So, you just got ahold of that bright shiny new video and you're ready to show the world, am I right? With all the video platforms out there how do you decide what's the best option for distributing that sizzling new video content to ensure your intended audience sees it?
There’s no single go-to, standard video platform (or method for choosing one). The best platform for your video content will depend on your specific needs. So when you’re on the lookout for a video platform, there are a few key things you'll want to take into consideration.
What Is a Video Hosting Platform?
If you've joined – or are in the process of joining – the millions out there who leverage the power of video to enhance various parts of your business, chances are the subject of video hosting platforms has come up.
Simply put, a video hosting platform is a website or service you upload any video content to when you want to make it available for others to view online.
A host server provides a method to access that content, either by direct URL or by embedding a link so that your video can be viewed from other sites, such as your business website.
Considerations When Searching for Video Platforms
Identifying Your Audience and Objectives
The best way to get started is to first define who your intended audience for each video is. For example, is it an internal company audience, or are you looking to expand your existing audience?
As we mentioned earlier, one solution – or several – may exist based on your needs.
- Some training videos may require tools like password protection and the ability to deliver assessments and track user progress.
- Pre-recorded webinars might require specific engagement tools.
- To share Video On Demand (VOD) content, you might need a paywall.
Or if you're distributing content to a network of product distributors, each may have different needs. So choosing a platform that offers multiple available formats for each user may be beneficial (Brightcove is a great example of this).
Having the answers to these important questions will allow you to narrow down the list of optimal video platforms for your needs.
Where Do You Want the Video to Be Viewable?
Thinking about where and how you want your video to be viewed opens you up to a new set of considerations.
Here are just a few:
- You may want to keep the video off of Google searches and only share it with users connected to a private network, such as an intranet, or password-protect it.
- Maybe you don't want your video to go viral. It's possible that you want to control where the video is posted, whether it's on YOUR website or only embedded on websites you approve.
- Video hosting and sharing websites give you the ability to embed videos both on your website and the host platform (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). In general, these options make sharing very easy. But advertising may surround or be delivered during your video if the sharing website allows it.
- What device will your users be viewing the content on? If your audience is multi-modal, ensure the platform has options to optimize viewing on various devices.
Additional Tools to Think About
Once you’ve defined your audience and goals, make sure the platforms you're considering support your objectives.
Most video platforms have built-in analytics which can help strengthen your marketing game. Sure, platforms (such as YouTube) can show you the basics – track views and traffic sources.
But the right platform can go much, much more in-depth about your audience – where viewers are dropping off in each video. This can help you find out where your video isn't quite landing and tweak your messaging.
An important consideration should be a video platform that includes lead generation capabilities (take Idomoo, for example).
Generally, lead generation features include things like clickable contact links, ways to collect information about your leads, and personalization.
If lead generation is your number one priority and the video platform you're considering does not offer that capability, you may have to keep looking.
Playlists or Portfolios
It’s a good idea to use playlists so that your visitors can see all the content you offer.
Having your content organized into playlists makes it more convenient for users to quickly find what they need.
And you know how important that is! If consumers can't find what they want within 15 seconds, they'll leave and look elsewhere.
What is the Budget for Your Video Platform?
The type of video you'll be creating – and what you're planning on doing with it – can influence what your video platform budget will be. It's not necessary to have a top-of-the-line platform with all the features if you're new to the business and are still building an audience. A hosting platform alone is enough to get you started.
When it comes to giving your audience the best experience possible (there's nothing better than ad-free video, right?) looking into paid options is something to consider as you build your audience.
Different Video Platforms
YouTube has become one of the most familiar names on the planet. It's not surprising, given the fact that 500 minutes of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (this equates to about 30,000 hours of video uploaded every hour, by the way!).
YouTube has some major benefits as a video platform:
- It's completely free
- An algorithm for video recommendation enables you to target the right audience
- There’s the possibility of monetization.
Yes, that's right! You can get paid. A few conditions apply, though:
- Your YouTube channel needs 1,000 subscribers
- Your videos will need to generate 4,000 Watch Time hours over 12 months
- You adhere to all YouTube policies
YouTube is perfect for:
- Video newbies
- Those wanting to grow an audience
- Having a small (or no) budget
But, as we just discussed, YouTube is going to recommend videos to your audience based on its algorithm. As a result, your viewers might rather click on another video that seems interesting after your video ends instead of clicking on more of your content.
So YouTube might not be the best option if your business has an established following.
- If you have a budget for video
- You don't need that passive income
- Have no intention of growing your audience...
...there may be other options.
Feel like YouTube doesn't quite align with your goals? No worries, Vimeo is the next step up. Okay, so Vimeo may not have over one billion users like YouTube, but they HAVE increased to over 175 million worldwide contributors.
One of the main reasons Vimeo is used for business is because it's not ad-driven (so your competitors’ ads aren't going to appear at the end of the video.). It also has great interactive lead capture tools built-in for premium plans.
Vimeo has a free Basic Membership which provides up to 5GB of account storage, basic analytics, and the ability to post up to 10 videos a day.
But to truly take advantage of what Vimeo has to offer you can sign up for one of their paid monthly plans that start at $7/ a month and get:
- Player customization
- Domain-level privacy
- Increased storage space
- The ability to collaborate with team members
- In-depth analytics
- and more...
What makes Vimeo a good option?
- Again, it’s an ad-free platform, which means your viewers don’t have to sit through ads that distract them from your video.
- It allows you to include a subscription form to your video as an incentive for people to subscribe appeals to you.
- There is an integration between Vimeo and Patreon. So, you could create exclusive, "member-only videos" by combining the two.
- It offers privacy options. Their privacy settings allow you to make videos public, private, or unlisted. You can also password-protect videos.
One of the reasons we love Vimeo is the feature that allows you to replace your video with a new version without changing the URL or stats. This feature is great if there’s an update to your video, allowing you to update the video on the backend without sending new links to the video or updating your website with the new version.
Vimeo is great for those who are budget-conscious and looking to invest in a good user experience but aren't quite ready for the next step.
Wistia might be the answer you're looking for if YouTube and Vimeo don't quite fit your needs. You'll only be able to upload 3 free videos with their free option, and your videos will be branded with Wistia's logo. Their paid plans - which are the highest price point - allow up to 10 (at $99 per month) or an Advanced plan (which allows 100 videos).
Like Vimeo, Wistia doesn’t have ads, and the video platform has a few more features.
- Review which parts of your videos are watched, re-watched, and where audiences are falling off.
- Pause your videos with a Call To Action (CTA) so that you can inspire your viewers to take action.
- A/B Test your videos. You can test 2 different videos to see what thumbnails and videos perform better.
- Integrate Wistia with Facebook and Google ads, allowing you to set up retargeting ads.
- Create a table of contents so you can easily navigate videos that are broken down into titled sections.
- Collect email addresses right from your videos making your videos a great tool for lead generation.
Wistia is specifically built for businesses, the entire platform was designed for marketing purposes. While Vimeo is expanding its footprint in the business world and increasing its marketing tools, it was originally designed for film producers and creatives. Many of its tools and features were built with creators in mind.
However, if you’re a business and budget-conscious, Vimeo offers some similar tools Wistia offers at a lower price point and might be the perfect option for your needs.
Social Media Video Platforms
Social Media sites are another form of video platforms. Instagram and Twitter are free – as are TikTok and Snapchat – and the latter has benefits:
TikTok: TikTok is a great option for new content creators who want to create videos. With their 'For You Page', you can discover any new creator you like. The creator fund on TikTok also pays content creators according to views.
Snapchat: Despite Snapchat's creator pay, you'll need to rely on the company to build your audience (and won't be able to find and reach your subscribers).
There are a lot of video platforms to choose from. We recommend making a list of the features and budget you need before you begin your search for a video platform. It'll keep you on track and help eliminate any that aren't quite right for you.
Want to read more? If you’d like to sign-up for our monthly newsletter please sign up here. It will be a collection of the best articles we’ve written each month along with exclusive offers we roll out from time to time to our subscribers.