I’m the kind of person that likes to analyze data… and Twitch has a ton of data points. But unfortunately, they don’t really share that amalgamated insight with creators. As such, I take it upon myself to regularly seek out information and deliver value. In this case, the truth about being a Twitch affiliate.
This is the second post in a series of data-driven research into the stats of streamers. My first post on this covered NEW Affiliates – those that had hit affiliate in December 2019 and tracked them through to June 2020. This post will cover established Twitch affiliate streamers – those with 25 viewers consistently back in December 2019. It should give a clearer picture to set reasonable expectations as an affiliate! I answer a lot in this post, but if there is anything else you would like to know – ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer it!
Update August 18: The problem with tweets is that most people don’t read the source when something bothers them. As of this moment, this post has 750 views, BUT the tweet has 25,000 views (and 6590 engagements). Which has had at least one person say this information is ‘dangerous’. In any case, the most common question is the sample size. The sample size is 100. There were roughly 25500 affiliates in the 25-50 viewer range in December 2019. Of that, 1131 were at exactly 25 viewers… that’s the population the 100 were taken from. 1/11. Statistically, that still means the margin of error is something like 9% with 95% confidence.
Stats of an Average Twitch Affiliate
Combining all data from January to June, the average Twitch Affiliate has 30 viewers. They make about $444.29 per month while streaming 61 hours monthly. On average, they gain 170 followers per month or roughly, 3 followers per hour.
The middle number (median) is $319.50 per month while streaming 51 hours – gaining 149 followers per month (still 3 per hour.)
When we break that out to compare January with June, we get a clearer picture of growth. In January Twitch affiliates averaged 28 viewers, by June grew to 42. Hours streamed decrease from 86 in January, to 64 in June. Meanwhile, revenue increases from $464.20 in January, to $605.58 in June (it dipped during March/April but rebounded).
As of June, 10% of Twitch Affiliate streamers tracked had quit streaming (mostly during May and June). You’ll recall in the previous group, 24% of new streamers quit streaming in the first 6 months.
Also worth nothing that 6% hit Partner numbers.
**Both the Highest and Lowest Outliers were removed so as to provide a better picture – you’ll see why when we get into the Huge Success story.**
One HUGE Success Story
It’s REALLY interesting that in the New Affiliate group, ONE streamer experienced significant growth. That holds true in the established affiliate group as well. This one streamer captured a trend on the rise and experienced MASSIVE growth. From 32 average viewers in January to over 2600 in June! Not only that but during those six months, they grew by over 110,000 followers! Income growth was dramatic as well, making over $47,000 while streaming 280 hours. (That works out to $165 per hour!)
It’s why I needed to remove them from the calculated average – their stats alone skew the results significantly.
Steps Forward and Steps Back
As we dive deeper into the numbers, some really interesting things happen. There are an equal number of affiliates who grew their average viewer as there are those that lost. In most cases, the drops can be correlated to changes to their main game OR a dramatic change in schedule (going from morning to night).
But, there is some reassuring news – when streamers switched their main game to one that is in the same genre, at worst, they lost 10% of their viewers. And ultimately, switching games within genre had a net positive impact by June.
The Financial Picture for a Twitch Affiliate
As mentioned, the average income for all affiliates was about $444.29 per month. While some affiliates would be thrilled to be earning this month, it’s not the case for most. In the chart below, the majority of streams sit below the trend line, but several affiliates with higher success bring the trend line up. It does give you an idea of hours streamed versus ‘expected’ revenue though – capping out at about $8000 for 1800 hours streamed (70+ hours per week).
A clearer picture is revealed when you look at the average income per hour streamed. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average hourly salary for full-time workers in the United States was $19.33 per hour. If that’s true, only 9% of affiliates earned this much per hour streamed. The lowest, earning just 28-cents per hour. Of course, this is also a false number because it doesn’t take into account the HOURS of work that goes into stream production and community building.
What Unites the Earners
While data can track numbers, it can’t provide context to them. Why does someone earn $30 an hour while someone else earns $0.28? For that, I had to look at the streamer, their content, and activity on other platforms. Among the ones making the most money, there are some commonalities!
- Unique engagement tools. All the streamers earning more had unique ways of interacting with their community. Channel points, unique notifications for $, sub-games and sub perks, custom commands/mini-games in chat, Pokemon trade systems, ‘pick three ingredients’ to make something with, challenges tied to bits, etc. (In case you need Channel Points ideas, this may help!) They monetize engagement well.
- Consistency. With exception of one of the top earners, they stuck to a schedule (mostly after 6PM PST, 9PM EST).
- Reasonable Stream Length. All but one streamed under 20 hours per week. Maximizing the value of the content when live.
- Create Content Elsewhere. Every single successful streamer was popular on a different platform (Several on Tiktok, a couple on YouTube, and one on Twitter).
The point of this post and research isn’t to compare your own success (or failures) as a streamer. While I know a lot of people will do that, the takeaway should be about setting reasonable expectations. It’s not a get rich quick scheme… it’s not even a replacement for a minimum wage job for most! It also doesn’t take into account all the other work that you do OFF stream. Please keep this in mind.
And speaking of finances, if you want to help me continue to create this kind of content – please consider following on Twitch, subscribing, or sending a small tip! Thank you!
Hi, I’m curious to know how you obtained this sample, and how you obtained data on the sample members. In particular, I assume these are self-reported revenues? Further, are these revenues only for sources directly related to Twitch (subscriptions, as revenues, donations, bits, merch, and sponsorships), or is revenue from other sources (Patreon, etc.) included? Did you do any stratification or analysis of sample characteristics to investigate potential bias within the sample? You say you had a 10% dropout from this sample. Does this mean that the final data is calculated only for 90 individuals? Further, did you do analysis… Read more »
Hey Neels! Thanks for the comment! Sample was obtained by first narrowing the field to 25-viewer streamers over a 30-day period. That resulted in 1131 total possible candidates. From there, it was a random selection of 100. Literally dragged the list to random.org, and randomized the order – the top 100 then taken. It was not self reported, but rather chat observed. Any time bits are given, they show up as Cheer100 or PogChamp25 etc. Subscribers and gift subs also have a channel notification. Then it was just a matter of parsing those chat lines. It only factored in that… Read more »
Very interested to know who the explosive growth affiliate was!
Hey, very interesting piece, thank you for that.
I have a few questions –
Hey! I have a few answers.