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How to Add Chat and Live Audience Widgets to Video Streams With Streamlabs OBS

Engaging with viewers is an important part of  your live stream. Here we’ll take a quick look at the most effective types of audience engagement widgets you can try with your live stream in Streamlabs OBS.

If you're new to Streamlabs, you can check out our quick start guide to setting up Streamlabs OBS for live stream.

As well as helping to build a relationship and form a community, the way you interact with the audience also encourages others to interact—hopefully leading to increased support for your channel. Let's get into the methods:

1. Add a Chatbox

To add a chatbox directly in Streamlabs OBS click the + under Sources and under Widgets choose Chatbox.

chatbox widget

You'll then be able to make adjustments to its appearance and choose whether to show badges etc.

chatbox widget

Not Using Streamlabs OBS?

NB—it’s also possible to add a Streamlabs widget into OBS Studio or other broadcasting setup. Rather than accessing widgets directly through Streamlabs, log in to Streamlabs online and access your dashboard.

You can access widgets as in the steps above, but you’ll notice that when you do it via a browser, you have the option of a widget URL.

chatbox url

Copy that URL when you’ve chosen your chatbox. In OBS Studio or whatever broadcaster you’re using, you now just need to add a browser source and paste that URL in as the source.

If you’re doing this with YouTube chat, it can apparently have issues caused by stopping and starting the stream. OBS Project has a useful article and workaround on this if you’ve found it to be the case.

Cloud-Based Chatbox

You might want to use a cloud-based chat box if you get a lot of interaction and you want to take some of the strain off your CPU.

One of the most popular of these is Cloudbot, which supports Twitch, Mixer and YouTube simultaneously. As well as just chat, Cloudbot has a lot of other useful engagement features like minigames, polls, betting (with rewards), media sharing and much more.

Even though it’s cloud-based, you still run it from Streamlabs OBS so you don’t need to flip between browser windows or software to keep control of your chat.

Go to the top left menu of Streamlabs and click the icon that looks like a cloud in a speech bubble.

cloudbot

Flip Cloudbot to on.

2. Timers and Queues 

Timers and queues are another great method of engaging your audience in a more organised way than a chatbox alone.

Streamlabs OBS already have a great blog already that goes into the specifics of timers and queues, but here’s a quick summary for those who might not be familiar with them. Timers and queues are options that are available through the Cloudbot add-on we just went through.

Timers

Not to be confused for a countdown timer, a timer is a message that you can schedule to go out at a specific time or times. With Cloudbot you can set the name of your time, the message you want to post, how frequently you want it to appear, in minutes (so you could set it to appear every 10 minutes, for example, or once an hour on the hour) and how many lines of chat need to be present before the timer goes off.

timer

Queues

Queues are a useful way to keep track of requests, questions and suggestions from your audience. Your viewer joins the queue (and can only do so once until they leave or their post is picked) and their question is added to your queue list for you to look at in an ordered and methodical way. You can then choose the things you want to respond to by clicking an arrow next to the user’s name, or you can opt to pick a user at random.

queues

3. Event List and Alert Boxes

An event list is a little like alert boxes, but rather than grouping together things like new followers, subscribers, donations and so on, it's an updating list for any interaction. If you've got a busy stream with lots of activity then you might be better off using individual alert boxes so that the people interacting with you get more of an opportunity to see themselves appear on your feed.

If your channel is a little slower, though, then an event list is a good engagement tool; as it's combining all your activity in one place it can make you look busier and hopefully encourage more interaction. Lots of people make great use of both!

event list

Alert boxes are staple engagement tools, they're attractive ways of displaying the information mentioned above, things like new followers and donations. You can make use of animated clips that fit the theme of your stream, it makes everything look really pro and also is a good nod to your fans—people love to see their name on a popular stream.

You'll find alert boxes in widgets too, and you can choose what to include or leave out, as well as change the appearance of everything to fit your brand.

alert boxes

Engage and Encourage

Increasing and maximising your engagement with your audience is really important. It helps you build your fans but, more importantly, it helps build a community who will hopefully then continue that engagement organically, without needing quite so much input or upkeep from you.

This will eventually free you up to interact in more direct and fun ways, taking requests and questions from fans, running mini-games, and concentrating on what you do best!

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