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What is YouTube Live and How Can You Use It?

Written by Angela Tempest

January 4, 2019

First, there was Facebook Live then Instagram Stories and now Facebook Stories.  Our demand for short-term, ephemeral content shows no sign of going away.  And as marketers, the opportunity to be authentic and spontaneous helps to really engage audiences.  That’s no doubt why YouTube Live was created – but what is it and how can you use it?

What is YouTube Live?

YouTube Live was launched early last year and allows video creators to stream live from a desktop computer without any encoding software.  In other words, a similar experience to Facebook Live where you can switch on your webcam, go ‘Live’ on YouTube and broadcast to your audience.  Before this, people had to use special software to do this which was a bit fussy to set up.

Another handy benefit is that the Live videos become part of your archive and therefore have that replay value.  You can organise them into playlists and your audience can watch them any time they want, just like video created elsewhere and uploaded to the site.

Why use it?

But what would make you switch your Live broadcast to YouTube versus Facebook?  According to Social Media Examiner, one reason to consider is that YouTube Live videos get more views compared to Facebook Live.  That’s because YouTube has its algorithm set up to help people who might be interested find your video.

This means if someone watches a video or live stream that is similar to yours, the algorithm is more likely to point out your content to them.  And people who watch you can opt to get email notifications or even push notifications that you are Live.  This helps to boost the number of viewers.

The YouTube factor

People who have been using it have noticed quite a lot of success with the platform and one of the reasons for this is that people go to YouTube to watch video, so it is no surprise they are up for watching Live content.  Not everyone goes to Facebook to watch video in the same way. 

Plus it is easier to make money with YouTube Live with the Super Chat feature.  You can have display cards that link to other videos and channels and even to your website too if you meet their requirements.  You can show a poll card for live feedback and add links to your website in the video description.

Finally, you can trim the video with the built-in editor afterwards so if you stumbled over your words or had one of those stagnant pauses, you can just trim that bit out!

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Another handy benefit is that the Live videos become part of your archive and therefore have that replay value. 

Ranking on Google

YouTube Live definitely looks worth examining if video is in your strategy for 2019.  And there’s also the fact that it is owned by Google and that YouTube videos rank well in search engines – so you could increase your channel’s exposure and ranking with this live content.

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