: What inspired you to join YouNow?
: I was semi-retired and not really looking for work — I had started a small business that took about 20 hours a month and was making me a good living, but I didn’t really like it. While I got to spend a lot of time snowboarding and at the beach (literally), I thought that I wanted to be back in the thick of things after my successes earlier in my career. When I started talking to YouNow — I’d been a member of the platform as early as 2016, so I was familiar with it — I was really excited. This was a real business that had been around for a decade and survived many social media fads because it really connects people with each other and puts a lot of good out into the world. I wanted to be part of making that good expand, and get more people to actually connect with one another online rather than just start fights and share memes.
: What three pieces of advice would you give to new streamers to grow their audiences?
: The number one thing we tell any streamer is that they need to be consistent to grow their audience and turn this into a business: you need to stream at the same times every week, and you should really pick a time that matches what your audience is feeling. If you’re a streamer that likes to talk about partying, you shouldn’t be streaming at 9am on a Monday morning, and if you’re hyperfocused on application on make-up, you shouldn’t go at 3am when everyone’s makeup is a mess. So number one is to stream every day.
Number two is to use all of the networks out there. We think that we do long-form live content better than anyone else, but we can’t hold a candle to short-form content on other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. Most of our successful creators are creating content for each network out there and using it to grow their audience and funnel it to the place where they make the most money, which is often YouNow because of our unique, ad-free model and unfiltered approach to algorithms. There are streamers that push out their streams through email lists, posts on other networks, and even simulcasting to platforms like YouTube.
Finally — and this is true of all businesses — pay attention to the analytics we have and that you can get for free from providers like Streamnow.pro. This will show you what content you produced actually landed with your audience, and what didn’t; this enables our creators to give their audience a better experience each time they broadcast.
AR: Covid resulted in increased internet activity in regards to shopping, news and social media, as things progressively get back to normal have broadcasters seen dips in viewership? If so, how might you suggest maintaining one’s audience?
JB: You don’t have to look too far to see that most of our competitors are in some sort of trouble with either how many people are on their platform, or with their ad-based revenue models being decimated by recent Apple policy changes. So for most of the big dogs out there, this is definitely an issue.
We had seen a small dip in viewership before I took over, but one of the virtues of being relatively small in a large space and being hyper focused on building communities is that those communities are still looking for places to call home. In the past month, we’ve seen our traffic more than double as we talk about this more and more publicly, and really focus on the people who love us and need us the most. We’ve even gotten some top-10 rankings in the app store out of it!
For our broadcasters, we tell them that the best way to maintain their audience is to be true to themselves and to also evolve with the times. No one needs to hear you talk about the same thing for five months in a row, and broadcasters who do that tend to see their viewership dip. I recommend watching the other people what your viewers also watch; if I was talking about network TV, I’d say that you can’t just watch one real housewife show: you have to watch basically everything Bravo shows, and probably everything E! Shows as well, in order to get a sense of what people are looking for in the market. This is true for video game streamers as well — sometimes, people are looking at your level of talent, but often, it’s how you talk to the audience that matters and helps you maintain and grow your base even in a downturn like we’re seeing across most of the industry today.
AR: What’s the biggest rationale in your mind for someone to start to broadcast?
JB: A lot of people assume that if you start a broadcast, you’re doing it because you want to be the center of attention or you want to be rich. That’s sometimes the case, but more often, it’s because you want to meet people that could be your friend IRL — a lot of YouNow streamers have gotten married to each other and hang out outside of broadcasts at this point. Some people take the plunge and start broadcasting right away to make new friends, while others warm up to it by spending a lot of time in other people’s broadcasts and doing what we call ‘guesting,’ which is when you join someone else’s broadcast live. Once you realize what a powerful way this is to make friends, it’s something you want to keep doing; it’s hard to find real relationships online that aren’t centered on sex like most dating apps are, and broadcasting live — but in a carefully controlled and monitored community, like what we have on YouNow — is a pretty easy way to do that.