How to know you're ready to develop your own custom streaming platform. See 4 top reasons to consider and the primary benefits.
Business growth comes with many critical decisions that need to be made in a timely manner if you want to continue expanding your impact and scaling up. This is no different when it comes to streaming. There are many successful streamers who reach a point where they’ve grown considerable audience size, and find themselves limited in their growth options as a result of using off-the-shelf content streaming platforms.
If this is you, then you may want to consider building your own streaming service to remove any obstacles to your growth. In this piece, we’ll cover some key indicators that signal it may be time to create your own streaming app, particularly if you’re on the fence.
How to know if you’re ready to have your own streaming service?
You have a lot of subscribers
While you may have started off with a modest audience size, you’ve proven that your content adds value and have now amassed a large following. In your earlier streaming days, it may have been acceptable to use one of the many off-the-shelf content streaming platforms (since the pricing was reasonable for your smaller audience size). But now it’s becoming unreasonably costly to continue buying additional ‘seats’ for your growing audience, as subscription costs rise proportionally to your audience.
In this case, where you’ve already grown an audience and have proof of concept that your service is in demand, the risk of building your own streaming platform is much lower. Hence, you won’t need to worry that your investment won’t pay off – it’s just a matter of re-directing your audience to the new app.
To encourage your viewers or listeners to join the new service, you can implement premium features and offer content that is available only in the new platform. And speaking of premium features…
You need more features
More business growth means more problems… or better yet – challenges. If you’re finding yourself needing more features, this is a great sign that you’ve outgrown the third-party app you’ve been using and are reaching a new level of success in your streaming venture.
Because off-the-shelf streaming solutions have limited offerings in terms of features, streamers can feel frustrated by the lack of room for innovation and creativity (which is, after all, why many people begin to stream in the first place). Building your own streaming platform is ultimately the solution that will provide you with the best platform to stream on. It allows you to have full control of functionalities and to include new features as needs arise.
This ability to have greater control over the features in your custom streaming app only helps you further differentiate yourself from other streamers in your niche. Ultimately, from a branding perspective, this leads to an even higher return on your investment.
You want to diversify your user acquisition channels
There comes a point where you may not want to be known as “Jess, the math tutor from Teachable” or “Anthony, the food critic from YouTube.” Not only does being associated with a third-party app stamp your brand (more on this later). It also forces you to heavily rely on one channel (or a couple, but those which you don’t have ownership over).
Essentially, you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket, which increases your risk as a business owner. By diversifying your user acquisition channels, you have a safety blanket and won’t lose all your years of hard work in the case that the third-party streaming service implements any major changes.
For example, what if the streaming service decides to re-do their user interface for the worse and your viewers drop out? What if the third-party platform is deemed non-GDRP compliant, and you lose out on all of your EU-based viewers? In the worst case, what if they decide to shut down their own streaming service without warning and you lose your business?
While these scenarios may seem unrealistic and catastrophic, they have happened before and have had real consequences. Grono.net is an example. A Polish social media platform that held 2 million user accounts, went offline and deleted all of their user data overnight, without giving any warnings.
You want to learn more about your users
The driving force behind business decisions today is largely data. And by not having ownership and full access to your user’s data, you are heavily limited in terms of business growth.
Using a third-party app comes with some convenience, although a major pitfall is that they own your users’ data. Having access to user insights is critical to making higher-level business moves like detailed customer segmentation, building out user personas, or building out tailored marketing collateral.
Although some third-party content streaming platforms do reveal certain user attributes (just enough for you to inspire your customer personas), you’re dependent on what they decide to share. And this can change at any moment.
Just last year, marketers were scrambling at Facebook – one of the best platforms to stream on, implemented a large change in their data dashboards. With the rise of iOS 14 came privacy concerns, and while the changes may be in the best interest of users, it wreaked havoc on many businesses that were reliant on Facebook pixel data to make decisions.
With the above in mind, it’s worth evaluating how data ownership can elevate your insights and improve your strategic decision-making process.
Benefits of having your own content streaming platform
Now that you know how to create a streaming platform, let’s take a quick look at the main benefits of having one:
Better user experience
User experience (UX) focuses on designing products that allow users to have a seamless and overall pleasant experience. For streaming apps, this can include details like the navigation process and user interface.
Given the critical role that UX plays, building your own streaming app can allow you to do the thorough research that is necessary to create a relevant and engaging app that serves your target customers.
Neglecting to focus on UX runs the risk of having potential customers opt out before they even get the chance to discover what your business is all about. This can cause you to waste thousands in the marketing budget and mistake your marketing efforts as a failure. When, in reality, the issue could be with the user experience.
With the ever-increasing number of cyber-attacks, having a security system in place can protect you from potentially disastrous situations. The problem with off-the-shelf apps is that they may not always have specialized security features, which can put your business data at risk. One attack on the third-party content streaming app can put a halt on your business for weeks to even months, depending on the severity.
By building your own streaming app, you can customize your data security system and take relevant security measures based on your specific business needs. The peace of mind by doing this is priceless, and users may even trust you more.
Most regular apps are designed to handle a finite amount of resources and processes. When your business grows, the third-party apps may not be able to handle the load that comes with the growth given their limited capacity.
On the other hand, custom-made apps might be the best platform to stream on, as they allow you to define your parameters and easily scale up when the need arises, without the fear of your app crashing (which can happen with third-party apps).
Building a stronger brand
Building a strong brand is not just about having a great logo and design. It encompasses all interactions and communications that happen between your brand and potential customers. Through these interactions, whether on social media or in-person, trust builds. It is for this reason that the best platform to stream on would be your own! Because only then will you have full control and the ability to maximize trust with your audience.
The higher the trust and stronger the connection between you and your audience, the more loyal and receptive they become to your sales funnel. Creating your own streaming service demonstrates your commitment to providing only the best experience for your audience, which further increases trust (show, don’t tell!), ultimately strengthening your brand.
Making the decision to launch your own streaming service doesn’t mean that you need to cut all ties with third-party services. It is simply a step to becoming independent and diversified, having higher levels of control in areas of your business such as growth and user experience, and leveraging full access to data insights. All without the limitations imposed on you by a third-party app.
If you resonate with the above signs that indicate it may be time to build your own streaming app, the next step would be to conduct some research on how to create a streaming platform.
To learn more, be sure to give our “how to build streaming apps that attract a lot of users” piece a read, where we cover everything you need to take the next step of building your dream streaming app!