Internet video has been exploding in scale for years, and is now used for a variety of goals, including executive communications, video-based training, sales and marketing, and live event broadcasts.
The only question? Where to host your videos. YouTube might seem an obvious choice; it’s the world’s largest platform, and it’s free. Everyone from 8 year-olds to grandmothers upload videos at the staggering rate – as of this writing – of 72 hours of video per minute. To put that in perspective, that’s almost 30 years of video uploaded every day, and YouTube charges nothing. Why would anyone pay for such a thing? A modern social network cliché applies soundly here: if you are not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product. While YouTube doesn’t claim ownership of videos you upload, its terms and conditions specify that they can use them freely at any time or place, something you might not be comfortable with.
So what can a premium video platform do for your business that YouTube cannot?
1) It’s An Image Thing: White labeling, where your video player is unidentifiable and uses your company logos, keeps focus on your video and brand. There are no distracting YouTube links, and the underlying structure is hidden. People are aware that YouTube is a free service, and its instantly recognizable player can give an unprofessional impression. You wouldn’t use a free service like Gmail for corporate email, or a Facebook page as your main company website; you shouldn’t use YouTube for the same reason.
2) They’re On Your site – Don’t Send Them Away: When a YouTube video is embedded on a page, not only might there be pre-roll advertisements you don’t control, but there is a logo in the bottom right which opens the corresponding page on YouTube. As well, the only links you can place in the video itself are links to… YouTube. Your prospective client can be whisked away to YouTube’s page where, distracted by a series of cat videos, he forgets about your site and product. Even if this does not occur, when your video ends, your potential client is shown a list of “related videos”; it’s entirely possible a competitor’s “related” video is next, streaming in a player embedded on your own web page. Not cool, YouTube. With a premium video platform, you have complete control over what links are presented in your video, and can have a complete call to action with links pointed to locations on your site, as it should be.
3) Google Me, SEO: In order to optimize a video for search, you need to submit a video sitemap to Google. This requires the location of your video file (the actual file, not the page it’s on), something that YouTube deliberately keeps hidden to drive traffic to itself. SEO has become a very important tool for business, and having a reduced video search presence is crippling. Premium video platforms do not rely on ad revenue, and often full video SEO is offered.
4) Limitations of YouTube: YouTube has a default maximum video length of 15 minutes, which is insufficient some videos, such as training films. While you can apply to have that extended, it will only be approved if your account is in good standing based on YouTube Community Guidelines, and there aren’t any blocks on your account. The problem with this is that you have no control over what YouTube deems acceptable, nor do you control what the public at large “flags” as inappropriate. YouTube isn’t perfect, and there have even been cases when videos have been removed and accounts suspended when content was erroneously thought to be copyrighted by others. In short, you have no guarantees.
Another major limitation of YouTube is that once you upload a video, you cannot modify it. This may seem trivial at first, but suppose at some point one of your videos is embedded on various pages around the internet, including blogs and review sites you do not control. One day the content in the video is made obsolete – say you lower prices and change a phone number – and you discover there is no way to update the embedded video without wiping it out. Potential clients are now calling a pet shop in Syracuse with outdated pricing information, and you lose a sale. Such problems are not an issue with a premium video platform, where video files can often be replaced without altering the embed codes.
5) Help! Managing video isn’t always easy. What if you upload a video and it displays poorly? What if you want to add multi-language captioning or additional audio tracks, discover your best quality to file size balance, or have problems creating a sitemap? Premium video platforms include core support to help you with these issues, where with free services like YouTube, you’re on your own.
6) Premium and Future Products: Some higher-end premium video platforms include other useful tools, depending on your needs. Access restriction allows you to choose who is authorized to see a video, allowing you to publish videos to select groups of people. Live streaming allows you to stream events live with a minimum level of effort. Finally, the ability to pull down a single stream and share it to everyone in the local network is an attractive option for larger customers, allowing them to distribute video to employees without clogging their internet connection.
Don’t get me wrong, YouTube does have its place – it has amazing reach, and viral videos on its network can promote your business, but it should not be relied upon as a primary video provider. It is however, tremendously useful for learning to Korean horsey-dance.
Post by: Ian Kelk, Product Manager – VBrick Systems