A great video used to be timeless. Before the era of online video, the cultic ads of Nescafe, Apple or Nike proved to all that it can go a long way to invest in one of those killer, heart-string tagging, feel-good videos. Then the internet broke the rules and videos quickly leaped to becoming the favourite content type for all.
This of course also meant it became harder and harder to have your videos seen. And then a ton of video hosting platforms appeared (and some disappeared) getting everyone confused and overwhelmed.
Short it or long it
We may not be involved in video hosting per se, but regardless, once we sign off a project, clients tend to shoot some questions at us, mostly on the lines of “Now what?”
You had a specific purpose in my mind for creating an online video in the first place: for specific people, in a given setting. But in order to have it reach the right people at the right time and deliver on its promises you need to choose where to host it.
For now we’ll focus on the two giants: the long reigning king of video: YouTube and the challenger (and long reigning king of social): Facebook. Of course there are heaps of other hosting platforms, specifically created for businesses as well; we'll showcase the features of one of the largest, Wistia to show what you can do if you have some resources to back your efforts.
Whether you’ve been using videos before and looking for a strategic way of hosting it instead of pushing it whenever wherever, or this is your first time and you got a bit discouraged by all the choices you can make, we’re here to give a helping hand.
Let’s start with your goal.
You want to build up your brand, educate, tease and growth hack your target and get them ready for your market explosion? You want to be as visible as possible to raise awareness in due time.
You want to explain your product and why it works? How-to and explainer videos can be great for making you approachable and host/post them on wider networks.
A bit more ahead the road you are now working to build up the confidence? Testimonials or case study videos are good even when no one knows about you yet but better when they're already debating on whether or not they should give you a shot.
A bit further along, you may want to launch a campaign calling for participation from your audience. In this case there is a specific set of people you want to reach, the truly devoted ones who don't mind putting in some extra effort for you/your brand.
It’s all very specific depending on your industry, online strategy, audience, product etc. What really does pay off is to have a strategy in mind that understand the benefits of cross-platform hosting (i.e. you use multiple channels to distribute your videos, in a strategic combination to reach your targets and objectives) Here are some insights to start off on.
Be covered... an argument for YouTube
There’s no valid reason why you shouldn’t be on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best and only option. Being owned by Google makes a pretty big argument if you’re looking to boost your SEO. YouTube will also automatically suggest other videos on your channel creating a sort of snowball effect, then again it can also suggest videos of your competitors which may not be such a great deal. Your visibility and quality time watched could eventually be much higher even if engagement doesn’t climb up to Facebook levels.
The statistics are also more spread out: you may not get hundreds of thousands of views in the first week, but rather over a month or two making your progress more even and steady. It’s also searchable, which may not hit people at first but actually makes a huge difference: users can type and search for videos; guess who doesn’t provide this option? Yep, Facebook.
Be in the moment… an argument for Facebook
The whole Facebook video scene is built up for quick results: leaps in views in short time spans. Though it’s harder to find back your content, it will appear on the walls of your target audience automatically raising the reach with the help of higher sharing rates. It’s all about engagement and social interaction and it’s all about now!
Courtesy of: socialbakers
It’s also much easier to make sure the right people get to see your video: you can segment and target to the thinnest niche with the ad campaigns, and let’s not forget about auto-play, which makes videos automatically start on your wall. (Note: A double-edged sword providing higher views but not necessarily all of quality. Read an interesting post about this here)
Why not upload to YouTube and simply post the link on Facebook? Well, Facebook is pretty discriminative that way and their native content will receive priority over outside sources.
Be all business… an argument for Wistia
So far you can get by without paying a cent. But if you have a couple hundreds to spare it might really be worthwhile to consider investing into a business hosting solution, such as Wistia.
Hosting on such a platform makes sense if you can exploit all the awesome features they have like the customizable player or the deep analytics, oh and the heat maps, (we’ll get back to these in a moment)
One reasons we love Wistia is because of the control it gives you. You can personalize the look, feel, touch from colours through size to CTAs to size and social add-ons give you control over almost any part of the video player.
But what most marketers are looking for is information, and Wistia gives plentiful. Their analytics can go into individual insights or collective data with visual engagement graphs, play rates, loads, visitors, views, you name it. One of the coolest features are the heat maps which help you pinpoint the exact locations where viewership lags off, drops, picks up, which part are skipped etc.
Photo courtesy of: https://wistia.com
Max it out
It doesn’t make sense to upload everything everywhere. It takes time, resources, and may be totally senseless for what you do and want to achieve. But you also don’t have to make a harsh choice and rule out one or more of the hosts just because they’re not the perfect fit.
Our advice? At least for the two giants: have them covered; be present on both Facebook and YouTube but give it a moment to see which one should be prioritized and where to allocate your budget. As for the rest, it really is way more case-specific and needs a bit of trial and error.
It’s a learning process, whether you’ve been doing it OK but feel it’s time to shake things up a bit, or if it’s been going really bad and there’s definitely room to experiment. Try out different strategies and see what works best for you. Don’t get intimidated by all the options. Sit down and play around with some scenarios, and try to mix and match your objectives, target audience, resources and any other variable with the best free or business pro host. Or simply drop us a line, we're happy to help you as well.
Here’s a quick sum-up to get you started:
|Host||Audience||Price||The best part|
|YouTube||The entire world||Free||It’s huge|
|Social media lovers||Free||Social aspect|
|Vimeo||General public||€0-430/month||Quality content|
|Vidyard||Business||Paid||Real-time analytics integration|
|Sprout video||Business||€20-360/month||Thorough privacy settings|
|Brightcove||Business||€88-450/month||Cool player templates|