My platform or theirs?

Broadly speaking you have 3 options for choosing a platform: publish on your own site, publish on a 3rd party site (YouTube, Vimeo etc.) or publish the same video on each platform. A fourth option could be to use a paid video hosting platform such as Viddler but that’s usually only for companies who produce a lot of videos (not our readership :) ). The 3 options are explored below:

Platform option 1 – Your own website

Here people have to actually visit your site to watch the video. This platform has pros and cons (see below).

Platform Pros

  • You get the web traffic
  • You can control the user experience
  • You can create your own flash player (colours etc.)
  • No 3rd party watermark/logo
  • No links to other sites (such as YouTube related videos at the end)

Platform cons

  • You can’t appear on YouTube (or similar) search results
  • You can’t appear on YouTube (or similar) related videos
  • You have to host the video on your own server (space and bandwidth considerations)
  • You may not have such good statistical reporting on viewership etc.
  • You must submit a video sitemap to be picked up
  • You need to be able to create your own player (for flash)
  • You can’t close caption it (seo boost)
  • You can’t pick up comments, likes etc.
  • Harder for the video to go viral due to lack of sharing options (unless on a blog post etc.)
  • You haven’t got the option to make it possible for others to embed
  • Your site will probably not have the “page rank” of YouTube etc. for video searches in Google.

Platform conclusion

Having the video on your own site/platform allows you to have more control, keep people locked into your site and make sure the video is just a part of the overall web experience not a stand alone thing. However that comes at the cost of exposure to your video. If you aim is not primarily to get people to watch the video but to improve the experience of your site this could be the best option. You will sacrifice views of the video for a gain to the website itself (dynamism, information etc.). If this is what you are considering ask yourself this question: “If someone watches the video on another site and doesn’t click the link to visit my website, have I gained anything?” If the answer to this question is “no” then this could well be the option for you. This option is when the video’s primary aim is to help your other online content and not promote itself.

Platform option 2 – A 3rd party website

We recommend YouTube for this (as opposed to other video sharing platforms) for maximum exposure. Or YouTube plus other sites. This option assumes you then embed the YouTube video onto your site and so all views are effectively on YouTube even if from your own website. This platform has pros and cons (see below).

Platform pros

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine and you can appear in its results
  • YouTube provides the hosting and bandwidth for your video
  • YouTube provides detailed statistics on viewership of your videos
  • You can acquire subscribers and friends
  • Your video can appear on other similar videos as a “related video”
  • Google automatically picks up the video and indexes it
  • Your video gains an seo boost due to YouTube’s popularity
  • People can leave comments and share your video easily
  • Viral potential is far better
  • Google can subtitle (close caption) and even translate the spoken content
  • Using the YouTube title and descriptions you can greatly improve the seo capability of your video

Platform cons

  • You can only have the YouTube player
  • Related videos appear even on your website once you embed it (could be from a competitor)
  • YouTube place their watermark in the corner
  • The views on YouTube don’t help your own traffic count
  • People may not click on your link or visit your site at all from the 3rd party site

Platform conclusion

If your video IS your message and includes a call to action or produces the brand awareness you want, then this option gives you the best exposure for your video. Also if you want the video to have viral potential then YouTube is a MUST. Unless the control and watermark etc. are serious drawbacks then for small and medium sized businesses YouTube would be my recommendation. It gives you far more exposure globally than just hosting yourself. However if you have a more local target audience or the video gains nothing when viewed outside of the rest of your website’s content then having it YouTube may not be the way to go. As for whether to use one platform or several bears this in mind. Using several opens up potential to more search bars and communities BUT at the cost of pooling your traffic. If you want your video to gain the most traction to start climbing the pile then you want to pool the views into one place to have the greatest seo impact. So in my opinion while YouTube is still way ahead of other video sharing platforms I would recommend using YouTube alone for businesses who are primarily seeking to improve their online presence.

Platform option 3 – Publishing to both platfoms

Of course you can always publish to both your own site and YouTube without embedding it. That gains the pros/cons above depending on the viewing platform but at the following cost:

  • Views are split across the platforms and so don’t add together for seo popularity
  • You must upload and monitor two files/locations

Platform conclusion

This option is only really worthwhile if you want the exposure YouTube brings but can’t stand the idea of your website having other styles/colours/watermarks on it. This way you can have total control of your site and how it looks, and yet still try to funnel people from YouTube etc. to your site. The other reason could be that you want to have 2 versions of the video -e.g. on YouTube it has a call to action and a link to your site as part of the video, whereas the one on your site omits this section as that information is already on the rest of the site.

Now you’ve made a decision on which platform you want to publish to have a look at my blogs posts on optimising for those platforms: YouTube or My website. If you don’t have a video to publish we can fix that for a small charge. Our videos start from only $110! See our video packages here.

Please comment below!

Topic: Choosing an appropriate platform to publish video