Video Hosting: When To Use YouTube vs. Other Hosting Platforms

Video Hosting: When To Use YouTube

As a video marketing agency, one of the most common questions we hear is: should I be using YouTube?

And even when clients don’t ask, we always bring it up. It’s that important.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. YouTube offers some great benefits, many of which you’re probably already aware of, including:

However, YouTube is not always the best video hosting solution. In fact, most businesses are using YouTube for all the wrong reasons.

In many cases marketers can get better results by switching to third-party hosting platforms, such as Wistia. Plus, Facebook and Twitter made the issue even more complicated when they began offering native hosting for videos.

Choosing the right platform for your goals can be overwhelming.

To help you tackle this complex issue, our CEO Todd Hartley invited me to join him on his weekly show This Week In Video Marketing. In this episode, we’ll be discussing the various options you have for video hosting and when you should use each.

A few of the questions we’ll be answering include:

  • What is video hosting and why should it matter to marketers?
  • Why would a business choose something other than YouTube?
  • How do you determine which video host is right for your business?

This Week In Video Marketing is a weekly Google+ Hangout On Air, hosted by WireBuzz CEO Todd Hartley.

Want to learn more about YouTube SEO? Download our free ebook below.

Video Hosting Hangout Transcript:

Todd Hartley:  Hi and thank you for joining us right here at This Week In Video Marketing.  You know today we are going to be talking about video hosting options, which really boils down to when to use YouTube and when to use other third-party players and by the end of this conversation, we are going to have really strong understanding about the strategy and options that are available, but first here’s a quick tip alright, I am going get you started with something on YouTube, Google, and Facebook. 

Watch time is a primary ranking factor, so if you wanted your videos to rank well, you make sure that they are engaging and they are valuable all the way through plus you are always going to want to search engine optimize your YouTube videos. WireBuzz’s strategy and optimization team recently published our YouTube SEO ebook and later on this interview, we are going to tell you how to get that YouTube SEO ebook for free. 

Now, this episode is brought to you by WireBuzz, the leading video marketing agency specializing in video strategy and results.  Our clients are always asking us when to use YouTube or third-party players and it really comes down in most of our client conversations and that’s why Marcus Krieg WireBuzz’s director of strategy and video optimization is with me.  Hey, Marcus.

Marcus Krieg:  Hey Todd.

Todd Hartley:  Marcus, this is a conversation you know intimately it something were always discussing by the way if you are following us on Twitter, you can always follow the #TWIVM, which is this weekend video marketing and we are going to be responding to questions during this live event. Let’s start at the very beginning, my man.

What is video hosting?  Let just bring people up to speed there, then we’ll kind of drill down into the nitty gritty of lile, why does it matter to video marketers or the marketers, or business owners who are trying to use video for their services. So what is video hosting, Marcus?

Marcus Krieg:  That’s a great question Todd.  More often than not people are not actually asking about video hosting.  More often than not, we are bringing that conversation up with clients and that’s because it’s very technical discussion.  It seems very difficult and out there, but it’s really actually a basic thing.

So anything you create that you want to live somewhere on the Internet has to be hosted on a server somewhere.  Someone has to possess those files and then serve those files up to the internet, so video hosting is first and foremost where you are putting those videos on the web.  There obviously are tools and platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.  There are also places such as, you know, Wistia or Brightcove which are a third-party hosting options and then a lot of people are still using self-hosting which is you know if you are using WordPress site you can host those media files on your own website, on your own server, and so those are the three core options. 

Recently, social media has thrown a little wrench into the machine by allowing hosting within you know for example Twitter, or Facebook, or Vine and those sorts of platforms. So video hosting is where the information lives on the web, but secondly it’s also the video players, the functionality, those sorts of things are usually tied directly back to where you are hosting a video.

Todd Hartley:  That’s a really good overview.  Now for those of you who were with us please keep in mind video marketing is rapidly evolving industry and specialty. As Marcus mentioned a few moments ago, you’ve got Twitter and Facebook that are also providing and developing new video hosting options, so this is a rapidly evolving field, but this is the best information in the industry as it pertains to right now and the advice that we generally give clients.

So why would someone use anything other than YouTube.  Let’s start there.

Marcus Krieg:  That’s a really good question because obviously YouTube is so big.  You know 6 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every month around the world.  It’s the second-largest search engine.  It’s the second most popular website, so everyone thinks okay: YouTube is the giant behemoth.  I need to be there that’s where I need to be, but the reality is that YouTube has a lot of limitations. 

For example, there is the inability to really drive a ton of traffic back to your website specifically.  It tends to be really good if you are trying to get the maximum amount of views.  You know to extend your branch, to become thought leader, those sorts of advantages to YouTube, but only about 1% of your video viewers are actually going to click through to your website or engage with your videos.

So if you are trying to generate leads or if you trying to drive traffic to your website to sell products or anything like that, YouTube is really not going to be a best platform for you.

Plus, if you are offering promotional videos or product videos and some specific niche and people watch that video to completion, which is always your number one goal, then YouTube is introducing people to your competitors at the end, so there are some significant disadvantages to YouTube.  It’s very hard to rank your website for that, so those are some of big reasons why you would choose to use a different solution.

Todd Hartley:  Now, you know, which other options are available?  Now, I know we mentioned earlier Vimeo and Brightcove and Wistia all of them are very good options, but each one of those has strengths and weaknesses.  Let’s first talk about Vimeo.

Marcus Krieg:  Yes so Vimeo, I never really recommended to anyone anymore.  It’s definitely a prettier video player than YouTube which is why lot of businesses use it.  It also has the advantage of being free. 

The problem is that you are still dealing with a reduced bandwidth, so if you have a free service, lots of people are going to be leeching of that free service and when you are hosting those videos on your website, your website actually has to grab that information from that external server. And the longer that call to the server is, the slower your website load will be.

And as we know, just a one second difference can be as much as a 20% change in conversion rates. So using something like Vimeo actually has a lot of disadvantages, the functionalities and integrations are just not there. So even the pro-version of Vimeo is probably not the best option for any business. 

If you are looking for something that’s got a more beautifully video player with more functionality, you should really be looking at a paid solution like a Wistia or a Brightcove.

Todd Hartley:  Alright, so in a few moments, we are going to be sharing our screen.  We are going to show you a really cool, simple way of looking at different video hosting options that will come up in a moment.

Also, later on in the program we are going to share how you can get the free e-book that we created about SEOing, or search engine optimizing your YouTube videos and your YouTube channel.  That’s coming up in a few moments. 

Now, Marcus there is social-hosted platforms… Facebook and Twitter.  We are starting to see now that there are advantages to adding your videos inside of Facebook as opposed to YouTube, when you’re posting on the Facebook. Twitter’s video options are in development.  There are self-hosted and third-party options, do you want to break some of those down a little bit?

Marcus Krieg:  Yes so I guess I’ll start with the first one which is in a similar vein to Vimeo, that you shouldn’t use, which is self-hosting.  A lot of brands like to feel like they’re 100% in control of their video and they want to do all these nifty customizations. But more often and not, it just doesn’t play well.  

The amount of money you are going to spend on developers and the amount of bandwidth you are going to have buy from your website host is actually likely to exceed the cost of getting a basic plan from, you know, your Wistia or Brightcove.

But definitely Wistia is going to be a more affordable, more feature packed option. So there is really no good reason anymore with you know the players out there and your video hosting space to self-host a video. 

When it comes to social media, we are looking at a very interesting beast because obviously, your social media posts are not searchable.  They are not things that you are sharing across multiple networks. So I caution businesses thinking “okay, so now I can upload my videos directly to Facebook,  I don’t need YouTube, or I don’t need to use video players on my website and that sorts of things,” because it is a great way to get extra engagement within those platforms because the platforms themselves, you know Twitter’s integration with their own video host is going to be better than anyone else’s. The same thing with Facebook, that’s why Facebook has the autoplay functionality, but they don’t do that for YouTube and Wistia or other services.

So use it, but use it as like a second option, so you host it on your blog with like Wistia or you hosted on YouTube and then a couple weeks later, you repost that same video in a native Twitter and native Facebook video platform to get extra engage and extra views.

Todd Hartley:  Alright, so there’s a real science behind this, there is strategy. In fact, the room that Marcus is in is our strategy and optimization room here at WireBuzz and for each of our campaigns depending on what the client objective is, they’re different for everybody, that determines the proper video player. 

Video players can also determine your SEO, their advantages and disadvantages. Video players also have the option you know depending on which ones you want to select,  it will give you an advantage, one over the other, on generating email databases or getting a customer to convert and purchase something after watching a video, so it’s always important to start figuring out what is that ultimate goal and which video player best supports it. 

Now with all of these options that are available, Marcus, how do you determine what’s right for one of your clients?  You know, how do we do that?

Marcus Krieg:  It really starts with the primary objective. So the first objective that a lot of brands have is branding.  You know this more of the traditional media approach where you are trying to get as much exposure for your brand, in term of name recognition, thought leadership those sorts of things, so if you’re looking to get the maximum amount of exposure possible for your video investment, YouTube is definitely the place to go. 

The way that you are going to do that is you create videos for YouTube.  This is not an optimized video for your blogs, it look a little different in an optimized video for YouTube because the audience is very different, so there are lot of things that go into creating a successful YouTube video. Obviously you want to be optimizing those YouTube videos for SEO, so that they’re ranking in YouTube and Google search results.  The long-term value of YouTube is going to be getting your videos ranking in search result, it’s so, so important.  It’s the biggest advantage to YouTube.

But if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website using YouTube can cannibalize your on-site SEO ranks because YouTube is the second largest website on the web, so it is almost always going to take precedence over, or almost always going to take precedence over your website for ranking for a keyword.

So if your goal, then, is traffic or leads, then you are going to want to use something like Wistia. And the reason we like Wistia is that it’s probably got the most complete feature package.  It’s very affordable and only like $25 a month for their basic plan and its scales up very nicely. Some of the advantages to Wistia is you are going to get better website SEO, it has video sitemaps built into the system, so all you have to do is upload the video, integrated with your website, and you are going to start seeing better search results. 

It also has a better video player when people have compared web pages with YouTube videos versus Wistia videos.  One of the things that you see is about 30% of people thinks that the website that’s using a third-party video player is more credible.  There’s this element of YouTube is for play and when I am on someone’s website, I want it to be a bit more professional. There is that trust element and so you know you obviously want to be using Wistia if your primary goal is going to be lead generation. 

One of the cool things that they do there is you got to create content gates, so you can either gate the video so that people have to enter an email in order to watch it.  You can put that gate after the intro, so you can introduce the topic and then they have to enter the email. And then finally you can also do it at the end, which is sort of more in line with that sort of content marketing field which is, “hey, if you really like this then subscribe.” 

The other great thing about Wistia is you know if you have sales organization and you are trying to generate warm leads and you need insights into what’s effective and what’s ineffective.  These third-party tools are very, very powerful.

So one of the problems with YouTube is if you want to test one video against itself with minor changes to see okay, is this sentence going to work better than this sentence? Which call to action should I use? Those are things that you can test on Wistia without actually breaking the embed code. So if someone shares your video and you take it down off YouTube, that breaks all of those links.

But with Wistia, you can actually change the video without changing all of the links and embed codes, so you can actually go back and optimize or change videos on an ongoing basis, which is really one of the best things about video, is that you converts people at a very high rate. So if you’re trying to get sales, leads, or traffic to your website, you definitely wanted to go with one of those third-party platforms.

That said, we often see clients, and this is something that we do for ourselves, where they are looking for something that has a little bit of a best of both worlds, so this is a little more advanced.  It requires a lot more work, you create different types of videos for different places, but that balanced approach with entail using YouTube for, like, content marketing activity.

So these are the videos you sharing on social media, the videos that you are putting in the blog section of your website.  You are trying to build all of that exposure up.

And then, on the website you know, what I call the website proper, is like the main portion of the website.  Where you’re talking about the features and benefits of your product and anything promotional where you’re trying to get someone to sign up.  Where you’re trying to get someone to become a warm lead, or if you actually trying to sell a product, then you should definitely use something like Wistia.  You are going to get a much better conversion rate.  Again, you are going to have those options for optimizing it on an ongoing basis, and that’s something you don’t get with YouTube.  

So that’s definitely doable.  I don’t want you to think it’s all or nothing.  You have to use YouTube or Wistia and settle on one thing, but you know, there are some of those advanced options.  It’s doing the right thing to achieve your specific objectives.

Todd Hartley:  Alright so comes up all the time.  You know we recently had a conversation in our office about a client whose strategy was they wanted to be on YouTube, but they wanted to be driving traffic to their site. And so with a experienced video marketers, what happens to Marcus or I, or our team, is that’s kind of like red flag because those are two competing paths because YouTube is not a traffic generator.

So by making sure you have a detailed strategy at the beginning, you end up laying out a platform for yourself.  A step-by-step guide of what your goals are that will tell you and influence what video player you should be using.  You agree with that?

Marcus Krieg:  Absolutely.

Todd Hartley:  Alright, so for people that are playing along at home, what we are going to do is we are going to take that slide that we were just showing.  We are going to share that socially.  It will give you a very good idea and I’ll probably accompany it with a short clip of Marcus’s overview on each of the three options that are available and it will help you decipher what the right video option is for you. 

Marcus anything else that we’ve talked about that’s about hosting options that we haven’t talked about that would be helpful to people that are watching right now?

Marcus Krieg:  Yeah, there is a lot of great information out there to discuss this topic, so I mean you can always work with us here at WireBuzz.  You know we have a strategy team, we start all work projects with strategies, so if you’re looking for your decoder ring, you can always get help from the experts. 

We actually offer free 30-minute consultations. But the key is to find your goals.  Usually you have to pick just a couple of goals.  You can’t have a ton of different goals and try to have everything, because there are only so many hours in the day.

So pick the goals that you really want to focus on and then develop a strategy to achieve those goals and that means selecting a right video hosting platform. So start with the strategy, then pick the hosting platform, and then you start creating videos because the videos you are going to cook those optimizations for each platform type into the video.

Todd Hartley:  Alright, so great advice.  As promised, we are taking questions from the audience, so feel free on the Google+ event page to post in your questions.  We also have someone on the team that is tracking Twitter under the Twitter handle for the acronym for this week in video marketing and one question that I have got right in front of me right now is from Ileane Smith of Google+, she says, “Is it worthwhile to upload YouTube videos to Dailymotion?  Any disadvantages?” And so there are advantages and disadvantages. 

I’ll let Marcus kind of detail the Dailymotion breakdown.

Marcus Krieg:  So when it comes to, you know, sharing sites, it’s usually very effective to make sure you are promoting your videos to the extent possible and as many places as possible.  Oftentimes, people will share video only once. That’s a mistake. 

Only a tiny percentage of your audience about half a percent of your audience is going to see something you post on social media. So when you are sharing something, you want to share it multiple times. 

When it comes to a specific platforms like Dailymotion, I always recommend testing it and seeing what’s getting you the best results.  There are only so many hours in the day.  You have to pick those platforms strategically and that means measuring.  I keep spreadsheets to make sure, you know that every campaign is different.  You have to keep that data. 

With Dailymotion in particularly, I don’t see there being a disadvantage unless you are seeing bad data.  It’s an inefficient use of your time, but otherwise you know those curation platforms and sharing platforms, Reddit, the old Digg, those types of places are really effective for sharing your content, but I caution you to share content in places where people are expecting to see video and that you restrict that to non-promotional.

So if you are creating something that’s value-forward, that people are getting excited about, they are going to feel closer to you as a brand and build a relationship with you.

So for example, something like this, where we are really talking about how to solve a problem, then that type of content’s always going to do a lot better on those types of platforms. 

When it comes to anything that’s self-promotional, I try to keep that on my website and use the value-driven content to drive people back.  If you are using YouTube and you trying to that, then the goal is to use an offer; something very compelling and your audience is going to like and encourage people to click-through to back to your website, so you keep the promotions largely within your own ecosystem and then distribute value.

Todd Hartley:  Alright so that’s a really good point.  You know we did something recently at WireBuzz and for those of you who do not know it at its common knowledge that we run three very large cancer awareness campaigns.  It’s our passion project.  It allows us to create tests and see what’s happening out there on very large populations.  We can then transfer those tests over on the client project and make very smart tweaks to those campaigns.

And we did what recently that I published on Google+, you could probably find the case study, but we uploaded the video to YouTube and then shared the video over onto Facebook. And then we took a similar video and uploaded it into Facebook, and between the two, the one that was uploaded into Facebook and shared on Facebook, got twice as many views as the one that was in YouTube and then shared onto Facebook. So figure out where you are going to be engaging that video and then come up with the right strategy that allows you to amplify your message to the largest number of people possible. 

Each social network has a slightly different strategy behind it and it’s a tricky.  It changes all the time.  You have to be nimble and to be willing to test. 

Look as Marcus mentioned, we do offer free 30-minute consultation about video strategy.  We do have a free white paper.  It’s an e-book.  You can download it.  It’s about YouTube SEO. 

The latest information coming right out of WireBuzz’s strategy and optimization team to access that, you go to  If you go to my Google+ page, I teased in a few moments before we went live and pardon me we got a couple of more questions. 

I have not screened these questions yet.  This is where live gets fun, so let’s see Dave Williams says: does the Wistia player allow a viewer to see perhaps the first minute of the video and then pay to see the rest of the file? Marcus?

Marcus Krieg:  I am not 100% sure about the pay gates in Wistia.  It wasn’t really created as a monetization platform.  Wistia when they started their company, it was around helping blogs and search engine optimizers and content marketers to grow their audience and generate leads. 

Even if you could, I would probably discourage it.  I think that there are other pathways you can take to monetize video.  One of the things that I’ve seen done really well, really effectively in the blogging and business community and that you will take that Wistia video, so you would upload that video as a protected video in Wistia and then you put that behind a pay wall on landing pages. And so there are really cool tools like LeadPages, where you can set up, a landing page. If you’ve seen a video course online, I’m sure you have seen LeadPages. Its where you have that box in the middle of the page and then you have the three or four other boxes, so hey here’s the first video in the sequence and then day two you get this video, day three you get this video and so forth.

But to get back to that page in the first place you pay gate and you make people pay and then send them that link, so if you try to use video as a product or service then you definitely should charge before you show those videos and then when it comes to as a part of your content marketing strategy, you should probably avoid pay gates.

Todd Hartley:  Alright so that’s a really good overview.  There is a lot of information that we are providing for you feel free to go to to get the free YouTube SEO e-book.  You can download that and also post any questions on the Google+ event page which I know your schedule is crazy today Marcus, like mine, but if we both can carve out a little bit of time to check back, reply to questions there I think that the audience would appreciate it, so will do our best to get back over there and answer any questions. 

There is going to some really cool events happening in This Week In Video Marketing coming up in future weeks.  I can’t tease them now because we are developing them, but this is information that we are also providing in podcast format.

So if you go over to iTunes, you’ll be able to get all of our this weekend video marketing as we continue to progress and provide you the latest information that’s happening you guessed it this week in video marketing.  Amazing how that happens.  Marcus, thank you so much for joining us today.

Marcus Krieg:  Thank you, Todd.

Todd Hartley:  Alright everyone it’s been another great episode.  We look forward to talking with you.  Feel free to post any questions, we’ll get back to you if time permits today and if there’s a topic that fits within video marketing that you would like us to discuss or someone you’d like us to interview you can also post that on the events page, we’ll look for it and look forward to talking with you in future weeks. 

You going to give me a “peace” Marcus?  No he didn’t do it.  Alright talk to you guys later.  Bye!

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Marcus Krieg

Director of Strategy at WireBuzz
Marcus is the Director of Strategy at WireBuzz. For more writing and video marketing tips, follow him on Facebook or Twitter.