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by Dean Marsden on 5th November 2013
In this post I’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of video distribution, versus keeping the video on your own site. This will include a look at what can work best for delivering you site traffic and conversions along with considerations about branding.
There are two approaches to consider: Self-Hosting and Video Distribution.
By self-hosting videos I don’t necessarily mean uploading the video file to your own web hosting. Instead this covers using any video hosting service and only posting the video content on your own webpages, rather than social media or sharing sites.
Direct Traffic – A big benefit of implementing video on your website is the ability to capture traffic directly to your site and analyse it. (Providing your site has an analytics package installed)
Increased Conversions – With the freedom to embed your video around any content, create a strong Call to action and minimise the steps to conversion you can drive more sales or enquiries than perhaps video sharing may offer.
Not Losing Traffic To Competitors – You have full ownership of the video content and webpage content and unlike video sharing services, there isn’t a list of other videos (potentially from competitors) to steal the viewer away from yours.
Professional Looking – A great looking page with an embedded video can look very professional and add a lot of value to your site.
Backlink Value – If people are sharing links to your video and the video is on your website then you will see much greater benefit from these links. The trick is to encourage viewers to share your content.
Technical Challenges – Although using a service provider should be as simple as adding embed codes, not all CMS systems support video embed codes and implementing them to show the video correctly can be difficult, especially if you are trying to use video within a responsive website design.
Hosting Costs – Hosting video, whether on your own server or through a provider, costs a significant amount of money. Videos have large file sizes and for every visitor that views the video, more bandwidth is used than for text based pages. If hosting on your own server, the performance may not be as optimised as with paid services.
Gaining Video Views – Attracting viewers for your videos may be a lot harder because you need to capture the views from search engines, social media and other pages of your site, whereas on video sharing websites you can tap in to their existing user base.
The following services offer video hosting and embedding, allowing you to concentrate on creating the content and not dealing with hosting technicalities.
Wistia is a very powerful hosting service that Koozai use on our own Koozai TV. They deliver your uploaded video to a wide variety of devices. The hosting quality is excellent with low loading times. You can customise the player controls to match your branding and include call to actions within the video. Their Analytics report is also excellent for seeing where engagement with your videos was strong or weak.
Brightcove is a well-established video partner offering a professional service. There is a huge list of features with this service, not least easy content management (including YouTube Sync), live streaming, analytics and integration with other services via extensions.
Vimeo for Business
Vimeo for Business is designed specifically for businesses as their personal accounts do not allow for commercial video hosting. It’s great value at $199 per year and offers a good range of features including FTP/Dropbox integration, a customisable video player and full device compatibility.
Viddler offers a large range of features and allows for good privacy controls over its competitors.
Video Sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Meta Cafe and even Facebook offer their own share of benefits and drawbacks.
No Technical Knowledge Needed – The majority of social video sites accept a wide variety of video formats. Once the video is uploaded, you can easily hit publish to make the video available to millions of potential viewers.
No Hosting Costs – Your videos are hosted free in return for generating the video site traffic and earning them money through advertising clicks. Some services such as YouTube and Metacafe even allow you to earn a slice of this money.
Higher Number of Potential Viewers – With most of these social video sites receiving millions of hits each month, there is a far greater reach than just hosting on your own site.
Social Sharing – Greater audiences and easy sharing buttons mean more chance for sharing of content, exposing your brand or message to more and more people.
Good Backlinks – If you have a YouTube channel you can add links to website and your other social profiles. You may also include links in your descriptions on some services so there is potential to refer traffic to your site.
No Conversion Funnel – On YouTube you can try to retain viewers by using annotations (if you accept adverts) in the videos but generally a viewer is likely to move to another video after and not visit your website or call you unless the video convinced them.
Losing Visitors to Competition – Related videos are always nearby your video to help drive the sites’ engagement. Unfortunately this means that your competitor’s videos are likely to be shown to viewers.
Negative Comments – YouTube especially has a problem with Trolls and abuse of the commenting system. Comments can be turned off on some video sites but can help build a community around your videos if done well.
Open Embedding – Videos from these websites are easily embedded on people’s other websites. This could allow for negative press of your video or people passing the content off as their own.
Advertising – Adverts may appear alongside your videos and this can look unprofessional or promote a competitor.
Below is a list of common Social Video Sharing Platforms.
The most well know of all video sharing platforms with more than 1 billion unique users per month. Although YouTube offers good control over creating a channel page and allows for embedding on your own site, it suffers from lots of advertising and traditionally attracts negative video comments or trolling.
Along with allowing hosting on your own site, Vimeo is a video sharing site in its own right that has traditionally been popular with creative types and high quality video production. If you are a business, you will require Vimeo for Business; otherwise your personal account will be suspended.
Metacafe has over 40 million unique visitors each month. Its algorithm detects duplicate videos, so there is a reduced chance of people reposting your original content. There is commonly advertising on and around your video so beware of losing viewers this way.
Dailymotion is a popular video content site keeping a loyal group of visitors and it often has exclusive videos. Corporate videos do have a higher risk of being deleted here than on YouTube.
If you are unsure what is going to work best for your situation you could utilise both formats as we do for Koozai. We maintain a YouTube profile to help drive our social marketing, share our videos on Facebook to reach our social following and put the content up first on our own site to attract and maintain visitors and gain more link value from the video sharing.
If you have any experience or questions about the above platforms please let me know in the comments below.
Video player from BigStock Photo