YouNow - Guest Broadcasting

YouNow - Guest Broadcasting

Summary: Guest Broadcasting gives broadcasters the ability to invite guests onscreen, with real-time video and audio with no latency. Launched September 2015.

YouNow is an interactive social live-streaming platform that empowers content creators to earn a living by engaging with their fanbase in real time.

Above: The mobile broadcaster view once a guest has been selected.

Background

Guest broadcasting was the #1 feature requested by the YouNow community. Broadcasters wanted to be able to go live with their viewers, and the audience wanted a more engaging and interactive experience with the broadcaster. And the community had already found ways to hack our system to create this kind of dynamic. Broadcasters would call their viewers on FaceTime, and then display them on camera, or they would use external third-parties to combine a video stream of another user.

Building Guest broadcasting was a no-brainer.

Our hypothesis was that guest broadcasting would increase broadcast time, the percentage of users who broadcast live, and broadcaster retention. And we believed this was a feature that would surprise us in ways we couldn’t imagine. 

The benefits were numerous:

  • Lowers the barrier to entry for on-camera participation (the highest form of engagement), allowing more overall users to be on camera
  • Opens up possibilities for new kinds of interactive content by allowing two people to interact live on camera (singing duets, dance battles, truth or dare, talking, etc)
  • Creates deeper connections between a broadcaster and their audience
  • Makes it easier for broadcasters to be entertaining, by sharing the responsibility with a guest
Above: Audience members can opt-in for the opportunity to become a guest. The broadcaster can select anyone from the list, or invite an audience member to go live.

Above: Audience members can opt-in for the opportunity to become a guest. The broadcaster can select anyone from the list, or invite an audience member to go live.

Above: Once a host broadcaster selects a guest, the user is made live next to the host. We decided to split the screen (rather than make the guest smaller within the frame of the broadcast), as we felt it better highlighted the guest & made the interactions more intimate.

Above: Once a host broadcaster selects a guest, the user is made live next to the host. We decided to split the screen (rather than make the guest smaller within the frame of the broadcast), as we felt it better highlighted the guest & made the interactions more intimate.


Design Process

  • Inspiration - We took inspiration from the community members using third parties to hack together their own guest broadcasts
  • Sketches - We used quick sketches to consider the primary user flows, and product requirements
  • Wireframes - We conducted internal design reviews using wireframes built in Sketch to discuss requirements & refine flows. 
  • Prototyping - I worked with another designer who built prototypes in Framer.js
  • User feedback - We interviewed top YouNow broadcasters to get their suggestions.
  • Testing during product development - As we started building the app, we used guest broadcasting frequently to work out the kinks.
Above: A screenshot of a user hacking his video stream to bring a viewer into his broadcast. Broadcasts like these demonstrated the community's desire to have more immersive and engaging broadcast interactions.

Above: A screenshot of a user hacking his video stream to bring a viewer into his broadcast. Broadcasts like these demonstrated the community's desire to have more immersive and engaging broadcast interactions.


Results

  • Widespread adoption - 78% of daily active users watch guest broadcasts.
  • Competitive advantage - Since the launch, guest broadcasting has now become a staple feature that differentiates the YouNow experience.
  • Live constraints - Broadcasters can only select a limited number of users to have a meaningful guest broadcast with. This constraint meant that only a percentage of the users who wanted to become guests, actually could. We’ve now been thinking of ways to match these people with other broadcasters who may not have many viewers, or are looking for new friends. 
  • Limited impact on retention - We didn’t see a significant increase in retention as we expected. Despite 78% of daily active users seeing guest broadcasts, a smaller percentage actually made it live with a broadcaster. 

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