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How and When to do a YouTube Live Stream

One of the growing features on YouTube is the more recent Live Streaming capability. There’s still just a small percentage of the YouTube community that uses the streaming feature, both on the creator and user side. It may not have the userbase of Twitch, but the amount of YouTube Live Streamers is steadily growing each day as more content creators are seeing the potential it holds for growing a core audience.

The lack of participation from viewers is mainly attributed to a lack of content. This means that there is a huge potential to tap into YouTube’s user base and become a top streamer before streaming starts to surge. Nonetheless, before you can do any of that, you first need to learn the basics. Keep reading to find out how you can do your first YouTube live stream, and when you should do it. If you’re not familiar with LiveStreaming, read about it in YouTube’s Introduction to live streaming.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is head over to YouTube’s Live Dashboard while signed into your account. If you haven’t done any streaming yet, you’ll need to click a one-time link to permanently activate the feature on your account. Once there, you will notice there are two tabs: Stream Now, and Events. Stream Now is where you can start streaming immediately. The events tab allows you to schedule your stream. While it won’t hurt to play around with some of the features, we don’t recommend streaming yourself at the same time you are reading an article or doing something else.

Stream options are a good place to start,since you can make a couple important changes here. You can choose whether or not to allow viewers to have the DVR functionality, which allows them to go back and re-watch parts of the stream. There’s also the unlisted archive option you can choose if you don’t want streams to be publicly available afterwards. If you want to ensure there’s no lag for your audience, you need to set a delay. Just switch the stream optimizations setting to optimize for less viewer buffering. After that, you can set a delay of either 30 or 60 seconds.

Promote Beforehand

The best time to do a live stream is simply whenever you’re prepared. Streaming when no one knows about it will end up being a waste of time. The reason for this is because you simply will not gain new viewers this way. To make sure you do gain new viewers, the first thing you need to do is start promoting your streams in your other videos.  This way, your audience is aware of when your streams are happening. Posting about your streams on social media a few hours beforehand is also another great way to share the information.

By streaming at certain times, you could also bring in a higher viewer count. However, simply saying that you will do so at 5 p.m. in your time zone and assume that will work is not the correct way to go about it. The best way to find a good streaming time is to look at what time of day most people are watching your videos. Likewise, it is also a great time to upload your videos when you aren’t doing a stream. Keep in mind though that it isn’t guaranteed to be the best possible time as every audience is different. Nevertheless, it is a good starting point and one which allows you to get to know your audience as well. Playing around and testing different stream times will give you a better glimpse of what time you actually get your biggest audience.

Using Cards

Image via DIY Musician

Another part of how you can do an effective live stream on YouTube is by engaging your audience. While most of this task falls on your shoulders as the host of the stream, the cards feature can also help emphasize this engagement with your audience. Cards can be used to send your viewers to donation pages, polls, and approved URLs. You can also use them to make a shout out to other YouTube videos, playlists, and channels as well.

To create a card, simply go to the Cards tab on the live stream page and select the Add Card option. Then, you’re able to choose a card type and a destination. Cards are then shown on the right-hand side of the video (below on mobile), and viewers are able to scroll through them.

Stay Tuned!

YouTube streaming is continuing to grow in features and users, so definitely keep an eye on this service. Even if you’re still not convinced or unsure on becoming a live streamer, you’ll want to keep the idea in mind in case it starts to take off. Lastly, look out for more features to be added, and be ready to hop on new trends. For tips on getting more viewers, read How to Succeed by Buying YouTube Views.

Being one step ahead of the game when it comes to Live Stream and other issues is extremely important. After all, you never know when Google is going to hit the jackpot with an innovative live streaming idea that will totally change the game.


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