Which video platform?
Choosing a Video Hosting Platform:
Stellar video content is critical to your online presence these days, and a video hosting platform helps you get there. Just about everyone in marketing agrees on that simple truth! That raises the question, though, what to do with that video content, once it’s created. As professional producers of video, we try to stay abreast of every option for storing, managing, and distributing videos. There are more than you might think, and each comes with their own set of pros and cons. Choosing “the right” video hosting platform comes down to understanding the differences, and knowing your own priorities and video marketing goals. I’ll break down a few of the available services here, but we’re always happy to chat in person and figure out which one of these would best suit your company needs.
Some Points to Consider:
There are plenty of video hosting platforms to choose from: YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and Vidyard, just to cover a few. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. The “right” platform for you really comes down to what you want, what you need, what you can afford, and what you can live without!
This is an obvious one. Platforms range from free right up to $2000/month. What you’re willing (or able) to spend will depend on the scale of your video library and the level of personalized control you’re going to want. If you want to be able to customize and brand your own video player, that’s going to cost more.
Reporting & Analytics:
If you’re ready to commit to a more expensive hosting option, you are going to want to see the return on your video investment. For that, you’ll need robust, detailed metrics. This can show which of your videos are the most successful at maintaining attention, and may even allow you to track a resulting sale.
Sales & Marketing Applications:
Some video hosting sites, such as Wistia, have call to action tools and email marketing capabilities built in. If your videos will be a useful tool for your sales team, you’ll want them to be able to hit send without having to jump through a lot of hoops.
Content Management & Distribution:
How easy is it for you to upload, search, and share your videos? How easy is it for your customers to find your videos? Will the platform still suit you when your video library expands?
So, how do they stack up?
Well, let’s just look at the ones I mentioned before, for simplicity’s sake. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution. We can help you decide which platform makes the most sense for your business, your videos, and your customers. Let’s Talk!
YouTube is an obvious choice and a great place to start. For one, it’s owned by Google, so a website with a YouTube video is going to rank higher in searches. That means the general public is more likely to stumble across your video and, in turn, your business. The only real downside of YouTube’s mammoth nature is the sheer volume of videos in which your offering could very well drown, along with the distracting nature of the viewing page which can lead eyes away. And, of course, you need to be willing to put up with that YouTube logo on everything.
However, YouTube also offers excellent editing options, including captions and subtitles, and unlimited uploads. The fact that all of this is available for free means it would be foolhardy to ignore this giant in the room. Our advice: Get a YouTube channel, learn to use the available tools to the best of your ability, and dedicate a little time each week to interacting with your audience. YouTube is a social media platform, and relationships can be built or broken in the comment section.
Vimeo is a good option for those looking for a visual step up from YouTube. The user experience is clean, and the content tends to be higher quality video. Because of the buy in, there’s less noise and no ads. All of this does come at a price, but it’s not unmanageable with plans from $7-$75 per month. With Vimeo, you can create a customized video player, including your own logo. You can publish your video as “native posts” directly to social platforms. Because of the available privacy controls, Vimeo is a great choice for those who want to control who sees their videos. That makes it possible to collect an email address before a user can press play. Another interesting point in Vimeo’s favor: You can edit and refresh old videos without losing your stats.
We’re fans of Vimeo for a few reasons, not the least of which is that they attract a higher quality of video. They also give us a lot of control over our content, and who sees it. This comes in handy when we want to use a video as a carrot to encourage an action – such as signing up for a company’s newsletter or driving a membership. With VimeoPro, you can get a branded video player with no ads, which adds a premium, professional appearance for your business. One function that really stands out, is the ability to edit an older video, or replace it with a newer version, without having to create a new URL and lose all the built up stats. The downside is the lack of tools for analytics or marketing integration. It’s a great platform for a small to medium sized business that might find the other options cost-prohibitive.
Wistia and Vidyard offer impressive features for companies looking to turn viewers into customers. Both integrate with automated marketing powerhouses like Marketo and Hubspot. They both hit the spot with engagement analytics, serving up all the data you could want to track your customer behavior and your own ROI. Basically, you’re getting premium services either way. A few differences might sway you one way or another depending on your individual needs, like A/B testing, or your automated marketing software of choice. Vidyard is very much on top of the personalized video trend, allowing you to plug customer names in strategically, which is definitely interesting. Neither comes cheap, but their staunchest supporters would say they pay for themselves. It’s worth a look if you intend to make video a cornerstone of your marketing platform.
That’s a Wrap:
There are other options out there, of course, but these cover the bases pretty well. We like to use a combination, depending on what we’re trying to accomplish with any given project. Not everyone can get by with “free,” but some clients are willing to put in the energy to make that work for them. In the same vein, not everyone can afford the premium features of Vidyard. But those who are already invested in marketing automation will get a lot of bang for their buck! Again, we’re more than happy to help you sort out the pros and cons when we’re planning your video marketing campaign.