When you’re creating video marketing content, the right video host can help your efforts. A video hosting service is what lets users upload and subsequently share content online in a reliable way. If you go straight to YouTube, that is the most obvious solution, but there are other services as well, each with unique benefits.
You can use embed codes or links to share the content you upload to the video hosting platform and other places on your site.
The biggest benefit of using video hosting is the ability to do everything as far as your videos in a single dashboard. They also have a good viewer experience and automatic backup of your videos. The following are some comparisons of popular video hosting platforms and tips to help you choose the right one for your marketing goals.
1. Paid vs. Free Platforms
There are both free and paid platforms, and each is going to have its own unique tools. Free hosting is fine for videos that are publicly shared and can be seen by anyone.
If you’re a business creating videos that are meant to be shared only internally, and especially if they contain confidential information, you might not want to choose a free video hosting platform. Theoretically, you can still make your videos private on these platforms or limit who can view them, but you lose a lot of control.
If you were to use a free hosting platform and make your video undiscoverable, there could still be issues when you’re sharing links.
If you need complete control over your videos and advanced security features, looking into a paid platform can be worthwhile.
Benefits of free video hosting platforms include:
- They’re easy to use and intuitive
- They’re compatible with most content management systems
- They’re budget-friendly
Drawbacks of free hosting include:
- Reduced website engagement
- Your leads might slip through the cracks because it’ll keep potential visitors on the hosting site, and it might recommend videos that promote your competitors or feature them
- You have limited data as far as who’s watching your videos and how they’re interacting with them—the analytics are largely vanity metrics
The benefits of a paid hosting platform include the following:
- You can maintain brand consistency
- They’re designed to help marketers maximize the features and benefits
- You have a lot of options for control and customization
- Security is enhanced
- You’ll have access to comprehensive audience insights
The downside is that, of course, it’s paid, and your audience could be limited.
2 What About YouTube?
YouTube is a massive video hosting platform, and it’s the second-largest search engine, behind only its parent company, Google. There are around two billion users a month on YouTube every month.
YouTube is a viable platform if you want to build your audience and increase your brand recognition. Videos will rank well on Google, and your videos are pretty easy to find here, too, since it’s essentially a search engine for videos.
If you do embed a video on your site, though, that sends the viewers to YouTube, meaning that YouTube is getting the SEO credit. The traffic that’s being directed to their site isn’t yours.
The sheer volume of content on YouTube can also become somewhat problematic. You can find videos on essentially any topic, but there’s, at the same time, a significant amount of competition, and it can be hard to stand out with so much content.
3. Consider YouTube’s Main Competitor: Vimeo
If YouTube has a true competitor, it’s Vimeo, which is the second-largest hosting platform for videos. It has around 280 million users a month although it’s still far less than YouTube’s users.
Vimeo stands apart because of its focus on high-quality content and a more attractively designed site.
There are also two services available to Vimeo users—there’s Vimeo Pro and Vimeo Business. Both have different features that are paid, and they’re meant as a way for individuals and businesses to get the most out of their video content.
With Vimeo Business, a user can customize the player to their brand image. They can also include calls to action to generate leads with email collectors.
You can pair the feature with your email software.
Vimeo Business also works along with Google Analytics, so you can get in-depth analytics to see the performance of your videos and what viewers are most interested in.
The SEO issue with YouTube, however, is the same with Vimeo. You’re linking back to Vimeo and not your site.
4. Are You B2B?
If you’re creating videos for B2B marketing, there’s a hosting platform called Wistia that specializes in this. Wistia doesn’t send traffic back to its own site, which is one of the major ways it differs from YouTube and Vimeo.
The increased traffic that’s going to go to your site will help your SEO, and you can restrict domains so that people can’t embed your video anywhere you don’t want them to.
Along with that control over your content, you can also customize the player, and you can use the turnstile feature, which is an email collector. Viewers have to add their email before they can keep watching.
The downside of Wistia is its price, but if you need strong analytics, the price might be worth it.
There’s a heatmap analytic display. It shows a graphic representation of each individual viewing session, so you can understand more about the session of a video.
5. You Can Use More Than One
Finally, when you’re choosing a video host, you have to weigh your goals and your budget, but you don’t necessarily have to use just one.
For some businesses, using a combination might be optimal. For example, if you’re creating videos that are intended to maximize exposure, you might put those on YouTube. They’re good for brand awareness and helping people discover your content.
Then once your audience gets further down the funnel, you could host your videos on Wistia or another paid platform.
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