Today’s video walks you through the basics of video hosting so you have an idea of what hosts may be good for you. There are a lot of them out there but we’re going to go focus on the four that we are most familiar with. We’ll discuss the interface, player customization options, video analytics, SEO capabilities and pricing for each.
This is the video host that Demo Duck uses and the one that we recommend the most, since we are the most comfortable with it.
It’s interface is very clean and simple. If you are ever looking for something on their site you can usually figure out where to find it because the interface is pretty easy to navigate.
As for the player customization, you can change the appearance color to match your branding or the rest of your webpage. You can also add social buttons (FB, Twitter, etc.) so that people can easily share the video from your webpage.
But one of the most powerful things, is having that clickable call to action in your video. So let’s say you host the video elsewhere, there will be a clickable link that you can add at the ending to take the viewer to your website. Or the turnstile feature allows you to collect email addresses during a part of the video of your choosing (beginning, middle, or end). Thirdly, you can also upload captions which is really to be able to do.
The video analytics are a bit easier to digest for a beginner. They give you a lot of important information including how each video is performing. They don’t just tell you the ‘shares’ or ‘likes’ but exactly where in your video there is drop off in viewership, so you know where you are losing their attention.
As for SEO, Wistia makes it really easy to incorporate the video into your pages sitemap to make sure that you get the full credit. So, if someone searches for your video on Google, this ensure that your companies page will actually show up. Wistia makes it really easy because they have some text based documents that help but surprisingly enough they also have video tutorials.
They have a few pricing options that are bracketed into how many videos or how much bandwidth you are going to be using and have some tools to let you find which option is best for you. The most powerful thing is the free account, so you can test out the free option first to make sure Wistia is right for you.
So, Wistia is our go-to suggestion for clients. It’s really easy to use, it’s very powerful for businesses, and it helps you get the most ROI out of your video as possible.
We do use Vimeo at Demo Duck a lot but not typically for hosting our videos but for finding creatives. Vimeo actually started as a portfolio site for video creatives (i.e. animators, documentarians, or film makers).
They have started offering business plans so that people can host their videos for commercial purposes. Their interface is pretty easy to use and to navigate but is organized more in that social structure. So, if you are familiar with Youtube (or Facebook) and how that is laid out- it’s more akin to that type of interface because that was what people, up until recently, had used it for.
The player is customizable so you can change the color of the controls and some other things about the player. Their base player is really nice looking and is very clean so you don’t need to do a ton of tweaking to make it look at home on a modern website.
They also have a cool enhancer too that can update the whole look of your video. This allows you to add color tones or filters similar to the way you do on Instagram. We don’t recommend that if you paid a lot of money for your video to look a certain way. But if you are doing a more straightforward video (like this one) you could make it look more film noir-ish or something of the sort.
They do have video analytics that are fairly basic. They cover ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on your video but not necessarily how it’s performing overall. Nonetheless, it’s good to have some analytics there to see how the videos are performing and how you can improve on future videos.
With SEO, there is not a lot available because Vimeo wants people to be on Vimeo’s site. So they want people to search for videos and view them through the Vimeo site. So, when you host with Vimeo and people search for one of your videos, you are not going to see that video lead people to your site. Keep that in mind when you are considering your options.
For pricing they charge $199/year for their Pro plan and that’s what you are going to have to have if you are using it to host commercial videos but that’s a pretty good price considering the bandwidth they provide and the number of videos you can host through them.
In summary, Vimeo a good lower cost option, you get a great experience at the cost of a the SEO benefit, but if you create pages to embed on your video smartly (with effective keywords) you can still drive traffic to your site.
It’s obviously very popular and the second most used search engine behind Google. However, similar to Vimeo it’s a social network which leads to some drawbacks we’ll discuss later.
You can see the interface is pretty easy to use. If a 13 year old can figure out how to post their daily diary, you should be able to figure out how to use it for your business. The problem is that you can’t really customize your player controls so it’s kind of locked into that standard Youtube look. While it’s not uncommon to see that on someone’s site, it’s probably still going to look unlike the other branding on your website. So, that’s a little bit of a downside.
The video analytics are pretty good. You can get a lot of info on your comments, likes, etc. but won’t get a ton on the finer points of your viewership. So, it’s up to you to decide how much you want video analytics to drive your strategy.
For SEO, YouTube is part of Google so it’s easy to get these videos to show up in search results. Similar to Vimeo however, the problem is that it’s going direct visitors to YouTube and not to your website.
So won’t get the benefit in terms of SEO as viewers have to go to YouTube to watch it. So make sure to really optimize your webpage where the video resides.
YouTube is free, so you don’t have to worry about the costs associated to it as you would with other video hosting options.
So, there are some good and bad with YouTube. It’s great if you dream of your video going viral or you really want your brand out there for your consumers to have access to because of it’s popularity. This allows people to come across it both accidentally or purposefully!
Admittedly, Brightcove is the video hosting option that we know the least about and a newer one on our radar. We haven’t had a ton of clients we have worked with mention they’ve been using it but it seems to be growing.
It’s interface can be a little confusing so you may want to make sure you are completely comfortable with it before opting to use it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is somewhat of a theme of Brightcove overall.
With the player you can customize just about everything. You can change the layout and change whether there are examples along the side that other viewers can choose to watch. You can customize about anything and that includes writing your own code to customize the player, which is above and beyond anyone else (if you have the technical expertise).
It’s similar with video analytics, they give you so much information that you can find and look at. It’s great if you are very focused on your video marketing strategy. However, if you just want to have a single video on your landing page it may not interest you as much.
With all that being said Brightcove is really suited for large companies with very dedicated marketing teams and development teams for the video marketing strategy.
This is supported by their robust SEO capabilities. It gives you a lot of power to make sure that you are getting the complete benefit of your video by building it into your sitemap, making sure it’s indexed, and confirming that those videos show up in search results.
As for pricing, they have a 30 day free trial so you can give it a test run to make sure you will take full advantage of it’s robust offerings. If you decide to move forward you can discuss pricing specifics with a member of their sales team.
In general, Brightcove is great if you are a large company or you want to have complete control over what you are working on. Brightcove seems to be targeted more to household name brands. Really best if you have a lot of support and aren’t working on your own.
Hopefully you found that helpful but we’ve also included some suggested readings below.
There are a lot of other options on there, so if you have other hosts you are using or additional points to make on the aforementioned hosts, feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts!
An SEO’s Guide to Video Hosting and Embedding – Phil Nottingham
List of Video Hosting Services – Wikipedia
Free And Premium Video Hosting Platforms – Cameron Chapman