Like many things in business, there are often too many choices on what software and tools to use. As business owners, we get a little sucked into the hype and excitement of the latest products, just because they’re new, rather than knowing if they are actually suitable for what we need. In this article, I want to you a very simple and pragmatic guide to where you can host your videos, as well as explaining a few reasons WHY we don’t host videos on other platforms.
Throughout this article, my focus will be on the following elements of marketing to ensure that the video is serving it’s purpose in your business.
- Building your list (of prospects and customers)
- Building your audience and fans (e.g. Likes/Subscribers)
- Ensuring videos are easy to upload, manage, and watch
A word about time…
For service-based business owners (such as accountants, osteopaths, copywriters, designers, consultants, coaches, vets, virtual assistants, etc) – the business owners I know are always short of time. Therefore this article focuses on video platforms that save TIME, but also do the job that we need them to do.
Whilst there will no doubt be some people (with too much time on their hands) who will criticise my suggestions in this article, I want you to appreciate that this article is trying to serve just one purpose. To be pragmatic. This article is NOT about finding the optimum (‘perfect’) solution for hosting videos.
Part 1 – Why we NEVER host videos DIRECTLY on your website hosting
There are ways of hosting video on the same server as your website. This is where you are uploading the videos to your actual website as files, rather than using something like YouTube or Vimeo. There are 3 reasons why we do not upload video directly to website hosting:
Reason A. It’s expensive
Videos are large files, and web server disk storage is comparatively expensive. That means you’re overpaying for hosting your videos.
Reason B. You waste bandwidth
For someone to watch your video, they are essentially downloading it. That means you use up your website bandwidth trying to play videos. Bandwidth is an allocation of “how much your visitors are allowed to download per month” from your website. You can quickly use up your bandwidth allocation by hosting videos on your website, meaning that you’ll run out before the end of the month. This results in either you paying extra fees OR your website essentially is down for a few days (when you use up your bandwidth allocation too early).
Reason C. (The most important reason). It’s a poor experience for your visitors.
Your website hosting is NOT optimised for hosting or playing videos (compared to YouTube or Vimeo). That means videos will take a LONG time to load, a LONG time to play (if at all), and your visitors will probably not bother watching your videos at all.
Part 2 – What makes video hosting (like YouTube or Vimeo) worthwhile?
All video hosting platforms invest in extremely clever technology that ensures that videos load quickly, work on all devices (e.g. phones), and the video still plays when mobiles are on a slower network (such as 3G or slower).
Fundamentally, they have technology that significantly increases the probability your video will play… and if it plays, there’s a much higher chance that your visitors will actually watch the video… which is the point of you publishing the video in the first place!
These video hosting platforms also use clever embedding tools. Basically this means you can use a small piece of code to put the video into a landing page or website. This code that allows a visitor to easily play the video. If you used any other platform (e.g. Amazon S3, your own hosting), then you need to add code for just playing videos. Put another way, video hosting platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo make it very easy to upload and create a way for your visitors to watch your videos.
Part 3 – When to use YouTube for your videos
In a nutshell, you use YouTube as a promotional video platform for attracting people to your content. In a similar way you rely on a regular search engine to attract visitors to your website.
From a business perspective, you can use YouTube to do the following that helps you to grow your business:
- Building a following – this is where you have loyal subscribers (within the YouTube platform) who can choose to ‘subscribe’ to getting more videos from you.
- Building your list – during your video, you give a call-to-action that sends the watcher to a landing page (where you can ask for their contact details in return for a lead magnet).
Due to the way that YouTube have created their platform, there are several features you can exploit to build your following and list.
- Advantage 1 – Attracting organic search traffic – this is where someone does a search on Google or YouTube for a solution to their problem. Therefore you can attract prospects by creating videos that solve the problems they are doing searches for.
- Advantage 2 – Instant Notifications – If your YouTube subscribers sign up for notifications (using the little bell in YouTube) then your followers get instant notifications when you publish a video. Essentially free promotion to your biggest fans you’ve just done something new.
- Advantage 3 – Related Videos – This works best when you’ve released lots and lots of videos, as your related videos will be promoted once someone has finished watching your video. You might also be recommended on other people’s videos. This means more time where your fans are watching your videos.
All of these advantages essentially help you get more exposure to you, your business and your content.
Even a ‘conventional business’ (accountants, osteopaths, copywriters, designers, consultants, coaches, vets, virtual assistants, etc) take advantage of this by creating videos relating to the work you do, but where they come to you for more help.
Part 4A – How to use videos on Facebook
Video on Facebook is a little more complicated, but thankfully easy to remember. If you’re doing ANY Facebook Ads at all to your Facebook page (e.g. this is the WP Doctors Facebook page), then it’s worth uploading your videos directly to Facebook.
Facebook favour their own platform for adverts, simply because they have the capability to monitor very closely what goes on in their platform. That means it’s cheaper and more effective if you promote your videos on Facebook using their platform. This means you get more views, and better reach, if you use Facebook for sharing your videos.
If you shared a link to YouTube link on Facebook, whilst you could promote it using Facebook Ads, expect to get:
- far fewer views (because it’s more effort for visitors to click to YouTube, compared to watching within Facebook)
- no functionality in Facebook to re-advertise to people who watched the video (called engagement retargeting)
- no data on how much of the video people watched (there’s no way for Facebook to access YouTube’s data)
As you can see, there’s quite a difference in how nice a video looks on Facebook compared to a link to YouTube that’s shared on a Facebook page:
By sharing a YouTube link on your Facebook Page, you could help bolster your YouTube Subscriber following, as some people may end up subscribing to videos on YouTube too… so there’s a benefit to doing both Facebook and YouTube links when sharing content on your Facebook page.
Part 4B – Captions on Facebook Videos
Since videos on Facebook begin by playing silently, it’s DEFINITELY worth adding subtitle/captions to your videos. You can use a very lost cost service such as Rev.com – where they will watch your video and type the captions for you for $1 a minute.
What does this mean? When your video begins to play silently, the text for what’s being said will show automatically on the video. That means if someone is watching your video without volume, they know what’s being said, and they may watch the whole video.
Some of your viewers may be hard of hearing, but additionally, they may be watching your videos somewhere where they don’t want to turn the sound on or they’re in a very noisy environment.
(When you order subtitles from Rev, you still need to manually add the subtitles to the video on Facebook once they’ve been done. It’s not difficult to do, but it is an extra step).
Part 5 – What platform to use for your Paid-For Training Content
When using video on training platforms that do not have their own video storage (e.g. if you’re using a WordPress plugin for a membership website), then you need a way to protect your videos from being accessed by somebody who hasn’t paid.
Therefore I recommend Vimeo on their Pro plan (which is their cheapest commercial plan at £14 a month. Their £5 a month Plus package is only for personal use).
It gives you the following functionality that you’ll want for your membership training websites:
- Domain-level privacy – this where you can ensure that only people on your website can watch the videos you’ve created (i.e. by paying you first)
- Prevent Downloads – you can ensure that your videos cannot be downloaded (i.e. ripped) and shared elsewhere. Again, protecting your content.
- Really sharp HD video quality – I’ve noticed that videos on Vimeo look particularly bright and sharp compared to other platforms, ideal for videos where detail is key (such as doing screen grabs)
As far as I’m aware, you don’t get the first 2 features with YouTube, which is why I’m recommending Vimeo for premium training content that you don’t want to be stolen.
This is what the privacy settings on Vimeo look like:
Part 6 – What platform to use for your Landing Pages
In addition to the privacy features mentioned above, you also want your videos on Landing Pages to be really simple. You don’t want the fancy controls and labels you get on a Vimeo (or YouTube) video by default. Again, with Vimeo Pro, you can switch off some of the controls to reduce distractions on your landing page.
For example. the latter video is much cleaner and simpler compared to the first video. You can actually go further and remove the progress bar if you wish. It’s VERY quick to do this for a video on Vimeo, and means that a visitor to your landing page is going to watch the video and not be distracted by the controls that appear on the video.
Part 7 – What platform to use for your website?
This one is up to you.
- Either use YouTube if you’re boosting your subscriber following (as per part 3 above)
- or Vimeo if you want to control where the video is shared (part 5 above) and what it looks like (part 6) on your website!
Part 8A – What platforms to avoid – Amazon S3
If you’re not technical, then Amazon S3 isn’t right for you.
Amazon S3 is just a storage platform. For videos to load quickly, you also need something like CloudFront. Without being too technical, CloudFront is a system that works with Amazon S3 to make content and videos load quickly from servers that are geographically closer to you. (Read up on CDNs if you want to know more). Then for Amazon S3, you also need a special player that works with Amazon S3 too. Oh, and lots can go wrong if you don’t set up everything correctly.
There’s lots of techie faffing to get a single video uploaded and set up to play. As a business owner, it’s a poor use of time when we have so little available as it is. Even as a techie, I don’t use Amazon S3 for video, as it’s just too time-consuming.
Part 8B – What platforms to avoid – Wistia
Once upon a time, I also recommended Wista. However, that’s now changed, as they changed their pricing around 2016/2017 and made it much more expensive. Whilst their platform is genuinely VERY powerful and very easy to use, their entry price point ($99 a month v.s. Vimeo’s £14 a month) makes it too expensive for business owners who are just dabbling, which is why I’m not recommending it here. If you’re doing very advanced marketing using video, then you might want to take a look. Otherwise I suggest you use Vimeo.
Part 9 – The Summary
Here’s a quick reference summary of what I’ve recommended above.
|Where?||When to use?|
|YouTube||When you're wanting to take advantage of video search results from Google and YouTube, to build your YouTube subscriber following, and potentially your list (with call-to-actions to a landing page in videos).|
|Either: You're doing Facebook Ads, you want comments, likes, shares, and to build the audience for your Facebook page... then use Facebook's platform. (FB Ads seem to work better for other Facebook content/pages rather than external pages).
Or: If you're more interested in building your YouTube following, then use YouTube links for videos. However, FB Ads to promote your videos won't work as well.
And yes, you can always do both!
|Training Content and Membership Sites||Vimeo - with domain protection, and disabling downloads.|
|Landing Pages||Vimeo - with domain protection, disabling downloads, and a disabling some of the controls in the video player.|
|Your Website||Either Vimeo if you just want to show high quality videos (and control what gets shown), or YouTube if you want take advantage of building a YouTube subscriber following.|
|Captions||Use Rev.com - $1 a minute.|