Choosing a live streaming platform that’s right for you can be an overwhelming decision. Most brands want to find a platform that does it all - allows them to customize their videos, is easy to use, and won’t break the bank. But that’s easier said than done. Plus, there are so many platforms available today, that researching them all and understanding how they differ from one another would take weeks.
Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you and put together a brief guide for your benefit. Below, we’re delving into the features that truly make a live streaming platform great. In our opinion, if a platform you're considering doesn’t have the six features below, that’s your cue to keep looking until you find one that does.
Check out this definitive list of what to look for in a live streaming platform.
What is a live streaming platform?
Live streaming platforms are video hosting tools that allow users to upload and stream video content to their audiences in real-time. Live streams have quickly risen to be one of the most effective methods of connecting with audiences globally, making them integral to the growth of businesses and brands alike.
What makes a live streaming platform great?
The answer to this question partially depends on how you plan to use the platform. For example, if you’re a business that intends to use a live streaming tool to host a company-wide town hall meeting or onboard a new employee, then keeping the content of your stream secure would be a top priority. Alternatively, if you want to use a live streaming platform to market yourself or your brand, then being able to customize your live stream so that it reflects your brand is of the utmost importance. Ultimately, before you settle on a streaming platform for you or your business, take some time to consider how and why you are using the streaming platform. This will help you realize which platform features matter the most to you. That said, there are a few features that you’ll want to be on the lookout for, regardless of your live stream’s purpose. Keep reading for a definitive list of must-have live streaming features.
- Enhanced Customization: Customization is key if you want to create a professional-quality live stream video that reflects your brand. That is why the number one feature to look out for is enhanced customization options. The more that you can control how your live stream looks, the better. Many platforms will let you add in custom graphics or audio, but some will go above and beyond. Take Stage TEN as an example. Our innovative platform enables creators to easily drag and drop video clips, photos, graphics, bumpers, and special effects. In terms of graphics, creators can add overlays, motion graphics, lower thirds, and watermarks, and when it comes to audio, users can mix audio sources and even add in background music, audio commentary, or sound effects.
- Multistream Capabilities: Almost as important as enhanced customization is multistream capabilities. This feature may be harder to come by but is extremely important if you want to reach the widest audience possible. Multistreaming ultimately allows users to stream live to multiple social media channels and platforms simultaneously. Stage TEN is one live video production platform that lets users multistream to over 30 social media channels on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.
- Interactive Live Features: Ideally, you’ll want to find a live streaming platform that has useful features when preparing your live video, such as enhanced customization, as well as useful features once you’re actually live. That is why we recommend choosing a live streaming platform that offers interactive live features. Some of our favourite interactive live features include live voting, allowing your audience to participate in your live stream by way of real-time voting, live chat, enabling your audience members to chat with each other and with you during the live stream, and live commenting, giving creators the power to drag and drop audience comments into the live stream. As any creator knows, going live in and of itself isn’t enough to capture your audience’s attention. It’s making use of interactive features like those offered through Stage TEN, that will successfully engage your audience and turn one-time viewers into loyal followers.
- E-Commerce Integration: Live streaming to connect with your audience is great, but if you’re trying to grow your business then finding a platform that allows you to monetize your live streams is even better. For example, some of the top streaming platforms allow you to sell items through an integrated e-commerce feature. When you go live with Stage TEN, you can announce a product launch, sell merchandise via the Stage TEN Rozy mobile app, or even direct viewers to your owned-and-operated brand site, microsite, or storefront. E-commerce integration provides brands with an unparalleled opportunity to turn passive viewers into active buyers right before their very eyes.
- Easy-to-Navigate Production Studio: Next, unless you’re a self-professed techie, finding an easy-to-navigate live streaming platform is a must. With Stage TEN’s intuitive production studio, you can go live in under ten minutes, even with no prior experience. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. It’s as easy as Facetiming your BFF! And even if you are tech-savvy, choosing an intuitive platform will save you time, allowing you to create live stream videos faster than you ever thought possible.
- Competitive Pricing: Finally, while pricing is not exactly a “feature” of live streaming platforms, it is a factor that needs to be considered. Not all brands have the budget to spend a ton of money on a live streaming subscription. That is why we always recommend choosing a platform that offers a mix of free and competitively priced options. Similar to a free trial, basic complimentary subscription options allow a brand to become familiar with a certain platform before spending a single penny. While most free plans do not offer all the features mentioned above, they can be a good starting point before eventually signing up for a paid subscription that includes more benefits. You can learn more about Stage TEN’s competitive pricing plans here.