In Using Facebook Live and Periscope, I shared different ways to use the live video features for social networks. In this post, I want to look at the four major video networks for hosting produced content.
YouTube is the first video platform most people think of. According to its Press room, there are “over a billion users – almost one-third of all people on the Internet – and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.” Since YouTube is a Google owned company, videos on YouTube rank high in search engine results as long as they have appropriate titles and descriptions. Additionally, YouTube is a search engine and is a great place for your brand to appear.
If you are a creator of content, YouTube has a program for you called YouTube for Creators. This program unlocks perks as you gain subscribers including events, workshops, and additional ways to monetize your channel. YouTube Red is a new feature providing “uninteruppted music, ad-free videos and more.” I imagine this is a way to compete with Apple Music and Spotify, further monetizing its platform and content.
By default, YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes in length, but they can go through a verification process enabling longer videos. If any of your content matches other copyrighted material, such as movies or music, one of two things will occur: your video will either show a message that due to a license your video cannot be played in your region OR an ad will appear. Either way, you will be notified that there is a copyright notice on your work.
Finally, you can annotate your YouTube videos with links and clickable areas to drive interest to other videos and your website.
One feature of YouTube I don’t like is that it is hard to control which videos appear in suggested videos. I prefer to control my experience and YouTube is more about discovery and sharing.
YouTube is a powerful network, but it is not the only option.
To use an analogy from previous technological eras: if YouTube is VHS, Vimeo is Betamax. It is better quality and experience, but not embraced by the masses. A lot of professional filmmakers find their home on Vimeo because of the experience and the ability to control the viewing experience. According to an article on Quora, Vimeo had 170 million unique viewers in 2014 as compared to 1 billion users on YouTube.
Vimeo functions on four packages: Free, Plus, Pro, and Business. The Plus account gives you a specific upload capacity per week and the Pro account provides guarantees on up-time as well as professional monetization options including rentals and sales for feature-length films. I have used both purchase and rent functionality as a user and it is easy to use.
Vimeo Pro is attractive to a lot of content creators because of the ability to customize the player not only with your corporate colors, but with your logo. In addition, you can style your pages to match the artwork of your films. It’s spectacular. One great example is the documentary MAKE, released this month.
Apart from a site to host your work, Vimeo has done a beautiful job curating its work. They have Staff Picks that share amazing work that creators post on Vimeo.
A new player in online video is Facebook, not only with Facebook Live, but with the ability to upload videos.
Videos on Facebook autoplay, which can be a good or bad thing depending upon your view of that feature. Fortunately, the audio is muted when it starts. Additionally, you can set calls to action for the end of your videos. Content maximum length is currently at 2 hours and Facebook has a great post about the technical considerations for your video.
This platform will continue to grow as the integration between Instagram and Facebook increases and its ad platform matures.
One final network that popped up during research for this series was Wistia, “professional video hosting with analytics and video marketing tools.” This platform appears to be less about sharing your content on networks and more about creating your own platform to control how users experience your content. The four main features on its product page include “secure your videos, generate new leads, improve your SEO, and understand your data.”
If you are a business content creator that wants to control how your content is viewed, I imagine that Wistia may be the best solution. They also have a significant amount of resources on monetizing and marketing your work. One interesting feature is the video heatmap, which shows the parts of the video viewers watched, rewatched, or skipped. Fascinating!
The main question you may be asking is: “Which one do I use?” Try them all and see what works best for your brand. You don’t necessarily have to be in all spaces, but it doesn’t hurt to have your content in more than one place. Regardless of which platform you use, I recommend that you spend time researching the best practices for each site because they all do the same thing a little different.