Host with the Most? The Best Video Host For Your BusinessShawn 09.15.2014
You’ve got the perfect video. It tells a story, makes a point, and brings your audience to tears, laughter, and unbridled ecstasy.
Great. But before it can go viral, you’ll need to put your video online.
But where? Excellent question. There’s no easy answer when it comes to choosing the best video host. You’ll need to weight each option’s pros and cons. Good thing you’ve got this handy guide to help you sort it out.
First up, the most (in)famous video hosting site of all. YouTube is the 3rd most popular website in the universe, behind only Google (which owns YouTube) and Facebook, and receives over 1 billion-with-a-b unique visitors every month. That’s a lot of eyeballs coming to roost on your video, meaning that YouTube far outpaces other video hosting sites in terms of viewership.
It’s also free. YouTube’s not all rainbows and puppies, though. Actually, a lot of YouTube is rainbows and puppies, which doesn’t make for the most professional appearance. More bad news: a competitor’s ad might show before your video. Embedding your video onto your website poses issues, too: you can’t shake that YouTube branding logo in the corner.
The Good: Insanely popular, free.
The Bad: Not the pinnacle of professionalism, can’t lose the YouTube branding.
Fortunately, the Vimeo folks have since opened their artisanal doors to commercial use, but only via Vimeo Pro: a $199/year subscription that provides up to 1,000 GB of storage space a year and a slew of special features. Not only can you add custom logos to the video player, Pro even comes with third-party video player support. The analytics are nothing to write home about, but the videos are widely compatible on everything from iPhones, to phablets, to XBoxes (and yes, normal computers, too).
The Good: Reasonable pricing, white-labeled video player, hip community with a premium feel.
The Bad: Only offers basic metrics.
In comes Wistia. Designed primarily for commercial use, Wistia will cost a prettier penny ($25-$100/month, depending on your plan), but you get a boatload of features in return.
Perhaps Wistia’s most notable feature is the heat map, which shows which part of your videos are getting the most attention and when viewers are dropping like flies. That’s just the tip of the awesome analytical iceberg, which includes gorgeous engagement graphs, tracked trends, and more. The user-interface is beautiful, and you can easily integrate social calls to action (Wistia videos are even watchable within tweets). Pretty nifty.
The Good: Robust, business-focused analytics.
The Bad: It’ll cost you some coin, but won’t break the bank.
Another business-centric video hosting service, Viddler, has all the features you’d expect and a few that you wouldn’t. Along with customizable video players and monetization options, you also get some intriguing tools. Take the geo-filter, which enables you to limit video access by location. Or consider the video contest manager, which allows teams to vote for their favorites.
Viddler also offers much more than video hosting: its account management team can help you create interactive videos that act more like presentations. If that’s what you’re into, it seems like an appealing, agency-esque business model. If you don’t need that, Viddler may not be your best choice.
The Good: Unique feature set, robust account management team, interactive videos.
The Bad: Too many features you didn’t ask for might make it a bit confusing.
Targeting video marketing with a laser beam focus, Vidyard is an interesting entry into the video hosting space. Going beyond simple hosting, Vidyard can integrate lead generation forms into your videos, calculate ROI, and seamlessly share data with customer relationship management (CRM) systems like SalesForce and marketing automation platforms (MAPs) like HubSpot.
Its analytics are nothing to scoff at either, with rarely seen capabilities like real-time tracking and A/B testing for the splash screen. The pricing scales with your use, with extra charges for extra features.
The Good: Deep video marketing integration abilities, innovative analytics.
The Bad: The pricing structure isn’t crystal clear, and your bills may be a little unpredictable.
But wait, there’s more! In an increasingly crammed marketplace, there were a few more video hosts that made it onto our radar, but didn’t do much to separate themselves from the crowd or didn’t quite fit into this category.
Brightcove is an enterprise-level video platform with a wide array of features, including video hosting, video marketing tools, ad insertions, and galleries.
Vzaar is quite affordable, easy to use, and partially owned by Oliver Stone, for whatever that’s worth.
Dailymotion Cloud is the stepchild/pivot of Dailymotion, a once-proud YouTube rival based in France, and offers many of the same enterprise features as Brightcove at a lower price point.
Choosing a Host
Still struggling to make a decision? Many of these hosts figured you might. That’s probably why most of them offer a free trial period. Test them out, kick the wheels, and drop it like a bad habit if it doesn’t fit your needs.
For the record, IdeaRocket uses YouTube for the visibility and Vimeo Pro for the sleek, sexy finish. No matter what host ends up winning your business, don’t forget that the content of your video is far more important than the horse it rides in on.
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