Interactive live streaming enables you to engage and connect with an audience in real time via live chat and other engaging elements. It’s a popular hobby, marketing tool, and career path that’s being used more and more frequently. In fact, global users spent approximately 482.5 billion hours on live streaming apps in 2020.
Whether you want to teach an online class or share your love of video games with the world, broadcasting live can help get your message across in an effective way–regardless of where you or your viewers are in the world. You can also repurpose your live stream and share the recording with loyal fans and those interested in your brand.
If you want to start live streaming but don’t know where to begin, this guide can help you. Learn everything you need to know about interactive live streaming, including how it works, its benefits, examples, and tips, below.
- How does live streaming work?
- Benefits of live streaming
- Interactive live streaming examples
- How to make live streams more interactive
- Improve your live streams with Dolby.io
How does live streaming work?
Live streaming allows you to broadcast real-time audio or video content via a streaming platform, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok. Some streams are public and can be viewed by thousands of users, but you can also stream to a private audience using tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts. The latter is often used for personal and business activities. Generally, the live content you produce is unscripted and encourages audience participation through the use of polls, a live chat, and more.
In order to begin streaming, you’ll need the following:
- Internet-enabled device: Smartphones and tablets can be used for streaming, but a PC or laptop is better suited for this purpose.
- Broadcasting software: Streamlabs, OBS Studio, Restream, and XSplit Broadcaster are examples of broadcasting software. These applications will process your content to make it viewable on streaming platforms.
- Streaming equipment: If you want to live stream, it’s a great idea to obtain a webcam, microphone, headset, good lighting, and a streaming desktop computer or laptop.
While you can stream whatever you want as long as you adhere to the rules of streaming platforms, some cater to specific niches. For example, Twitch is the leading outlet in video game streaming. However, the platform does support other categories, such as music, crafting, beauty, and even cooking.
Once you’ve gathered everything necessary for your live stream, decided what you want to talk about, and tested your broadcasting equipment, it’s time to hit the “go live” button.
On a technical level, the process of turning your live footage into streamable content is somewhat complicated.
- Your computer will process the raw video captured by your webcam and turn it into digital data via segmentation.
- The data will be compressed to create a smaller file size and encoded into a more acceptable format, like H.264 or AV1.
- The compressed and encoded file will be sent to the CDN (content delivery network) so viewers can tune in.
- Devices that receive the stream will decode and decompress the video while the media player allows the stream to play.
Types of live streaming
There are three different types of live streams you can leverage, including:
- In-person. In-person live streaming involves using an actual stage where speakers can present their ideas, showcase products, or provide entertainment to a virtual audience.
- Virtual. These types of streams allow hosts or speakers to present at home without having to go to a physical location.
- Hybrid. Hybrid streams include all the best qualities of in-person streams but will often have an audience present on set.
Benefits of live streaming
Live streaming is a great way to expand your reach and cultivate relationships with viewers who share similar interests. But there are many other valuable benefits to real-time video streaming. A few of the most significant advantages include the following:
- Connect with audience
- Increased accessibility
- Build a community
- Ensure continuing engagement
- Cost-effective after initial set up
- Boost conversions
Connect with audience
Live streaming makes it easier to get to know your audience and connect with like-minded individuals from around the world. Since all interactions are conducted live, you can communicate directly with viewers and provide immediate responses. This can help build your brand’s reputation and trust.
Interactive live stream video content gives people remote access to live events like conferences, concerts, and lectures, regardless of location. While some people may not be able to attend events in person, online streaming makes it possible for anyone to participate in virtual events. Additionally, users can watch the stream at any time and on any device if the recording is available.
Build a community
Viewers are often able to subscribe to your channel when you stream on streaming platforms. Over time, you may have regular viewers hopping into your stream, allowing you to build a community. By creating a community, you can boost brand awareness, promote loyalty, and increase your following.
Ensure continuing engagement
Live streaming makes it easy to show off your genuine personality. Authentically interacting with your audience can help improve engagement and viewership with later streams. Viewers may also tune in more often as you provide more value.
Cost-effective after initial setup
Obtaining the right equipment and software for streaming requires an initial investment. However, once you begin streaming, you have the opportunity to generate additional revenue and offset the cost of those expenses. Many live streaming platforms enable you to earn a commission by running ads, while others allow viewers to subscribe to your channel for a set price.
By using live streaming to your advantage, you can advertise your brand and online store. Doing so can help drive traffic to your business and boost conversions. Calls to action are also more effective during a live stream.
Interactive live streaming examples
Want to start live streaming but don’t know the type of content you want to provide? Here are a few examples that may help you.
Concerts and live performances
Streaming concerts and live performances enable you to connect with those who cannot attend these events in person. This can also be great for new artists who don’t have the resources to tour or perform at local venues.
A webinar is a live event stream used to present products or services, educate people about a specific subject, and present your brand as an industry expert. This online event can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, so it’s a good idea to make the content easy to digest.
Some interactive live streams allow viewers to tune in to learn how to accomplish a certain project or task. For instance, viewers may take a virtual cooking class to learn how to make a delicious vegan dish for their next potluck. Or, they may watch a live tutorial to know the best ways to answer interview questions.
Live shopping streams allow you to showcase your products to a virtual audience who may be viewing your stream from around the world. For example, clothing brands may conduct live shopping streams to highlight the details of their products, show viewers how to wear the garment, and accept orders on the spot.
Gaming is a popular streaming category that garners billions of views. In fact, 7.4 billion gaming live stream hours were watched in Q3 of 2021 (via Statista). Streamers will typically play a video game of their choice and encourage viewers to engage with them as they play.
A live auction is an interactive stream where bidding takes place in real-time. They are often used to purchase items that may be harder to find or of higher value than typical retail products. During a live auction, bidders compete for the item being sold by raising their bids incrementally until one bidder remains as the winner.
How to make live streams more interactive
Ready to host a live stream? Here are a few interactive live stream ideas that can make your content more engaging:
- Understand your audience. Understanding your audience lets you tailor your content to their interests and needs. Plus, you can identify the best platform to stream and share your content.
- Plan your talking points. It’s important to keep the conversation going even if you aren’t getting a response back. Otherwise, viewers may encounter a silent host when they join your stream. Instead, plan a few talking points you can reference to spark a conversation.
- Ensure your stream looks good. While aesthetics aren’t everything, a high-quality stream with appealing graphics can lure in viewers.
Improve your live streams with Dolby.io
An interactive live stream makes it easy to connect with any audience in real time, regardless of where they are in the world. Whether you’re using this form of streaming for marketing or to build a community with like-minded individuals, making your content as professional as possible is vital. Doing so can boost the quality of your stream and keep viewers engaged.
With Dolby.io Streaming APIs, you can easily broadcast to third-party live streaming platforms, optimize your content for streaming, reduce latency, and improve audio and video quality. Explore our solutions today, try the demo, and see the difference Dolby.io can make for your streams.