TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram are all providing some stiff competition for YouTube on the live video front. But, YouTube clearly plans to stay in the game…and those plans involve new features that are heavily influenced by its competitors. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
In a video posted to the company’s official Creator Insider channel, YouTube showcased five brand new features – Go Live Together, Live Rings, Cross Channel Live Redirects, Full Screen Mode, and Live Q&A – specifically related to livestreams that are coming to the platform. Some of these features might seem very familiar to users of other livestreaming platforms.
Go Live Together
Have you ever wanted to invite a fellow YouTuber to join you on your stream? Go Live Together is a new YouTube livestreaming feature that allows creators to easily invite a guest to join them on a mobile stream by simply sending the other user a link.
If this sounds like a feature you’ve seen before, you may very well have. TikTok and Instagram both provide similar tools for creators to easily bring guests on-screen for their livestreams. There are also third-party platforms that bring similar functionality to YouTube, but the company is building these livestream invite capabilities right into its own platform.
The livestream host will have access to analytics and will be able to monetize the stream just like they would for any other uploaded or livestreamed video content.
Go Live Together is currently being tested in a small pilot program for creators. The ability to invite a guest on-screen is currently only for those streaming via a mobile device.
What’s the best way to let users know that their favorite creator is live? Just put a ring around their profile picture. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are already doing this very thing.
And now, YouTube is going to join them. The video giant will soon put a red ring around users’ profile avatar if they are currently streaming live. If a user taps a photo with a live ring activated, they will be sent to a livestream.
YouTube plans to roll this out first on mobile devices, but this feature will be coming to the entire platform soon after.
Cross Channel Live Redirects
One of the best ways to promote your Twitch channel is by sharing your viewers with another streamer after your livestream is over. On Twitch, this is called a “raid.”
YouTube is going with a slightly less catchy name for its own version of this very feature, “Cross Channel Live Redirects.”
Basically, if a creator has at least 1,000 subscribers and no active community guideline strikes, they’ll be able to redirect their viewers to another channel’s livestream or premiere video. (A premiere video is an uploaded YouTube video that airs with a live chat for its first scheduled public viewing. It is then viewable as any other uploaded video on the platform.)
YouTubers can already send viewers to other livestreams or videos on their own channel. This new feature will allow them to send viewers to other channels as well.
However, Cross Channel Live Redirects will be a little different from Twitch’s raids. Some Twitch streamers have weaponized the feature, known as “hate raids,” sending their viewers to harass other creators. YouTube will only allow a YouTuber to redirect to creators that approve of their channel or already subscribe to it.
Full Screen Mode
YouTube is also working on a new screen layout for livestream viewing on mobile.
Known as Full Screen Mode, YouTube is taking a split-screen approach, providing viewers with the ability to watch a stream with the video and live chat side-by-side.
The feature will provide users with a choice of two options. In “lean in mode,” the video will appear on the left side of the screen and the live chat will sit on the right. In “lean back mode,” the video will take up the entirety of the mobile device’s screen. A livestream viewer count will appear on the lower right hand side of the screen and provide viewers with previews of key in-chat moments like polls from the creator. If a viewer taps on the viewer count, YouTube will switch to “lean in mode” with the video and live chat split screen.
Of the five new features, Full Screen Mode is the first one YouTube’s users will likely notice. According to the company, Full Screen Mode will launch next week.
If you have questions to ask your favorite streamers, it may be easier to get them answered in the near future.
Live Q&A is coming to YouTube livestreams, allowing viewers to submit questions to a livestreamer while watching their feed based on the creator’s prompt. The questions will be pinned to the top of the live chat so creators can easily track them and viewers can follow along.
YouTube already provides livestreamers with an option to poll their viewers in the live chat. It just makes sense that they’d roll out similar options to further facilitate engagement between a streamer in an audience.