Video Marketing: YouTube VS Self-Hosted

youtubeIn 2011, more than 50% of Aussies aged 18 to 29 watched videos online, with an average of 10.2 hours of video per viewer per month. In the same year, we consumed 11bn videos online, a whopping 550% increase on 2007.

That’s a lot of online video consumption! With insights like these, it makes the case for including video marketing in your marketing plan a strong one.


So…where do you host your video marketing?

Self-Hosting or Third Party Hosting?

There are a few different video publishing options available.

Self-hosted videos are stored on your server, or on a service like Amazon S3, and streamed through a custom flash player. It’s fully customisable and visitors will have to go to your website to see the content. You can even secure the video behind a paywall, and use security techniques to control who can access the content.

Third-Party video hosting occurs when you upload the video to sites like YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion. Viewers can watch the videos on the respective site. Or, you can embed them in a web page, or in your other marketing materials.

Alternatively, you can use both methods. You can upload the video to each location. Or, you could host a short clip, introduction, or summary video on third-party sites, and use them to drive traffic to your self-hosted video.

Which method is best?

Pros of Using Third Party Video Hosting

Given it’s usage and reach, we’ll focus on YouTube today….

Traffic Numbers – YouTube has extensive reach. Globally, YouTube receives 800 million unique
 monthly, and 4 billion hours of video are watched during that time. Of these visits, 11 million are from Australia.

Hosting and Bandwidth – YouTube hosts videos free of charge. If you use YouTube extensively, a promoted brand channel is a worthwhile investment. There are no limits on the number of videos you can host, or how many users can watch them.

Video SEO – It’s no secret that Google favours YouTube in the search results. Increase this even further by adding keywords to the description, allow comments, encourage likes and use other SEO techniques to show above other competing videos.

Embedding and Usability – Hosting on YouTube makes your videos highly embeddable. You can add them to your website, but many social networks such as Twitter also have special features to enhance links to your videos each time they’re shared.

Multiple Devices – YouTube is currently found on 350 million devices. YouTube makes it easy for your videos to be viewed on mobile devices too. In fact, 20% of all traffic to the video sharing network comes from a mobile device.

Statistics – While YouTube stats may not be as extensive as other analytics programs, it does give you a great idea of what’s happening. It also tracks views from embeds.

Social Sharing and Promotion – YouTube has made it easy to share videos on all the major social networks. Sometimes, it’s even automatic. Some videos are also promoted (and added to follower’s suggestions) driving even more traffic.

Cons of Third Party Video Hosting

Like everything, YouTube does have some limitations….

Video Length – Generally, YouTube users are limited to 15-minute videos. However, if you verify your account, and can meet YouTube’s requirements, you can be approved for longer upload lengths. Many users simply post longer videos in a series.

Viewer Interaction – Ecommerce and advertising options are quite limited, but you can use annotations, the description, and your profile to prompt users to act. You also risk having viewers wander off, but this can be minimised by not allowing related videos to be displayed after the video ends.

Pros of Self-Hosted Videos

Self-hosting your own video content can be quite tempting. It may not have the same reach as YouTube, but it does have a number of unique benefits.

No Limitations – You can host as many videos as you want. The files can be any size and any length provided you have a big enough server to handle it.

Viewer Statistics – Some platforms have their own statistics, but you can also use your site analytics program. This can give you a pretty detailed look at what happens with the traffic while onsite, and how it fits into your sales flow. You can also reduce the number of visitors who wander offsite.

Management and Branding – Everything can be fully branded. You have full control over the management of your video, including content protection, clip management, and presentation. You can limit distribution to only those users that visit your website if you wish. Want more options? Integrate your video platform with a MAM system (Media Asset Management System).

The landing page where the video sits can also become link bait – great for SEO, as opposed to being linked to YouTube.

Cons of Hosting Your Own Videos

Cost – Unlike YouTube videos, you’ll likely need to pay for the video platform and the hosting. Depending on your host, your costs could also go up as your bandwidth increases.

Video SEO – Your site is should be SEO optimised, so it can help get your video ranking. But, because you don’t have the advantage of YouTube, it can be more difficult. You also lose the additional traffic YouTube can drive.

Embedding – While you can embed your self-hosted videos on other sites, be aware that not all sites will allow users to embed videos from other sites. Some video platforms don’t have this option, either. Lastly, you will also lose enhanced link features like Twitter’s video preview.

The best method really depends on the type and purpose of your video content. Used wisely, however, your choice in hosting can greatly enhance your marketing and SEO strategies.

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