming an Affiliate, you are signing a contract with Twitch that gives them exclusive rights to your stream. According to the Twitch Affiliate Agreement (look at “2.2. Live Content Exclusivity”), your live stream can only appear on Twitch (i.e., you can’t use a service like Restream). Furthermore, you cannot repost your stream to other platforms until 24 hours after your live stream ends.
Another thing to consider is that you’re entering a crowded marketplace, and becoming an Affiliate isn’t a guarantee you’ll stand out. Community-led data analysis seems to indicate that Twitch doesn’t significantly prioritize promoting Affiliates over non-affiliates. In fact, the data gathered by Sullygnome, a Twitch data analysis website, shows that most Affiliates and even some Partners average between 0-5 average viewers.
So, becoming an Affiliate isn’t the golden ticket to becoming a Twitch millionaire. But it can be an essential step along the way (and an opportunity to make a couple of extra bucks and customize your stream).
How To Become a Twitch Affiliate
- To become a Twitch Affiliate, you must achieve the following within a 30 day period:
- Have 50 followers
- Broadcast at least 500 minutes total
- Stream on seven different days
- Maintain an average of 3 or more concurrent viewers
Twitch will invite you to become an Affiliate once you meet these four minimum requirements. You can view your progress towards becoming an Affiliate via the Twitch Achievements Tab under the “Path to Affiliate.”
Twitch sends out invitations via email, notification, and in your dashboard. You won’t miss it when your invitation comes.
How To Make Money as a Twitch Affiliate
Twitch’s Affiliate program provides three options for Affiliates to monetize their streams: subscriptions, ads, and bits. But the process of becoming an Affiliate allows you to try other monetization strategies that can make a big difference.
Make Money With Twitch as a Twitch Affiliate
As an Affiliate, Twitch will give you a share of the money it earns from your views during your stream through subscriptions, ads, and engagement.
Subscriptions. There are four subscription tiers: $4.99, $9.99, $24.99, and a free Amazon Prime subscription. Every time a viewer subscribes to an Affiliate’s channel, the Affiliate gets a cut.
Ads. Affiliates earn a share of the revenue from ads run on their channel. Also, Affiliates have control over the length and frequency of ads in the Ads Manager.
Bits. When a user Cheers a channel, they use Bits, which are Twitch’s virtual currency. Affiliates earn one cent per Cheer in their channel.
How to Monetize Your Twitch Channel
As an Affiliate, the audience you create around your content is your most important asset. If you’re smart about it, you can both provide your audience value and introduce revenue streams independent of Twitch.
Affiliate marketing is where you earn a commission for promoting a business or product to your audience using a unique link.
For instance, you provide a recommendation for a mic to your audience using a unique link.
When an audience member buys the mic you recommend via that link, you earn money. Amazon Associates is the easiest to start, but it’s best to do so once you have a decently sized audience because they require at least three quality purchases in the first 180 days for your account to remain in good standing.
Think about what gear you’re using on a regular basis and make a panel dedicated to affiliate links for these products – each link is an opportunity to earn commission, so making a list of your PC parts or streaming equipment is a great opportunity to earn some passive income.
The end goal is to diversify your income streams, so you’re not so reliant on Twitch.
Pros: While there’s a little homework involved to get set up Amazon Associates, it’s more or less a one-time setup. With 13 different international programs around the world as well, you don’t need to just limit yourself to earning commission from one storefront – even better, if you use a service like Geniuslink with your Amazon affiliate links, you can send your audience to the right product in their local storefront while affiliating for each respective country, all from one link! (Keeping your panels looking a lot cleaner than the above example) While each transaction can be small, (typically a few percent commission for each sale) if you get a lot of people buying through your affiliate links it can become a huge revenue source.
Cons: If people aren’t interested in your streaming setup or if you have a smaller audience, then you might not see any sales, which is critical when remaining in good standing with Amazon. You need at least 3 qualifying sales within 180 days once you’ve been accepted in order to maintain your account standing, so consider signing up for Amazon Associates once you know you have a decent viewership that can meet this minimum goal.
Patreon, Kofi, and othes
You can ask your audience to support you directly through services like Patreon and Kofi. In exchange for their support, you can provide bonus content and extra benefits.
This is one of the most direct ways to bring in some extra cash!
Create great content and build a strong community, and your viewers may support you in turn.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with your audience either – let them know how much donations help and how much you appreciate their patronage!
Before you’re able to receive Cheers through the Twitch Affiliate program, setting up a Patreon or Streamlabs account is the next best way to start receiving support from your audience.
Cons: Potential Chargebacks – when the person who made the tip claims they didn’t intend to or didn’t receive what they expected, the streamer usually pays the transaction cost. Twitch Partners receive chargeback protection, so if you go this route early on then you take the risk of handling these costs. Additionally, payment processors like Venmo charge for their services and PayPal charges 2.9% + 30 cents on every transaction, so as the streamer receiving these funds, you’re responsible for that surcharge.
The kids love this one! Merchandising is a fantastic way to grow your brand and help bring in some extra revenue, while giving you the opportunity to show off your creativity. If your designs sell well and make your viewers proud to rep your channel, merch can also build great brand recognition.
Once you have a strong brand, you can sell merchandise to your subscribers featuring your logo, in-jokes, and even audience-generated fan art.
Pros: Services like Streamlabs and Teespring make it easy to design and sell merch from your own personalized storefront, while also allowing you to name your price. This allows for easy experimentation with pricing or discounts if you want to test different ways to increase sales.
Cons: You can’t really sell merch if you don’t have attractive or creative designs that your audience will want to wear – and if you’re not an artist, hiring a designer can get expensive. Streamlabs takes a 50/50 cut of all merchandising profits, while Teespring gives you 100% of the profit in exchange for you handling the base product cost.
Pros: This kind of deal can be very lucrative, especially if you land a partnership with a prominent brand. Sponsorships typically payout through commissions, or with a flat contract in exchange for meeting specific requirements like shoutouts. You might even receive free products from the sponsor which you can use yourself, or in a giveaway, which are great ways to further engage your community.
Cons: They’re hard to land, especially if you have a small audience. Some sponsors might also want prime real estate on your channel in the form of overlays or shout-outs during your stream. If your sponsorship contract calls for a minimum performance commitment, you may need to stream outside of your normal schedule to meet a quota.
Twitch Affiliate Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Twitch Affiliate Payout Work?
Twitch will pay you once your balance reaches at least $100. Specifically, Twitch will process your payment fifteen days after the end of the month, in which your balance reaches $100. For instance, if you earn $100 by April 17, your payment for the entire month of April will process on May 15.
What Are Twitch Affiliate Benefits?
The main benefits of becoming a Twitch Affiliate are:
- The ability to monetize your content through subscriptions, ads, and bits.
- Limited emote customization.
- Access to features like channel points, polls, and reruns.
Is It Hard To Become a Twitch Affiliate?
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate requires quite a bit of hard work and months of work, but it is attainable for dedicated streamers. You need to prioritize constant, quality content and actively work to build an audience through many different social media platforms, not just Twitch.
What To Do Once You’re a Twitch Affiliate
Short answer: keep doing what you’re doing. Besides creating your custom emotes and setting up your monetization, your focus should remain on making your audience happy.
To become an Affiliate, you must create good content for an engaged audience. Continue to do so, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a full-fledged Twitch Partner.
At the end of the day, there’s a variety of ways to generate revenue from your Twitch channel – but as important as making ends meet is, your focus should always be on creating and growing your community.
Your earnings are tied directly to how many people view your streams, buy your merch, and click your links, so developing a strong community and creating engaging content should always come before monetizing it. If you need inspiration it’s great to pay attention to what other streamers are doing, and it pays to do your research before making the commitment of streaming full-time.
Try building a plan that includes where you’d like to be five years from now, and consider how many viewers you’ll have to reach to cross specific revenue milestones. Ease into streaming when you’re sure of yourself and know what you have to offer. Consider what you’ll need to do to stand out from the crowd, and create unique and engaging content that draws in viewers.
When you start believing in yourself and having a good time on stream, it’ll be visible to your audience, and there’s no better starting point than that.