Unfortunately for this post, 80% of consumers prefer to watch a live branded video than read a blog article. But fortunately for you, incorporating live streaming to your mobile app is as easy as adding a few lines of code using a live stream chat API.
Let’s look at how a video streaming API can enhance your mobile app, some of the best live video streaming APIs, and what you need to consider when choosing one for your brand.
What is a live streaming API?
An API is an application programming interface that enables different programs or apps to exchange data in real time. It simplifies the connections and interactions to reduce the cost of building a customized tech stack.
APIs are building blocks that allow you to connect your current architecture to existing, proven services to access the functionalities you need. You don’t have to code them from scratch, so you can save money while shortening the time to market.
A live video streaming API embeds a customizable video hosting experience into a website or mobile app. It integrates various applications or software to run alongside a content platform (e.g., a content management system, CMS) to deliver real-time, live video content.
You can use a video API to display live or on-demand video content via multiple touchpoints. It transcodes linear video streams into various formats so viewers can consume them on different endpoint devices (e.g., connected TV, smartphones, and laptops).
How live streaming APIs enhance your mobile app content
A live API allows you to seamlessly incorporate a real-time, interactive experience into your current app without reinventing the wheel. Here’s how it helps deliver a modern user experience cost-effectively:
Deliver timely content through automation
You can use a live stream API to automate tasks, such as pre-scheduling events, encoding video files, and batch-uploading content to your video hosting platform. Automation not only helps you save time and money. It also enables business users with minimum technical skills to manage video content, relieving the burden on IT staff.
Add live streaming to existing workflows through integration
API allows you to easily integrate live stream videos into any content delivery system without disrupting existing services or user experience. You can simply plug a few lines of shortcode specifying various parameters into your existing architecture — regardless of the platforms or devices used (e.g., mobile or desktop apps, cameras, hardware, software.)
Streamline operations by eliminating bottlenecks
By reducing the need for technical employees, you can dispatch video content more quickly to meet consumer expectations without the high cost of hiring a large team. Automation reduces oversight and friction in your workflows, while advanced APIs (e.g., RESTful APIs) ensure that your systems remain responsive to minimize performance issues.
Enable innovation by simplifying development
Instead of spending hours building live streaming functionalities from scratch, your team can focus their time and energy on creating innovative and customized experiences to set your brand apart. You can also mix and match different services to create new experiences without lengthy and costly development cycles.
Stay relevant with the latest features
The live streaming service provider takes care of maintaining and updating the software. When you use a reputable vendor, you can be sure that you always have access to the latest technologies to deliver a modern user experience that meets audience expectations without investing in a large tech team.
Improve app retention through social interactions
Adding a social component is one of the best ways to make your app sticky and increase user retention rates. For example, Sendbird’s live stream API makes it easy to add live stream chat features to your app. You can transform a passive watching experience into an interactive one, engaging users through best-in-class chat and watch parties.
How to choose a live streaming API
While adding a live stream API to your app is easy, choosing one right for your business isn’t. Here’s what to consider:
Ease of integration
Your live stream API should integrate seamlessly with your current mobile app and content management system. While most are agnostic and can receive data in various formats from different sources, you can shorten development time and cost by using one that offers simple integration with your existing architecture.
Additionally, consider how your live stream API supports monetization. For example, it should offer third-party integration for payment, fulfillment, etc., so customers can complete their purchases right on your app during a live event without going to a different website.
Best-in-class user experience
An outstanding user experience is essential for increasing engagement and app retention. Your live stream API should allow you to host branded live stream videos on your app and provide different ways for event participants to interact with your brand and other viewers.
Look for a live stream API that allows you to deliver an interactive experience with private and public moderated live stream chat and side group video calls during watch parties. For example, Sendbird Live integrates with Sendbird Calls and Sendbird Chat to deliver seamless interactions via your app without using a third-party platform.
Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, you may have different technical requirements for your live stream API. Low-latency streaming allows viewers to react and interact in real time. Compatibility with any device helps you reach as many viewers as possible without creating a frustrating experience.
Consider how well the API helps you scale audience engagement — does it support video broadcasts to thousands of viewers worldwide on any device without compromising the quality? Also, does it offer a secure experience and adhere to compliance standards such as GDPR, SOC 2, ISO 27001, and HIPAA/HITECH?
Comprehensive customer support
Integrating a streaming experience into your app is a substantial undertaking. As “plug-and-play” a live stream API is, there will likely be occasions where your team needs additional documentation, assistance to configure API keys, or answers to their questions.
Your vendor should provide responsive customer support. You should be able to get help via multiple channels (e.g., email, phone, live chat, and a searchable knowledge base) to facilitate implementation and ensure that the live stream features work optimally at all times to deliver a positive user experience.
Popular live stream & video chat APIs
With Google Cloud Live Stream API, you can transcode live, linear video streams into a variety of formats. Live Stream API benefits broadcasters, production companies, businesses, and individuals looking to transform their live video content for use across a variety of user devices.
Mux live streaming API
Mux video streaming API allows you to transition from live to VOD, stream live from any source with RTMP, broadcast your stream on social, and scale without worrying about support or data.
Dyte lets you integrate customized live video calls in any platform within minutes.
Turn your app into a streaming platform with Sendbird Live
Sendbird Live offers robust features and easy integration to turn any app into a live streaming platform. You can host real-time interactive video streams on your mobile app in no time.
The live stream API incorporates our trusted chat and interoperates with our video call functionalities to help you deliver a seamless, branded interactive experience to engage viewers and meet consumer expectations. Additionally, the extensible platform integrates with various third-party APIs to help you seize immediate business opportunities and monetize your content on the spot.
Learn more and see how you can add in-app live video streams with the Sendbird Live iOS, Android, and React UIKits.