Many people are attracted to the idea of a livestreaming career. What could be better than working from home, and earning a living by playing video games, doing art, or showing off some other creative talent?
The harsh truth is, unfortunately, that most people who choose to livestream don’t make much money. Just like with being a musician or an actor, it’s hard to differentiate yourself and make it big.
However, we’ve compiled some of the best ways to make money from livestreaming, no matter what level you’re at! Read: Best 5 Livestreaming Platforms for Starting Your Stream
Special thanks to Burst for the image in the cover photo above.
The Top Ways to Earn Money from Livestreaming
Some streaming platforms such as YouTube Live allow streamers to play ads at any time during their stream. This is a great opportunity for streamers to take a break while they run, as well as make a bit of money from ad revenue.
This is not generally the most profitable thing for streamers, so you wouldn’t be faulted for skipping ads as part of your money-making plan. Especially considering that viewers may get annoyed by constant ads.
One of the main ways streamers can make money is through donations from viewers. In fact, a 2017 study by Deloitte states that “The primary revenue model for this market is likely to be tipping, whereby viewers donate money to performers.” There are a lot of opportunities for viewers to send donations to streamers. Sometimes they do it just because they’re charitable and sometimes they do it because there is a message attached that they want the streamer to see.
Some streaming services are better than others when it comes to donations. Twitch allegedly takes 50% of a donation for themselves, whereas DLive gives 100% to the streamer.
YouTube has Superchat, which shows the donator’s message for longer, and highlights it, so that the streamer (and viewers) can see it better. Twitch has bits, which works similarly. Some streamers will have a message sent this way pop up on their actual stream for everyone to see. Mixer has sparks, which are very similar to bits.
You can also accept donations through PayPal, which may give you a better cut of the money.
Live content on most streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube are free. But there can be extra content hidden behind a paid subscription. All streaming platforms have this paid option, and are mostly another way to support streamers. A monthly subscription is kind of like a monthly donation! Subscribers will receive special badges to signify their support, or be able to participate in subscriber-only chats. Twitch is also playing around with subscriber-only streams, which offers more incentive to subscribe.
An alternative to subscriptions is to open a Patreon page. Fans can donate each month to have access to special content. If that fits better than what your streaming platform gives, it may be worth looking into.
Affiliate programs are not just for streaming on Twitch. You can make use of affiliate programs if you’re a YouTuber, blogger, or social media influencer, as well. Essentially, affiliate programs give you a special link to a website, and when someone uses it to make a purchase, the owner of the link will get a cut of the revenue.
This works great for streamers because it allows them to promote a product or service they love, and make money off of it. The first thing that any streamer should do is create a section in their page description to list their stream setup gear. Then they should use Amazon (or another store) affiliate links to direct viewers to those products. If they buy one of those items from your link, you will get a percentage of that money. It is an easy way to make money in the background, and it’s not very intrusive to viewers.
Sponsors and Brand Deals
If you are influential enough, a brand may reach out to you to promote their products on your stream. This is a great way to make a large sum of money or to get free gear from them. If you’re feeling brave, you can also reach out to brands yourself – the worst they can say is “no”!
The best rule of thumb is to stay on-theme. Don’t promote lawn-care products on your gaming channel, for example. Both you and the brand involved will have a better experience if the product resonates with your audience. If you want to make money livestreaming, then having sponsors to create a “base income” for yourself is a great strategy.
Selling merchandise is something that will depend on your audience. It takes a pretty passionate audience member to wear a t-shirt with your logo on it, in public! But, if the demand is there, branded merchandise can be a great thing to have. Much like affiliate links, it can be a way to make income in the background, because you will always have merchandise available.
The Bottom Line: Can You Make Money Livestreaming?
Yes, you can definitely make money livestreaming! It will be challenging, but rewarding. If you work on some of these money-making strategies as you grow, everything should go great. It’s hard to make money without an audience though, so your primary goal will be to get viewers to your stream. If you follow some of these tips, you’ll be able to scale your income along with your audience.