How To Make a Live Streaming App: Tips To Engage More Users And Get A Profit

06 Sep 2018
21 min
author avatar
Sergey L.

Today we'll discuss a really interesting topic with you. Are you ready? We have an age-old question at play - what should you do to become popular? Perhaps, you may suppose the article will be about the popularity of applications. Yes, you guessed it. But not only! 

In this article, we will cover the mobile development but also we'll reflect on how to become a popular vlogger (video blogger). You may ask - how it is related?

It's very simple. Because today, we'll talk about live streaming apps. Thus, we will look at the most popular apps for streaming. So we'll find out how to create a flagship in this niche and how to make money on it.

Types of streaming applications

There are so many different stream apps floating around the most popular app stores. So you plan to find out how to make a live streaming Android app or iOS app, to deal with all this abundance, we suggest finding out what kinds of video stream apps exist.

You should watch a video below to see how much an app like Periscope will cost:

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App Like Periscope?

Live broadcasting apps. Well, it is one of the most popular types of streaming media. This is when you watch videos that are delivered in a real-time mode. It is recorded and broadcasted simultaneously. There are professional streamers that stream how they play games, how they talk about different things, even how they simply answer questions online. There are many live broadcasting apps, the most popular ones are Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Livestream, Periscope, etc.

Audio-only streaming. The principle is the same - users can listen to the music without preliminary downloading. Everything is simple. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music are the most popular music streaming services you can find today.

Video on demand streaming (VoD). It makes it possible for users to watch TV series and movies also without downloading it, however, they have an opportunity to pause it, resume, rewind it, skip unwanted moments and so on. As a rule, users need to pay to a streaming service for watching content. Netflix, Hulu, Vevo, Amazon Video are the leaders in this area.

Streaming services types

Types of streaming services


See how you can make use of live streaming in different business fields. Read Tips and tools to choose the right niche for live streaming

We recommend you to have a look at what they offer to users and what functions they have.

Streaming apps can also differ by the area of focus. Some of them are used for work purposes, some for personal ones. But most of them yet combine both directions. Of course, we won't choose between them. Because applications of each of these categories are designed to complete different types of tasks.

In this article, we will discuss in more detail precisely the second category of applications. It's about applications designed for live streaming, and you will see how to create live streaming app for Android and iOS.  At Cleveroad, we have large experience of live streaming app development. Recently we have built a live streaming app that helps people perform real-time communication and have a party online!

Why do you need a live streaming app?

A live streaming app development can be very beneficial for your business. You should know that there are certain challenges that you may solve using a live streaming app. Let's consider them!

More attention from potential customers

Live streaming helps you capture more attention from customers since live broadcasting is perceived by users differently. They are more interested in real-time streaming, they want to see what you will offer them right now. Besides that, many users don't like staged videos where everything was planned in advance, whereas live streaming becomes more attractive to customers. 

Brand loyalty increase

With the help of live streaming, you can tell more about your brand to new customers. In a real-time promotion of your product will look much brighter and more captivating, that is why live streaming gives you a good chance to increase loyalty to your brand.

Richer content

Even if you provide people with a detailed information about your brand in social media, the benefits of your product and so on, it will not be a serious motivation for people to use. But live streaming can give users richer content that will be much more engaging. 

Real-time engagement

How can you arrange a better interaction with a customer? Well, streaming is an option again. You can reach more potential customers since you can reply to all their questions, interact more deeply and it will have a positive effect on leads generations.

An ad-free way of interaction

If you think that this issue is not so considerable, you are wrong. People are tired of watching unwanted ads on YouTube videos, so live streaming will give users a pleasant ad-free experience, it will also lead to loyalty increase and better engagement of new users. 

how to create a streaming app

Benefits you can get from a live streaming app

What about basic features for live streaming app? Let's check them out. 

Steps to create a streaming service

There are certain pitfalls you should avoid and our goal is to help you make it real. Read about a few important steps you should undertake to create a live streaming service. By the way, if you need to know the cost of your future app to plan the budget, you should make use of our app cost calculator.

Get your product licensed

First, you should provide for your content all required licenses and usage rights. If we speak about video streaming, for example, like video on demand services, you should have a right to stream such content and offer it to your customers. You should conclude a contract with a content provider to give you a right to distribute video content. When you implement this, don’t forget to create Terms of Use and let people read it and accept before they start getting acquainted with your content.

Need more licensing info?
Then our specialists will help

Choose your own CDN

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, and it is a must-have step if you want to scale your server. Even if you think that you don’t need it, try to think ahead of time and you will probably see that it will be a useful option. You will need to pay additionally for CDN, however, everything will be paid off. It will ensure flawless delivery of content without interruptions.

Use a reliable hosting

It is also required to choose a reliable hosting that will ensure uninterrupted streaming services for your customers. The quality of hosting may be not so important for a start, but when you service becomes popular, the number of users will grow and imagine that one video will be watched by thousands of users simultaneously. To ensure that users will have a quality video delivery, you should have a strong server infrastructure. A good option is to use a ready-made cloud solution like Amazon S3 and so on. But our developers will choose the most appropriate solution for your specific case, so don’t worry about it.

Think about storage

All your content should be stored in a reliable place that makes it possible for users to watch a video without failures and unexpected distortions. You choose a good and powerful SSD-storage that will ensure proper functionality, and a user will not have any problem with a video display.

Create a crowd-pleasing UI/UX

You should consider that appearance means a lot and users will judge your streaming service according to its first impression. So you should hire high-skilled UI/UX designers or find an experienced software development company that offers all services on a turnkey basis. You can analyze how your competitors created their live streaming software and what UI and UX it has for now. UX in your software should be intuitive and try not to overload your service with tons of images.

Add basic features

In order not to fail and make sure that your service will be interesting for users, create an MVP version, an app with a minimal feature list. If you don’t know what features your streaming app should contain, our next section will spell everything out.

Testing is important

Customers won’t forgive your mistakes. If something works improperly, a customer will stop using your service and find something more reliable. That is why that quality assurance of your live streaming service should be performed on a high level.

Steps to build streaming service

Steps to build streaming service

Steps are clear but it is required to keep up with them and you will succeed. Now it is the time to proceed to MVP features and show you what features your new streaming app or website should include.

How to start or MVP for that kind of product

Impressed by the success of giants, don't jump in feet first and don't stuff your stream app with all features at once. It is more logical to create MVP (Minimum Viable product) first. When you create streaming app, it will help you to understand how viable your application is and what it lacks of at the initial stage and at minimum cost.

First of all, you will need to choose a platform. There are several options. The streaming application can be native or hybrid. Native one is an application designed for a specific platform. The code of the application is created with the use of the programming language adopted precisely for this platform. A hybrid one is an application that is supported on multiple platforms simultaneously. Its code is written with the language of HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Earlier, we covered the topic of choosing between native and hybrid applications in more detail.

Focusing on the native app, you will need to choose which platform your first version will be created for. It can be iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.

What should be MVP of a live streaming application? Main features, which such application won't exist without:

  • user registration
  • creating a personal user profile
  • implementation of online streaming
  • ability to leave comments to broadcasting
  • search
  • design
  • server side (ability to convert stream)
Streaming app features

Main features of a streaming app


See how MVP may help you multiply revenue. Read How you will profit with an MVP

That is, they can register, create a broadcast, search for other users, and comment their broadcasts. Thus, you get a high-quality frame of your application, which will be enough for the first going.

We also include the testing and bug fixing in the process of developing the first version. After fixing errors, it is uploaded to the store of a chosen platform (iOS, Android, or else). Then, you need to pay attention to the promotion of applications in stores and wait for feedback from the first users.

And what then? Then, seeing a positive response, and making sure that the project is viable, we are working to make your application a really high-class one. Thus, we proceed to the next step on the way to the goal - how to create a live streaming app.

How to build a flagship or Ways for improvement

In this section, we'll find out what features you can add to your application to ensure that it has successfully developed and your project is on the way to the top results.

Here we'll tell you what you need to implement, and a couple more ideas to stand out in the market.

Look at the list of MVP features. What is missing in your opinion? A lot of things, you'll say. But let's start with the beginning.

1. Different register options

At the stage of the first version, it is enough to make one variant. For example, it can be registration of the account in your application only. It is implemented with the use of a mobile number or e-mail address and password. And also, you need to add a forgotten password recovery function by e-mail or a mobile message.

For example, in the process of live streaming Android app development, we can add several logs in through social networks options. That is, the user will be able to log in using their account on Facebook or Twitter, for example.

Live streaming app registration

Registration in a live streaming app

With this step, you simplify the user's life. And so, you increase the attractiveness of your application in his eyes.

Important tip. You have to remember that everything in your app should be fairly simple and clear. Usability is one of the main components of the success of your application. The fewer actions the user have to make on the way to achieving the goal, the more favorably your app is compared to others. If you don't know what to do and how, our specialists will help you.

2. Personal profile

You should decide what kind of information about the user can be learned from his personal profile when you delve into the process of how to build live streaming app. At the initial stage, only a small amount of information is enough. For example: 

  • full name; 
  • user pic; 
  • username; 
  • subscriptions and subscribers. 
Later, you can add a variety of options. They may be, for example: 
  • date of birth; 
  • location; interests; 
  • main themes of streams;
  • whatever you can create.

Profile in a streaming app

How to create profile in a streaming app

With this, we attract users because before subscribing to someone or joining to a broadcast, they can see how interesting that streamer is. Also, users can share information about themselves. To some extent, this step turns your project into a kind of social network.

3. Streaming

In the first version of the app for video streaming, we can just implement the function of online streaming without the possibility to watch further. In this case, the server function is to convert your broadcast and transmit it to the stream of viewers. That is, the video is not stored on the server.

For further development of the project, we can implement the function of watching broadcasts after it finished. To do this, we need larger storage. For the convenience, we can use cloud servers. Because, if we take into account the subsequent scaling, the more users you have, the larger your server has to be.

We'll explain in detail how this works. Broadcasting stream passes through the server, gets converted, and appears on the subscriber's device. In the same time, the video is uploaded to the server and stored there for some time. The duration of this period is determined depending on the size of storage. After the end of this period, the video is automatically deleted from the server.

how to develop live streaming app

Live streaming feature

Note from Cleveroad: Three years ago we have developed a live streaming mobile app for a customer from Switzerland. As it is clear, streaming feature is the main in such app, and developers have used a WebRTC solution for a flawless integration of live streaming feature. It took about 80 hours since usually it may take more than 100 hours.

Thus, such an application would be more popular. This is due to the fact that the users have the opportunity not to miss interesting things and stay connected.

Important tip. Always consider the subsequent ability to scale the project. Scalability is a very important moment in the streaming app development process. Therefore, think about how you want to expand your project, and the number of users you plan to serve at every next stage. Having scheduled these indicators, you can avoid many problems.


In the first version, we add the opportunity to comment on the video or audio. There are two main functions of commenting: 

  • for the broadcaster - get the feedback due to the opinions; 
  • for the audience - to ask questions and get answers.

Later, it will be useful to add the ability to like and, thereafter, likes counter. There are different options for implementation.

Likes can be both to translations and to the user page in general. Accordingly, the counters will be different. In the profile, we can display the information about the total number of likes for all broadcasts, or the number of likes to a page only.

It is attractive from the point of view of what is important to people:

  • to express their opinion; 
  • to receive feedback about what they show; 
  • to take into account the criticism and improve the quality of broadcasts.
Also, various metrics are always attractive and increase the popularity of applications.

5. Quality choice

For the further development of the application, it is useful to implement the choose of the video quality feature. That is there was the ability to watch video not only in the base, highest quality but also in the lower. This will attract users with low quality or speed of their Internet connection.

Thus, you expand the target audience of the application. After all, what's the use of your app for those who have the low quality of the Internet or little abilities of devices?


Discover how we work on the quality of our software products. Read How we keep up with the quality standards at Cleveroad

Important tip. To ensure that your product can become popular, consider the possibilities and interests of your target audience when you create live streaming app. Examine the state of the market and be guided by what your potential consumers require.

6. Search

In future versions, it will be necessary to improve the user and broadcasts search tool. To do so we should not only improve the process but also to implement different search filters. Examples of search filters: 

  • by the age;
  • by location; 
  • by interest; 
  • by broadcasts topic; 
  • by the language of broadcasts; 
  • by popularity; 
  • by the number of watching, etc.

Filters in a streaming app

Filters in a live streaming application

With the help of filters, any user will be able to find what he is interested in, and thus stay longer with your application.

7. UI/UX Design

Probably, there is no need to talk about how important the design of the application is. The fact of how convenient the use of the application often determines the impression of it. It should constantly be improved in response to the feedback of users.

Also, more and more tasks will appear with the implementation of new features.

Important tip. The formula of perfect design doesn't exist. But we advise you to create a symbiosis of two components: the most popular trends and your personality. It always works.

8. Geolocation

Just a great upgrade for an app for video streaming is the integration of geolocation. With its help, you can find the broadcasts by their location.

Users can open the world map, which shows the marks of broadcasts that are made at the moment in a particular part of the world. Thus, you can choose where to go today right from the comfort of your chair.

geolocation feature in a streaming app

Geolocation in streaming applications

9. Privacy

Agree, not always you want to be in the limelight. Sometimes you want to share your impressions and emotions with close friends only. Sometimes we prefer the family hearth comfort and privacy with relatives. To realize this quite a natural desire in streaming video apps, it will be useful to implement privacy settings.

Give your users the ability to choose whom they will broadcast for and you will be surprised the number of positive feedbacks.

Here you can implement a few tweaks step by step. So that the user can show the video: 

  • one particular person; 
  • a chosen list of people; 
  • only in the certain area, etc.

You can provide a wide range of privacy settings to achieve the ideal result.

10. 'Show me your screen'

If you use Skype, then surely you know the 'show the screen' feature. This is when you instead of entering into explanations of what you see on your screen, just show it your partner instead of your lovely face. This feature saves valuable time for various tutorials. And there is an equally interesting use of this feature.

With the appearance of bright and high-quality games for desktops, which captured the attention of the world, it has become a very popular thing to stream the game process. This type of streaming has a very large audience.

With the 'show screen' feature, you can implement this type of streaming for mobile devices. Why don't you show your subscribers that you throw birds at pigs as a superhero, or how elusive surfer you are, and none of the police can catch you?

11. Notifications and schedule

Going back to the fact that our aim when developing an application is to make the life of the user as much comfortable as possible, the implementation of notifications and schedules will be a very useful upgrade. How does it work?

The user gets push-notifications on his device when an interesting broadcast starts. So when a broadcaster decides to start to stream video or audio from the phone, his subscribers are invited to join. No matter if they are not on the app at the moment.

live streaming app notification

Notification in a live streaming app

You can also add the schedule feature. That is, if the streamer is going to 'go on the air' at a certain time, he can schedule the time of his broadcast. Then a common schedule of broadcasts is formed based on the user subscriptions.

So the user is always kept up with the most interesting events. In return, your application is always on a wave of success.

12. Import contacts

For the convenient search of friends, we can implement the importing contacts feature to streaming app. Contacts can be imported from social media or the phone book. This function is successfully implemented in the most popular applications of this niche.

Here's an important fact to pay attention to. Implementation of some of the features above is impossible without others.

And now, let's turn to the most "delicious" part of our guidance.

Tools to build a live streaming app

Experienced software development company knows what tools and technologies it should use to develop live streaming app, but we consider it necessary to show you the list of the main tools required for the app development. 

  • mobile apps: Swift (iOS) or Kotlin/Java (Android) 
  • content delivery network: Cloudflare/ Amazon CloudFront; 
  • hosting: Amazon Web Services; 
  • API server: Node.js; 
  • media processing platform: DaCast, Wowza, WebRTC; 
  • database: MySQL / DynamoDB; 
  • push notifications: Firebase Notifications; 
  • messaging queues: AWS Simple Queue System; 
  • geolocation: Google Maps, MapKit/Core Location (iOS).

What technologies to choose when building a live streaming app

However, it would be also necessary to single out technologies that for live streaming specifically that make it impossible for such apps to function properly. We will speak about media servers that are shown above more in detail.

DaCast. It is a video streaming and hosting platform. Developers can use APIs and SDKs of this streaming platform to integrate all DaCast features into your software. DaCast also provides users with its own CDN like Akamai at affordable prices. As for cons of DaCast, it has rather high latency and it can be slow from time to time.

Wowza. This media server is good both for audio and video streaming. As for pros, it has no channel restrictions, and it offers Streaming Engine option for self-hosted streaming. It works with low bandwidth, and it gives customers full control over their Wowza server. But its cons include a rather high price, support is available only on a paid basis.

WebRTC. An open-source project that makes it possible to adjust streaming from one point to another. In other words, data like audio and video can be sent from one browser to another. As for pros, using WebRTC 3 main APIs like MediaStream, RTCPeerConnection, RTCDataChannel users can adjust communication on any device like a smartphone, PC, tablet, smart TV, and even household appliance and car. But its cons include possible incompatibility of different browsers and it is connected with a lack of required codecs.

How to make money on live streaming app

Let's be honest. One of the most important goals of any startup (of course, except making the world a better place) is making a profit.

Therefore, we can't get away with this topic. So, how you can make money on that kind of application? There are a few popular ways:

  • paid app; 
  • freemium; 
  • advertisements in the application.
In the first case, you make your application paid. That is, in order to install it, the user will have to pay a certain sum of money.

Live streaming app monetization

Ways to monetize your live streaming app

With the freemium strategy, you'll have two versions of your app: free and premium. So, the user will have to pay only for some features. For example, to gain access to a particular function, the user will have to purchase the paid version.

If you choose the latter option, you show your partners' ads in your application. Of course, there are not all of the options, how to make money on the application. But these are the most popular and common ones.

How to attract users to your app

None of the applications can exist without its audience. And in order to create a really successful startup, you need the audience to be as huge as possible. Otherwise, why are we doing all this stuff?)

The following mechanisms are used to attract visitors: 

  • filling in your application with really cool features; 
  • creating features that users really need; 
  • using something fundamentally new; promotion of applications in the stores with the right marketing mechanisms; 
  • eye-catching design; 
  • successful operation of the application. 
These rules are correct for almost any application. Thus, using these simple tools, you will certainly come to success.

Important tip. Try to find your own niche, to attract the user with something unusual and innovative. People are always happy to try something new. And the main thing is to be bright and stand out from the rest.

So what to do to bring it all to life?

These are just guidelines of how the way of the realization of such a project looks like. You can imagine it quite differently. Your ideas can be completely crazy. And it's awesome!

Always look for your own way and be individual. Bring to the market something original. And if you have a worthwhile idea, you always find ways to bring it to life.


How we upgrade Blockbuster video streaming service. Read Case study: how we improve Blockbuster video streaming app and make it bug-free

In the end, you have two options. You can wander through the Internet to find the ideal solutions and the right steps. Or you can contact the team of people who really understand all of this. Such people always hand you through this world of complicated things and lead to a desired result. Contact us and we'll turn the torture to the enjoyable process.

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