Find out where to make the most money: YouTube or Twitch
Before we dive into the mechanisms that enable content creators to make money through YouTube or Twitch; let’s take a look at a few key differences.
1. Platform popularity
Twitch has been a live streaming platform since 2011. YouTube started out with VoD in 2005 and joined the live streaming party in 2013. YouTube is still a giant in terms of active monthly users. Twitch has 140 million compared to YouTube’s 1.8 billion monthly active users!
2. Content discoverability
A key factoid to remember about YouTube is that it is owned by Google, the largest search engine in the world. It then follows that, with YouTube’s popularity, it is the second largest search engine in the world.
Why is this important? Well, YouTube uses an algorithm to find what you’re searching for. This means there are a number of variables used to determine how search results are ordered which means better discoverability.
Twitch is more like a directory where search results are based on video views. This means that search is skewed towards established streamers. If you’ve just started streaming the chances of being found through Twitch’s search is basically impossible.
On YouTube you could make one video and get millions of views. This is unlikely yes, but still possible. In short YouTube is a lot more discoverable, which can help you to grow your channel even if you aren’t consistently uploading content.
3. Channel growability
This brings us nicely to the next point. Growing your channel. If you want to make money you will need to have a decently sized audience.
Without discoverability, on Twitch, you need to be live and streaming a lot! Your Twitch channel will grow the most when you are live. So if you want to grow, you need to be constantly connected to the platform, which makes it very time consuming.
Here again YouTube has the edge. With strong discoverability and video archives (that are actually watched by viewers; not so on Twitch) you don’t have to be constantly streaming to grow your channel. Once your videos are out there, they are like little foot soldiers, forever finding new viewers.
Finally! Well done for getting this far. Now that we have the background we can get into the question every streamer has asked at some point. ‘YouTube or Twitch? Which is the best platform for making money?’
Both platforms require that you reach certain thresholds to be eligible for channel monetization.
When it comes to ease of monetization, Twitch wins! In order to monetize your channel you just need to become an Affiliate or Partner. To become an Affiliate is relatively easy, becoming a Partner takes longer and offers additional benefits.
In order to qualify as an Affiliate and enable monetization you need:
- 500 minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
- 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers in the last 30 days
- 50 Followers
To monetize your YouTube channel you need to become a Partner. To become a partner you need:
- 4,000 watch hours in the last year
- 1,000 subscribers
- Your content is approved by YouTube
- You an approved AdSense account linked
With YouTube you will probably have to bust your butt for a good few months before you can even turn on monetization. And then you discover that you only earn around $1 per day on ad revenue!
1. Earn ad revenue
The most popular form of monetization is still displaying ads on your videos. Once you are a Twitch Affiliate or YouTube Partner you will be able to set this up so you can start to earn money on your content.
To make a decent amount of money from ad revenue alone you will need to be, not just big, but huge. And at that level there are far more lucrative ways to make cash!
Bottom line is, that though popular, ad revenue is not a big money maker on either YouTube or Twitch and should not be your sole income source.
2. Subscriptions and channel memberships
Subscriptions were initially introduced on Twitch only for Partners, but recognizing that the smaller streamers also needed a way to monetize Twitch introduced the Affiliate program in 2017. Through the Affiliate program smaller streamers were given access to advertising, subscriptions and currency payments.
Subscriptions are a game changer for many streamers as they provide access to a stable income stream. YouTube followed Twitch in 2018 and introduced channel memberships for Partners.
Outside of YouTube and Twitch there are other subscription based support sites like Patreon that take far less of a cut of the revenue than the two main streaming platforms.
3. Twitch bits and SuperChat
The last form of monetization you will get access to through eligibility, is site specific donations.
On Twitch you get Twitch Bits that can be purchased through Amazon. Viewers use bits to support and cheer in a streamer’s chat.
YouTube has recently taken a leaf from Twitch’s book and started SuperChat. SuperChat allows viewers to pay to highlight their chat messages. The more you pay the more prominent and longer lasting the highlight.
These are both great monetization strategies, but just like ad revenue and subscriptions both platforms take a sizable share of the revenue.
4. Cost-free donations tools
Whether you meet the eligibility requirements of each platform or not, you can monetize your channel with external tools.
My first choice is Rechaaarge. With one click setup it’s a no brainer and, in addition, it helps you monetize the portion of your audience that are not able to support you financially.
Just by trying an app or game, your viewers can donate to you cost-free!
To get started:
- Connect your Twitch or Youtube account with one click to activate your profile
- Share your personal Rechaaarge link on social media and during your streams or videos
- You’re all set and ready to go!
5. Use other paid donations tools
Streamlabs OBS and Streamelements are both stream management tools that have been widely popular among streamers to setup donations. They support the main payment methods and both don’t take any of your revenue.
Muxy is a tool dedicated exclusively to Twitch. And, of course, it adds personalized alerts on screen, with a modern and cool design.
6. Sell merchandise
Fans love stuff, and if you do your job well, eventually they will love you too! Convert their enthusiasm into dollar bills by selling physical products like mugs, t-shirts, hoodies etc. emblazoned with your personal brand.
Streamlabs Merch and Teespring are good options if you need a company to handle the entire process of merchandising from beginning to end. If you already have your own design another option is to head over to Merch by Amazon and they will handle everything else. If you’re on Twitch definitely check out Design by Humans as they have a store extension so your viewers don’t ever need to leave your channel.
7. Get brand sponsorship
Finding and getting brand sponsorship usually will make up the majority of a successful content creator’s income. As such this is an important part of monetizing your channel.
If you are lucky, you will be approached by brands with sponsorship deals. Either they will pay you to promote their brand or to use their products in your content. If you don’t get approached; don’t worry.
There are agencies whose sole purpose is to connect brands and content creators. If you want sponsorship then you can approach one such agency and get on their books. YouTube purchased Famebit to help their creators connect with brands. Twitch has the Bounty Board Program which allows streamers to connect with brands directly through their dashboard.
So … which platform is better for your wallet?
My rule of thumb before I wrote this article was: if you are a streamer use Twitch, and if you are a content uploader use YouTube.
I still think Twitch is best for streaming and YouTube for Vod. But now I recognize the differences in each platform and how they can complement each other to increase your payout.
YouTube has capabilities to help grow a streamer’s channel and exposure. If I wanted to make money streaming I would stream on Twitch and upload short (under 15 mins) highlight videos to YouTube to grow my following on both platforms.
If I were a content uploader and make money on YouTube, I would create a Twitch channel and stream at scheduled times to grow and deepen my relationship with my viewers. And of course, increase my audience monetization.