How to Become a Twitch Affiliate and Start Making Money

You don’t have to be an online superstar to make a few bucks streaming your favorite games and activities on Twitch.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thanks to the company’s Affiliate program, those that are early in their Twitch journey can start to make revenue by simply having a modest viewerbase and a semi-consistent streaming schedule. It’s a good stepping stone to the company’s more demanding but lucrative Partner program, and a nice way to earn a few extra bucks doing something you enjoy. 

In fact, I recently hit Twitch Affiliate status somewhat accidentally -- all it took was a few weekends of playing Mortal Kombat in front of my friends. Here are some tips from my journey to Affiliate, as well as some general do’s and don’ts to know about as you build up your channel.

Twitch Affiliate requirements: what you need to get started

First things first, here are the requirements for becoming a Twitch Affiliate. 

  • 500 total minutes broadcast (over the last 30 days)
  • Stream on 7 unique days (over the last 30 days)
  • An average of 3 or more concurrent viewers (over the last 30 days)

Affiliates can enjoy many of the monetization benefits of Partners, including paid monthly subscriptions, Twitch Prime subscriptions, the ability to earn Bits from viewers, and a cut of revenue for any games purchased through your channel. .

While I already had about 40 followers when I started my Affiliate journey thanks to some sporadic streaming over the past few years, I hit the rest of the requirements in less than two months of casual but consistent streaming. Here’s how I got there.

Promote yourself

This one’s a no brainer, but no one’s going to know that you’re streaming if you don’t talk about it! I put a tweet out every time I start a new stream, and made a one-time post on Facebook letting folks know that I was streaming more regularly. There are also plenty of great automated tools for self-promotion -- I personally use this TwitchBot Discord bot to automatically notify my friends in my Discord server every time I start broadcasting.

While I gained a few new followers organically, I was able to hit the 50 mark by gently pestering my friends to give me a follow via group chats and social media. Every follower counts! 

Don’t stress about your equipment (at first)

As I’ve mentioned in my Twitch streaming guide, direct-from-console streaming is a great way to get started in your broadcasting journey. In fact, I hit Affiliate status entirely by streaming directly from my PS4.

Credit: Tom's Guide/Sony

(Image credit: Tom's Guide/Sony)

Even without any fancy overlays, I was able to keep my friends and viewers engaged by simply playing a game I was really into (in my case, Mortal Kombat 11), and providing lively commentary while regularly engaging my chat. I’ve since invested in building a gaming PC in order to provide a more full production for my viewers, but plenty of Affiliate -- and even Partner -- broadcasters stream right from their console simply because their gameplay speaks for itself. 

Consistency over quantity 

It’s easy to assume that simply streaming for hours and hours on end will lead to success, but streaming smarter beats streaming harder. Most of my streaming sessions in my ramp-up to Affiliate status consisted of weekend morning broadcasts, and I rarely streamed for more than two hours at a time. But because I kept a somewhat consistent schedule -- even if it was just on Saturdays and Sundays, I noticed that a handful of people kept coming back. 

Engage your chat

Credit: Mike Andronico

(Image credit: Mike Andronico)

Every viewer counts -- especially when you’re just starting out. I always make a point to interact with everyone in my chat room, whether it’s a friend of mine stopping by to goof off or a total stranger looking for game advice. One recent follower of mine stopped by asking for help with Mortal Kombat, and I was delighted to see them come back the next day to keep the conversation going. Every streamer has their style, but talking frequently to your chat creates an interactive, inclusive environment that will make people want to come back.

What’s next?

So, you’ve hit Affiliate status. Now what? For one, you should take advantage of the new perks you can provide your subscribers, including emotes, which are the vast array of channel-specific emoticons you’ve likely seen viewers spamming in chat rooms. Affiliates get one emote to start and can earn more by building up subscribers, so make sure to come up with something fun and unique to your channel. 

Where you go from there all depends on your priorities as a streamer. If you want to be eligible to apply to Twitch’s more lucrative Partner program, you’ll need to stream for 25 hours on 12 different days and average at least 75 viewers over a 30-day period. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for growing your channel to this point, but following some of the advice in our ultimate guide to Twitch streaming will help get you there.

Of course, if you’re content to continue streaming for fun and getting some pocket change in the process, then keep doing what you’re doing. Play what you love, engage your community, and who knows? Your channel just might blow up on its own.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.