One of the early decisions you’ll need to make as a streamer is choosing the best live streaming destination for your content. There’s a long list of streaming platforms, each offering different strengths — from audience size to customizability to special features — so it’s important to consider your goals and what best help you achieve them.While deciding where to stream, remember: it’s not necessarily what platform is the best, but what platform is the best for you.

Lightstream works with any of these platforms, so we’ve got you covered no matter which one(s) you choose.

Facebook

One of the reasons Facebook is a great place to start streaming is the sheer size of its user base. With nearly 2.5 billion monthly users across the globe, Facebook boasts a massive audience ready to see your stream on their news feed. But where you can really benefit isn’t the network as a whole but the personal network you’ve already built.
If you’ve been using Facebook over the years to build a following, you can use those Likes you already have to tap into that audience from the get-go. You don’t need to worry about building an audience because it’s already there, so when you’re ready to go live, you can reap the reward and give your stream instant exposure.

With the re-emergence of Facebook Groups as a gathering place for smaller, like-minded audiences, streaming directly to groups is a great way to reach a specific and interested audience. Either start your own Facebook Group, or stream to a group where you’re currently a member.

YouTube

Have you already created videos for YouTube? Then you’re in great shape.

Not only can you tap into your subscriber base for an early audience, but you can also use the existing videos on your profile to complement your streams. Another perk is that each live stream is automatically recorded, which helps build up a library of content. With a YouTube profile that features streams and pre-recorded video clips, you can offer a variety of video content, giving your viewers plenty to watch while you’re not on stream and giving you another avenue to bringing in subscribers.
If you haven’t created Youtube videos before—don’t panic. There’s no time like now to start, as Youtube has 2 billion monthly users, ready to watch tons of videos. A word of advice: It’s difficult to build a subscriber base on Youtube. Unlike Facebook, where you have a built in audience (i.e., your Facebook friends) who may see your live stream while scrolling their feeds, no one will get notified about your Youtube stream, so you’ll have to promote it aggressively.

Twitch

Twitch is a dedicated live-streaming platform that earned its stripes in game streaming. Over the years, it’s transitioned to include other creative streaming pursuits such as art, music, and talk shows, and currently features nearly 40 categories of live content.

Perhaps the biggest reason Twitch is so successful as a streaming platform is its active and vibrant community constantly on the lookout for entertaining live video content. In February 2020, viewers watched more than 981 million hours of live content. With features like friend lists and Whispers (private conversations), Twitch mimics sitting on a couch and playing games with friends.

This personal touch is where Twitch shines. By creating a true community around your stream, you can amplify the performance of the many alerts, donations, and chat moderation tools that are out there, and Twitch boasts compatibility with more of them than any other platform. There are also other ways to monetize your stream that are unique to Twitch, such as subscriptions and Bits (emoticons that can be purchased to use in chat).

Custom Destinations & Pro Setups

Looking to customize the viewing experience rather than rely on a platform’s UI? There are also options out there that allow you to own the entire pipeline to have more control over the experience of your stream.

The benefits of using one of these services is that you can choose how your stream is delivered and fine-tune what your audience is seeing. While you have separate options for going this route, these are some notable services worth checking out:

And More!

There are, of course, other options out there for streaming your content, and more are popping up frequently. Some of the newer or smaller streaming platforms have their advantages in that you can become a big fish in a smaller pond or reach a niche audience that may not have found you on one of the bigger platforms. See if one might be right for you:

  • Periscope: Owned by Twitter, so it has a similar benefit as Facebook in that you could potentially have a head start in building a streaming audience through your already established follower count.
  • Picarto.tv: For art and creative streams. Because it’s more targeted, it’s ideal if artists are your primary viewers.

While these are several of the live streaming options out there, be on the lookout because there are new and exciting platforms popping up all the time that may best cater toward your interests. We hope this helps get you started with your new stream!

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