First of all, there are tons and tons of livestreaming platforms out there and they all kind of work the same way. You open an app or a program, you click a button to broadcast, and after you’re done you can save that stream as a video for anyone that missed the magic. Which one is right for your needs? Never fear. We took the bullet and examined a bunch to bring you a list of the best options.
For the most part, these services we run down are free. We’ve been telling you to buy a lot of new gadgets recently, so this should be a nice change of pace. That said, if your stimulus check is really burning a hole in your pocket, we listed a couple paid services that are great for any of your B2B needs.
If you’re looking for a social media component, it should be no surprise that we recommend Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and Instagram Live. Sure, we could offer you some kind of hip obscure alternative that suggests we’re on the bleeding edge of cool, but the truth is your best bet for a successful livestream is to engage your audiences where they’re already spending most of their time online. Let’s compare.
It’s cheap. You already have all the equipment you need. Just open Instagram on your mobile device, swipe left, click live and you are broadcasting in real time.
One great little feature of Instagram live is the comment filtering ability. If you really want to, sure, disable all the comments. But you can also filter out offensive keywords or phrases of your choosing like “this sucks” or “this is bad.” Anyone who has a fragile ego like me will definitely want to take advantage.
And that’s not all. Instagram also offers some pretty advanced data analytics to let you know if your streams are a detriment or asset to your brand’s social media performance. You can explore that here.
According to Vimeo, 78% of all netizens watch livestreaming on Facebook, so if you’re looking for a central virtual location to speak to “everyone”, Facebook is a pretty safe bet.
Now there aren’t a whole lot of big feature differences between Facebook and Instagram. Filming is easy, streams can be saved as videos, and there is a companion analytics feature that’ll help you track your performance goals.
There’s a great rundown of all the details right here.
Let’s round out our overview of the social media behemoths with Twitter. Twitter Live is functionally just as simple and straightforward as Facebook and Instagram. The thing that sets Twitter apart from the others is how easy it is to invite others in and out of your stream as you go. If you’re expecting to do something a bit more informal like a roundtable discussion, or if you’re looking to host multiple participants in your chat on rotation, then Twitter might be the easiest free option for you to make that run smoothly.
Here’s a fabulous little walkthrough to take your livestreaming talents to Twitter.
This one’s easy. If you already have a YouTube or Gmail account you’ve met all the prerequisites necessary to begin your YouTube livestream from your computer. Oddly enough, while I never expected that YouTube had standards (based on the comments sections), mobile streaming is actually only available to accounts boasting 1000 or more subscribers. Something to strive for, I guess.
One nice thing about YouTube Live is the ‘Premiere’ option. ‘Premiere’ gives you the ability to schedule drops for streams and live videos for promotional purposes. You can even screen a pre-recorded video and provide live commentary over it MST3K-style. You can also maintain a live text-based chat to allow your viewers to respond in real time and allow your stream to be more of a direct interactive experience.
Hootsuite provides a fantastic bullet-pointed overview of the platform here.
There are a few issues with these free options however. By utilizing these services your giving them the right to use your content however they like for advertising. The opportunities for monetization aren’t that great. And finally, if you’re hoping to get your brand some SEO by streaming, streams from platforms like Facebook or Instagram won’t show up in search engines at all. That’s why we encourage you to check out the following two paid services.
You might not know about Dacast but you should. Dacast is a SaaS which in this case means streaming-as-a-service. Dacast offers a much more robust suite of encoding and filtering options than the freebies shown above, but in addition to that there are better options of monetization of your content, you can schedule delivery to hundreds of people, and your streams will be available in China, who don’t support the above social media platforms.
For the most basic monthly plan its about $19/month, but if you see streaming as a B2B marketing tool then Dacast is absolutely the platform for you.
Brightcove is a UK-based streaming service that’s been around since 2004 (it’s older than YouTube!). While Brightcove subscriptions start at a whopping $199/month you end up with a full suite of tools to pretty much run and promote your own broadcast network. The options for customizing your streaming experience with Brightcove’s intuitive publishing suite are nearly endless. Do you want to beat ad-blockers and draw some revenue? No problem. Should viewers be able to pause, rewind, or post clips of your livestream to social media as its happening? Easy. Do you want to cross post your streams across any social media platforms? That’s available too. This is all on top of their own global network that, like Dacast, allows you to stream high-quality images to anyone in the world.
And there are literally dozens of other webcasting and streaming options. Let’s gloss over a few. You’ll recognize some of them.
Cisco’s WebEx has been a long time favorite of businesses who manage remote workforces, and frequently conduct virtual investor meetings and conferences. WebEx offers many of the same presentation capabilities as Zoom, and like Zoom getting users tuned in to your Webinar via room links and passcodes is a cinch.
Intrado’s Webcast Services are another paid option. These guys specialize in ‘virtual events’ and ‘virtual tradeshows’ and were on top of it even before COVID-19 shut down events for the near future. You can even make sure your streams are embedded on your brand or event website to give viewers a central location to interact with your brand.
Intrado is actually a Cisco® Gold Certified Partner, Master Specialized in Collaboration, Master Lifecycle Management Partner and Cisco Powered Cisco Webex Teams Service Provider. A longtime Cisco Partner, if your team is using Cisco, you may have already had experience with the Intrado interface. This is a great one- and is geared towards enterprises that are already running a Cisco backbone.
One other great benefit for the Cisco/Intrado interface is the end-to-end encryption. This means that you are secure, and not even the tech support at Cisco can peep in on your meetings, unless directly invited. This is a requirement for many of our corporate clients and a reason we are seeing this option a lot these days.
Ah yes, Zoom. My newest trigger word. This might come as a surprise to some of you but Zoom is actually an effective webcasting tool for conferences and virtual events, not just virtual happy hours (I know, right? Who knew?). I don’t think I need to explain this one. Even my mom figured it out and she still uses an AOL email address from the Clinton Era.
Microsoft Teams is pretty much the same package as WebEx and Zoom except that instead of a 1,000-person limit, Microsoft Teams actually allows up to 10,000 users to tune in to a Webinar. If you like the functionality of Zoom and WebEx but would like a crowd then Microsoft Teams is a great option.
Big Marker is another Zoom-like option but I actually prefer it because no downloads are required. BigMarker is totally browser-based. There are some great customizability options (you can slap your brand logo right on the video player). BigMarker also lets you set up regular timed screenings for your content, so if you’re planning to make the same presentation multiple times due to constraints like time zone differences, use BigMarker to do it live only once.
Remo is a comparatively less popular paid service, but we see a lot of potential for it to grow in the era of virtual conferences as its interface is uniquely suited to translate the experience. Remo allows you to set up streaming rooms connected to cute little tables in a virtual office layout. Your virtual conference attendees can click in and out each table to join in or leave ongoing discussions. Academics – Remo is your solution for the virtual salon or un-conferencing experience.
Or you know what? Better yet get in touch with us and we’ll guide you to the best option to support your next event!