For most streamers, the ultimate goal is to be able to monetize their stream. Twitch offers a low barrier to entry for this accolade with the Twitch Affiliate program. To qualify for it you only need to have at least 50 followers and over the last 30 days have have at least 500 total minutes broadcast, 7 unique broadcast days, and an average of 3 or more concurrent viewers. The question that gets asked when you receive that email is, “Should I become a Twitch Affiliate?”. Let’s dive in to the cons first because the pros are what really attract people to the program. Also before we begin, just note, that I am currently a Twitch affiliate and have been since the program started back in April 2017.
What’s the downside of being a Twitch Affiliate?
While the Twitch Affiliate program offer streamers many benefits there are, in my personal opinion, more detrimental cons that come with it too. These cons can cause and are causing many small streamers more headaches than helping them.
Twitch’s Pre-Roll Ads
Twitch’s pre-roll ads are ads that are shown to viewers when they click to watch the affiliated streamer. These ads can be 30 seconds and can, in some instances, go up to 2 minutes. So the viewer has to endure up to 2 minutes of NON-SKIPABLE ads before they are able to watch a single second of your content. Think about that for a second… How many times have you changed the channel on the TV or changed videos on other platforms because of ads? Now think about how many potential NEW viewers are doing the same. “But I make money when people watch the ads though correct?”. Sure you get paid for them, but if you’re not averaging 100 or 1000 viewers a day then you’re making less than a penny each time. Below is how many hours I streamed for the entire year of 2020 and how much I made off ads for the entire year of 2020.
As you can see, streaming 690 hours and receiving 797 yielded me a whopping $2.46 USD. That’s less than one Twitch Prime sub. There’s been a stat out there that 30% of viewers that visit a stream that’s hit with pre-roll ads will leave before they even see the streamer. That’s a huge number of missed opportunity. Without ads you could potentially increase your viewership by 30%. When you’re a small streamer that’s the difference between 30 viewers and 40 viewers… If you could get one Twitch Prime Sub, you’ve more than made your ad revenue for the year.
When you’re a small streamer your main goal should be the growth of your stream, brand awareness, and getting more eyeballs on your content. There are many different ways of accomplishing this. Creating content for different social platforms, but what about sharing your live stream across multiple platforms? If you’re a Twitch Affiliate, when you’re streaming to Twitch, you can only stream to Twitch. Meaning if you want to stream to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch… You can’t… Bummer you’ve pigeon-holed yourself into streaming to one platform. Now that’s not to say you can stream on the other platforms, you just can be streaming to Twitch at the same time. That’s a no no in their terms of service.
WildTwinsFan decided to revoke his Twitch affiliation so he can stream across the different streaming platforms to see if he can grow his reach, then when he’s getting the amount of viewers he wats to get across the various platforms, he might try to push them to a single platform to then monetize.
But Subs and bits are not the end all be all for streamers to make money. You can earn money and not be an affiliate. Donations and merch through platforms like StreamElements and StreamLabs makes it easy to accept donations and merch stores for people to support your stream. There are monthly subscription platforms, like what we use here with Patreon, that your viewers can subscribe to you in a unified way. So with these services this takes care of most of the major benefits of being a Twitch Affiliate.
24 Hour Twitch Content Exclusivity
Per Twitch’s terms of service, you have to wait 24 hours before sharing any content you have created on Twitch. Meaning it’s exclusive to Twitch. Additionally, any content you create on Twitch, they have the ability to use your content in any way they see fit without your permission.
The Good of Twitch Affiliate
With all of the above being said, there are some advantages to being a Twitch affiliate. But are they worth being bound to Twitch?
Amazon Affiliate Status
A great benefit to becoming a Twitch Affiliate is you also become an Amazon Affiliate. Which means you can generate affiliate links for Amazon products and start earning additional income. This is one of the over seen gems of being a Twitch Affiliate. You can take just a little bit of tie to create some review videos of your equipment, post them to YouTube with Amazon affiliate links to those products and start earning real passive income. For example, I haven’t uploaded a video to my Daygon07 YouTube channel since mid 2020 (as of the writing of this post) and I’m averaging making $100 a month not doing anything because of some videos I made month/years ago. As I make more videos I’ll ad more links giving me more opportunities to make more passive income. Starting out, you can make more money this way than streaming. And if you’re making these YouTube videos, you can push those viewers to your Twitch channel and start building rapport and a community with those people. Then they start recommending you to others and sharing your content. That’s another way to grow your reach.
Another benefit of being a Twitch Affiliate is you get “Priority Access” to transcoding. What the heck does that mean? You ever go to a stream on a mobile device but cant reduce the quality because it’s using up too much bandwidth and now the stream is constantly buffering? That’s transcoding. Viewers being able to adjust the quality of the stream to fit their constraints. Now affiliates don’t always get the transcoding feature while partners always have it. How do you know if you have it or not? You wont know it varies from stream to stream. So now you have this element of inconsistency inherently in your stream. Affiliates get it more often than not while non-affiliates, you have a less chance of having transcoding.
Miscellaneous Crap Twitch Likes to Hype
Yeah… I said it… The following is just a bunch of crap that does not really provide any value for the streamer or the viewers…
- Custom Sub Emotes
- Channel Points
- Longer VoD Storage
These things are just gimmicks to induce interaction within chat. Sounds like a good thing right? Well… You can do the same thing with StreamLabs or StreamElements, or other things such as Nightbot or Wizebot. They provide no real value to your channel other than taking the time to create the emotes or paying someone to create them. Not many people, in my experience, use them too much unless you’re one of the top 1% of streamers who are partnered and average hundreds to thousands of viewers.
Should I become a Twitch Affiliate?
In short… My answer is no… The pros do not out weigh the cons. There are other ways to achieving the main benefits of being a Twitch Affiliate with 3rd party services that are free to sign up for and use, they just take a small percentage of what you make… GASP… Calm down, Twitch is gonna do it to you any ways… If someone pays to sub to you, that person is paying minimum $5 for the sub, you get $2.50. If they sub to you for $5 on Patreon, guess what you get $4.50 so you’re making out better anyways. Those bits that give you a penny per bit… is costing the person giving you those bits about 25% more… So you’re keeping more money by not being an affiliate rather than Twitch taking a good portion of your hard earned income.
Focus on growing your brand, your reach, and your community. Don’t make the decision to become an affiliate just to start making money off Twitch. You’ll make more in the long run if you’re not committed to a single platform.
If you have any questions or want to chat with us as you’re going through the decision making process or if you’re already an affiliate and you want to discuss moving away, hit us up on our Discord, Facebook, or Twitter. As always, Keep Grinding!