Whether you're promoting a business, showcasing your talent, or just an Average Joe trying to go viral, you'll need to choose a video platform to share your content.
So how do you know which video platform is best?
YouTube's by far the most popular platform, with users watching hundreds of millions of hours of content on the platform daily, however it may not be the right option for you, depending on the goals you're trying to achieve.
In this post, we'll break down the pros and cons of each of the three most used video platforms - YouTube, Wistia and Vimeo - in order to help you decide which platform you should focus on for your content.
YouTube has the most traffic of any video platform with the number of active users in the billions. This gives your videos a larger chance of being seen and a better chance of going viral. The ability to create an organized channel to which viewers can subscribe and tune into all your videos also enables you to create a brand for yourself.
From musical artists like Justin Bieber to displaying the latest trends and tutorials, YouTube has exposed billions of videos to eager viewers. YouTube's also considered the second largest search engine in the world, a key reference point for a wide variety of content.
Given these considerations, YouTube may seem like the obvious choice, but there are some additional points to consider in your process..
- It's free - That's right, there are no monthly subscriptions, forced platinum packages, or other charges hidden within the site. How does YouTube make a profit? Advertising - which can be somewhat bothersome to viewers, but generally, a small price to pay to watch your favorite content for free.
- Global recognition - YouTube is a globally recognized site that's used by businesses worldwide. If you're an international business, or simply looking to enlarge your company in the future, YouTube is a great site to do so.
- Videos can be easily extracted and embedded on other sites - YouTube provides easy linking that allows you to customize the size of your video on a selected page.
- You can have a YouTube channel - A channel is a customized page that organizes all of your own work based on fields varying from "date added" to "most viewed". The channels are convenient for companies that want to easily link their additional videos to viewers.
- Material Design - Simplifying the aesthetics of the site by removing the visuals that distract your audience's' focus from your content
- Little control over medium - If you have a message catered for a certain audience, this may not be the right video platform for you. Are your production costs worth the risk of your audience not even seeing your video?
- No guaranteed support or uptime - There's no contractual obligation for YouTube to provide these elements.
- 15 minute video limit - Unless you're able to verify your account.
- Un-intuitive analytics - YouTube does offer analytics, however, some people consider it more of a summary than an actual analysis due to its simplicity.
- Buried in the crowd - YouTube exposes billions of videos every day - sometimes a video goes viral other times it barely hits double digits. If your company has an important message make sure it's engaging enough to retain viewers, otherwise you could potentially be buried in the YouTube crowd.
- Unintentionally promotes competition - You may be launching a video with the intention of surpassing your competition - however, by posting your video on YouTube you could do the opposite. YouTube displays a feed of videos on the right hand side of their page while your own video is being played. This feed is composed of "related" videos which might just so happen be your competition. Related videos could grab the attention of viewers and ultimately draw their focus away from your video.
Wistia is a professional platform that focuses on business and marketing. For a company looking to drive their business with video marketing, Wistia may be the answer. With it's clean and modern design, Wistia offers a professional platform for businesses and brands to host their content without being hampered by advertisements, slow buffer speeds, or amateur content that could drive your target audience away.
Although Wistia is not nearly as popular as YouTube, it's still a highly accredited video site which could help drive success to your company. With marketing and brand videos, the goal is rarely to 'go viral'. Rather, you're generally looking to cater to a very specific audience, which consists of your current and potential consumers and clients. Therefore lack of traffic on Wistia's site is not necessarily an issue in the same vein.
- Video options - High quality videos with multiple resolutions
- Email integration - Email merge uses Wistia's thumbnails to coordinate with your email provider, which can then determine who of your contacts is watching your videos
- Social sharing and customization - Wistia enables you to connect your videos easily to the social media world. You can also create custom controls that cater to your website.
- No advertisements - Most viewers lose interest in a video in the first 15 seconds, therefore a boring video advertisement before your own video could destroy your viewing rates. Wistia completely eliminates that problem by having absolutely no advertisements on their page.
- Video supported SEO - If you want your video to appear in search engine results, Wistia will embed keywords into your video's tag to help bring you to the top. Every company's looking for SEO, right?
- Viewer-to-lead conversion - Wistia's Turnstile option gives companies the ability to generate and collect email leads from viewers interested in your content. Wistia also has a call-to-action button at the end of your video that allows you to guide viewers to the page of your choice. This is a prime opportunity for companies to link back to their blogs, website or other promotional pages.
- Analytics - Essentially, through Wistia you have the power to stalk what your viewers watch, rewind, replay, skip, and even see which of you other videos they've watched. Wistia's heat-maps expose favorite parts of videos and helps companies target what exactly their viewers want to see.
- Price - The best things in life are not always free, and Wistia can be pretty costly, especially if you want certain features or benefits. Wistia does offer a free plan but it's limited to 3 videos. Their packages vary from $25-300. Keep in mind there are no hidden fees and you can cancel at any time.
- Lack of search - Unlike YouTube, Wistia is not searchable. Which may make finding your video or other videos a bit of a challenge.
- Integration issues - Wistia content is harder to integrate with other sites. It's definitely doable, just a little more challenging.
Unlike Wistia, which is very corporate, Vimeo is fueled by passion and creativity.
Most users are showcasing their work to promote themselves as a brand as opposed to a business or corporation. Vimeo has a reputation for being a creative community where members can create channels, start groups, and engage with other viewers with ease. There's a level of respect within the community and externally as well, giving all viewers the sense that your work is approached with a certain level of seriousness and originality.
Vimeo gives the power to the creator by enabling them to share, discover, and be inspired through video. The site is composed mostly of creative and personal work, which could be attractive to both small and large businesses. An environment fueled by creativity with HD quality is essentially why Vimeo has been consistently successful over the years.
- Creative tools - Impressive reputation for quality and customization.
- Video Performance Tracking - You can instantly check the play rate, plays by URL, and engagement graphs to show where your viewers are most engaged within a 30 day timeframe.
- Enhanced direction - Vimeo gives you more control your videos aesthetic direction and experience, and to direct viewers to other destinations with custom end screens.
- Skip the line - Through Vimeo Pro, your video can skip the queue, which enables businesses to get their video out ahead of other unpaid accounts. This is a great feature for companies that are on time constraints.
- Video loyalty - Vimeo is like a creative community that promotes loyalty along with SEO. Members can create channels, start groups and engage with other viewers with ease.
- Quit the advertising - Paid account holders have the ability to disable in-video advertising, enabling them to help viewers better focus on the video they're watching.
- Videos can be over 15 minutes long - That's right, if you have a message - a really long message - you can take your sweet time expressing yourself. Many video platforms have time limits that force you to condense your script into a timely matter.
- Lack of traffic - Vimeo is definitely in the shadow of their rivals YouTube, which, in turn, leads to less traffic and link sharing.
- Cost - Most of Vimeo's better features are only offered for premium accounts such as Vimeo Plus, PRO and Business. These can run up to $200/year, and with productions costs and other business fees this can be a steep price to pay.
- Ad placement - Ads are placed before and after your video (unless you have a paid account)
- Pro requirements - You need a Vimeo PRO subscription to upload videos that promote products/services ($199/yr)
It's obvious that all three of these platforms have the ability to help promote and distribute your videos, and any one of them would be a good choice for hosting your video content. The pros of each generally outweigh the cons - it's really all up to personal preference if YouTube, Wistia or Vimeo is the right site to promote your video based on which site suits your needs best.
Take a look at the key points, assess your aims and align them with the right platform for you. Good luck.