Livestream via youtube of instagram

Which platforms should I use for my livestream?

There are a lot of platforms out there to put up a live video, with the most popular being Facebook Live, Youtube Live, Instagram Live, Video Live and Twitch. As choosing the right platform is essential for a successful livestream, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your channel: Target audience, costs, as well as technical possibilities and limitations.

Target Audience

The most important consideration when choosing a platform is your target audience. Where the audience you want to reach is located will differ per campaign, event or live show. The audiences on each platform are huge, with Facebook still the biggest.
It is therefore important to properly research where your target audience hangs out and in what ways they use social media. Some examples include looking for a job or developing a certain discipline. Alternatively, your target audience could write a lot about certain topics on social media. When you make good use of this knowledge in announcing your livestream on the relevant channels you can build up a large audience before the broadcast. The more effort you put into making them aware of the event before it even happens, the better your chances they’ll register to receive a notification when the livestream begins.

Active Users:

  • Facebook     2.3 billion (source)
  • YouTube     1.9 billion (source)
  • Instagram    1.0 Billion (source)
  • Vimeo         170 million (source)
  • Twitch         122 million (source)

Costs

Most of the platforms are free and due to technological developments streaming on Facebook is almost exactly the same as streaming on YouTube. The only exception is Vimeo Live (previously Livestream.com). Here you need a subscription to be able to stream, which will cost you around €70 per month. In return, you’ll get access to the Vimeo software: Live Studio. This software has a lot of functionality for which you normally would need advanced gear.
The costs of the platforms are relatively limited. However, it could be interesting to look at opportunities to earn money from your livestream. This can be achieved in two ways. A digital ticket (you can only see the livestream if you’ve paid) or by placing ads. Both YouTube and Facebook offer these options. If you want to know more about how to monetize your livestream, feel free to contact us.

Technical possibilities

The biggest differences between the platform (besides the target audience and users) is the underlying technical aspects like image quality, interactivity and length. Check out the table below to get an overview of the most popular streaming services:

Facebook Live

YouTube Live

Instagram Live

Vimeo Live

Source

All sources, including professional and smartphones

All sources, including professional and smartphones

Only smartphones / tablets*1

All sources, including professional and smartphones

Time limit

4 hours *2

36 hours *2

1 hour *2

12 hours

Resolution

Up to 1280x720

(720p)

Up to 3840 x 2160

(4K UHD)

Up to 1080x1920

(1080p vertical)

Up to 1920x1080

(1080p)

Image quality

(bit rate)

High

(up to 4 Mb / second)

Extremely high

(up to 51 Mb / second)

Low

(up to 1 Mb / second)

Extremely high (up to 26Mb / second)

Image speed

(frame rate)

Up to 30 frames per second

Up to 60 frames per second

Up to 30 frames per second

Up to 60 frames per second

Latency

Can’t be adjusted, approximately 15-30 seconds

adjustable: *3

<5 seconds,

<15 seconds,

<30 seconds

Can’t be adjusted, approximately 5-10 seconds

Can’t be adjusted 15-30 seconds

Interactivity

- Livechat

- Reactions (Likes, etc.)

- Livechat

- Like/dislike

- Livechat

- Reactions (Likes, etc.)

- Livechat

1 It is possible to use external software which simulates a smartphone, but this workaround isn’t as dependable as the alternatives.
2 Both Facebook and YouTube offer a “continuous livestream” option, where the stream can continue indefinitely. There are a number of limitations, however. For example, analytics will be limited and there won’t be a “DVR” (on-demand viewing or skipping to certain parts).
*3 The lower the latency, the less time there is for optimizing the different bandwidths. This means that users with slower internet speeds will be ‘buffering’ or loading the videos more often.

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