YouTube Vertical Live: Is It For You?

Learn how YouTube's latest vertical livestreaming feature works and if it is worth it for you to pursue.

YouTube has now enabled creators to make live streams in a vertical format through the YouTube Shorts player. Although it is still pretty early to say for sure, this looks like one of the most impactful new features introduced this year. With this new live format, both veterans and newbies of the category have a new way of growing their channel and audience. Sounds exciting? So, let's understand how the whole thing works.

Read More: 6 Things to Do Before Your First YouTube Live Stream

In an interview with Creator Insider, Rene Ritchie, YouTube’s creator liaison talked to the Product Manager of YouTube Live to better understand this exciting new update. Watch their conversation below:

What are Vertical Livestreams?

Vertical livestreams are identical to the regular streams we see on YouTube or Twitch usually, except for the dimensions of the video itself. While they are a new addition to YouTube, vertical live has existed before through platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Compared to regular horizontal livestreams, this format limits screen space and you have less real estate for presentation. This is where Shorts creators might have an edge over others getting into this new mode of creation.

How to Stream Vertically?

Streaming vertically doesn’t require you to learn new tools and techniques to get started with. As of now, there are 3 main ways to go live vertically on YouTube:

  • Using a Smartphone: Easily go live in a vertical format directly from the YouTube app.
  • Using an Encoder: Preferred for versatility, encoders like OBS studio allow for setting up a vertical canvas for streaming, commonly used by gaming channels.
  • Using a Third-party tool: A tool that simplifies vertical live streaming setup, offering a tailored menu of options for vertical format. StreamYard is a good option here.

Read More: 5 Tools You Need to Improve Your YouTube Livestreams Today

How to Find Vertical Livestreams?

As of now, there isn’t a dedicated section for vertical livestreams. Vertical live streams are somewhat hidden but can be found by pausing a YouTube Short and tapping the "Live" chip at the top, leading to a feed of live streams.

You may also come across one of these streams just while passively scrolling through Shorts on your device. This means more chances to get fresh eyeballs to your content.

Is Vertical Streaming Worth It?

As mentioned above, this feature is still at a nascent stage to tell us how impactful it really is to your channel overall. But we can surely expect certain things:

1. Discoverability: There's high potential for new viewer discovery due to lower competition and novelty.

2. Audience Match: If your viewers are already entertained by Shorts or Live content, then it is a no-brainer to try this new feature out.

3. Experimentation: Experimenting with new formats while understanding the potential impact on viewer engagement and channel growth, and will establish the meta on these livestreams.

Lessons from Our Vertical Livestream

Our in-house YouTube experts were quick to get in the midst of the action themselves immediately with this new feature update. Rob and Dan hosted our channel’s first vertical livestream and discovered some interesting insights. Watch the stream VOD below:

  1. The first challenge they faced was to arrange the elements on the screen to fit within the 9:16 aspect ratio, something they were not used to.
    Over 50% of viewers in the stream were new to the channel, which indicates good reach but unclear long-term engagement.
  2. While the number of viewers was more, the time spent by each viewer on the stream was less resulting in lesser watch time compared to usual streams.

It is important to consider whether you want to make vertical content genuinely and whether vertical streams align with your content strategy, rather than doing it just for variety. YouTube hasn’t mentioned yet how hours collected from these streams will contribute to the YPP progression, so expect some news on that front soon. To understand this better, watch the video below:

It is safe to say that innovation from the house of YouTube is not going to slow down anytime soon, which means it is the best time to start creating. So, make your videos count, starting with the very first one!