Written by StreamYard
How to Make Money With Live Streaming
Search for "how to make money with live streaming," and you'll find tips on monetizing your live streaming audiences that range from donations, earning money with sponsorships, paid advertisements, building a community, and more.
While there are a lot of people getting into streaming, keep in mind that some 75% of the views on sites like Twitch come from the top 5,000 channels. This means that while you can make money streaming, it does require a lot of work if you want to build a full-time income from live streaming.
The more often you stream, the more opportunities you have to get in front of people and build an audience. But it does take time.
We've compiled some of our favorite ways to make money with live streaming to help you along on your journey. So let's take a look.
How to Make Money With Live Streaming - 9 Fantastic Ways
When trying to make money with live streaming, there are a lot of options to choose from. Here's a list of ways that you can make money with your live streams.
1. Earn Tips When Live Streaming
One way to monetize your live streams is to accept tips. Here are few options to consider.
Remember, you can choose to make all of these available when streaming or only use a handful of them.
The focus should be on your content and messaging. If you have good content, viewers may reward you with tips.
YouTube Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Thanks
For those of you streaming to YouTube Live, you have the ability to enable monetization on your channel with the YouTube Partner Program. You can then make money with a host of streaming options.
These include YouTube Super Chat, chat messages that stand out on your streams.
Another option is YouTube Super Stickers, digital or animated images that viewers can purchase.
Lastly, there are YouTube Super Thanks, a "clapping" animation.
Here is a look at how these YouTube Live monetization options work.
Buy Me A Coffee
Another way to leverage tipping to make money with live streaming is with Buy Me a Coffee.
For example, I often add a scrolling ticker when live streaming with a link to my page.
This can be a great way to fund your work and monetize your live streams simultaneously.
Platforms such as a Facebook offer Facebook Stars. This is a way for viewers to buy Stars while you are streaming on Facebook Live.
When someone sends you a Star, Facebook gives you $0.01 USD.
You can track your earnings within Creator Studio.
This particular method often works best if you have a large, active viewership on Facebook.
While you can use PayPal to send money, you can also use QR codes in your live streams. You just need to generate a QR code from PayPal and then include it in your live streams, such as on an overlay or in the background.
2. Build A Membership Site
If you have the time, you can make a lot more than tips during your live streams if you're also building a membership site.
Admittedly, starting a membership site requires a lot more upfront (and ongoing) work.
The benefit, though, is immense, and you can generate MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) from your viewers instead of waiting for customers to send you a tip or use your referral link.
Starting a membership site makes sense if you plan to roll out additional content.
Further, if you want to invoke the power of a community for branding and sales, membership sites or membership/subscription business models are the way to go.
These are all high-value, high-profit business models or monetization methods that pay you well over time.
Once you get a fully functioning membership site up and running, this can be a lucrative way to make money with live streaming.
If you don't want to build your own membership site, here are some ways you can create it for your live streams using third-party sites.
YouTube Channel Memberships
YouTube offers Channel Memberships that allow your viewers to purchase public badges, emojis, and other creator perks that you set up on your YouTube channel.
To use memberships, you need to first set them up on your channel and then be sure to tell your viewers when you've launched. This way, you can tell them how they access your membership site, along with the benefits of joining yours.
With YouTube's Channel Memberships, you can leverage your YouTube subscribers and build your live presence on a place that people regularly visit to watch videos.
Third-party platforms such as Patreon make it easy for you to build a membership site as well. Viewers can pay you a monthly fee in exchange for exclusive content, insight into your process, and more.
If you go this route, you'll need to decide what levels of membership you're going to offer, along with what is included in each, and then be sure to fulfill what you've promised to your members.
3. Affiliate Marketing
For those looking to make money with live streams, another way is to share links to products you are affiliated with during your live streams.
This can be an easy way to make money with live streaming. Just be sure you follow the FTC guidelines and disclose your relationship to viewers.
You can tap into affiliate marketing as an Amazon Associate and earn money from sales on Amazon. All you need to do is sign-up for Amazon Live. You can then run your QVC-style show on Amazon using StreamYard, and potentially make money talking about products, sharing tutorials, and more.
Affiliates and Referrals
Affiliate marketing -- in the U.S alone -- is going to be an $8.2 billion industry, according to SuperMetrics. Some of the largest affiliate networks have more than 100,000+ affiliates. And at least 80% of publishers have turned to affiliate marketing as a dependable source of income.
Yet, despite those impressive affiliate marketing statistics, we feel that many live streamers (along with bloggers and publishers) don't give affiliate marketing a chance it deserves. Affiliate marketing is a direct fit for all of those live streaming ideas you already have.
For those who publish (videos, blog posts, content of any kind, and live streams), affiliate marketing can earn you decent money. Plus, it can even open up recurring income streams for you.
Furthermore, we'll go as far as to say that affiliate marketing can make you much more money than you'd if you were to depend on ads, donations, or sponsorships.
Depending on the main topics you live stream on, there are affiliate programs that you could join and have your audience purchase products or services that directly relate to the areas you are an expert on.
It's often as simple as being a "product of the product". For example, if you're a StreamYard customer, you should consider joining our affiliate program. If you're already a customer and use our product when talking to your customers, naturally, you should look into referring customers so that you can earn money when they use your referral link.
Sometimes your live streams cater to a specific demographic that a company wants to leverage. You may wish to explore sponsorships with other relevant companies. This can be a lucrative path to earning money with live streaming.
5. Brand Deal or Brand Sponsorship
While some companies will ask to sponsor your live streams, others may want you to talk about their product. They may send you products to review during your live streams. This can sometimes include signing a contract to pay you as well.
Think about your favorite brands, and if you feel like your live stream would be a good fit, consider reaching out to them to inquire about brand deals or brand sponsorships. This would be a win-win situation for the creator and the brand.
6. Join the Creator Economy, DIY (While staying Platform Independent)
The "creator economy" is worth at least 100+ billion dollars, according to Forbes. There are more tools, platforms, and opportunities that you can possibly make use of.
The sheer possibility of "creating to sell" is a phenomenon by itself.
You could be a part of that economy. While YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and several other platforms are a part of the creator economy, we'll drift and try to nudge you in a direction all of your own.
Make your own platform. Build your own audience. This is how it might look:
Once you build your audience, this gives you greater control. You can be platform-independent. For instance, you don't have to depend on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform for your audiences or customers.
By using email marketing alone, you can be in complete control of your own business. No matter what you choose to sell (see below).
7. Sell Digital Products To Make Money With Live Streaming
While affiliate marketing and brand deals can be good ways to earn money on your live streams, they can take time. As a result, a lot of people create their own digital products.
The ecosystem of digital products encompasses a range of products and services -- from SaaS to online courses, from membership sites to paid mastermind groups, and so much more. Additionally, there are also NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) and others.
If you have the expertise, you can package these into a digital product.
Selling digital products is now easier than ever before, and we don't see why you shouldn't try it out.
Digital Product Ideas With Live Streams
While it initially takes a bit of effort, it's worth selling digital products related to your live streaming niche or topic. Here are some ideas and examples:
- Live streaming games, gameplay, or gameplay strategy: Publish an eBook or create a set of videos that deep dive into technical aspects of the gameplay. You can also teach exclusive tactics or strategies to master the game you are so good at. Need more ideas? Sell game cheat sheets, shortcuts, or tips to uncover master strategies.
- Live stream about products or services: Live streaming can be a massively successful content strategy that combines not only the power of video but also brings in an element of live engagement with your potential customers. While you can have as many regular live streaming sessions about your products and services or random Q & A live streams as well, you can package some of your exclusive content and sell them as digital products.
- Live Streaming for Affiliate Marketing: Your live streaming sessions can be a direct source of revenue by using live streams directly for affiliate marketing. It can nudge your audience to make purchases by using reviews, opinions, comparisons, or just plain old "Unboxing Live Videos".
Of course, you can also mix and match the above live streaming strategies to boost your content marketing footprint.
Some more ideas start with your live streams but end up with much more profitable products, which brings us to...
8. Sell Online Courses
Selling online courses is a derivative of selling digital products. However, it requires an honorable mention (because it's significant). By 2022, the eLearning market is projected to grow to a $240 billion industry.
Quick question: Between selling online courses, writing a book and traditionally publishing it, selling eBooks, trying to make money from a YouTube Channel, selling a book on Amazon, and making money through ads or sponsorships, what do you think fetches you maximum profits with relatively less effort?
The answer: Selling online courses.
Online courses have tremendous potential for you as a live streamer. Of course, there is initial work that you'll need to do upfront. But if the online courses are good, they can typically sustain themselves and only need a slight refresh a few times per year.
9. Sell Physical Merch
You may have seen some of your favorite creators holding up coffee mugs with their logo on them. This can be an excellent way to make money from your live streams.
For example, we have a merch store where you can purchase your favorite StreamYard goods and apparel.
If you want to add another income stream to your live streams, you may want to consider selling physical merchandise or "merch".
You can set up a storefront on your website, or if streaming to YouTube Live, set up a merch shelf using print-on-demand services that dropship items for you (this means they handle the printing, packaging, and shipping for you).
This can be a great way to brand your live streams and even reach new viewers as customers begin wearing your merch to get-togethers, conferences, and more.
You can also encourage your customers to share their love for your brand on their live streams or social media channels. This can result in more viewers and potentially more revenue.
You stand to make more money from live streaming when you utilize a number of the ways mentioned above.
Remember, as you start to build a following when live streaming, you should also begin to see the revenue you bring in increasing.
Here's a quick recap about some of the ways to make money online with live streaming:
- Take advantage of built-in live streaming monetization features available on most popular social platforms or live streaming communities. For example, YouTube has "SuperChat". Twitch has "Cheer" using bits (the platform's virtual currency), and Facebook's Tipping Service using Stars. Twitter has a tipping feature as well.
- Directly ask for tips and donations from your live streaming audience.
- Get regular payments from platforms. Your audiences can make regular payments through platforms you use for live streaming distribution. For instance, YouTube rolled out a channel membership program. Twitch has a paid subscription program as well.
- Use third-party platforms such as Patreon, GoFundMe, or Kickstarter to raise funds (one-time or continuously) from your audience.
- Make money from live streaming using advertisements on your content.
- Bring in additional revenue for live streaming by endorsing products or services through brand partnerships or sponsorships.
As you can see, there are multiple streams of income for live streamers to profit from.
Try out some of the techniques mentioned on your streams to identify the top performers for you, and continue to test out different ways to make money with live streaming.