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What video hosting platform should I use?

What video hosting platform should I use?

Should I put my videos on YouTube? Should I use my website hosting company, or should I use a paid video hosting service like Wistia, Vidyard, or Brightcove?

The answer is: It depends on what type of video you’re making and what its goal is?

Generally if you are selling, then you want a private hosting company and if you are teaching or entertaining you should consider YouTube… unless you also want to generate traffic to your website.

Using video to teach and entertain

YouTube is huge (and you already know this). It’s the second largest search engine after Google, with over four billion videos viewed every single day.  If you create some how-to videos, a thought leadership series for your industry, or a viral video people will find it on YouTube, through social media sharing or from search results, watch and become aware of your company.

A well optimized video can show up directly in search results for a particular keyword… and people are 41% more likely to click on video thumbnails than they are a text link.  Of course, when they click on that video thumbnail, they’ll be sent to YouTube, and not to your website. YouTube only drives 0.67% traffic to websites, so it’s not a big source of direct traffic (even when well optimized).

The best approach for a YouTube channel is to create regular content and build an audience of subscribers… over time people will engage with your educational content and subscribe to your channel to view new content. This will create brand awareness and at some point they may look you up to learn more about you.

This is where your sales videos come in, and these live primarily on your website.

Using video to sell
If so many people watch YouTube, isn’t it a perfect place to sell? No. And here’s why.

YouTube is a social network and selling isn’t social. Sure, there are ads on YouTube to support the content, but viewers don’t want ads to be the content. So keep your sales videos off YouTube. Instead, use YouTube to build an audience around your brand by becoming a thought leader and educator.

When creating sales videos that lead prospects down the path to conversion, the objective is to get them to stay on your website. One of the problems with YouTube is that the player is clickable, and while there are “skinning” tools to reduce those chances, viewers can still click on the title or logo and leave your website for YouTube…at which point the prospect is exposed to other videos from potential competitors ranking for the same keyword.

So how should you host sales videos on your website? (…and sales videos include homepage videos, explainer videos, product demos, case studies, and testimonials, among others.)

You have a few choices. You can use:

  • Your own website hosting company and a player plug-in
  • Amazon hosting and a player plug-in
  • A professional video hosting company

The problem with Amazon is it’s complicated to set up, and unless that’s your area of expertise, you need a web developer to help you. Your website hosting company may have a solution, but the biggest issue with both Amazon and your website hosting company’s approach is that they will likely offer a single video file for download and playback for each video you upload. The problem: there are so many types of devices and different connection speeds that this one-size-fits-all approach will leave much of your audience unable to play your video. It’s also hard to get good analytics on video using these approaches, and if you don’t know how many people are watching and for how long, how do you measure success?

We recommend you use a professional video hosting service like Wistia, Vidyard, or Brightcove. These video hosting companies generate multiple versions of each video upload and use smart technology to determine what kind of device the viewer has, so they can deliver the optimal version for that device.

Most offer customizable players which can be modified (“skinned”) to match your website color and style and are not clickable, so the customer always stays on your site. Some have call-to-action player integration, so prospects can enter email addresses into the video player after watching a video and those emails can be collected in your CRM (Contact Relationship Manager). These hosting services also have great analytics, so you can learn what videos are working and why. You can use this data to make improvements and increase sales results and ROI.

What if you want to create educational or sales videos that drive traffic to your website?  Here again you should use one these professional video hosting platforms (Wistia/Viyard/Brighcove) and optimize the video for search – a process which includes submitting an XML video sitemap to the search engines (Google).  The sitemap will tell Google all about your videos and increase the chances of them being indexed as thumbnails directly within the search results.  Unlike a YouTube video, when correctly deployed, clicking these thumbnails will take people directly to your website where the video is embedded.  They can then view the video in context and you can lead them down the sales funnel on your site.


At this point, I hear some people asking, “What about Vimeo?” Vimeo is a great platform with playback on multiple devices, great analytics, and it’s free, right? Actually, if you’re selling, Vimeo is not free. Vimeo is a great platform–far better quality video that YouTube–but you’re not allowed to sell on Vimeo’s free version. Businesses must purchase hosting packages and while this is still cheaper than some of the other hosting platforms, Vimeo doesn’t offer all the business tools that a Wistia or Vidyard include with their services.  Ultimately, this comes down to preference… review and compare the platforms’ features and weigh the benefits against the costs.  Most hosting platforms have a free trial.  If you do use Vimeo, remember it’s also a social network, so the same rules apply as YouTube – if you are selling or your goal is traffic to your website – turn off its deployment within Vimeo’s own network and optimize each video embed for Google search using a sitemap.

Whichever platform you choose, you measure everything to continually improve your process and results.  You’ll have a complete video marketing system that you can grow and refine with time.

Review site for video hosting companies http://www.vidcompare.com/

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