From conferences to concerts to how-tos, live-streaming changes passive viewership of videos into something that’s alive, breathing, and happening now. YouTube Live provides a vehicle for streamers to engage their audiences in a fun, real-time dialogue. YouTube is long established as the place for watching and uploading videos. So it only makes sense that it has evolved into one of the premier live-streaming platforms.
For brands, live-streaming means keeping in touch with your customers, providing them with valuable entertainment or insights, and strengthening your relationship. Below are five tips to help you grow your base of YouTube Live viewers.
The following are a few tips on how creators can grow and cultivate engagement from their audience through live-streaming on YouTube Live.
Strategize or plan your YouTube stream.
With all of your communications, why you say what you’re saying is as important as what you say and how you say it (if not more so). When making the decision to use YouTube Live, having clearly defined goals for your stream can help you tailor the content to better reach those goals.
Are you promoting a specific product/service? Do you want more subscribers to your YouTube channel? Do you want to grow your email list? All of the above?
Knowing your goals and having targets can also help you determine your key performance indicators (KPIs) and have a way to measure them in place before going live. They can also help you readjust your goals and inform future streams. More on that below.
It’s also important to ask yourself what value you’re providing your viewership with this live-stream. People need a reason to watch your specific YouTube Live stream – a reason that’s more compelling to them than watching any of the other content that’s out there, especially content they can watch on-demand like other YouTube videos.
Choose an optimal time.
Going live whenever you feel like it may be convenient, but it’s typically not the best strategy if you’re looking to gain viewers. To decide what time is best for your YouTube live stream, visit YouTube Analytics and see what times of day your videos tend to receive the most views. This provides a clear indication of when your audience is online. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to where your audience is located. You may realize you have a large audience in Australia or Hong Kong, in which case it could be beneficial to choose a time that works in multiple time zones.
Promote your YouTube live stream.
We said it before and we’ll say it again, going live randomly, without any warning, isn’t going to do you any favours. If you plan on going live, do everything in your power to ensure you have an audience. The way to do that is through promotion. We explained above how you can schedule a live stream for a future date, giving you access to a shareable stream URL to promote the event. When you have this link, share it on social media a minimum of 48 hours before you plan to go live. You may also opt to send invitations by email or create an official Facebook event or Instagram countdown. In terms of promotion on YouTube, we recommend asking viewers of your past videos to subscribe to your channel, creating and uploading a trailer to get people excited about the event, and even designing a banner for your YouTube channel promoting the event. No matter how you choose to promote your live stream, be sure to include the shareable stream URL. Finally, the last 48 hours before your live-stream and right before you stream, posting links to it and promoting on your social accounts makes it easier for your followers to become viewers with a simple click.
Interact with your audience.
This tip is for when you’re officially live. If you’ve promoted your live stream, then chances are you’ve managed to get at least a handful of people to show up. However, persuading people to tune in is only half the battle. Once there, you’ll need to do everything you can to keep them watching. One of the best ways to improve engagement is by showing your viewers a little love through shout-outs. Consider saying hello to specific viewers as they enter the live stream or thanking them for the comments and questions they post in the live chat room. Another way to drive engagement is to build anticipation. Make it clear from the beginning that something new or exciting will be revealed at the end of the live stream, encouraging viewers to tune in until the very end. For example, you could choose to make a special announcement, answer a burning question, or reveal the finished product of a recipe or craft you’re working on. One final way to engage your audience is by providing quick recaps to new viewers who start watching the live partway through. There is nothing worse than arriving late to a YouTube Live video and having no idea what’s going on. Help out some of your late arrivals by providing a brief recap or reintroduction into the topic you’re discussing.
Creating an engaging and interactive stream can be as easy as:
- having a professional-looking stream
- overlaying cool graphics
- taking questions from the audience
- moderating a chatroom
- periodically recapping your stream for viewers who are late to the party
- sharing viewer comments, taking polls, and sharing the results
- soliciting viewer submissions for product/service ideas
- shouting out the most engaged viewers.
Make your live stream as accessible as possible.
Making your YouTube live stream inclusive to people of all abilities isn’t just the right thing to do, it may also get you more viewers. If your YouTube channel has over 10,000 subscribers, then live automatic captions are available. If you have this option, use it. If this isn’t an option, speak clearly, use simple language that is easy to understand, even for people whose first language isn’t the same as yours, and describe images where applicable to aid those with visual impairments.
Ensure you’re getting the best performance from your device.
There’s nothing worse than a live stream that keeps buffering, cuts in and out, or is pixelated. To minimize the chances of this happening, make sure you have a strong internet connection, your browser is up to date, and no background apps or tabs are slowing down your device. For example, it’s always a good idea to close Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other apps that like to background sync. In fact, we recommend restarting your device altogether before going live, just to ensure the best performance. Further, Stage TEN runs in Chrome so make sure you’ve installed the latest version of Chrome and have disabled all non-essential Chrome extensions and VPNs. If you’re nervous about your internet connection, test out YouTube Live in different areas of your home. If you’re going live from your laptop or desktop, you could even test out using your phone’s hot spot rather than your home WiFi, as in some cases hot-spotting provides a faster internet connection. Finally, where possible, choose to go live on your computer rather than your phone, as computers almost always offer higher quality audio and video.
Track your stats
YouTube Live provides you with metrics on concurrent viewers, demographic info, the total number of views, viewer retention rates, and average view duration, both in real-time and after your stream.
This feedback is crucial to let you know which content brought in the most viewers, which didn’t, and which, if any, lost viewership, helping you pivot if you get a huge drop in viewership and adjust future streams accordingly.
You also gain valuable insights into your audience from how they respond/responded and who they are that can help you shape future social media posts, emails, and possibly your website copy.
Become a serial streamer.
Whether it’s building readership on your blog, attracting more followers to your social media accounts, getting more subscribers to your YouTube channel, or more viewers to your YouTube Live streams, getting more people tuned in is a process that generally takes time.
According to best content strategy practices, consistency is key. This means publishing blog posts on the same day every week, two weeks or month, posting to your social media at the same times every day, and regularly uploading videos to your YouTube channel on the same day and time – even if it’s once a month or once every two months.
The same is true for YouTube Live streams. Creating a series of regular live-stream events on the same day of the week and time of day can imprint on your subscribers who will instinctively tune in when you’re live and going live consistently may even earn you some viewers who stumble across your stream.
How to YouTube Live Stream from your Phone
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, live streaming had become a fairly popular form of content. However, after a year of social distancing, with people unable to attend events or gatherings in person, it’s safe to say that live streaming has become the method of viewing content. And thanks to innovative platforms like Stage TEN, the future of live video has arrived. Whether you’re a content creator, events professional, or YouTube star in the making, there’s no denying that live streaming is here to stay. Below, we explain all there is to know about YouTube live streaming, including how Stage TEN users can easily go live on YouTube via our interactive platform.
What is a YouTube Live Stream?
With YouTube Live streaming, creators and brands can maximize their reach, monetize their streams, and partner with collaborators in a fun, interactive, and cost-effective way. And with the option to YouTube Live stream from a mobile device, live-streaming is as easy as picking up your phone and tapping a few icons.
According to YouTube’s website, Live “brings viewers together in real-time to learn, discuss and to form new social communities.” In essence, YouTube Live offers a new, not to mention simple and free, method of connecting with one’s community. From hosting a workshop to teaching a class to streaming a concert, YouTube Live offers endless opportunities. For both the audience and the creator, taking advantage of YouTube Live couldn’t be easier. If you decide to go live, your stream will appear in the Live section of YouTube’s website. This section is accessible via the Live button on the left-hand menu of the homepage. Any Youtube user interested in viewing live content can navigate their way to the Live section of the website, where your content will appear. Plus, your live stream will appear on the homepage of any user that has subscribed to your channel, watched videos of yours, or even watched videos similar to yours. This ensures that creators reach as many viewers as possible (that said, we also have a few more tips on how to promote your content and reach an even wider audience below!).
Why Use YouTube Live Stream?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to take advantage of YouTube Live is yours. However, for both the creators and the audience, it can be an extremely valuable, not to mention fun, tool. From the audience’s perspective, YouTube live streaming is a form of content that makes you feel special. The main benefit of YouTube Live is its ability to make the audience feel like they’re part of an event, even if they haven’t left their couch. This type of platform inherently brings people together, as each viewer is consuming the exact same thing at the exact same time. In addition to knowing you’re watching the same content as hundreds, thousands, or even millions of other users, YouTube Live’s chat function encourages viewers to communicate with one another, sharing thoughts and questions about the content. All of this makes Youtube’s live streaming feature far more engaging, exciting, and fun than simply watching a pre-uploaded video on the internet. Thus, from a creator’s point of view, there is no better way to connect with an audience than through live streaming. This unique style of content not only reads as more authentic but as more unique, giving viewers a better sense of your brand and what distinguishes it from your competitors. YouTube Live is an invaluable tool for everyone from businesses to influencers, as in addition to interacting with viewers in a new way, it also allows you to gain real-time feedback from your target audience.
In this post, we walk you through how to live-stream on YouTube Live from your phone. But first, let’s take a look at the basic requirements.
Before You Start Livestreaming from YouTube Live with Your Phone
Before you’re able to start live-streaming on your mobile device with YouTube Live:
- You need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers to your channel. If you don’t have 1,000 YouTube subscribers, you can still live-stream through a computer webcam or streaming software.
- Your YouTube channel has to be verified. If you haven’t already done so, you can verify your account by clicking on your channel icon → the gear icon → view additional features → click the verify button and then you’ll be prompted with instructions on how to verify your account.
- Your channel can’t have any live streaming restrictions in the last 90 days such as Community Guidelines violations or copyright takedowns.
- You need an Android 5.0+ device or an iOS 8+ device.
Below is a step-by-step for live-streaming with YouTube Live using both Android and iOS devices. If this is your first live stream using YouTube Live, it can take up to 24 hours to enable instant live-streaming on your channel, so you might want to do a test run before you actually want to go live.
How to Live Stream on YouTube
Follow along for a step-by-step guide on how to use YouTube live stream.
- Step 1: Verify your YouTube channel. Before you can stream live, YouTube requires that your channel be verified. If you haven’t already done this, rest assured it’s a quick and simple process. Visit www.youtube.com/verify, add your phone number, and then wait until you receive a verification code. Follow the instructions provided.
- Step 2: Activate live streaming on your YouTube channel. Once verified, and if you’re planning to stream live from your desktop, visit www.youtube.com/dashboard, click the camcorder icon in the top-right corner, and then click Go Live. If you’re streaming from your phone, open the YouTube app, click on the camcorder icon in the top-right corner, and click Go Live. Note that it can take up to 24 hours for YouTube live streaming to be activated on your account. In addition, YouTube only lets you live stream from your phone if you have over 1,000 subscribers, whereas there is no minimum number of subscribers needed to go live from your desktop or laptop.
- Step 3: Create a YouTube live stream. Now that your YouTube channel is verified and live streaming is activated, it’s time for the fun part - creating your YouTube live stream! To get started, you’re going to want to find that camcorder icon in the top-right corner of the screen again. Click that and then select Go Live. By clicking Go Live, you’ll launch YouTube’s live streaming dashboard. Start by selecting Webcam from the menu on the left-hand side. Fill out the details about your live stream.
- Choose a title for your live stream: The first piece of information it asks for is the title of your YouTube live stream. (Pro tip: do some keyword research before choosing your title to ensure it’s as searchable as possible.)
- Decide whether the live stream will be public or unlisted: Next, you must select whether the live stream will be public or unlisted. The former means the stream will be viewable to anyone, whereas the latter means it will be viewable only to people you choose to send the link to. Unlisted is essentially a type of private video format, which is ideal if you want to test things out before streaming live to a public audience.
- Choose whether to schedule your live stream for a later date: All YouTube users have the option to schedule their live stream for a later date. The benefit of doing so is that YouTube will then generate a URL for your live stream that you can use to promote it. A common mistake people make is assuming that the minute they go live, plenty of people will be watching. Unless you're a celebrity, influencer, or major brand, this simply isn’t the case, which is why it might be best to schedule your live stream for a later date and dedicate some time to promoting it via social media, e-mail, and more. If you choose to schedule it for a future date, on the set date of your live stream, you’ll come back to the Go Live dashboard, but instead of selecting Webcam from the menu, you’ll select Manage. This will show you a list of all your scheduled live streams. You’ll have the option to edit the title or description of your schedule stream, change the visibility settings, and even retrieve your shareable stream URL. And when it’s time to go live, all you need to do is click on the scheduled video. Alternatively, if you do not want to schedule your live stream for the future and instead wish to proceed with your live stream right away, then simply don’t select the Schedule for later option from the Webcam dashboard and continue with the steps below.
- Consider your audience: You are required to answer the question “is this video made for kids?” Select yes or no accordingly. If you select no, your video will only be made available to those 18 years of age and above. When deciding whether to put an age restriction on your live stream, it’s important to consider the content. Will your live stream contain violence, nudity, disturbing imagery, sexually suggestive activities, or other dangerous content? If the answer is yes, then it should definitely be restricted to adults only.
- Further customize your live stream using the More Options button: The second to last step, and this is optional, is to click More Options at the bottom of the Webcam dashboard to gain access to even more settings. Here, you’ll have the option of adding a detailed description of your live stream, a product link, a video category (i.e. How To), and you’ll even be able to add the camera and microphone you plan to use, assuming they are built-in or plugged in via a USB. When you’re finished with the More Options dashboard, click Next.
- Select or take a thumbnail: The final step in creating your Youtube live stream is to select or take a thumbnail photo. You can choose to strike a pose for the camera right there and then, or you can upload a custom, prepared thumbnail photo via the pencil icon in the top-right corner. This final window will also reveal the title, category, and privacy settings of your live stream, so be sure to double-check this before you go live. If everything is good to go, you can now click Go Live to begin your live stream.
- Step 4: Go live on YouTube. The big moment has arrived. You’re officially live. Now what? A good place to start is by talking to your audience. A red button will be visible in the top-left corner of the screen, along with a timer that tells you how long you’ve been live and two icons letting you know the number of views and likes you’ve received. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll notice a chat room. This is the spot where viewers can leave questions and comments for you to respond to. You can respond to people by typing in the chat, or better yet, by responding live (after all, this is why YouTube Live was created). If someone leaves a mean or inappropriate comment in the chat, hover over the comment until three dots appear, click the dots, and either remove or report the viewer. A few other useful features that appear when you’re live are located at the bottom of the screen. These features include an audiometer, a microphone icon (which you can click at any time to mute your audio), and finally, the End Stream button, which should only be clicked when you are finished and want to end the stream.
- Step 5: View Your YouTube live streaming analytics. You’ve signed off, you’ve clicked End Stream, and your first official YouTube Live video is over. Now it’s time to view your analytics. Upon ending your live session, YouTube will immediately provide you with some key analytics relating to your stream. Metrics that YouTube provides include the number of concurrent viewers you had, the total length of your live stream, how long your viewers watched your live stream, and whether you gained any new subscribers from your live stream. All of this information will likely be extremely useful, especially if you plan on doing more live streams in the future. These post-live analytics will be accessible to you via the YouTube Analytics webpage and can also be exported as a CSV file.
Starting a Scheduled YouTube Live Stream from your Phone
If you’ve scheduled a live stream on YouTube Live, you can stream from your Android or iOS device by:
- Opening the YouTube app on your phone or tablet.
- Press the “Create” button, then “Go live”.
- Then tap on “Calendar” and select your live stream (you can also delete a scheduled live stream from here).
- Tap “Go Live”
Streaming on YouTube Live Using an App on your Phone
You can also live-stream on YouTube Live from your phone by using a supported app. To do this, simply:
- Open the app on your phone or tablet
- Open the menu within the app and navigate to your live-streaming options.
- Select YouTube Live
- The app should then prompt you with instructions on setting up your live stream on YouTube Live.
- Tap “Go live” when you’re ready!
Tips for Livestreaming on YouTube Live
The following are some of the technical and safety tips from Google for live-streaming on YouTube Live:
- It’s recommended that you leave a 20% buffer between the total bitrate you stream at and the amount of bandwidth available.
- Running a speed test will give you both your download and upload speeds and can help you decide on the best bitrate for your stream.
- Other people using your Wi-Fi connection will affect your connection speed and stability.
- Getting disconnected from your network will result in a broken stream so having a reliable network is key.
- Using an app or software for your YouTube Live stream can give your stream a professional look and take care of all encoder, video, audio, and connectivity concerns in one easy interface.
- Testing your setup and rehearsing your broadcast can help make for a smoother live-stream.
- Get people who appear in your live-stream to sign a release or give you permission on camera before or after your stream.
- Do not include children under the age of 18 in your live-stream without a parent’s consent.
- Check YouTube’s Community Guidelines before streaming. Violent, sexually suggestive, abusive or dangerous content could result in a ban and possible legal action.
- Don’t share personally identifiable information like full names or addresses of you or anyone else.
- Learn more about moderating live chat and using the privacy and safety settings when planning your live-stream.
How to Live Stream on YouTube with Stage TEN
Even better than live streaming directly through YouTube is doing so through Stage TEN. Stage TEN makes going live on YouTube easier and quicker than ever before (even with no prior production experience, you can go from logging in to streaming live in under ten minutes). Plus, our dynamic Studio tool allows you to multi-stream to 30+ social media channels at the same time! If you want a more professional-looking feed and the widest audience reach possible, follow this guide on how to live stream on YouTube with Stage TEN.
- Step 1: Add feeds to your Stage TEN Studio. Start by signing into your Stage TEN account and navigating to the Stage TEN Studio dashboard. The Studio will provide you with a default “local” feed, however, you can replace this feed or add additional feeds. Examples of other feeds you can add include a webcam, mobile phone, or pro cam.
- Step 2: Add media to your live stream (optional). The next step involves adding media file(s) to your stream. This is completely optional but is a great way to engage your audience. Use the Media Library in the Stage TEN Studio to upload music, images, videos, and/or graphics to your live stream.
- Step 3: Create a scene. Creating a scene is a mandatory step when streaming through Stage TEN. Scenes will help make your live stream look more professional and stand out from the crowd. The Stage TEN Studio has a variety of built-in layouts for you to choose from. Each layout can then be filled with a combination of live feeds, graphics, and other media assets.
- Step 4: Set up your YouTube live stream. Now that you’ve crafted the perfect live stream, it’s time to sync it with YouTube. To set up your live stream on YouTube via the Stage TEN Studio, you’ll need to choose the type of YouTube broadcast you want and adjust your settings accordingly. There are two types of live streams on YouTube, as touched on above. The first is Live Stream Now, which is for users who want to go live immediately, and the second is YouTube Live Events, which allows you to schedule your live stream for a later date.
- To use YouTube Live Stream Now: If you want to live stream right then and there, update the default settings on the YouTube Live dashboard (this includes the title, description, category, and privacy settings for your live stream). Once these settings are updated, ensure the status bar at the top says “all changes saved.” Now you’re ready to go live! Under Destinations on the left-hand side of the Stage TEN Studio is where your live stream will appear.
- To use YouTube Live Events: If you want to schedule your live stream for a future date, follow steps 1 to 3 above under the “How to Live Stream on YouTube” section (Note: be sure to click the Schedule for Later toggle on the YouTube Live Webcam dashboard and select a date and time). Once your live stream is scheduled on YouTube, log back into your Stage TEN account (or refresh the page), and your newly scheduled YouTube Live Event should appear in your list of Destinations.
- Step 5: Go live on YouTube via Stage TEN: The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived - it’s time to go live! Make your way to the Destinations list on the left-hand side, locate your YouTube live feed, and click the Stream Now toggle to start and stop your live feed.
Now that you know what YouTube Live is, how to go live on YouTube and via Stage TEN, and some of the best practices for going live, it’s time to experiment.
What are you waiting for?
Start streaming professional-quality live content with Stage TEN today.