You’ve put the work in for your video. You’ve brainstormed, you’ve strategized, you’ve conceptualized. You’ve hired a production company, you’ve shot, you’ve edited, and you’ve got a finished product.
So… what the heck do you do with it?
Across the internet, the debate rages about where you should host your videos and why. There’s no wrong answer, really. If you’ve got content that’s engaging, eye catching, and effective, it’s going to get noticed. But there are definitely ways to optimize viewership and get the results you’re looking for. And the video hosting service you choose can have a lot to do with that.
There are three main options in the bunch: YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia. Each of them caters to a unique audience and is better suited for a certain kind of project. So, which is right for you? To find out, read the descriptions of each platform below, or, if you’re short on time, just scroll down to our chart at the end of this post.
When to host your videos on YouTube
YouTube is among the top two largest search engines in the world, second only to its parent company, Google. For that reason, YouTube is an awesome platform to host your videos if you’re looking to drive organic traffic.
YouTube’s suggested videos feature and saturation of relevant content on each page lends itself to what we like to call the “rabbit hole effect,” where people just keep clicking. (Of course, this can be problematic when your videos are surrounded by links your competitors.) You can also add call-to-action buttons, annotations, and closed captioning, which adds another layer of interactivity.
YouTube needs its own distinct SEO strategy, and while the work you put in will help you rank in YouTube and Google searches, all of that lovely SEO juice isn’t necessarily powering your domain. If you’re using YouTube, it’s important to optimize your videos and include backlinks to your website to drive viewers to your company.
BEST USED FOR
- Educational video series
- Serialized “playlist” style videos
- Video blogs
- Entertaining branded content
When to host your videos on Vimeo
Vimeo got its start a few years before YouTube, but it comes in second in terms of popularity. Still, it’s nothing to scoff at, with 715 million monthly video views.
Part of the reason why Vimeo often plays second-fiddle to YouTube is because it caters to more of a niche audience of professional creators. The content featured on Vimeo is often film-like and artistic. A lot of companies (like us!) choose to host their videos with Vimeo because the player is a lot cleaner than YouTube’s when embedded on their site. From a branding perspective, Vimeo is Starbucks while YouTube is Dunkin Donuts.
Like YouTube, Vimeo helps drive organic traffic to your videos, but the traffic is typically comprised of artists and storytellers. Depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, this can either be really great or not ideal.
BEST USED FOR
- Cinematic pieces
- Branded content
- Artistic ads
- Corporate videos you’ll embed on your website
When to host your videos on Wistia
If you’re an analytics-driven marketer, Wistia might be the best place to host your videos. It comes at a much higher cost than YouTube or Vimeo, but it’s loaded with features and integrations that really help you track efficiency and effectiveness. It also helps with SEO, as the video lives right onto your site and adds to your ranking power. It has a customizable player, robust analytics, and lead capture capabilities that tie in directly to your email service. It also helps track your viewers by integrating with your marketing automation software, like HupSpot and Pardot.
With all of that in mind, Wistia still falls short in terms of driving third party traffic to your site. Since the videos live directly on your website, there’s no chance that someone poking around YouTube or Vimeo will stumble upon your content. And, while Wistia players have sharing capabilities, these types of videos are a lot less likely to gain traction and go viral.
BEST USED FOR:
- Sales and marketing content
- Lead generation
- On-site drip campaigns
- Landing page videos
No matter the kind of content you’re producing, there’s a strategic home for it in YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia. There’s no shame in hosting your videos on any of these three platforms, and sometimes a healthy mix of all three adds up to the best possible recipe for your marketing plan. And while the player can certainly have an impact on effectiveness, the most important thing is that you’ve got engaging content that connects, entertains, and engages.