Where Are We Now?
Recently, I’ve had a few conversations with friends of mine who are looking to get into streaming, or who want to do streaming to make some extra money on the side. I’ve always been pretty transparent with my viewers about numbers especially how much I make off of ads, and why I haven’t made the leap from streaming as a hobby to streaming as a full-time job. Today is June 22nd, 2016 and right now on Twitch we have 16,700 followers, 125 subscribers, 345,000 channel views, and an average of 300+ viewers when streaming One Piece Treasure Cruise, and 100+ when streaming any other game. Obviously, our growth over the past 3 months ago has slowed down significantly on Twitch compared to the previous year. However, while our average concurrent viewers has not grown, the number of viewers who will remain and watch while we stream a variety game has grown which has me very optimistic.
On YouTube we’re doing quite well, and our viewer base is growing at a steady rate. We’ve now got 25,500 subscribers, with 6,800,000 views and 31,400,000 minutes watched on our videos. That’s a 25% increase in the number of subscribers and a 50% increase in the number of views and minutes watched!
The Numbers $$$
Something a lot of people are very weary of showing is how much money they make from ads, donations, subscriptions, etc. I suppose it could be because it’s seen as rude to discuss income in many western cultures, making people feel uncomfortable about an inequality in wages. I’ve also heard from others they they don’t like sharing revenue because it helps give the content creator leverage when negotiating potential partnerships and deals. I can certainly relate to the latter, especially in “real” job interviews where your perceived value to an employer is the difference between getting a job or not, but I’ve never really felt any shame about sharing revenue related to ads or subscriptions.
As you can see, I’ve earned an average of $10/day just from YouTube ads. If you’re unfamiliar with the way ad revenue works, something we must talk about is CPM. CPM is the cost of a thousand ad impressions for the advertiser to pay when their ad is displayed. The actual number for your CPM can vary greatly due to many different factors including the engagement rate of the viewers, as well as the demographics of the viewers. If you’re interested in learning more about CPM Hank Green of the Vlog Brothers has a great post about it in relation to YouTubers.
While getting $10/day seems incredibly low to live off of (and it is) that’s not all of my income from content creation. I only run ads at the end of a Twitch stream right before logging off, or very rarely if I have to take a break and walk away from the computer. There are still ads that run when people first tune into the stream, but many viewers will have adblock turned on which as we discussed earlier will affect our CPM and how much income we get from ads. Even so, from Twitch ads I average about $3/day. However, on Twitch a majority of my income will come from Twitch subscribers.
As stated earlier, I’m currently at 125 subscribers and while a monthly subscription on Twitch costs $5 per month, most channels will only get about 50% of that. Larger channels or channels that have been around for a long time may have different rates, and there are even channels such as Jesse Cox’s Twitch stream who have a 1-time payment. Most channels you won’t be able to tell exactly how many subscribers they have, but if you take a peek at their emotes you have a good idea of what their highest subscriber count was.
On Patreon, I get 90% of the money pledged and it allows for much more flexible contributions. I’m currently not pushing Patreon very hard, and most viewers will subscribe over Twitch for the added benefits of getting access to Twitch emotes. Right now, we have $160 per month pledged on Patreon.
I am still a relative newcomer to the Twitch / YouTube scene. The community I’ve built is still small, but it’s growing and there are many absolutely AMAZING viewers who have been with us for ages. My schedule right now is still the same it was on my last post. 8 hour work days, 4 hours of streaming, 2 hours of editing videos, and barely any sleep. I’ve always been pretty pragmatic about life, and at my day job I am making in a week what I’d make from a full month of Twitch and YouTube. While quitting my job would give me more time and energy to focus on content creation and certainly help me grow exponentially, the income from ads is quite low, donations can vary from month to month, and subscriptions are the only source of stable income.
When looking at blog posts and stories about how much someone is making from ad revenue especially, pay close attention to the date of the information. Recently, the ecosystem around ads and ad revenue has changed dramatically and the amount of money even incredibly successful content creators are getting from ads is not the same as they used to be. I don’t have a set goal in mind for if or when I’ll make a jump to content creation full-time. While it’s a wonderful dream, I have many reservations about leaving my job and jumping in with both feet, but one day maybe the time will be right for me, and at that time I’d love to see you all chatting along with me on Twitch and watching reviews, let’s plays, and guides on YouTube.