So you’ve decided you want to stream on Twitch and may have grand designs on becoming the next big Twitch Partner. While the road is a long & windy one, I would recommend you set a smaller goal as part of your journey and instead aim for Twitch Affiliate.
What’s a Twitch Affiliate?
About a year ago - April 2017 - Twitch announced the Affiliate program as a means to support a greater number of streamers beyond the Partner program. This new program, based on a clear set of achievements, allowed a much larger number of qualified streams to:
- gain a subscribe button & earn a portion of the sub.
- receive bits during a stream & earn some cash.
- make a few bucks on the sale of games via the Twitch marketplace.
To gain that coveted invitation to the Twitch Affiliate program, a streamer must stream at least 8 hours, on 7 unique days, and reach an average of 3 viewers in a 30 day period, while at the same time reach 50 followers.
Of the four achievements, the two completely within your control - streamed hours & days - are relatively easy to hit. And in my observation, hitting 50 followers is also possible with consistent effort.
The toughest of the bunch is reaching the average of 3 viewers per stream. During my Path to Affiliate journey, I found this a constant struggle - while I’d peak out at 6 or 7 viewers on a regular basis, the average over the stream would bottom out at 2.
The Average of 3
While there is no magic formula to get your average viewership up, there are a number of tactics that you can consider:
- A Consistent Schedule - the more consistent your schedule is, the more likely you’ll have viewers return.
- Are You Not Entertained? - just like the movie Gladiator, you need to keep your audience entertained if you want to gain their favour. Engage those who reach out & learn to vocalize your thoughts - this is still though for me to do.
- Friends & Family Forever - most of my streams have my brother and/or a few friends in attendance. Even if only one friend hangs out while you frag away, that’s one third of the progress you need.
- Networking - much like your friends & family hanging out, if you contribute to the Strats community here & engage with us, you’ll often find we’ll swing by your stream to show you support. Conversely, if you just spam the heck out of the forums or Discord, you’ll be as popular as EA. This is no different than any form of networking in real life or online - you will only ever get back at most what you give.
So Where Do I Apply?
That’s the thing - you don’t have to. If you hit those three achievements in the same 30 day period, and in turn have your 50 followers, you need only wait for the email to arrive in your inbox. For some, this happens within a day. For others, it can take a week or more. While there is no objective evidence of what triggers the invitation once you make the grade, it doesn’t hurt to have someone toss you a follow - kid you not that I received mine seconds after a follow once I qualified.
Qualified streamers will be invited via email, Notification, and an announcement in their dashboard. Invitations will continue to be sent out on a rolling basis as new streamers qualify for the program. Once a streamer has been invited, a new section will appear on their Settings tab that allows them to register for the Affiliate Program and enable Bits! - Twitch
Once you get that invitation, you’ll need to go through the Affiliate Onboarding process. This has you provide payment information, complete a tax interview, agree to a payout agreement, and select a payment method. And if you haven’t done so already, you’ll also need to add two-factor authentication to your account.
So… What Do I Get?
The nitty gritty:
- Cheering with Bits (no custom cheermotes)
- Subscriptions (one emote per sub tier)
- Game Sales
You also gain access to transcoding with priority access when it is available (you lacked the priority part as a regular streamer).
Affiliate Today, Partner Tomorrow?
Good question. For some of us - me for instance - being a Twitch Affiliate is enough. For some of you, you aspire to be more and that’s cool too.
The road to becoming a Twitch Partner is not an easy one. It requires dedication and an investment of time. Sure you may win the lottery & get a raid from a big-time partner, yet most of the raid will come & go with the weather if you don’t provide a compelling product for people to return to.
And Twitch knows this.
Partnership is not something you simply acquire by hitting a few targets. That doesn’t mean there aren’t targets though:
That’s right, three achievements - stream 25 hours on 12 unique days with an average of 75 viewers in a 30 day period - just to be eligible. And then you apply & hope for the best.
So what helps you with that application & those achievements? Well here are a few tips:
- Dress for Success - think of each stream as an interview. While showing up without a jacket worked for Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness, it likely won’t cut it with a professional stream. People are visually inclined and it helps to put your best foot forward - have a camera with a professional background, a decent audio source, and professional looking brand presence. Heck, for those who qualify, our very own @Vocino has stepped up to over his services to provide custom streaming assets.
- Find Your Niche - this is a catch-all. Are you planning on streaming your Fortnite Battle Royale gameplay? That’s cool - just keep in mind that the title is saturated beyond belief & there are only so many viewers to go around. When Ninja is pulling in 100k viewers for his FNBR streams, there aren’t a whole lot left to go around. And what’s the compelling thing you provide that no other does as well as you? Someone like Sheriff Eli figured out his niche and he owns it.
- Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day - and neither will be your stream. While it may seem like a fun way to make a living being a full-time Twitch streamer, it’s still a job that requires you to invest time to be successful. And just like any job, the best path to success is to set SMART goals - something specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & timely. If your goal can’t measure to any of those requirements, then refine it so it does.
Have at it!