How to Live Stream on YouTube (Or Watch a Live Stream)

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How to Live Stream on YouTube 

Are you a YouTuber looking to livestream your first video, or an avid YouTube fan who wants to watch Youtube live streams of your favourite gamer or daily vlogger?

Why you should start (or support) live streams

Live streams are becoming increasingly common. Fans and streamers can continue engaging with each other online in spite of COVID-19 restrictions which have limited the hosting of in-person meetups and events. Additionally, streamers can leverage this as an opportunity to generate revenue when users donate money and send “gifts” in real time.

Livestreams can also be saved as videos and subsequently uploaded, so even fans who miss them can easily watch a playback in their own time, contributing to an increase in video and channel views. 

How to start a YouTube Live 

YouTube Live is YouTube’s live streaming feature, which allows content creators to engage with viewers in real-time over video and chat. 

1. Enable live streaming

Before you can go live on YouTube, make sure you enable the livestreaming function on your device and that your account is verified. 

If you’re using a web browser:

  • Open YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) in your browser. Ensure that you are signed into your account.
  • Click on the Camera icon with the “+” symbol at the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Click on Go Live.
  • Wait for livestreaming to be enabled (this may take up to 24 hours).

If you’re using a mobile device or tablet:

  • Open the YouTube App.
  • Click on the Camera icon with the “+” symbol at the bottom.
  • Click on Go Live.
  • Wait for livestreaming to be enabled (this may take up to 24 hours).

Note: You need at least 1,000 subscribers to enable live streaming on mobile.

2. Select a stream type 

YouTube allows you to livestream with one of the three different recording options below:

  • Mobile: Ensure that you have a verified YouTube channel with at least 1,000 subscribers. Pick this option for casual daily vlogging or to share quick updates on the go.
  • Webcam: Ensure that you own a computer and a webcam. This is recommended for simple live stream sessions where you are not using too many resources, such as props. Ideally, you will just be filming yourself or another subject. This option is good for hosting a quick Q&A session or accept audience requests on the spot and give impromptu performances. 
  • Encoder: If you want to share your screen in your livestream, or use multiple cameras, microphones and other hardware, pick this option. This is ideal for longer and more intense sessions such as gaming streams, concerts, business events, podcasts and interactive presentations.

3. Choose a title, description and thumbnail image

You’re almost ready to livestream!

Now, you just have to choose a title, description and thumbnail image for your livestream. The key is to draw people to click on your video when they see your YouTube Live video on their feeds.

Below are some best practices when adding your live stream details. These will help ensure you reach a bigger audience, gain more views and get more clicks.

  • Create an eye-catching title: Craft catchy titles that accurately describe your video content. Do also use commonly searched keywords so your livestreams show up in top search results.
  • Optimize your description: Just like the title, your livestream video description should include important keywords to help it rank higher in search results. Using relevant hashtags helps as well. You can even add links to your website and merchandise store if you want them to check out certain resources or get more customers to purchase your merchandise. 
  • Design a custom thumbnail: Your thumbnail is the first thing your potential audience will see. Make sure your video looks attractive enough to click on by designing a custom thumbnail that captures the essence of your video in an outstanding manner. The resolution of your YouTube thumbnail should be 1280×720 with a minimum width of 640 pixels. Use a consistent thumbnail design e.g. font, and try not to crowd it with too many elements.

4. Start livestreaming

Ready to go live? Follow the steps below to start (and end) your livestream on mobile, desktop and encoder.

How to livestream on mobile or tablet

  • Open the YouTube app.
  • Click on CreateGo Live at the bottom.
  • Tap More options to schedule your stream for later and select your preferred settings for age restriction, live chat, monetization and more.
  • To share your phone screen, click on Create channelShare screen.
  • Tap Go Live to start streaming.
  • To end your live stream, click on Finish.

How to livestream using a computer and webcam

  • Sign in to YouTube in your browser.
  • Click on CreateGo Live in the top-right corner.
  • Select Webcam from the left.
  • Add a title and description, and set the privacy.
  • Select More optionsAdvanced Settings for additional settings you want to set.
  • Click on Next to capture a thumbnail with your camera.
  • Ensure you’ve selected the right webcam and microphone.
  • Tap Go Live to start streaming.
  • Click on Edit to adjust settings for privacy, monetization, live chat, add tags and more.
  • Tap End Stream at the bottom when you’re done live streaming.

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