Every web site is different. Depending on the style of content and what you aim to accomplish will determine whether you should host or post your own video content. Because many users do not have unlimited web space, video hosting services have become wildly popular, especially with the recent explosion of free blogs and camera phones.
There are plenty of factors to consider in determining how and where to upload your videos. Your audience base and marketing approach will guide your decision once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of self-hosting. YouTube is the second largest search engine, and as it now operates as a Google subsidiary, it might as well be the largest search vehicle. Most companies choose YouTube for their giant audience and brand recognition, but in some instances, YouTube may hurt your website rather then help.
PROS OF HOSTING YOUR OWN VIDEO CONTENT
There appears to be a high level of aesthetically-pleasing professionalism when viewing self-hosted videos. You not only create the content, but also the size, format, look, and feel of the video and how it’s presented. Let the player fit your brand and style rather than adhere to YouTube’s default appearance. Put your own logo in the lower corner of your video to further push your brand recognition. Another plus in removing YouTube is the comments that come with it. You don’t have to look far to see unashamedly childish and ignorant commenters who bring down the level of dialogue, and now you won’t see them at all!
You now have complete control over your video content. YouTube does not allow videos over ten minutes, so instead of breaking it down into numerous parts, you can self-host entire videos with restrictions. No longer are you helpless to the whims or dependability of a third party service that suffers from downtime, slow periods, or just vanishes altogether.
YouTube is the third most visited website, so high censorship comes with the terrority. Don’t be censored! It’d be a shame if your highly viewed video disappeared overnight with no warning. With your own host, there won’t be some giant corporation who will suddenly decide to censor and remove your video for reasons they deem “offensive”.
There’s an argument to be made that self-hosted videos are better for the SEO of your site, as it is easier to get rich snippets for your own domain. Turning views into conversions is much tougher on a third party hosting site versus your own blog. These video views will have a higher rate of monetization because they are already at your site.
You can create social media sharing buttons and embedded links for people to share your video content. Build links pointing back to your domain through the embedded player. This way, fans and peers can still share your content with interested parties finding your site with ease. You can also remove all social sharing settings. If you ever end up charging for your site, you won’t have your valuable content on other sites to view for free. Customers would have to deal directly with you to see your product.
CONS OF HOSTING YOUR OWN VIDEO CONTENT
YouTube does have numerous advantages over self-hosting. The odds of your video going viral without the help of YouTube is very low. It would be smart to at least have some sort of presence on YouTube so that when your users search for your company, they will find related videos. Let video hosting sites be a gateway to send traffic back to your blog.
As we touched on earlier, YouTube is under the Google umbrella, after being bought out in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Therefore Google pays very close attention to content uploaded on YouTube. Four billion videos are streamed daily on the video uploading giant, which is nearly quadruple the prime-time audience of all three major United States television networks combined. In comparison, Vimeo only has about one million videos streamed a day. YouTube certainly gets its user content in front of many eyes, who often land on content via related videos.
You need to appease Google. Their crawling robots fail to recognize most iframes and embeds that are not from YouTube. Therefore it’s very important that you submit a sitemap to Google. A sitemap shows Google content on your site that the scanning robots missed, which is usually self-hosted video content not in their index. Submitting a sitemap is smart even if you do upload your videos to YouTube. There’s always a chance Google has missed important elements on your site.
Hosting your own videos can be technically demanding. The video player must be in the right format. Some web browsers and sites have trouble viewing certain types of video files. Usually the video must be in FLV or Flash format. If it’s another kind of video, the safe plan is to convert the file to FLV before doing any uploading or embedding. Once the video is on the site, be sure to notice how fast the site and video loads. Your own hosted videos may be slowing down your page, which is certainly frowned upon by Google and their ranking formula.
High cost can be a deciding factor when it comes time to host or post. YouTube is a free service that pays all overheard costs for you. Your server may limit bandwidth and space, or a large uploaded video may exceed your hosting service limit. Make sure your videos bitrates are low to avoid a huge spike in bandwidth. It is wise to have your own dedicated server if you host your own content.
YouTube has a section titled “Insight”, which gives the user endless stats and analytics over time. You can find out how many people viewed your video, how old they are, where they are from, and most importantly, where they came from. Did your potential customers arrive via direct link, YouTube search, Google’s engine, or somewhere else? This is an important statistic in determining where your users are finding your content. You will receive no in-depth analytics when you host your own videos.
There’s no one saying you can’t do BOTH hosting and posting. There’s clear advantages to either technique, and your company may be best suited in the long run by being friends with YouTube, as well as keeping some videos close to the vest. Self-hosting is a powerful tool, but you should want to appeal to the wide audience of YouTube as well. Choosing a video host should be based how best to market your video and brand to your audience base.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content Strategist.