Choosing the Right Video Hosting Platform: Understanding the Why, When, Where, and How
When it comes to producing videos, most marketing savvy companies and individuals know that it is the way forward.
Benefits include generating more organic website traffic, catering to the 80% of people who would rather watch video than read text, and quadrupling the number of clicks you get on your call to actions.
However, with more choice for the distribution and hosting of videos, many are left confused as to what to use when to maximise the impact of the finished videos.
In a recent LinkedIn poll, I asked which of the top 3 video platforms was the most popular and most thought it was YouTube (launched in 2005) but it was actually Vimeo (released in 2004).
I’ve worked in video production for 20+ years and have seen the evolution of online video hosting platforms. From creating small .avi videos for dial-up download to streaming with Flash video, technology has advanced and matured, offering more possibilities.
Today, there are many platforms to choose from, causing confusion for some. This article will focus on the platforms I use most: Vimeo, YouTube, native video hosting on LinkedIn/social networks, and Qiwio (a new service I’m testing that adds interactivity to videos).
Using multiple hosting services/channels allows for reaching more people, as each has its own unique benefits. Although some functionality may overlap, I’ll focus on what each platform excels at and how I personally use it.
All platforms deliver videos for online viewing, but let’s explore the differences and uses of each.
YouTube: Use for SEO
YouTube is the largest video platform on Earth and the second biggest search engine after Google, with 3 billion searches per month.
This surpasses Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined. Hosting videos on YouTube means they’re searchable and easily shareable, with the option to add links via “cards” in the video or at the end.
As a YouTube Partner, you can link to external websites. YouTube allows live streaming and scheduling video releases, and Google favours YouTube videos in search results. It’s easier to rank in Google video results, making it a key part of SEO strategy.
You can promote videos with tools like TubeBuddy and publicise content across the web, TV, websites, forums, newsletters, social platforms, and print using YouTube channels.
Optimising your YouTube videos for search
Optimise your YouTube SEO with these tips:
- Incorporate keywords in video title, description, tags, and hashtags that accurately reflect video content.
- Use SEO tools like TubeBuddy to optimize videos and rank them in minutes instead of hours.
- Create an eye-catching thumbnail to attract clicks.
- Provide closed captions or subtitles for wider accessibility.
- Follow a consistent upload schedule to keep viewers engaged.
- Monitor video performance using analytics and make data-driven decisions.
- Promote videos on social media and other platforms to drive traffic.
- Collaborate with niche YouTubers or influencers for wider reach.
- Create playlists for related content and increased engagement.
- Respond to comments and engage with viewers to build community.
- Use end screens and annotations to promote other videos and encourage subscriptions.
YouTube, owned by the world’s largest search engine, is the second largest search engine globally. With the largest collection of videos on the planet, hosting your content on YouTube offers free brand exposure and a higher ROI for advertising your services than traditional PPC methods.
Above is an example of using content to advertise your service to a niche audience. DKOldies sell retro video games and consistently share content building brand awareness for a niche audience.
Vimeo is a platform ideal for video professionals, collaboration, and enterprise-level video hosting and backup. It offers a Vimeo Experts program specifically tailored towards video producers and agencies.
While there is a free option, many key features come with the paid plans, which are considered valuable. These features include backup and embedding of videos, showcasing, and video review.
Here are the features I use most.
1: Review tools
As I said in the beginning of the blog, Vimeo is made with creators in mind.
One of the features that is super useful to me is being able to send rough cuts of videos to my clients and colleagues for review. They can add notes directly to specific parts of the video which they want changed or modified, ensuring that the editor knows exactly what needs changing, saving on time, cost and frustration.
As a video editor I cannot stress enough how useful this feature is!
You can create showcases of your video work, choosing the videos that you want to add and select from a number of layouts to display them. This is great for quickly putting showcases together for different purposes, say product demo videos, and the link can be easily shared.
3: Enhanced Privacy and Sharing Options
With Vimeo you can hide your videos from search results, meaning that only people with the direct link will see your video.
You are also to create password protected videos for sensitive or exclusive content.
4: Selling your Video Content
Vimeo on Demand allows you to to sell or rent your videos, a feature I have used for this series of education videos https://vimeo.com/mediamerge/vod_pages I created for my company Mediamerge.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to make more money than I spend on the platform! Signing up is relatively straight forward, but don’t expect to upload your videos and expect people to find them solely by searching Vimeo, it requires promotion from your end.
5: Best Quality Video Delivery with a Customisable Player
Vimeo quite simply offers the highest quality, fastest loading, and most reliable video players I know of, automatically adjusting quality to bandwidth.
Additionally you can customise the colours and every aspect of the player to match your brand with any of the paid packages so that when
This makes it my platform of choice when it comes to embedding videos on websites.
6: Video storage and backup
When you upload your videos to Vimeo it creates various versions of your video which you can download when needed. This means you can choose smaller
It also keeps the original file that you uploaded meaning that you have a backup on their enterprise level servers. Having said this, I would still recommend backing up important video content locally.
7: Interaction Tools
Vimeo has a selection of integration tools that include being able to add end screens with calls to action, e.g. for example book a demo as in this product demo I created for software company Aluminati.
This is a feature I use for the majority of videos as it has roughly 4x the click through rate of call to actions on a static setting. Like YouTube you can also link to other videos and prompt people to share.
Additionally, you can add forms from the business tier upwards, and even create webinars, however this
Publish to social
As mentioned before, natively uploading to social platforms give you added benefits, but it can be a pain individually doing this on each channel.
- Vimeo has a publish to social feature, allowing you to retain the benefits by allowing to upload to multiple platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Shopify and TikTok.
- You need to connect each external account before you can publish.
- You can customize your publishing settings for each individual channel.
- You get the benefits of native publishing using Vimeo publish to social.
Vimeo has some useful analytics, in 11 categories at the time of writing this. this include average watch time, finishes, and downloads.
What I find particularly useful is to see where people drop off in any given video, so that I can see any trends and improve engagement on subsequent cuts or other videos.
Vimeo is hands down the best way to embed your videos onto your site imrpving your website SEO by having your web pages that contain the video in them appearing in search results on Google and other search engines. It is also an enterprise level standard of backing your videos up.
Customisable call to actions at the end of videos increase click trough rates by up to 400%, meaning that it is the best way to share a video and drive traffic to your site or landing pages.
Importantly, I TRUST Vimeo with my content. They have an established reputation for excellence, offer enterprise level hosting at low cost, and provide.
Key uses: Interactive Videos, Sales Video Funnels, Unlimited video storage
In many ways, Qiwio is the most exciting of the video platforms on this list as it offers possibilities that are simply not available on the others mentioned here.
It offers interactive video experiences for video shopping, interactive marketing campaigns, automating sales processes, corporate training, employee onboarding and tons more!
Essentially you can create video funnels to dramatically increase engagement and personalise the video experience which nothing else here can do!
Key features are:
- Customisable player
It offers fully customisable players, meaning that like Vimeo, you can match the colours to match your brand
Create interactive questions and video answers. This is great for Qiwio allows you to add hotspots, images or buttons and link them to keyframes or other videos entirely. Giving your viewers control to personalise their experience creates a more engaging experience which results in higher conversions.
There is so much on offer, that it is probably best just to head over to their site to see the full feature set. Bear in mind this is fairly new, so there may be
- Unlimited video storage
This sounds too good to be true, but with every paid package you get unlimited storage.
Vimeo requires you to have the Business tier, costing nearly £500 a year and limits your storage. Qiwio however does not appear to store the original uploaded file, which is important for backup purposes, and as they are a relatively new company, I have not got the same trust I have in Vimeo…yet.
Review tools are missing, something I use for nearly all projects that require client feedback.