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How to Create a Virtual Backroom for your Clients when doing Zoom In-Depth Interviews

Well – it’s official – everyone uses Zoom. Additionally, nearly everyone shares their video on Zoom. Prior to COVID and sheltering in place (a.k.a. the before-times), only emcees and digital extroverts shared their video during conferences.

So if you want to offer participants the absolute best and easiest experience for one-on-one interviews and focus groups, you should consider using Zoom. Why? Because now everyone, from children to senior citizens, is accustomed to using Zoom.

BUT! There is one downside to using Zoom for interviews. Zoom does not have an embedded backroom, which means project sponsors cannot view the interviews in a live environment. 

Not to fret! This can be easily addressed using Zoom’s integration with YouTube. The best part? Neither you nor your customer will need any extra software to make this work.

Prerequisites for Streaming Your Zoom Interviews

Here are a few things you’ll need: 

  1. Zoom Account with one of these plans: Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise account
  2. The host of the Zoom Event is a licensed holder of the Zoom Account
  3. Live streaming is enabled on YouTube

Step 1: Live streaming your interviews on YouTube

Zoom realizes this is a real use case and has created a handy guide:

Ignore the “webinar” option. You’ll want to focus on the “User” section under “zoom meetings” for your IDIs and Focus Groups.

Step 2: Create a live stream via webcam

To start, you need to verify your YouTube account by going to

Once you are verified, you’ll see a message like this: 

After you are verified, you’ll need to enable streaming. Here is a helpful set of instructions on how to do both of these steps:

IMPORTANT: YouTube requires 24-hours to enable your account to live stream. This means you need to do this at least a day prior to your sessions. 

Step 3: Pre-Broadcast/Recording 

Now the fun begins! You and your client are ready to go, but there is still one more thing to consider, the participant. You need their consent to record and broadcast the session.

Consent from the participant can be gained prior to the session, but I still run through it at the beginning just to ensure the research process is transparent for everyone. 

I use a variation of this language:

Thank you for coming. Your feedback is being used for research purposes only and will not be reproduced in any way for marketing collateral. Your responses will be held strictly confidential however the study sponsor may view this session either during or after our session today. Do I have your consent to record and broadcast our session?

If the answer is, “No”. Be sure to reassess your participant communications. They should have a clear idea of what to expect prior to showing up. 

If they answer, “Yes”, I tell them I am going to start broadcasting and will ask them the same question again for documentation purposes. 

Step 4: Go Live!

Hit that button! You know you want to. 🙂 

From here, you’ll see a screen to name your channel as well as specify if the stream is public, private, or unlisted. 

I use “unlisted” since it removes friction for viewers. Only people with the link can access an unlisted livestream. It will not show up in search or on your channel.

Participants will now see this message…

They will also see an indication of streaming in the top left-hand corner of the screen:

Next, just share the link to your session w/your viewers. They can then engage in live chat with their colleagues, and your virtual backroom is live. Voilà!


Zoom is just one tool that can be an ideal fit for some clients and projects. In particular, now that so many people use Zoom regularly, there is a low barrier to entry for many participants.

But, there are many amazing platforms for conducting video IDIs and Focus Groups. These platforms have a host of options including virtual backrooms. 

It is all about using the right tool at the right time for the right thing. Our hope is that this helps you make the right choice. 

Questions or feedback? Please email me directly at

Call To Action 

For those interested, Hubux is a research automation platform. Our goal is to get the ops out of research. This may be a lifelong effort, but if we can get a car to drive itself from LA to San Fran….we should be able to enable research…safely…across our organizations. 

We’d love to discuss your approach to see if there is a partnership. Just email me at