Streaming on Columbia's YouTube Channel

So, we hear you’d like to stream an event on Columbia’s YouTube channel. Review the questions below to ensure that this is the right venue for the livestream. As you know, YouTube operates with an algorithm that pushes videos up or down based on how many people view them. We want to ensure your video gets the most views and that it also positively impacts the rest of the videos on Columbia’s channels. 

In the sidebar, you’ll also find a list of resources and training to help improve your live streams.

Is this event a livestream or a hybrid event?

If Livestream:

  1. Will you pre-register guests? An email list to directly share the stream link is required to livestream.
  2. Will you email a YouTube link exclusively to view the event? To stream on Columbia’s channel, the YouTube video should be the exclusive streaming channel. If you are planning to stream primarily through Zoom, it might be better to post an edited video after-the-fact on YouTube.
  3. How many invites will be sent/registrations expected? If below 500, another option (detailed below) might be better.
  4. Does your team have the capacity to build a thumbnail for the video and SEO-responsive video title? A pre-made thumbnail is necessary to attract people to view within the YouTube stream and a title that people would search for (using common keywords, popular phrases) will help the video perform better in Google and YouTube searches, a predominant referrer for YouTube videos.
  5. Is your team able to pay for live-captioning of the event? In keeping with university-wide accessibility guidelines, all videos streamed live on the Columbia YouTube account need to have live captioning enabled, which comes at a cost.
  6. Will you be able to open and moderate chat/comments on the event livestream? Comments and chat functionality help a livestream perform better and can make up algorithmically where pageviews may be lacking.
  7. Will you have a holder link for the livestream ready AT LEAST 24 hours ahead of time? This enables social media and event registration promotion that will lead them to the specific video spot. Effectively, a preview link with a URL that will stay the same for the stream.
  8. Does your event have universal appeal, a celebrity/public figure appearance, or address a critical current event or issue of our time? The Columbia channel has followers from a broad swath of backgrounds. We want to ensure content there appeals to a wide variety of viewers. Getting deep in the weeds in a specific subject area might be better served for a center, institute, school, or individual YouTube account rather than a university-wide channel. 

If Hybrid:

  1. The same questions above apply with one more: Will you have a livestream-specific registration so that you can send an email to those people who only want to tune in on YouTube?

If you answered “yes,” to the questions above, you are a great candidate to stream your event on Columbia’s YouTube channel. Please send your request to [email protected] to work with representatives from the Office of Public Affairs to ensure the livestream meets these guidelines. We will work on titles and thumbnails with you.

If you answered “no,” to any of the questions above, here are some other options that might be a better fit:

Consider Hosting on Zoom

  • By hosting on Zoom, you encourage invitees to pre-register with email addresses and you can send a reminder to join in the livestream up-to-the-moment
  • Zoom is the most accessible option; comes up with (free) live transcription of the event

Consider a YouTube Premiere

  • YouTube Premiere allows you to send out a link for a specific time to watch a pre-recorded video. 
  • Ensure you have a guaranteed audience to join around an event and a link to share with them ahead of time.
  • You can host on your own channel and grow your audience with a registered audience.

Consider Hosting Your Video on Vimeo

  • Using an internal Vimeo account, you can stream your event/video in a way that does not rely on SEO/google-ability
  • If less people come to an event than you think will attend, it does not hurt the algorithm for your future videos

Thank you for taking the time to consider these checklists and to help make the Columbia YouTube channel even better.

Further questions? Email [email protected]