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Ultimate Guide on How to Become a Twitch Affiliate

Not all Twitch streamers are equal. Twitch rewards its better streamers by making them Affiliates and Partners. The Twitch Affiliate program allows qualified streamers to monetize their channel as they build their audience. The Twitch Partnership Program is for those committed to streaming who are ready to level up from being an Affiliate. In this guide, we look at how to become a Twitch Affiliate to start your journey to becoming part of the Twitch elite.

Should I Become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner?

To monetize your channel, you have to become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner. But it is much easier to become a Twitch Affiliate, as Twitch considers Partners to be elite streamers, making it much more challenging to achieve membership in this select group of streamers. Twitch partnerships are invitation-only, although Twitch does publicize the path you need to follow to reach that status.
At least Twitch provides a clear path to follow from being a "noob" to becoming one of the top echelons of Partners. As with most online creators, it takes hard work and sheer tenacity to make it to the top, but Twitch streamers can eventually succeed if they work sufficiently hard and don't get distracted by other activities. Twitch provides the Twitch Creator Camp, an online portal of resources to help you learn all you need to know about streaming on Twitch. While this won't take you as far as becoming a Twitch Partner, you will find lessons on Twitch basics, branding and analytics, building your community, and monetizing your content. Creator Camp even hosts live learning sessions with Twitch Partners, staff, and other streaming experts. If you put these tips into action with your streaming, you should be well on the way to becoming a Twitch Affiliate.

Joining the Twitch Affiliate Program

Once you've been streaming for a while and learned the basics of operating on the platform, you may feel confident enough to become a Twitch Affiliate. Twitch sets distinct criteria for the program, although they reserve the right to change them. The requirements currently are that you have:
  • At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
  • At least seven unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
  • At least 50 Followers
On the surface, these don't seem to make an insurmountable barrier. Twitch just wants to ensure that you will be a serious streamer on its platform and can be relied upon to draw in some viewers and follow a reasonable schedule.
At any time, you can check on your progress towards meeting these requirements by going to Insights → Achievements on the left menu of your Creator Dashboard. The Path to Affiliate achievement tracks your progress, and once your channel qualifies to join the program, you'll be able to click on the button that appears there.
A few weeks after Twitch notices that your channel meets these criteria, they will send you an invitation to become an Affiliate via email and send you a notification that will show up in the Notification Area in the upper right corner of your Twitch screen.
You have to be at least 13 to become an Affiliate on Twitch. However, if you are under 18, your parent or guardian will have to agree to the Affiliate Agreement terms on your behalf.

What Do You Do When You've Received Your Invitation to be a Twitch Affiliate?

Assuming you wish to monetize your channel and become a Twitch Affiliate, you will probably feel elated when you get the official invitation. However, there are still a few things to do before claiming that status and receiving its benefits. The onboarding process involves two-factor authentication, so make sure you have your mobile phone handy before carrying out this process.
Your invitation will include a Get Started link. Click on this, and Twitch will open up the Preferences tab on your Creator Dashboard. First, it will ask you for some basic general-type information as part of the registration process. Next, Twitch will present you with the Twitch Affiliate Agreement (which ideally, you should read), and you have to click the appropriate button on this to agree to the terms of the program. 
Twitch then asks you for payment-related information, e.g., tax and bank information. Twitch offers you a range of payment methods, depending on your location, including direct deposit to a bank account, wire, PayPal, and cheque. You can also opt for Twitch to hold your payments, for example, when you need to sort out new payout details. There is a payment threshold of $100 before you can initiate a payout.

Benefits of Being an Affiliate

Apart from an element of status, with a perception that Twitch Affiliates and Partners are more serious about their streaming than other Twitch channels, the main benefit of being an Affiliate is that you can monetize your channel. Affiliates can earn revenue from Bits, Subscriptions, and Ads.
Twitch suffered a data leak in October 2021, which made the earnings of some of its top streamers public. These leading streamers, of course, are Partners rather than Affiliates, but it gives a guide to what successful streamers can earn from the platform. The leaked data showed that streamers in the top 100 on the platform make a minimum of $32,850 per month on Twitch via Subs, Bit donations, and Ads. In addition, streamers in the top 1000 make a minimum of $7,063 per month, and those in the top 10,000 make at least $904 per month.
Stream Scheme polled its Discord community and found that most streamers generally receive Bits and Subs from 5-15% of their total viewers, 50%-125% of their concurrent viewers. Once a typical Affiliate receives their first payment, streamers earn between $100-$1000 per month until they make Partner.

1. Twitch Bits

Twitch viewers can reward their favorite streamers by Cheering in a streamer's channel. People can only Cheer in a channel where the streamer has reached Affiliate or Partner status. You can look at Cheering as somebody paying a tip to a streamer they like.
When people Cheer in your channel, they use special animated emotes (called Cheermotes) in your chat stream. They "pay" for these emotes using Bits, a type of virtual currency on Twitch.
Of course, they first have to have Bits they can use. This is where they have to make actual money payments. The price they pay for Bits will depend on their local currency. Also, they will be able to buy larger quantities of Bits at a discounted rate.  
Twitch charges different amounts (in Bits) for different Cheermotes –more expensive emotes tend to be flashier and more animated than cheaper ones. So, when someone decides to use a Cheermote in your chat, they will decide on the emote they want to use and pay sufficient Bits to buy it. So, if they're going to use the 100-Bit emote, they will type "cheer100", and assuming they own at least 100 Bits, they can use that Cheermote in a chat message on your channel.
If you are an Affiliate, your Cheerers will be limited to using the standard set of Twitch Cheermotes. However, once you make the leap to Partner, you will be able to create custom Cheermotes for your channel.
Cheering with Twitch bits benefits both the viewer and the streamer. Cheering elevates the viewer's voice in Chat with animated emotes and expresses their enthusiasm through interactive leaderboards and extensions. A viewer earns a Cheer Chat Badge when they first use a Cheer in a channel and then can upgrade to better Cheer Chat Badges as they use more Cheermotes in the future. Twitch rewards streamers when someone Cheers in their channel, typically at 1 cent per Bit (or the equivalent in your local currency). This may not sound like a significant revenue source, but it can build up over time as more of your supporters Cheer in your channel.

2. Subscriptions

Subscriptions can be particularly lucrative for a streamer as they mean that somebody pays you a recurring income each month. You can set up up to three subscription tiers, offering different benefits at each one for your loyal supporters. In addition, you can give Subscriber Emotes, with differing emotes available at each subscription level. You can organize the Subscriber Emotes for your channel on your dashboard (under Viewer Rewards →Emotes → Subscriber Emotes). Both Affiliates and Partners can upload custom emotes to act as your Subscriber Emotes.
Twitch gives you sub-points for each subscriber you attract to your channel. You receive one sub-point for every Tier 1 subscriber, two points for every Tier 2 subscriber, and six points for every Tier 3 subscriber. Twitch then gives you extra emote slots as your subscriber points rise. Affiliates can access up to five unlockable Sub Emotes. If you reach Partner status, you will be able to unlock up to 60 Sub Emotes. In addition, Affiliates start with one animated Sub Emote and can unlock more with additional sub-points. You can access more of these if you reach Partner status.

3. Ad Revenue

Affiliates and Partners earn a share of the revenue generated from any video ads on their channel. You can determine the length and frequency of mid-roll ad breaks on your dashboard. Twitch takes 50% of the ad revenue, so you get to keep the remaining 50% (although some Partners have negotiated a higher share.)

Reward Members of Your Community with Channel Points

One of the benefits of achieving Twitch Affiliate status is that you can start awarding Channel Points to your viewers and supporters. Channel points come with automated rewards, but you can customize these to suit your audience. The points your viewers earn are specific to your channel, and they automatically accumulate whenever viewers log in and watch you. Your viewers earn rewards for watching you, following you and participating in Raids. In addition, they gain additional Watch Streak points for viewing at least ten minutes of consecutive streams (up to five consecutive streams). Subscribers earn Channel Points at a faster rate than non-subscribers.

What Can You Do to Speed up Becoming a Twitch Affiliate?

The sooner you build your viewer base and follower numbers, the quicker you will receive the invitation to become a Twitch Affiliate. The requirements aren't really that difficult – you just need to prove that you are organized and serious about your streaming.
Meeting the first two requirements is totally up to you, as they relate to the time you spend streaming. While 500 minutes of streaming may seem a lot to a new streamer, it really just means that you stream for a little more than eight hours over a month – about two hours per week. Therefore, you should regularly stream, even if you don't have many viewers. 
The requirement for seven unique broadcast days means that you shouldn't concentrate your streaming into just a couple of long streams. Instead, stream on at least two days every week, preferably more. Establishing a consistent streaming timetable makes it easier for people to find your broadcasts.
Next, you are going to need to build yourself a following. It shouldn't be too difficult to attract 50 followers and average at least three concurrent viewers.
Promote your Twitch stream on all your social channels. For example, you can link to your stream from your Facebook and Twitter accounts and use your Twitch account URL as your permitted link on your Instagram and TikTok bios.
Next, you have to think about your streaming content. Learn from some of your favorite streamers. What do they do to attract your attention? Make sure you're playing a game that people like to watch and try to be as charismatic as possible on-screen. Some new streamers find they dry up on screen and can't keep a one-sided conversation going. This might take a bit of practice, but it is an important skill to learn.
During your streams, take notice of your chat message stream. Make a point of following along with it and reply to your viewers' questions.

One Negative of Being a Twitch Affiliate

While becoming a Twitch Affiliate is a positive step for most streamers, there is one concern you might have. The Twitch Affiliate Agreement includes an exclusivity clause. As a result, you can't simultaneously stream to other streaming platforms, such as YouTube or Facebook. In addition, you can't even post your Twitch streaming content on your YouTube channel for at least 24 hours.
While cross-platform streaming may help increase your visibility initially, you probably have less need for it once you have reached Affiliate status. And it doesn't stop you from sharing older content on your other social channels or making completely separate streams on those channels. As the Twitch Affiliate Agreement says, "After the Exclusivity Period of any Live Twitch Content, the license to such Live Twitch Content will become non-exclusive, and you will have the right to broadcast, stream, distribute, exhibit and otherwise make available such Live Twitch Content in any manner and format desired by you."