If you're new to Twitch, you may have seen mentions of Bits and Donations while watching streams. Bits are a virtual currency used in Twitch to show appreciation for a streamer's work.
You Cheer Bits on Twitch to those you enjoy watching or who have entertained you in a meaningful way, encouraging you to micro-donate in the form of Bits.
The feats are similar, but the mechanics behind them are a bit different.
Bits are an internal currency in Tic. You buy them for real money and you can tip a particular streamer for a given amount of Bits to like their stream. Tipping is called Cheering in Twitch when you use Bits.
When you Cheer, you donate a certain number of Bits. Donations are called tips, but they are viewed and operated differently by streamers and users.
To donate Bits, you must first purchase the Bits. Then you can give them away as you see fit. Here's how to buy Bits on Twitch:
- Log in to Twitch and go to a channel.
- Select "Get Bits" at the top right of the stream.
- Select the amount you want to buy and pay them.
- Wait a few seconds for your inventory to update.
Once your Bits arrive in your account, you can encourage streamers however and wherever you want on Twitch.
To donate, type "cheer250 Love your work" or words to that effect. There's a countdown timer to allow for typos, so if you type "cheer2500" instead of "cheer250" you have five seconds to change your mind. Once the Cheer is completed, the transaction also ends and becomes irreversible.
This process works the same on desktop computers and mobile devices. Buying Bits is slightly different on mobile, but using them is the same as on your laptop or desktop.
The more you give, the more you get a discount on your bits, as you can see in the picture. Your badge in the streamers chat shows the number of bits you have given to the streamer.
Buying Bits is approximately 1 Bit per 1c. Once you encourage the streamer, the transaction is irreversible. The streamer receives the Bits as they are given away, but the streamer must accumulate $100 to withdraw them. Newbie streamers or those still working on a sequel will have to wait a while before getting paid. The most popular streamers won't have to wait that long. Twitch is also taking a 25-30% cut to help cover site running costs.
If you donate Bits, you get emotes as a reward. They are payable when you cheer with 1, 100, 1, 000 and 5 Bits and come in different shapes and sizes. The more you cheer, the better the emote. You also earn Cheer Chat badges that show other users on that channel that you're a cheerleader.
Encouraging using Bits is more emotional than donating or subscribing. People usually clap when the streamer is killed, says something funny or clever, or when they win the match. These are reactive spends and are useful to use when you feel the streamer has done something particularly cool.
Donations on Twitch work slightly differently. Instead of buying bits, you tip using your credit card directly. You tip through PayPal directly to the streamer so Twitch doesn't take a cut and the streamer gets all the money. It appears as a message in the stream but is not eligible for emotes or badges.
Tipping is the preferred method of tipping for many Twitch streamers, as the Twitcher receives the entire donation. Twitch does not take a tip share as it is a transaction between you and the streamer. They are also more unpredictable and require streamers to keep their A-game during the entire stream. However, since tips use PayPal, they can use chargeback. This is where the payment is made via PayPal and the recipient decides to cancel it for any reason. This is a downside for tipping.
Since Donations aren't as quick to do as a Cheer, they tend to be less emotional or reactive. These tend to be more measured rewards that you give a streamer for being entertaining or for always being helpful, informative, or fun.
There is a third way to show your appreciation on Twitch and that is subscription. Using Twitch Prime, you can subscribe to a particular channel for a month at a time and the streamer gets a share of it. In exchange for a monthly subscription of $4,99, you can follow a channel for a month. You can also purchase bulk subscriptions for 3 or 6 month tiers.
In return, you get unique emotes and badges and access to chat rooms or exclusive events. Some ad-free experiences are also available, depending on the stream. Different feeds offer different benefits, so check before you subscribe.
It's important to donate Bits on Twitch when a streamer is entertaining you. This is what drives these people to work hard for you and their only reward for perhaps hours of effort. This performance and reward feedback loop is what makes Twitch great, so support it as much as you can!
If you want to learn how to stream your own video games from the PC, check out our article! It will show you the ins and outs of recording your streams on Twitch!