Once you’ve made the decision to invest in creating original video content, you want to ensure that your investment pays dividends – and the only way to do that is by making sure your videos are seen by the audience for which you created them, be that your current customers and users and/or your potential customers and users. You have to put your video content to work for you if you want to reap the benefits of your investment.
One of the most important decisions, then, is where best to host your video content online in order to reach your audience. There are a lot of options out there, and our clients often ask us “Where should we put our videos?”
If you host nowhere else, be sure you’re uploading your videos to YouTube. It is far and away the most popular of the online video hosting options, and uploading content is free – which can be of particular importance if you’re operating on a tight budget.
If you create video content and you’re not using YouTube, you’re missing out on your best chance to reach their enormous audience; with over a billion users, it’s the third most-visited website in the world, receiving over 30 million visitors every day. It has excellent language support, allowing viewers to navigate the site in 76 different languages, which means language access for close to 95% of the Internet population, and YouTube has a robust suite of analytics tools, letting you review information such as audience demographics, the source of traffic to your videos, what devices your audience is using to watch your videos, and audience retention.
Vimeo markets itself as the “high quality” location for video content in an attempt to differentiate itself from its competitors. It’s also worked hard to establish itself as the host of choice for creative professionals. What’s interesting is that 70% of Vimeo’s viewers are from outside the United States, so if you’re looking to target a truly international audience, Vimeo may be the perfect fit for you.
Wistia was specifically designed for businesses. Wistia has made it simple to gather data on how well your video content is achieving your goals, along with other tools that make it easier to increase your website’s traffic and generate leads with your video content.
Wistia’s big selling point is that unlike YouTube (which is designed to keep viewers on YouTube), Wistia is designed to help drive traffic to the websites of the businesses that use it. Videos uploaded to Wistia are searchable and indexable by Google, so they contribute to your site’s overall Google ranking and search results relevance. They also have automatic SEO, which means you don’t have to be an SEO expert to get better rankings for your videos – Wistia handles it all.
Sprout also markets itself towards businesses and like Wistia, has options to allow you to check on how effective your content is, along with features like email collection forms, curated playlists, and calls to action that help you integrate your videos with your overall marketing tactics.
Brightcove is another alternative, and is beginner-friendly; they offer 15 different player templates and built-in social sharing. Another plus is their YouTube Sync which will automatically push videos to YouTube for you.
There are numerous other hosting options out there as well, including Viddler, Vzaar, and Vidyard. You certainly won’t hurt your video by uploading to these smaller services as long as you make sure you’re hosting on at least one of the larger platforms as well to ensure your video gets maximum exposure and visibility.