Where to host your videos
People want to watch videos more than any other type of content with video projected to take up more than 80 per cent of internet traffic this year alone. ¹
Creating video content that is compelling as well as innovative is crucial, yet another important decision to make for your business is where you’re going to host your videos.
Videos tend to be rather large files, so if you want to host a video on your own website you would need to check with your hosting provider to make sure you have plenty of storage space and bandwidth.
If you don’t have unlimited bandwidth be mindful that if your video proves super popular, it might not buffer properly or you might end up slowing down your whole server, making your website a snail to load.
You will also need to encode your videos to different formats (MP4, Ogg, WebM) to ensure that it plays regardless of the device and browser someone uses to watch it.
You may decide it is simpler to use a third-party video hosting service rather than uploading to your website’s server. In this blog, we will take a look at two of the most popular video hosting platforms, Vimeo and YouTube, and explore their benefits and their weaknesses.
YouTube may be the first video hosting service to come to mind – it is the world’s largest video platform after all. The US video-sharing website launched in February 2005, Google bought the site in November 2006 for $1.65billion and it now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries.
Benefits of YouTube
It’s popular and its audience is growing
People turn to YouTube for answers and information – it’s actually the second most popular search engine in the world, and it’s the third most visited site.
More than 1.9 billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month, and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views. More than 70 per cent of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices.
You can upload a video to YouTube for free, and you can upload as many videos as you want. Once you’ve verified your account, you can upload videos on YouTube with up to 12 hours of playback or 128GB file size. The limit on an unverified account is 15 minutes.
Analytics are free and useful
You can monitor the performance of your videos with metrics and reports in YouTube Analytics. There’s a good variety of data on offer, including Watch time, Traffic sources and Demographics reports.
You can earn money
Over the last two years, the number of small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube has doubled. YouTube lets you target your video advert to specific demographics, such as location, age, gender, parental status, household income and many interests. If you have more than 1,000 viewers you can join the YouTube Partner Program, where you derive revenue from adverts placed within your videos or from Premium viewers watching your channel.
You can engage with viewers
YouTube lets you incorporate cards and end screens in videos to poll viewers, link to external sites, or direct people to other videos. You can also use cards in older videos to highlight your most recent uploads, or to promote merchandise or fundraising campaigns.
Things you need to be aware of hosting with YouTube
You can’t change videos
When you upload your video to YouTube, you can’t change it without completely deleting it and uploading a new version. This will change the URL so anywhere you link to the video from will no longer work. It also means that you will lose all of your viewing figures and analytics.
There’s lots of adverts
When someone is watching one of your videos on YouTube or in an embedded player on your website, they will probably be delivered a pre-roll advert or other promotional content.
Limited privacy options
YouTube offers three privacy settings for videos you upload.
Public – These videos are publicly accessible by anyone. They can be searched, listed, and displayed across the YouTube platform.
Unlisted – These videos can be accessible by anyone who has the URL. However, they will not appear in YouTube search or related videos
Private – These videos are only visible to you, and specific users you choose.
If you want to disallow embedding of videos, it means you won’t be able to embed videos on any website, including your own.
If you upload a video that contains copyright-protected material, you could end up with a Content ID claim. Companies that own music, movies, TV shows, video games, or other copyright-protected material issue these claims. Content owners can set Content ID to block material from YouTube when a claim is made. They can also allow the video to remain live on YouTube with ads. If you get a copyright strike, that means your video has been taken down from YouTube because a copyright owner requested it. Find out more about copyright.²
Vimeo, founded in November 2004, has more than 90 million members in more than 150 countries and is the world’s largest ad-free open video platform. Vimeo says its focus is on the creators behind content and less about the content itself.
Benefits of Vimeo
It is ad free
Unlike YouTube, Vimeo never puts ads before, during, or after your videos.
You can make changes to your video
Vimeo allows you to make changes to your video after you have uploaded it. You can re upload the video in place of the old one while keeping your statistics and view counts. This can be particularly useful if certain details on your video change, such as you have an updated company logo or your contact details have changed.
More privacy options
Vimeo offers a range of privacy options, including the ability to embed your video on external sites but keep it hidden from on vimeo.com. This is a great option if you want to embed your videos to a third-party site or blog, and want to direct visitors to your site, rather than back to Vimeo. Domain-level privacy lets you specify which websites are allowed to embed your video, giving you full control over where your videos appear.
You can highly customise the player
You can match the Vimeo player to your homepage, portfolio, brand identity, or marketing campaign. You can also choose whether to show or hide your portrait, title, and byline when your embedded video first appears. Vimeo also allows you to specify what viewers see when they finish watching your video.
Good analytics and support
All Vimeo members have access to an analytics dashboard, which gives you a quick overview of your impressions, plays, finishes, likes, etc. The view length is a great way to check what’s working. It shows you exactly how long people watched the video, and where they dropped off.
Better quality video
Vimeo is often referenced as being ‘higher quality’ than YouTube. Vimeo videos are viewable in a variety of different qualities, ranging from 360p to 8K, and results in higher quality looking videos due to a higher bitrate.
Publish to social channels
Social platforms favour native uploads but it can very time consuming to upload videos to multiple sites. Vimeo paid-for members can publish videos as native posts on social, directly from Vimeo. The ‘Publish to Social’ tool support uploading videos direct to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Vimeo offers powerful engagement tools, such as adding links to your end screens to point viewers to your site, your store, your social channels, or anywhere else you want.
Things you need to be aware of hosting with Vimeo
Vimeo has one free level and four paid levels and to get the most of the site you will need to pay. Monthly plans start from £16 and go up to £70 – all offering different extra features, such as priority support, tons more storage, advanced privacy control, player customization, or interaction tools.
There are upload limits
Vimeo limits the number of hours of video you can upload and store annually. Free accounts offer 25GB/year (max 500MB/week) and the Vimeo Pro account is 1TB/year (max 20GB/week).
It lacks YouTube’s traffic
Vimeo can’t compete with YouTube’s audience and the potential amount of people you can reach which will be important to businesses who are looking to share information to the broadest audience possible.
The SEO debate
Some experts say that YouTube is the better choice for most businesses as it generally performs better than Vimeo in search. They suggest that because Google owns YouTube, you have a far greater chance at appearing in search results for the keywords that matter to you by hosting videos on YouTube but there is no concrete evidence to prove this.
What video hosting we use
At Pixelwave Creative we use a combination of Vimeo and YouTube. We predominately use Vimeo to host and showcase the videos we have produced for the following reasons:
- better quality video
- ad-free benefits
- Change a video without losing stats
- Share natively to popular social channels
We also use Vimeo to share our ongoing work for clients – the review feature is useful for video production companies as it provides a platform for us to share and discuss our edits with our clients. Clients add comments directly onto the video, such as: ‘can we change this shot’ or ‘this is a great soundbite’.
But we simply can’t ignore the SEO benefits of YouTube, so we also upload our own videos to this platform to increase our reach for targeted search terms.
In our next blog, we will take a look at how to use Vimeo and YouTube to share your video content to social networking websites.
¹ Blog Hubspot
² Copyright Music