Beyond Youtube: Video Hosting, Marketing, and Monetization Platforms, Compared

Posted by AnnSmarty

A few weeks ago I did a step-by-step article on building up your YouTube presence. When writing the article, I immediately had a follow-up idea on expanding my tips beyond YouTube. Since then, some of the comments have confirmed the need for this follow-up.

The increasing interest in video marketing and diversifying your efforts is not surprising: According to HubSpot’s research 45% of web users watch an hour or more of video per day. That’s a lot if time our customers spend watching videos! And it’s projected that by 2020, 82% of all consumer web traffic will be video.

Obviously, if you are seriously entering the video marketing arena, limiting yourself to YouTube alone is not a smart idea, just like limiting yourself to any one marketing channel is probably never a good way to go.

With that in mind, what other options do we have?

More video hosting options

YouTube is not the only major video hosting platform out there. There are a few solid options that you want to consider. Here are three additional platforms and how they fit different needs:

YouTube

Vimeo Pro

Vimeo Business

Wistia

Cost

Free

$20 /m

$50 /m

$99 /m

What’s included

Unlimited videos

20GB per week

5TB per week

10 videos a month

Lead generation

No

No

Yes

Yes

Customizable player

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Collaboration

No

No

Yes

No

Publish native to Facebook & Twitter

No

Yes

Yes

No

Clickable links

No(*)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Domain-level privacy

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Analytics

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (**)

Video schema

No

No

No

Yes

Customer support

No(*)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cons

Crowded, no good way to send viewers to your site…

Often has issues with bandwidth; videos load slower. If you are looking for organic visibility, it’s quite niche-specific (artists, etc.)

Most expensive

Best for

Anyone

Filmmakers

Agencies

Businesses

  • (*) Unless you become a YouTube Partner (which is next to impossible for new and medium-scale channels)
  • (**) I (as well as many reviewers) consider Wistia analytics much better than that of YouTube and Vimeo

Bottom line:

Choosing a video hosting platform is overwhelming but here are a few easy-to-digest takeaways from the above comparison:

  • YouTube is beyond competition. If you are into video marketing, you need to be there, at least for the sake of being discovered through their search and suggested videos. However, a YouTube account is only good for promoting the YouTube account. There’s little chance to drive leads to your site or build solid income there. You do need to be there for branding, though. Besides, none of the other options will offer an opportunity for such a powerful organic spread.
  • If you are into creative film-making (artists and storytellers), you’ll want to give Vimeo Pro a try. There’s a big community there and you want to be part of it to find partners/clients.
  • If you are a video marketing agency, Vimeo Business may be your platform of choice (thanks to their collaboration and multi-user support)
  • If you mostly need videos to embed on your landing pages, Wistia will save you tons of time. It’s the easiest to use and understand. No extra training needed. You don’t have to be an experienced filmmaker OR marketer to understand how it works and use its analytics.

Video courses and on-demand video

These days, anyone can create their own on-demand video channel. Isn’t it awesome? It’s also a very smart way to monetize your videos without forcing your viewers into clicking any ads or buying any affiliate stuff you didn’t create.

When consolidating your video marketing efforts into your own on-demand video channel, there are important goals to keep in mind (targeting at least several at a time being the smartest approach):

  • Creating a knowledge base around your product
  • Positioning your brand as a knowledge hub in your niche
  • Building up an additional conversion funnel (for those people who are not ready to buy yet)

To me, creating a video subscription channel seems to be a perfect way to monetize your video creation efforts for two very appealing reasons:

  1. You create a product of your own which you are able to sell. With that comes an ocean of opportunities, from enhanced branding to an ability to expand your reach to many more platforms where you can sell your product from.
  2. You build and nurture your own micro-community, which (if you do things right) are able to spread your word, refer more people to join and support you in your other endeavors.

With that in mind, which options do we have to create our own video course?

Not surprisingly, there are quite a few platforms that fall into two major groups:

  • Revenue sharing platforms. The power of those is that they are interested in selling your courses and there’s usually a community to market your course to. That benefit also creates one major drawback: Expect these platforms to dictate you how to format and market your course. Udemy is the best known example here: I started using it mostly for branding and quickly got discouraged due to their multiple restrictions and poor customer support. Still, it’s a good place to start.
  • VOD (video-on-demand) platforms. These will charge you a monthly fee but they will come with awesome marketing features and integrations, as well as total freedom as to what you want to do with your content and your audience. Like with anything, you get what you pay for.Uscreen is a big player here: You can choose your payment model, use your own domain, brand your course the way you want to, send email marketing emails to your students, and even create a custom smart phone app to give your students an alternative on-the-go way to consume your brand-owned content:

Uscreen course

Bottom line:

Like with video marketing platforms, there’s nothing preventing you from using both of the above options (for example, you can sell a lighter version of your course on Udemy and keep a more advanced, regularly updated version for your own domain) but just to give you an idea:

  • Udemy is best if you are very new to course creation and have no budget to start. It also makes it easy to keep an eye on competitors and understand your audience better by watching what and how they rate and review
  • Uscreen is a logical step further: Once you get more comfortable and have accumulated some videos you may want to bring it to the next level, i.e. create your own branded spot to engage your community better and build an alternative source of income.

Live streaming

Live streaming refers recording and simultaneously broadcasting your video to your audience in real time.

Live streaming has been getting bigger for a few years now and there’s nothing that would signal an upcoming slow-down.

The biggest players here are:

  • YouTube Live
  • Facebook Live
  • Periscope

All the above options are very interactive and engaging: You can see your viewers’ comments and reactions as you are streaming the video and you are able to address them right away.

In this case, your choice depends on your own marketing background: Stick to whatever channel currently works best for you in terms of follower/subscriber base and engagement.

Personally, Facebook is my preferred way to stream videos, not because of the actual audience size but because Facebook audience is more engaged. Besides, Facebook sends a notification to my friends whenever I go live which always results in more views.

But it’s possible that we don’t have to choose…

There are a couple of services that claim to stream “simultaneously” to several of the major platforms which is something I haven’t tried yet but I am definitely planning to. If you like the idea, here’s what I have been able to find so far:

Vimeo Live

Crowdcast Multistreams

Supported platforms

“Vimeo and Facebook, YouTube, or your favorite RTMP destinations”

“Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube Live, and more”

Cost

$75 per month

$89 per month

Extra Pros

Comes with all Vimeo Business features (analytics, collaboration, hosting, etc.)

Comes with nice webinar hosting features

More tools to amplify your video marketing

In my previous article I listed lots of video creation and marketing tools and I didn’t want to leave you with no tools here as well.

If you have read up to this point, you must be very serious about your video marketing efforts. So to award you, here are a few awesome tools you may want to take note of:

Create: Lumen5

Here’s a nice tool I failed to mention in my previous post: Lumen5. If you are looking for an easy start for your video marketing campaign, take a look at this tool. It turns blog posts into videos and the result is pretty awesome.

lumen5

I don’t mean to say this tool is enough for a well-rounded video marketing campaign but it’s definitely a nice way to re-package your text content and broadcast your articles to video-only channels, like Youtube and Vimeo.

Monetize: Patreon

Apart from selling your videos as a separate project, there’s another cool way to monetize your video activity.

Patreon is nice platform aiming to help independent video creators: Set up your page and invite your social media followers to support your video creation efforts by a small monthly subscription. If you don’t want to sell anything, that’s a nice way to earn your living by engaging your supporters:

patreon

You can learn more on how it works from its current user here.

Monitor: Awario

There’s never one perfect method of doing marketing. There’s always a need to try different tools, formats and platforms. Monitoring your competitors is one great way to discover more of those tactics to play with.

Awario is a great solution to use for competitive multi-channel monitoring. They support all major media including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, blogs and more. You can easily filter out any channel to clear out clutter. YouTube monitoring is a life saver when it comes to keeping an eye on what your competitor is doing video-wise:

awario

When it comes to video marketing, I am not aware of any other solution for monitoring video content.

Conclusion

  • You don’t have to limit yourself to YouTube for video hosting, but you cannot really do without YouTube altogether.
  • When it comes to YouTube, it’s a powerful video discovery engine but there’s not much you can do to direct those viewers to your own site. You need to be there to be discovered, though.
  • When it comes to other video hosting platforms, every solution serves its own purpose, so choose one that will serve your needs best.
  • If you want to consolidate your video marketing efforts (which is a smart and logical step further), create your own on-demand video channel. These days it’s pretty easy and affordable.
  • Video live streaming is a great way to earn organic social media visibility. Choose your platform to stream based on your current level of engagement and reach. Or, try paid solutions that allow to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously

Are there more tools and platforms you are using? Let us know in the comments!

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