Video is taking the Internet, and the marketing world, by storm. At the rate we’re going, 82% of traffic on the Internet will be video by 2022.
As you start working with video, let’s look at why you need a video hosting site and give you our top recommendations for which one to use.
Why Do You Need a Video Hosting Site
Video is a whole different beast when it comes to content marketing. Video takes up a lot of bandwidth so you won’t be able to just post it to your site like you can do with an article or photos.
For example, the rule of thumb is that web pages should be around 2 MB or less, but one video can easily get to be over 100 MB. Once you start getting even modest traffic, visitors viewing those videos can send your site soaring over the bandwidth limit imposed by your web host.
To avoid this problem, you need a video hosting site.
This is a place where you can upload and store your video safely on the web. From there, you can share your video to your website, social media platforms, and wherever else you want to share it.
There are various video hosting platforms to choose from. Each site has its pros and cons, and the right one for you will depend on a few factors.
- The viewing experience you wish to offer
- How frequently you’ll upload videos
- How you’ll use the video
- The analytics you wish to use
- Your budget
- What device your visitors will view your video on (mobile or desktop)
Other factors may affect your individual situation depending on your needs.
Features to Look For
When video hosting platforms first began, they were basically just a place to house videos. Now there are a host of features to pick from.
This is another reason that makes choosing the “best” platform difficult. Each user will find different features more useful for their needs.
Of course, there are some common features that most people will need. For example, the interface should be user-friendly. By 2023 approximately 2.72 billion people will be viewing videos on their mobile devices so your platform should be compatible with those. It also needs to be compatible with the common types of players, including Flash and HTML5.
You’ll also want to have a few SEO tools to make your videos search-engine friendly. Plus, at least a simple suite of analytics tools can help you determine the impact of your video and how you can get your video in front of more people.
Finally, to encourage more wide-spread use of your video, you’ll need the ability to embed it on external websites.
Our Top Picks for Video Hosting Platforms
If you’re just getting started, the sheer number of platforms to choose from might feel overwhelming. To help narrow down the list, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites and we’ll discuss the pros and cons here so you can decide which works best for you.
No list of video hosting platforms would be complete without a mention of YouTube. With 2 billion monthly users, there is quite an extensive audience waiting for you on YouTube.
A big plus is that YouTube is free to use. You can even earn a percentage of the money generated by ads that are shown during your video. You can upload large videos up to 128 GB and there is no limit to your data storage or bandwidth use.
If you want to add captions to your video, you can take advantage of the automatic caption feature available in certain languages. Simply review the captions for accuracy and make changes as needed. You can also create your own from scratch if you prefer.
Google owns YouTube so videos do well in Google SERPs. SEO works well to promote YouTube videos and raise brand awareness. This, coupled with the large audience, makes it perhaps one of the best options for video hosting for distributors.
This all sounds great, but YouTube has its shortcomings. To embed videos on your site there is only one branded iframe player. For businesses posting testimonials or course videos, this isn’t ideal.
Plus, YouTube is designed to keep users on the platform, not your site. So once your viewers head over to check out your video, there is a good chance they’ll get distracted by the other tantalizing videos (including from your competitors) that YouTube is dangling in from them.
If you’re looking to use videos as a big part of your content marketing strategy, Wistia is a great option. You can post individual videos or set up a channel and display collections on your website.
The platform is also packed with analytics and content marketing tools. For example, it helps you create an email list by requiring a viewer to enter their email to finish viewing a video. You can set this flag at any point in your video or skip it altogether.
Other content marketing tools are included like annotation links in videos, CTAs, integration with Google Analytics, and a stats page that allows you to view exactly how each video is doing.
Wistia also includes automated captions, though they may require light editing. You can also make your captions searchable and interactive.
The $99 a month plan is recommended for businesses looking to launch a video marketing campaign. A free version is also available to get your feet wet with certain limitations and Wistia branding on your videos.
A disadvantage is that you’ll have to create your own audience as there aren’t SEO tools and a built-in audience to help you out. However, the platform won’t be displaying your competitors’ videos in the “suggested” videos on the side, so that’s a big plus.
Vimeo is like YouTube’s classy big sister. Like YouTube, it can act as a social network of sorts, but it is more aimed at serious professionals and creatives. In general, Vimeo has a more “prestigious” feel than YouTube.
Like Wistia, Vimeo offers the ability to embed videos on your site with no distracting ads. You can also set up certain pieces of content with password-only access so you can offer it as part of a paid course or some other type of paid content.
Creatives can also collaborate with other professionals on projects. Employees within a business can take advantage of this feature to collaborate within the platform to create the most polished, professional content possible. Additionally, they can invite and collaborate with freelancers and even clients.
The collaboration features are pretty handy. Viewers can pause the video and leave their comment right where it’s relevant, avoiding the back-and-forth of making sure two people are talking about the same thing. It’s kind of like using Google Doc for videos.
You can check Vimeo out for free, but to get access to the more juicy premium features you’ll have to upgrade. Luckily, Vimeo is quite affordable. Plans range from $7-$75 a month.
Vidyard has one outstanding feature that makes it a compelling option for video marketers. Have you ever wished you could create personalized videos like you can create personalized emails? With Vidyard you can.
In one case study at Loyola University, Vidyard found that personalized videos generated 81% engagement. Quite impressive!
What’s also impressive is the price. Though you’ll have to get a quote for your particular needs, expect one personalized video to cost you a few thousand dollars. However, for the right campaign, the price may be totally worth it.
For those looking for plain old video hosting service, you can check out their range of plans starting from $0 on up to $1,250 per month.
The platform also offers several handy video hosting integrations such as with HubSpot, Zendesk, Mailchimp, Marketo, or Act-On. Keep in mind, these integrations come with an additional monthly cost.
The Right Video Hosting Platform for You
These four video hosting platforms offer quite a range of services and price points. As you can see, there is no good one-size-fits-all option, but YouTube has made the most strides to being that.
YouTube’s built-in audience and powerful SEO features make it an attractive option for widely distributing your video. However, the potential for losing customers to your competitors is a major downside — unless your videos are so amazing that you’re sure no one will be led astray.
Vimeo and Wistia are both great options for isolating your content and showcasing it on your site in a more professional way. It won’t be jockeying for position among other videos on YouTube, but you will have to put more effort into building your own audience.
Finally, Vidyard gives you the impressive option of creating personalized videos, which is a fantastic way to reach out and grab your viewers’ attention.
Which one will work best for you depends on your specific goals. Looking for more digital marketing insight? Don’t hesitate to contact us!