A bit over a week ago, I had a fun webinar with my friend Stephanie, from fLO Content. We talked about the 12 different types of videos you can use in your marketing. She and I discussed the three different video methodologies you can use to make sure your video packs a punch, tells your story and gets the message across.

I’m also working with a client who is doing some videos as a lead generation tool. People who opt into his list get access to an exclusive video that helps them with their business. As we were discussing this, he wanted to know how to set up the video on YouTube. I suggested that maybe YouTube wasn’t the best platform for what he was trying to accomplish.

It’s easy to turn to what’s familiar, like YouTube, but are there alternatives? Why would you consider alternatives to what everyone else is doing? Is it the go-to standard for business and marketing videos? After all, you’ve put some effort into your video, you want it to perform as best as possible for you.

YouTube as a Marketing Video Hosting Platform

YouTube has been around for over 10 years and was founded by three young entrepreneurs who worked at PayPal. Google bought YouTube in late 2006 not long after it had been started, for a whopping $1.65 billion in stock. At the time, it was Google’s second largest acquisition.

It’s become ubiquitous as a video sharing site, and you can even upload videos directly from your smartphone into YouTube. It has a distinct advantage that it’s got over one billion users, and is the second-largest search engine in the world, behind Google.

YouTube used to have restrictions on how big a video file you could upload, and how long the video was (back in the day, it was 1GB and 10 minutes). Now, if you verify your YouTube account, you can upload up to 128GB and an 11 hour-long video.

If you want to lock down and control access to your video, unfortunately, you really only have three choices:

  • Public (available to everyone) – this is the default
  • Unlisted (available, but only if they have the link or it’s embedded somewhere)
  • Private (only available to those you grant access via Google+)

You can only enable or disable embedding, but not control where the video is allowed to be embedded.

Some of the things I really dislike about YouTube, especially if you’re creating a video for a landing page or squeeze page, is that:

  • Ads may play during your video, causing distractions
  • At the end of the video, it will have “suggested videos” which you have no control over, again a big distraction

So for general marketing videos, it’s fine, but if you want to do specific things with it like create exclusive content or control where the video gets played, it’s probably not the best choice.

Vimeo as a Marketing Video Hosting Platform

I’ve been a user of Vimeo for many years now. They have a free account which is fine for personal use. Their “Plus” version allows greater uploads, but is restricted to non-commercial use. The Vimeo “Pro” account is what you’d need to use for any business videos. It’s $199/year (you can often find Vimeo coupons on RetailMeNot too), but it’s well worth the small cost.

It’s a given that Vimeo plays videos on all devices (desktop and mobile), so that’s the easy part. These are the reasons the Pro version works well for me:

  • Upload up to 20GB of HD video per week (up to 1TB/year) with no bandwidth restrictions (i.e. unlimited plays)
  • There are NO ads to be seen anywhere on your videos
  • Upload and play full 1080p HD
  • Choose the exact thumbnail that gets displayed by playing to the point where you want, or even upload your own
  • Control the outro (what happens at the end of the video) – display nothing, an active link, another video, text, etc. I like to put the call-to-action there with an active link if it’s a sales video.
  • Force it to play HD when it’s embedded somewhere
  • Control exactly where your video can be played, embedded (including which domains are allowed), and who has access to it, and whether people can download your video or not
  • You can password-protect them (I use this for client training sessions using GotoMeeting so they can access it later)
  • Assign a Creative Commons license to your video
  • Create a channel (much like your YouTube channel), but you can create as many as you want, not just one

Here’s an example of a pretty cool video. Be sure to click the “HD” in the lower right corner and choose 1080p and blow it up full screen. You can turn on or off all the buttons that show up here (the logo, sharing tools, title, etc.).

Wintergatan – Marble Machine from Wintergatan

The bottom line is that you want to choose a video playback platform that gives you the most control and the fewest distractions for your viewers. If you’ve set up a squeeze page on which you want them to do ONE THING, the last thing you want is a bunch of “suggested” cat videos to lead them skipping off somewhere else, only to forget about your amazing offer.