10 Best Live Streaming Apps You Should Know in 2021
With community restrictions and quarantine in place due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, live streaming has become more popular in record numbers. It is a great avenue to create and promote content, whether it’s about food, shopping, gaming, entertainment, news, or even the most trivial Q&A. Aside from its income-generating benefit, live streaming offers a huge opportunity to promote events, products, and services. It is also accessible to both professional and personal users.
A live streaming platform can be a mobile, desktop, or web tool that allows you to host, upload and broadcast video content. This is greatly useful in generating leads, growing the number of your followers, advertising products, building brand awareness or simply sharing random information about yourself to your audience.
With the abundance of live streaming apps, it can be overwhelming to choose the right platform for your content needs.
Here we rounded up ten of the best live streaming platforms in 2021 that you could use to strengthen your online presence. This list does not rank the platforms in a specific order but presents their key features, as well as the pros and cons of using them, to help you make a more informed decision.
If you are ready to learn which live streaming platform would best suit your needs and personality, read on!
1. Facebook Live
Facebook, as we all know, is one of the largest social media platforms out there. With its huge user base of over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is undoubtedly one of the best live streaming platforms that will help you gain significant exposure. The app also makes information sharing with thousands (if not millions of people) easy. It also has a simple and easy-to-use UI, where users can start broadcasting straight from their mobile or desktop devices.
Facebook Live is also one of the few most integrated platforms currently available. If you are using a broadcaster software or any live streaming-enabled devices, there is a good chance that Facebook Live is already integrated with the app or software.
- It is available for free.
- It offers plenty of monetization features and options.
- It has built-in platform adverts to promote your content
- It is heavily integrated with most live streaming software and devices available in the market.
- It offers great virality potential, which maximizes your content.
- It makes it easy for content creators to build their fan base, and allows them to connect and promote their page and content directly to friends and family.
- It is easy to use and has a simple UI, especially for mobile devices.
- The live stream is always saved as a VOD and is available for replay at a later time.
- The full features and benefits of live streaming are only made available to certain pages, such as business and gaming pages. Users are required to create such pages to avail these benefits.
- There are strict guidelines, copyright limitations, and censorship, which may vary from region to region. To gain monetization status, users need to comply with Facebook’s monetization terms and conditions.
- There are two types of live streaming channels, which differ between a personal profile and a page profile.
- Using the app can be confusing to those who are not familiar with live streaming.
From its early days as Justin.tv back in 2007 to its rebranding and re-launch in 2011, Twitch is a consumer-grade platform that is highly popular among the e-sport and video game community. Twitch has also expanded its category to cover live streaming from different genres, such as music and technology. It is also highly integrated into most broadcasting software, which makes managing your live stream a breeze by simply using broadcasting software like Streamlabs OBS.
- It is available for free and turbo accounts.
- It has tools for the audience to chat with streamers and with other audiences in real-time.
- It features a niche user dashboard where the streamer can promote his profile and other social media channels.
- It is relatively easy for beginners to start live streaming.
- It is compatible and integrated with most broadcasting software.
- It has a huge online community, with 140 million active users per month.
- There are three tiers of monetization: direct donation, bits tipping, and subscription.
- It is mostly meant for personal, and not professional, use.
- It has “gamer-y” aesthetics and is not really suitable for professionals.
- Starting your own fan base can be a challenge, since there are too many competitors.
- It requires encoding tools.
3. Youtube Live
Youtube has long been known as one of the first platforms to make video streaming popular. It is currently the only platform that is powered by Google. Hence, Youtube has an exceptional search algorithm, which makes content easily discoverable.
- Its search algorithm is powered by Google.
- Though it supports both VOD and live streaming, it is most well-known for VOD.
- The videos can be embedded in other websites.
- It allows ad-based monetization.
- It is free to use.
- It is popular among users, with over 2.3 billion active users worldwide.
- It has an easy-to-use UI for viewers and broadcasters.
- It has live and VOD hosting features.
- Monetization is limited to users with a large following and long watch times. Youtube requires live streamers to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time to start monetization.
- Live streaming feature is still quite limited.
- Youtube owns partial rights to your content.
- There are strict restrictions on content.
4. Instagram Live
Instagram is a much newer live streaming app compared to Facebook and Youtube Live. It is best known for its photo- and video-sharing abilities where users can upload images and videos on their account. The app’s live streaming feature works as part of Insta stories, which sometimes limits their discoverability to the user’s followers. However, with 500 million daily active users, Instagram Live is another effective live streaming platform for content promotion.
- It is an effective social media platform for sharing images and videos.
- It is popular across most age groups.
- It allows viewers to engage with the streamers in real-time by leaving comments or likes.
- Streamers can pin a comment for all viewers to read.
- It has a large user base, making content sharing easily discoverable and accessible.
- It has a simple and easy-to-navigate UI.
- It is free to download and easy to use.
- It has no monetization features.
- It has minimal professional features.
- It has no analytics.
- It has limited device compatibility. Most features are only available on the mobile version and not on the web version.
ViuLive is a new live streaming platform that supports multi-screen display, as well as group broadcasting. The platform is currently in its early stages, with more upcoming features planned for future releases. The app has a unique feature that allows audience to select which camera angle they wish to watch if the streamer is using multiple cameras during the live stream. All the live stream content published will then be saved as a VOD, which can be watched at a later time. The app is also available on mobile and desktop devices, as well as on TV apps that allow users to watch the live stream and VOD.
- It features unique multi-screen displays that allow viewers to watch multiple camera angles/sources at a time.
- It is compatible with most RTMP-enabled devices and software.
- It supports group/squad live streaming.
- Its multi-screen display gives the viewers the power to select which camera angle to watch.
- Group streaming is relatively easy to set up and is available for free.
- It is compatible with most RTMP-enabled cameras, allowing users to live stream directly from the device itself.
- All of its features are available for free.
- It is available on multiple devices and platforms.
- It is still in its development stages, with most features still in the works.
- It has no monetization option.
- It has no analytics.
- The UI can be a bit confusing to set up.
- One-click live streaming can lead to unwanted and accidental content.
- There is no broadcasting software integration, making it hard to manage the live stream.
6. Omlet Arcade
Omlet Arcade is another live streaming platform popular among the mobile gaming community, with a native built-in live stream encoder. Though the platform features real-life streaming, it’s a niche app that supports mobile games. This is the main contributor to the app’s rising popularity. It also supports traditional live streaming using broadcasting software on a desktop.
- It is a live streaming platform that focuses more on mobile gaming.
- It has a similar UI to Twitch.
- Offers a built-in mobile encoder and screen capturing software for mobile devices.
- Most of its basic and important features are available for free.
- The app features built-in mobile screen capture software, which is very unique.
- Users have the ability to multi-stream, as well as to stream on other platforms, with its built-in broadcasting software.
- This platform is mostly meant for gamers.
- Its gaming aesthetics are not suitable for professional use.
- The platform caters mostly to mobile users.
7. Linkedin Live
Linkedin entered the live streaming party a bit later compared to the others in this list. Despite this, it did not deter the live streaming success of the professional networking platform. Being one of the (if not the only) social media that is home to a global network of professionals, Linkedin has a diverse user demographic, with the 25–34 years age group forming its largest advertising unit.
- It offers live stream analytics.
- It supports live chat.
- It offers chat moderation tools that allows you to delete, report, and block both comments and viewers.
- Its available for free.
- It has a large user demographic to promote your content.
- A global network for professional users with 2x more buying power compared to the average internet user.
- Linkedin live videos get 7x more interactions and 24x more comments compared to native videos published by the same broadcaster.
- It is typically meant for professionals due to the nature of the social media platform.
- It has undiversified content when compared to other live streaming platforms.
TikTok is present in 154 countries and boasts a younger audience demographic. TikTok’s algorithm is geared towards growth, which makes it relatively easy to go viral and build your own follower base on this app. According to statistics, 46% of TikTok live users are between the age of 16–24, and 20% of the user base are students.
- It features the ability to add filters and beautify your live stream.
- It has live streaming analytics.
- It boasts 500 million global users.
- It is free to download and use.
- Its algorithm enables a user to be easily discoverable.
- It generates a “For You” page based on the viewer’s watch behaviors.
- TikTok has very limited monetization options.
- It has a 60-second video length limit.
- Users are unable to remove the TikTok branding.
9. Vimeo Live
Vimeo is well known for being an online video hosting service that allows video showcasing on a site or across the web a breeze. The platform offers a flexible solution to accommodate small and large businesses. You can access their video hosting services through different subscription plans. However, live streaming is only available on the top tier subscriptions.
- Offers a robust infrastructure.
- It offers live video analytics.
- It supports monetization features.
- It can broadcast to all online social networks.
- It has three monetization features, including subscriptions, rentals, and pay-per-view.
- Vimeo offers a free video editing software on their app.
- It is not free to host a live stream.
- Live streaming is only available on the premium and enterprise plans, which start at $75 billed annually.
- It has a limited storage space for free subscribers.
DaCast is known to provide video hosting solutions for all types of businesses. Users can broadcast through their live streaming website, as well as control the branding and access to their content. DaCast also supports monetization abilities for their users.
- Live video can be embedded anywhere.
- It supports real-time analytics.
- It is a white label video hosting site that allows users to put their own brand logo on their live broadcast.
- It supports the ability to live stream to all social media channels and host live countdowns simultaneously.
- It supports four ways of monetization for your video content, including pay-per-view, subscription, rental and ad-based video options.
- It is not free to use.
- It is typically for businesses and not for personal use.
- It requires a bit of a learning curve to start using the platform.
There are a lot of live streaming platforms available now in the market. With a lot of streamers vying for their audience’s attention, it is necessary to choose the best platform that is most suited to your personality, target market, and content. While these six platforms will give you enough discoverability and exposure, it is also important to produce content that will add value to your audience.
If you’re ready to share your content and grow your online following, here’s a recap of the 10 best live streaming platforms that you must consider in 2021:
- Facebook Live
- Youtube Live
- Instagram Live
- Omlet Arcade
- Linkedin Live
Are there other live streaming platforms that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!