If you’re getting ready to put videos on your website to help explain products, share new item releases and offer tutorials, you’re headed in the right direction. Video content is king.

The videos you create have to live somewhere, and that’s on a video hosting platform. Some video hosting platforms are also social platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) that allow you to distribute your video content. There’s a lot to think about to get your video strategy right, so it helps to do your research.

Here are four key things to help you get started:

1. What is video hosting and what’s the value?

Most video hosting sites let you upload, store and distribute videos to your viewers. These platforms, such as YouTube for Business or Vimeo, provide the ability to embed videos on your web pages, using the video link or web page the hosting platform provides. When readers click on the image, they see your video through the host’s server. An added benefit is that the platforms provide analytics on performance and user engagement.

The video hosting process is simple: You upload a video to the video hosting platform, which then hosts the video on its server and provides you with a link or embed code that you can place directly on your website. You don’t have to be concerned with the differences in web browsers or variations in technology. You can also create your own branded page on the host’s site so viewers have a way to browse and watch all of your video content at once.

2. What are my options?

There are many video hosting platforms and sites. Here, the focus is on a few big names, all proven in the marketplace: YouTube For Business, IGTV, Vimeo and Wistia. Options vary from free to paid, with different services available at premium levels of membership. Each of these is user-friendly. As you think about which option is right for you, you’ll want to consider your budget, marketing plan and the features that will be most beneficial to your business needs. Regardless of the choice you make, be sure your internet speed is optimal for faster uploading. Fiber-optic internet, if you can get it, is a great choice.

 

3. What are the pros and cons of popular platforms?

Learn as much as you can about the available hosting platforms because they each excel in ways that attract particular audiences, support specific kinds of content and give you different levels of analytics to gauge your content’s performance. You may want to combine platforms to achieve your business marketing objectives. If you’re posting videos to social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, the best practice is to upload your video directly to those social platforms, instead of providing a link. It works better with their algorithms. Consider your options and weigh the pros and cons of the different platforms. Here are brief overviews as you dig in:

YouTube For Business

One of the world’s most popular social media channels with more than 2 billion active monthly users, this platform is a top choice for video hosting and gives you unlimited storage. YouTube For Business also offers a great search algorithm and is owned by Google, which helps make your videos easier to find. Keep in mind that videos are branded with a YouTube logo and generate playlists of “related” videos alongside yours, which may provide the wrong context for some businesses. Still, the reach is hard to resist.

IGTV

Instagram-savvy businesses can find a lot of pros to using IGTV, which can synchronize your videos with Instagram and Facebook for free. This can help increase social media reach overall by keeping your current followers engaged. Videos are also designed to be viewed on smartphones, and many creative elements are available to you. A downside, IGTV content is not searchable on Google or other search engines.

Vimeo

Vimeo is sleek and clean, making it easy to use for all levels. It offers both free and paid services, with the free plan allowing up to 500MB of upload space per week, or 5GB total storage. The paid plan, on the other hand, comes with Vimeo’s most enticing features, such as player customization and statistics. It also has no competing ads and allows for password-protected videos. Vimeo can be a good choice for a simple storage solution. If you have high-volume content or you want to personalize the video player, you’ll have to pay for upgrades.

Wistia

One of the biggest perks of using Wistia for video hosting is its simplicity. It provides a clean interface, unbranded videos and detailed video analytics that help businesses track viewership. A feature called SEO Sitemap also ensures that videos appear in search engine results through Google and more. However, while a free plan is an option, most of these features come at a steeper price than others.

4. How can I track video results?

Most video hosting platforms and sites will have some form of analytics that you can use to see how videos are performing. These will often show data on user engagement, demographics, location and social media shares. You can also link external analytics platforms such as Google Analytics to your video content to keep an eye on its performance. One of the biggest advantages of video hosting and the analytics that come with it is the opportunity to stay informed of customer demand and interest, which can in turn be used to shape the marketing strategy of your business.