How to create a live streaming app: detailed guide

Statista estimated that in 2021, more than 150 million Americans watched live broadcasts. In China, the number of streaming viewers has completely exceeded 703 million users. People like this format of “absorbing” content, because it allows viewers to be on the scene. Moreover, thanks to mobile platforms, participation in online activities is not limited to walls. If there is a demand, it is not too late to make an offer. We understand in detail how to create a live streaming app. So, what knowledge and technologies are needed for the project?

What are live streaming apps?

Live streaming app is a mobile or web platform that allows organizers to transmit video/audio to viewers in real time. Online broadcasting is conducted by streamers. Depending on the broadcasters’ goals, there are different ways of transmitting content. They are implemented through application types:

  • Live streaming software

Such software simultaneously broadcasts and records video. It is available in real time and (if configured) is saved to the server so that viewers can review the content later. Bloggers broadcast:

– how gamers play (Twitch, Mixer, Caffeine);

– how influencers communicate with their audience (Periscope, Instalively, Facebook Live);

– how streamers report events online (365Scores for sports broadcasts, Panopto for lectures, JW Player for news broadcasts, etc.).

  • Audio streaming

Such apps allow people to listen to music and podcasts online without downloading content. Examples of software for live streaming are Spotify, Soundbounce, DJing and other audio content streaming services.

  • VOD

VOD – video-on-demand distribution systems that allow people to watch movies, TV series and programs without downloading them to a device. Unlike live broadcasts, video content can be paused, resumed or rewound. Online content stores Apple iTunes and Smart TV offer temporary rental or purchase of individual programs. The Netflix, Hulu and Paramount+ platforms have stepped up and are selling subscriptions.

Streaming applications are divided by fields of activity: for business or personal use. But in general, the process of live streaming app development includes the same stages, which we will consider further.

How to create a live streaming app: 8 steps

Building a live streaming app, like any other software development project, includes standard steps, but with its own features. Before creating a live streaming app, the initiator of the project needs to take care of the following points:

#1. Assemble a development team with building a live streaming app experience

A good development team is half the success of building a live streaming app project. It is important to find technical specialists with experience in designing this type of software. They must implement the idea and meet the necessary time/money limits. There are two ways here.

The first one is to form your own staff of developers. This way is quite expensive, because it is necessary to rent an office, equip it, purchase equipment and software, as well as spend time searching for employees. It is difficult for a manager without a technical education to find the right specialists, so here you will need an assistant for recruitment. This is too expensive for a one-time project.

The second one is to outsource the live streaming app development project. Find a company that has experience in implementing such projects. It has the necessary specialists and proper technical stack. This way is attractive because of price flexibility. The customer is not limited by location, he/she can find the optimal services in terms of price-quality ratio. For example, to hire a developer abroad with an hourly rate 2 times less than in your home country. And the issues of paying rent, utilities, office equipment are removed.

A technical partner will help you go through other stages on the way to creating your perfect live streaming app.

#2. Explore the market and your target audience

Building an application from scratch based on assumptions or on the principle of “as I like” is a pernicious tactic. In order for people to buy software for live streaming, it must attract attention and solve user problems.

And how do you know what consumers want? You either need to ask them what is more difficult to do without a client base. Or analyze what software solutions are on the market and how users evaluate them. In other words, to conduct marketing research.

It is important to evaluate the existing live streaming apps for business on the market. You should see what functions are implemented and how users react to them. You can read customer reviews to understand what they lack in competitors’ products. It is important to take into account their real needs and opinions, the shortcomings of rivals in order to create a more user-friendly, valuable product.

You can conduct marketing research yourself or with the help of a business analyst of an IT outsourcing company. Knowledge of the target audience will be a peg guiding all activities on the project.

#3. Choose a monetization strategy

Taking into account the achievements of competitors, it is necessary to highlight the list of functions that need to be implemented in the application. Focus on the adopted monetization strategy. It is easier to create this mechanism from scratch than to implement it into an existing product later.

The live stream video app is monetized in three ways:

– make the app paid: charge money for downloading;

– offer software for free (Freemium), but with the possibility of purchasing privileged functions for advanced users;

– earn from advertising: run ads on the platform for a fee.

To be safe, the owners of software for live streaming implement several monetization strategies at the same time so that the application pays off. For example, Twitch receives revenue for subscriptions, advertising, and from the sale of animated “bits”. TikTok earns money from advertising, purchases, as well as E-commerce offers.

Having thought through the earnings mechanism in advance, it is easier to understand what related functions need to be developed for the platform. And also set the priority of their implementation.

#4. Think over the technical stack for the streaming platform

Then a technical partner will help you choose a stack of technologies for streaming, hosting, and content storage: programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and so on. If you want to impress users, you need to provide them with a continuous stream of high-resolution video. So that with the growth of traffic, the performance of the mobile or web platform is maintained.

Developers of an IT outsourcing company choose the technologies optimal for app implementation:

  • A content delivery network (CDN) that provides a continuous supply of information. AWS CloudFront, CloudFlare and Yottaa services have proven themselves well;
  • Reliable hosting that will store content on the server (Amazon S3, Azure Blob storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage);
  • Programming languages and frameworks: SWIFT/KOTLIN for mobile applications, AngularJS/Express.js./Java – for the web;
  • Database (MySQL, DynamoDB, Oracle);
  • Push notification support: Google Firebase Notifications, OneSignal, Pusher;
  • Video players (VPlayed, VideoJS, Plyr) and other tools.

Experts will select an advantageous combination of technologies based on goals such as live streaming apps for business. So that the platform functions properly and copes with the growing load.

#5. Think through UI/UX design

The work of the human brain is designed to find the shortest way to solve problems. Let’s say your live stream video app does not provide such an opportunity, but leads the user to the goal in an incomprehensible, confusing way. Then the client will leave to look for a simpler and more convenient analogue. Therefore, thinking through the UI/UX design of the platform is no less important than its development.

The live streaming app development team must have an experienced UI/UX designer. Such a specialist will think through the logic of navigation through the application and create a concept for each page. He/she will design the visual components in accordance with the corporate identity and adapt the design to different screen resolutions.

Despite the fact that there are a lot of graphical elements in live streaming software, you need to find the optimal balance so that the user interface is not overloaded. It is important that the UI/UX designer makes the product unique and different from the competition. Both at the level of compatibility of colors and images, and at the level of usability.

#6. Develop and test MVP

Even if you are eager to implement all your ideas in a live broadcast application and only then release the perfect product to the market, it’s worth pausing. Prioritize functions in order to gradually implement them into the software for live streaming and watch user reactions.

To “test” ideas on the market, a minimally viable product is created – the so-called MVP. This is an initial, lightweight version of the platform, which contains priority functions and can be released to the market. Users can fully work with such a product and leave feedback with notes that they would like to improve.

These wishes should be taken into account in order to refine and develop the product. It is not a fact that the user needs will coincide with business vision. Perhaps some of the intended functions will disappear. The business will insure itself by not overpaying for unnecessary functionality development.

MVP is a kind of business card. The success of the product depends on the launch of the MVP, so it should be thoroughly tested before launching. Customers are used to good service, and if the platform is not high enough, the user will leave to look for more reliable software. That’s why live streaming apps for business should be thoroughly tested.

#7. Plan and implement pre-release marketing

It is necessary to advertise the software in advance. Then the market will welcome the new product, and users will actively use the application without deleting it after the first opening. You also need to create a buzz around the application and interest customers so that long before the release you have a queue of interested users.

It is worth launching an advertising campaign on different digital channels:

– social networks – you need to create a profile on platforms, post branded content, expand the audience and introduce the product;

– popular blogs – it is worth preparing a series of press releases and publishing them on well-known resources so that as many people as possible read the announcement of your product;

– influencers – good idea to “buy” the time of a popular streamers, agree with them to conduct a live broadcast with their audience, advertising your platform;

– landing page on the Internet – it will tell people about the product’s advantages, motivate the user to purchase, collect contact details for Email newsletters.

It is important to consider options for “introducing” the target audience to the platform and creating customer needs for the product. This should be done before the developers finish working on the MVP. This approach ensures that video software for live streaming will start earning reputation and money at launch.

#8. Release MVP to the market and develop the product

After launching the basic version of your product, the work does not end. If the project did not fail at the start, and customers are willing to use the platform and leave feedback, it is worth continuing to improve the live streaming app. It is necessary to analyze consumer responses, take into account their wishes, and add only relevant functions to the platform.

Product development will go in a circle “release – study reviews – add features”. Continuous improvement of video software for live streaming guarantees its success in the market. For example, since the first launch, YouTube has evolved significantly. In addition to the “share video” option, the functions of playlists, rating system, full screen mode, comments, live broadcasts and so on were gradually added.

Continuous development has provided YouTube with a place in the TOP 3 platforms for watching live broadcasts. It is worth focusing on the leaders so that the MVP grows into a unique, noteworthy product.

Features that should be in the live streaming app

In order for the live stream video app to help users perform the necessary tasks, it must have approximately the following set of functions:

– Registration in a small form that collects data to create a profile. Do not immediately load the client with work. Additional information can be collected by allowing customers to edit the account by adding more details. A good alternative to the form is registration via social networks, where clients do not need to enter any information at all.

– User account that identifies a visitor on the platform. With its help, the client can be found by friends and subscribers. Additional options that will make the profile interesting: hobbies, location and personalization.

– Live broadcast for recording and transmitting video/audio content to participants subscribed to the account. As the MVP grows, one can add filters or a screen sharing feature.

– User’s gallery for storing recorded videos so that subscribers can return to the content they like at any time.

– Comments on broadcasts so that customers leave feedback and discuss the content.

– Search box for customers to find videos by topic, popularity, channel, language, geolocation, or interests. Over time, the search parameters can be expanded, focusing on the wishes of the audience.

– Chat that brings more interactivity to the streamers’ communication with the audience. Thus, he/she “hears” the mood of listeners and communicates with them, correcting the course of broadcasting. Chat, as in Twitch, can be made paid. Users will willingly take the opportunity to communicate with the influencer.

– Options for subscriptions to the streaming platform. Users apply live streaming software in different ways: some clients don’t need all the features. To support an audience with different needs, it is worth offering them different subscription rates with the ability to easily switch from one plan to another.

– Recommendations that personalize the use of live streaming software and offer content that matches the interests of customers.

– Push notifications informing about the start of a stream or the publication of a new video. Such reminders will help subscribers not to miss interesting content and keep track of new videos.

From these functions, you can build the “skeleton” of the live streaming app. As the product develops, new options will appear that are relevant for active users. What they will be depends on the type and purpose of the software.


In this article, we gave a general idea of how to create a live streaming app. This job is not easy, but worthwhile. According to Vimeo analysts, the global streaming market will exceed $247 billion. The industry attracts more investment, so building a live streaming app project is a good option for business. Only in order to overcome competition and make a profit, it is necessary to plan marketing and project activities. To win the battle for the client, you should trust the professionals in the field of sales and live streaming app development.