Welcome to the Virtual Event Platform Review Series where we take a look at a major product on the market and share what there is to like, what is not so great and why it might be right for you (or not). Each platform is given a rating in four categories:
The final score is the average of the ratings, plus our thoughts on what types of events the platform could be a good fit for.
In this article, we review the pros and cons of another player in the virtual event market: StreamYard.
Pros: StreamYard is a very straightforward and easy to use platform for both first time and experienced event organizers. The pricing model is transparent and offers tiered plans to suit most virtual event needs. Plus, the platform has been around for several years, so there are countless YouTube tutorials on how to customize and use the service. With StreamYard, event organizers can multi-stream to most major social sites including YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, there are many default backgrounds, lower thirds and branding colors to choose from, allowing event organizers to hit the ground running with very little setup time.
Cons: StreamYard is ideal for streaming content on third party social networks, but the system only hosts a copy of the livestream in the cloud for 15 days. After 15 days, the original file will be deleted. For organizers hosting large multi-day, multi-track events, the 15-day time frame could present a hurdle. Additionally, because StreamYard is reliant on sharing content via third parties, important metrics such as attendee count, watch time, interactions and more must be compiled from third-party networks.
Pros: StreamYard is a video streaming service and does not natively host attendee interactivity. Depending on what the target audience will be most adept to use, organizers can choose to stream an event to one — or multiple — third-party services. This flexibility also means attendees do not have to download any software or programs to watch the content; it’s all browser based and can typically be watched on countless devices (based on the third-party service’s offerings). Additionally, during the event, event organizers can monitor comments/questions coming from live attendees and select which comments to display on the stream for the speaker to answer.
Cons: Because there is no attendee engagement in StreamYard directly, attendees must log into their personal, third-party accounts in order to engage with the presenters live. Plus, by multi-streaming the event on multiple third-party platforms, audience interaction and engagement can get diluted.
Pros: In StreamYard, the event organizer is in complete control of the speaker experience — which makes it easy and stress-free for a speaker to join their presentation. By default, speakers are put into a waiting room where the host can add them to the stream at the appropriate time. This means speakers don’t have to worry about joining an event too early and/or crashing the current presenter’s presentation. Additionally, via a tab in the platform, speakers are able to see attendee comments from the third-party services. If the comments become too distracting, speakers can simply hide the tab. Event organizers also can customize the speaker’s information, including backgrounds and lower thirds, on each session.
Cons: As noted in the attendee experience section, outside of comments on third-party streaming outlets, speakers have little interaction with attendees. Plus, speakers do not receive real-time feedback regarding how many attendees are watching and engaging with their content. This can be disheartening for speakers who have interactive presentations that do best with audience participation. While the speakers don’t have to worry about setting up anything in the platform, they are heavily reliant on the meeting host or moderator to choose the appropriate background and video display needed to work with their presentation.
Pros: StreamYard has multiple options for customization throughout their tiered pricing models, which includes branding and logo opportunities that can be used for sponsors. These options can be customized by speaker, session, day, track, etc. — the options are endless! Since the live stream is shared via third-party services, sponsors can respond and interact with attendees through their official brand accounts as opposed to personal profiles.
Cons: Although organizers can place sponsor logos and branding materials on the live stream video, it is up to the sponsor companies or the event organizers to promote any links or resources on the third-party websites where the content is streaming. Attendees can’t click on a link directly from the video feed or download a resource guide without manually entering the website or hoping someone posts it as a comment via the third-party channel.
StreamYard is a great solution for a true “live stream” event where little to no interaction is needed from attendees or participants. While the pricing and ease of use is a great selling point for event organizers, the platform’s lack of interactivity and ability to be a one-stop-shop for resources is a serious downfall.
StreamYard is a good fit for…
Event Size: > 1 - 1,000+
Event Type(s): Live streams, product demonstrations, panel discussions
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