It can be overwhelming to choose which platform to live stream on. There are so many free and paid live streaming options that it can get confusing for a beginner. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right platform. Fortunately, we’re here to help you sort through your choices.

What are Streaming Platforms and Why Do You Need Them?

Live streaming lets you record and broadcast videos at the same time. You can liken it to a TV show but it’s streamed online. To live stream, you need a strong Internet connection, a device that can connect to the Internet, and a live streaming platform.

A live streaming platform is where you live stream your videos. Unless you have your own website with a bandwidth that can handle live streaming, you’ll need a streaming platform to broadcast your live feed.

This could be a website or an app. Some of the most popular platforms include YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Twitch, and Instagram Live Stories.

Live streaming has become larger than life in recent years. Even large companies like Nissan and General Motors have used it for product launches. In fact, Facebook live broadcasts have doubled in June 2020 compared to the same month last year.

But what makes live streaming so popular?

For starters, it’s highly engaging. Viewers can interact live by commenting on the video. It gives them the chance to connect with their favorite streamers in real-time. And unlike mainstream TV, anybody can be a live streamer. That’s why it has become so popular, especially with millennials and Gen Z-ers taking over the online world.

When used properly, live streaming is a great tool for young people to develop their communication skills and confidence. It also allows them to connect with other like-minded people going through similar experiences. This can help them feel less socially isolated and more involved.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Streaming Platform

Here are five things you need to consider when choosing your live streaming provider.

1. Ease of use

Streaming is a complex technology, but you don’t have to know how it works to use it. You don’t need to know how the video cameras, audio equipment, codecs and compression, hosting services, streaming protocols, and encoding software all work together to produce a live video.

A good live streaming platform should be able to take such complexities and make them invisible to you. You should be able to figure your way around and get started in a few minutes.

We recommend that you take advantage of live stream platform free trials to make sure you choose a platform that’s easy to use.

2. Monetization

You’re spending time, money and effort creating your videos, so it’s only natural to want to make money from them. Most streaming platforms offer many ways for you to monetize your live broadcast. For example, Facebook allows viewers to send stars to streamers. One star is equivalent to one cent. When your event is over, your video will be saved and published as a regular video, which can also be monetized with ads.

3. Features

Take a look at the features and how they are relevant to your needs. In most cases, the streaming service is enough. But sometimes, having a few extra features can help you create more compelling content. For instance, features like live embedding, privacy control, and real-time and post analytics can help you get ahead of other live streamers.

4. Cost

Live streaming is an affordable way to get your content in front of a live audience. There are plenty of free streaming platforms to choose from, such as Facebook and YouTube. But if you have more specific needs, you may want to pay for a live streaming service. This is where you need to be more discerning. Are you getting your money’s worth or are you paying too much for features you’re not using?

5. Support

Most free live streaming platforms offer limited technical support. Often, you can only get support via a forum or through email. And tickets sent through these channels can take days to get resolved. Unfortunately, every second your stream is down during a live event, you lose a portion of your audience.

For simple streams, this isn’t much of a big of a deal. But for large events, such as product launches, you can potentially lose a lot of money. That’s why it’s vital to choose a paid platform with 247 chat or phone support if you’re going to be holding big events. You’ll be talking to a real expert who can help lessen the amount of time spent resolving the problem.

What are the Best Live Streaming Platforms?

Here’s a quick video streaming platforms comparison guide to help you decide which one is best for you.

Twitch

Twitch is mainly a streaming platform for gamers, but any type of content is welcome here. It’s one of the fastest growing platforms to date. In fact, it saw a remarkable 56% increase in hours watched in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of the same year.

And it just keeps on growing with over 166 million hours watched in August 2020. And with more than 26 million average daily visitors and over 6 million unique creators streaming each month, it is undoubtedly a melting pot of live stream video creators and viewers.

Twitch is one of the fastest live streaming services to give your audience a premium user experience. If you want to start generating revenue, you can avail of their ad-free paid service, Twitch Turbo, for $8.99 a month.

Facebook Live

Unlike Twitch, which is primarily for gamers, Facebook Live started as a platform for artists and musicians. But over time, Facebook made it available to all users. Now, anyone can go live on their profiles, pages, or groups.

Facebook Live has seen a steady rise in popularity since it was first introduced. In fact, live videos get six times more interaction and 10 times more comments than regular videos. You can also live stream for up to four hours, which is way more than most platforms. Facebook Live also comes with a robust analytics tool for analyzing your live’s performance.

YouTube Live

YouTube wasn’t the first platform to embrace live streaming. But it’s certainly come a long way since it joined the bandwagon. If you’re serious about content discovery, then give YouTube a try. With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Yahoo, Ask.com, and Bing combined. This makes it the second largest search engine after Google.

YouTube lets users go live on their channel. It comes with some of the best analytics tools on the market so you can get in-depth insights on your viewership data. Best of all, YouTube is one of the few platforms that actually pay dividends to their successful creators. And that’s on top of all your other earnings from live streaming.

Instagram Live

Instagram may have started as a photo-sharing app, but you can now also share videos, stories, and live stories. What makes Instagram a great platform for growing your brand is its huge user base.

With 1 billion people users every month and 500 million people using Instagram Stories every day, there’s no reason not to give this platform a try. Also, approximately 200 million users visit at least one business page a day, which only shows that brands can dominate on Instagram.

Takeaway

There are quite a lot of live streaming options with different features. Each one of them also has different demographics. To keep yourself from getting confused, keep in mind what’s best for you and your viewers.