It wasn’t too long ago that YouTube
was synonymous with online video. I mean, YouTube was THE place to host videos, right? But times, they are a changin’, and there are new kids popping up on the block faster than you can say “Gangnam Style.”
Hosting your videos externally is the best way to go if you want to ensure your site remains speedy and you don’t run into bandwidth issues. But as our in-house video expert Joshua Dailey explained in part one of this video series yesterday, it’s important to find a hosting option that not only meets your business’ current needs, but can and will meet your future needs.
So in this post, we review six popular video hosting services – Wistia, Vimeo, YouTube, Dailymotion, Sproutvideo and Vidyard – and scrutinize their price, usability, support, speed and features. We’ve even named our top two, so scroll to the bottom for the full comparison results.
Free accounts are possible with many valuable features.
The quality of customer service is great.
There are many valuable features such as adding calls to action and email capturing.
It’s really easy to get started and use.
Prices can get quite high if you go over on your bandwidth limit.
Free accounts come with mandatory Wistia logo on all videos.
Not all social media sites are supported for sharing features.
Privacy settings are a premium feature.
Video Hosting on Wistia
The Bottom Line
Whether you have a free or premium account with Wistia, you have many valuable tools at your disposal including detailed heatmaps to keep track of viewer engagement. Videos upload and play with speed and customizing the look and feel of your videos is easy.
The prices are reasonable for the amount of advanced features you get, but if you get more popular that what you planned, your bandwidth can wrack up and end up costing you, although, their plans come with quite a lot of bandwidth to start.
There are three main plans to choose from that run on a monthly subscription:
Free – Includes space for 25 of your videos, basic analytics, basic custom video tools and a branded player.
Basic, $25 per month – Includes the features of the free plan with the exception of an added unbranded player and storage space for 100 videos.
Pro, $100 per month – Includes all the features of the previous plan, but also includes advanced analytics, lead generation tools, marketing integrations and room for 1000 videos.
When you upload a video, it comes with 200 GB of bandwidth. If you go over during the month, it costs a flat rate of 33 cents per gigabyte, although, there is a discount for enterprise plans. On free plans, the video is made unavailable and you are given the option to upgrade.
The Enterprise plans are also structured as a subscription:
$300 per month – Comes with one terabyte of monthly bandwidth and costs 18 cents per gigabyte for extra bandwidth.
$750 per month – Five terabytes of monthly bandwidth are included in this plan and overages cost 15 cents per gigabyte.
$1500 per month – This plan includes 15 TB of monthly bandwidth and 10 cents per gigabyte of bandwidth if you go over.
$3000 per month – A whopping 50 TB of monthly bandwidth is included and overages in bandwidth cost six cents per gigabyte.
When considering premium services, it often comes down to price and how much you get for your investment. Wistia offers many features that are important for making each of your videos count.
With their analytic tools alone, such as their video heat map feature, you can improve your videos down to a science since you can see exact viewing habits to help you understand your customers better. Every view generates a heat map, which shows exactly which parts of a video the viewer watched, skipped, and rewatched. Meanwhile, Trend Graphs let you track how your entire video library performs over time.
On top of that, you can add email capturing and calls to action directly in your videos to ramp up your videos’ engagement potential for pro and enterprise plans.
The only issue in price could be bandwidth since it’s not unlimited. If your video suddenly gets popular, you may find yourself needing to quickly upgrade to avoid a potentially high bill.
At the same time, a base of 200 GB of bandwidth is included for free plans. For a short five minute video, you could roughly squeeze in over 6500 views. Not bad.
Wistia’s free plans include these features:
Video heat maps and viewing trends
Video embeds and sharing buttons
Fully responsive and accessible
Encoding and device detection
Customizing the video player
Video featured image
Their premium plans offer even more:
Calls to action and email collectors
Viewer history tracking
Team collaboration – Share internal or private videos, and collect feedback
Integrate with HubSpot, MailChimp, Marketo, Pardot, WordPress and Google Analytics
IP Filtering of Video Data
Restrict the domains where videos can be embedded
Video SEO and sitemaps
It was really easy to get started since options and features were well laid out and easy to view thanks to the Wistia website’s clean and crisp layout.
All the options for your videos are centralized, making uploading and customizing videos as easy as, well, moving your wrist a tiny fraction of an inch to click a few times.
It was so well-organized, I was starting to think they were skimping on features they promised, but I was wrong. It really was all there ready to go. The setup is compact, efficient and feature-rich.
You also can view many extensive video series and written documentation in the help section to teach you the basics and even more advanced topics.
I put Wistia’s support to the test by signing up for a free trial, then waited for it to expire. After business hours, I asked how to access a feature that could be found in 30 seconds. I received a detailed response in 16 hours.
Not only was the turn-around time quick for a free user’s question, the answer was also kind and informative.
Instead of giving a generic answer such as, “Look in our documentation” or “Here’s a link to a post where we merely mention it,” the response included each step I needed to take to find and make use of the feature I had asked about.
I was also given a few links to articles about the specific feature I was asking about with the extended details of how to use every nook and cranny of the tool. I expected at least a little bit of crankiness given the circumstances, but I received none.
A business’ customer service is only as strong as their support for their least likely customer. If a business can rock a support ticket from an indefinitely free user, they have a team that can pass the test with any customer.
Based on my test, Wistia passed with flying colors.
Videos upload really quickly to Wistia’s server. I was able to upload a 4MB video in just 10 seconds. The video uploaded so fast I was panicking to start my timer!
Videos played on a desktop browser were just as fast as on a mobile device. There was a bit of buffering action going on when I tested the video on my phone, but it only lasted for about a second or two, which is pretty typical for me when watching videos on a mobile device.
If I experienced buffering on my desktop browser, I didn’t notice, it was minimal to non-existent.
There isn’t a whole lot in terms of analytics, even with premium accounts.
Larger, high definition videos can take take quite a bit of time to upload.
There aren’t that many more benefits over completely free video hosts for the price.
Members with free accounts can expect a long wait time for customer support.
Video Hosting on Vimeo
The Bottom Line
If you don’t have a huge budget for video hosting but require a professional hosting service Vimeo is a great choice. Just don’t expect to get a whole lot of information about viewer engagement.
All uploaded videos are ad-free, even for free accounts, so you can still upload about 25, five-minute, professional-looking videos a year while premium members can upload a whole lot more.
You’ll also be able to make use of their unlimited bandwidth and ample social sharing capabilities to make the most of your videos without worrying about paying more if your videos go viral.
Vimeo offers a basic, free membership that lets you upload a little, but is mostly focused on giving you access to the many thousands of videos other members uploaded in the community.
Upgrading to a premium plan, on the other hand, provides a lot more storage for uploading videos along with many professional capabilities. It’s a mix between professional video hosting and a social media site.
There are three plans to choose from with differing features including privacy settings, customizations and statistics, to name a few.
Vimeo Basic, free – Includes the option to upload up to 500 MB per week for a total of 25 GB a year. You also get basic privacy settings and statistics along with email support.
Vimeo Plus, $9.95 per month or $59.95 per year – You can upload five gigabytes a week up tp 250 GB a year. Priority email support and advanced privacy settings, support, stats and customizations are also included in this plan.
Vimeo Pro, $199 per year and billed annually – With this plan, you can upload 20 GB of video a week up to a total of 1000 GB per year. You also get all the features of the Plus plan, with even more privacy settings, customizations, statistics, VIP support and advanced distribution options.
The free plan isn’t a free trial. You are free to upload videos and enjoy the benefits of the Vimeo community without paying anything.
Regardless of what plan you choose, your uploaded videos appear ad-free, are available across many devices including mobile ones, Xbox 360, Roku, Apple TV and connected TVs.
Your videos also don’t have a bandwidth limit. There are no limits on the file size or duration of the videos you upload, either, as long as it’s within the storage range for the plan you choose.
With a Plus plan, you could upload an HD video about 10 minutes long, four to five times a week to finally reach your limit. For Pro members, you have a lot more wiggle room with the ability to upload about 19 to 20, 10-minute videos every year.
Bundle in the unlimited bandwidth, ad-free hosting, and you have yourself a great deal.
Uploaded videos can also be easily shared with integrated social media options or you can password protect video you’re not ready to share. You can also change basic display settings for the video player and basic video statistics.
Adding captions and subtitles are also a breeze, too. If you want to know how many times you video was watched or liked, then you should be happy to know that this is included as well for all members.
Although their premium plans have advanced statistics, they’re not all that comprehensive. You can see live graphs of your video’s number of plays, likes, comments and how often the video was loaded on the page, but not necessarily watched.
While you can also see how many viewers watched a video from beginning to end on different devices, how many times a video was downloaded and the geographic location of your viewers, that’s pretty much all the data you’ll have available.
Even with analytics that leave a lot to be desired, premium members do have a lot more control over their content such as the ability to display videos only on specific domains and the option to choose what displays when a video finishes such as links, text or related videos.
Another great feature is their worldwide distribution options.
With the Pro plan, you can choose to sell your videos by letting customers rent, buy or pay for a subscription to view all your content. You can also set your own price and choose where in the world you would like videos to be available for purchase.
Above all, Vimeo also has a great reputation for high-quality content so your professional videos should feel right at home, especially since they’ll be ad-free.
I found Vimeo to be well-laid out and easy to use. While I had difficulties locating the analytics at first, I still found the information quickly enough on the individual pages Vimeo creates for your videos.
Other than that, I was able to get started quickly and even felt like enough of a pro to start downloading multiple videos at one time.
Email support comes with the Free plan, too, but has a three-day response time since premium members take priority, but there are many helpful videos in their video school. It’s a rich resource brimming with information on how to create stunning videos from start to finish with beginner to advanced tips.
Plus members can get an email response time of four hours on weekdays while Pro members get this time is dramatically reduced to one hour. Both have access to support 24 hours a day on weekends.
When I tested out their support, they were fast, friendly and provided all the information I was looking for, including solving my technical issue fully. They also kept me up-to-date on the fix as it was being worked on.
I was left feeling impressed and happy that everything was solved quickly and politely.
Uploading a video 8MB in size took 19 seconds and the conversion after that took 45 seconds. Overall, it was pretty fast but to be honest I expected better.
Buffering on videos on average was about 2 seconds on a moderate internet connection and jumping to different points in the video only resulted in about a single second of buffering.
All account options include unlimited bandwidth and storage space.
Customer support is regularly lightning fast.
Uploading videos is incredibly fast, easy and straight forward.
It’s completely free and you can even apply for ad revenue sharing.
There is a file size limit of two gigabytes, which is not enough for a 20 minute HD video.
Videos can’t be longer than 60 minutes.
The video analytics are incredibly basic, even for partner accounts.
The dailymotion community isn’t nearly as evolved and engaged as most other social media sites.
Video Hosting on Dailymotion
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for an inexpensive video hosting service to house your short videos so you can embed them into your WordPress site, Dailymotion may be a good option for you.
Analytics and engagement on the site is fairly low for a service that aims to be a social media destination so if you rely on your own site’s comment system, reports and analytics, you may be able to overcome some of the major pitfalls of Dailymotion.
There are some limitations on the length of your videos, but bandwidth and storage is unlimited so it may not be a match made in Heaven for everyone.
Uploading videos is easy and quick and so is the customer support team, although, features are limited.
Dailymotion is kinda like YouTube. It’s free to set up an account and upload videos. You can also choose to apply to their official partner program for free to earn money from the ad revenue earned from your videos as well as received increased exposure on the Dailymotion site.
It doesn’t get any better than free, but the service is only worth it if you can get the features that matter to you most. If you’re looking to share videos on a site where you can see the highest number of views, Dailymotion may not be the best choice.
The most popular videos range an average of 10,000 to 150,000 views which is considerably less than YouTube’s list of most popular videos.
Even still, while Dailymotion does serve up ads with uploaded videos, they are placed at the end of the video which is a lot less invasive than YouTube’s current structure.
The community isn’t typically huge when it comes to commenting, but when they do, it’s usually positive, although, spam is known to happen from time to time.
Sometimes less it may be more, especially if you consider a few positive comments better than receiving tons of spam and rude ones.
At any rate, you are able to embed uploaded videos to any other site on the web so you can add your videos to your WordPress site and rely on your own popularity and the comment system built into your site. It can be a cost-effective way to share videos on the web without tons of ads and spam.
Ads are usually displayed at the end of a video, but when the monetizing option is enabled an ad is also played before the video begins as well as one in-line on the video.
The in-line ads usually take up about half the screen, inhibiting the view of whatever is playing.
The ads may border on excessive at times, but storage and bandwidth are unlimited. It’s not all good news, though, since video files are limited to 2GB and can’t be longer than 60 minutes in length.
The analytics are also limited so if this is an important feature for you, it may be a good idea to search for a different option.
Here are some more features for free users:
A resolution of up to 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
Videos are limited to a frame rate of 24, 25, or 30 FPS, non-interlaced
Ability to upload multiple videos at one time
Can apply for OpenVOD to sell your videos
Dailymotion partners can expect more data when it comes to analytics:
Views, shares, favorites and comments
Social network traffic breakdown
I’m not too sure if uploading a video can be any simpler since all it took was a few mouse clicks. The Upload button is displayed prominently on the menu.
Next, you click one more button to select a file from your computer and away it goes. You can even drag and drop your video file. As your video uploads, you can add a title, description, tags, basic privacy settings, enable comments and add monetization if you’re a partner.
After clicking Publish, you’re done. No messy or confusing options and no need to scratch your head to find additional hidden settings.
I experienced a technical issue and emailed the support team. I seriously did a double take when I looked on my phone and saw a reply within 5 minutes. It wasn’t even an automated response, but a real person offering a solution.
While this isn’t always the case, the Dailymotion support team is consistently excellent at responding promptly.
It was easy to submit a request with the button displayed clearly in the menu along with a search bar to try your hand at finding your answer in their documentation which is quite helpful and includes everything from how to watch and upload videos to troubleshooting and encoding guidelines.
While their documentation isn’t always helpful, there are still many posts full of detailed, step-by-step instructions.
I noticed a bug on the site and while it wasn’t fixed within 5 minutes, I was offered a workaround while they sorted things out on their end. Of course, this wasn’t an ideal solution, but it’s not quite practical to expect a bug fix to be completed within minutes!
The response I received was also polite and also short, but in a good way – no one likes reading huge, winded email replies, anyway.
When I uploaded my first video to Dailymotion, it completed so fast I thought it must have been a fluke. But several uploads later, I could see that speed was certainly not a product of luck or chance.
An eight-megabyte video loaded in just 10 seconds and processed in five seconds on a moderate internet connection. Although high peak times cause slower upload times, it usually isn’t slower by a completely unreasonable amount.
The same principle applies to buffering. During peak traffic periods, buffering tends to take about 15 to 30 seconds on a standard internet connection, but typically, no additional buffering occurs while the video plays.
During off-peak traffic periods, users may still see a buffering time of five to 15 seconds and no buffering during the duration of the video.
The plan prices are quite a bit higher than comparable options.
Their member dashboard isn’t quite as intuitive initially.
Plans don’t offer more than 2,400 GB of bandwidth and overage fees are quite high.
There isn’t a free plan available, only a free trial.
Video Hosting with Sproutvideo
The Bottom Line
Sproutvideo offers a strong, reliable service, but it comes with a price that may be less than reasonable for some. While upload and playing speeds are superb and there are tons of options, plans don’t offer a lot of breathing room when it comes to bandwidth and storage.
Their customer service is helpful and polite and you can track viewers down to the individual and even tag them, while also having access to heatmaps, graphs and detailed analytics, the difference between this video hosting service and comparable ones is the sheer extent of the customizations you can make to the video player and page.
Sproutvideo is another professional video host with tons of available options from security to engagement tracking and lead generation. Some of the other professional hosting services offer free accounts, but Sproutvideo doesn’t, although, there is a 14-day trial available. They have plan available at a monthly subscription.
Sprout, $25 per month – 150 GB bandwidth, 100 GB storage, $1/GB overages, all features except engagement metrics
Sapling, $50 per month – 300 GB bandwidth, 400 GB storage, $0.80/GB overages, all features
Tree, $100 per month – 600 GB bandwidth, 800 GB storage, $0.60/GB overages, all features
Grove, $200 per month – 1200 GB bandwidth, 1600 GB storage, $0.40 /GB overages, all features
Forest $400 per month – 2400 GB bandwidth, 3200 GB storage, $0.20/GB overages, all features
Despite the huge list of features, I can’t help but wonder if the prices are justified. Don’t get me wrong, Sproutvideo offers a wonderful service, but the offerings are quite similar to other less expensive video hosting options with the same feature base.
Sproutvideo does offer more features than the competition, but many simply have more to do with aesthetics than practical things like analytics or marketing tools. With this in mind, if you find the other video hosts are hugely lacking when it comes to player customization, then Sproutvideo is definitely worth considering closely.
While there are bandwidth and storage limits, you can upload any file size up to the limit your plan allows. All videos are encoded for you automatically and you can rest easy knowing there are no ads or logos that will be placed on your videos or the player.
There are so many features, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Sharing buttons are standard along with heatmaps, and closed captioning and subtitle capabilities.
Here’s only about a quarter of what Sproutvideo has to offer:
Heatmaps and graphs
Videos are set to private by default
Total impressions and plays
Location and domain data
Track and tag every viewer
Average video engagement
Integrated lead capture and calls to action
Email marketing integration
Custom player size and colors
Multiple video page layouts and themes
It’s easy to see exactly how engaged viewers are, the region where they lived and plenty of accurate data about the devices used to watch the videos. The stats were visually displayed in a clean and eye catching way that was easy to quickly understand.
Overall, the features were quick to find, thought there were some options that weren’t immediately obvious. When you log in, you’re brought to a page with a list of your videos and a menu on the left with many popular options for quick access.
This was a good thing, except I didn’t realize immediately that there was another menu at the top of the page with all the available options. It’s not the most confusing thing in the world, but it did take me a while to figure it out.
That being said, once I learned my way around, it was incredibly easy to adjust all the options that it seemed fool-proof – a close second to Wistia in this category.
While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with the layout of the user dashboard, I think a few tweaks to make it easier for first-time users could vastly speed up the inherent learning curve.
Support is included in all plans with your choice of live chat or email support. There’s also an extensive help section full of most information you would likely need.
When you sign up you receive an email from a member of the support staff, introducing themselves and offering a helping hand should you have any questions or run into difficulty. If you aren’t sure about something, it becomes easy to ask for help and guidance.
When I tested their support team, I mean I really tested their support. I asked a simple question that I had already found an answer to in their documentation after well under a minute of searching. I also emailed them at night, well outside of office hours.
I even signed up for a trial to see how well they treated non-paying customers with no interest in upgrading. I received a reply in 10 hours. Given their office hours, they responded within two hours since after their official work day started.
Their reply was kind, enthusiastic, helpful and on point. If their support team could be this kind to a free user with no intention of upgrading, it stands to reason that their premium customers would receive premium-level support.
Upload speeds were quite fast and closely related to Wistia’s upload speed, Sproutvideo being a teeny bit faster. A 4MB video took 25 seconds to fully complete. The analytics were also nearly completely live with only about a 30-second delay.
Buffering was nearly non-existent throughout a 24-hour testing period, which means speed was consistent even at potential peak traffic periods. I was also able to skip to different parts of the video quickly with buffering occurring at only a small fraction of a second.
Plans are tailored to your specific needs to prevent you from over paying.
Video speeds are blazing fast.
There’s a huge number of features available to choose.
Even with an extensive feature list, the dashboard’s user experience is great.
Plans are pricey and can exclude many people from choosing this service.
While customer support is dedicated, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
A free trial is not available instantly.
The Vidyard website is quite vague and doesn’t offer enough information.
Video Hosting with Vidyard
The Bottom Line
Vidyard comes at a high price, but it starts to sound more reasonable when you consider the value of the features that are on offer – and at top speeds, too.
Although getting started is initially difficult, the service itself is easy to use and understand and the customer service team is attentive and dedicated.
If you’re serious about increasing user engagement and sales through videos, want to make it a top priority and you’re willing to shell out cash for all the services you would need, Vidyard is setup to help you.
As a professional video hosting service, Vidyard offers an ultra premium plans to fit your needs exactly, packed to the brim with features. Pricing and plans are based on your specific needs. Vidyard works with you to figure out what you need and builds you a custom plan on a monthly subscription.
You pay for exactly what you need instead of tons of features you might not ever use, but would pay for, anyway.
These custom plans start at $1,250 a month for a total of $15,000 per year.
With such a higher cost than any other service in this post, it’s difficult to reward a high score in this category.
Still, with its sheer volume of features the large number begins to make sense.
Even a small fraction of the available features can help boost user engagement and ROI (return on investment) with tools that make it as easy to communicate with viewers and convert them to customers as a couple clicks of your mouse (and I don’t mean figuratively).
If you’re 110% dedicated to increasing user engagement with video and just as serious to increase sales with videos like it’s going out of style, Vidyard has an enormous amount of tools that can be at your disposal to make it happen.
Your basic settings are included such as an unbranded player with no ads, automatic encoding, sharing buttons, choosing thumbnails for your videos and basic analytics, but Vidyard goes so much further.
Here’s a list of only the most relevant features to WordPress users. In reality, this list only scratches the surface when compared to the huge list of every single available feature.
You’ll be able to do A/B testing for multiple video thumbnails, view analytics down to the individual, view the history for each viewer and even their engagement and attention span.
You can also choose to have access to an automatically generated list of video assets that contribute to ROI, lead generation and calls to action and detailed heatmaps and graphs.
Here’s a short list of even more of the available features:
Seamless integration with social media
Large list of customizable players to choose
Exact and accurate domain referrers
Automatically populated lists of:
Contacts who watch specific videos
Identified interests of most qualified prospects
Filter views by player, video chapters, embeds, countries and emails
Ability to send your data to third party services to immediately translate video data to use immediately for increasing sales, communication and engagement
Salesforce Sales Cloud
Google Analytics and more
Regardless of the long list of settings and options, Vidyard is quite easy to navigate. When you log into your account, you’re immediately met with what matters – analytics, user engagement, data, data and more data.
The menu with access to all the available features is easy to navigate to find what you need. With visual editors, comprehensive search boxes to pinpoint anything you’re specifically looking for, it’s not a difficult service to use, although, it may seem a tad intimidating at first.
Support is available for each plan at different levels depending on your needs. Once you inquire about a trial or demo, you’re teamed up with a customer service rep to provide you with all the information you need and then direct you to the appropriate contacts within the company, as needed.
I spent a lot of time emailing the support team back and forth with replies flying in within minutes nearly every time. They knew I wasn’t going to purchase a plan, but they still gave me the time of day anyway.
Other than a fairly lengthy period of two weeks where no one got back to me due to an irregular rise in customer requests, my emails were returned after their influx of emails and they were keen to make things right.
Their response times resumed to minutes and when I pressured them to contact me as quickly as possible, they were able to set up a phone appointment immediately and not more than 10 minutes later, the phone call was under way.
Everyone was kind and courteous throughout the experience and many apologies were made for the period of silence.
There’s also a wealth of knowledge available on their support site full of past issues that were solved. You could also contact them directly if you don’t find what you need from searching.
Overall, they were extremely helpful and accommodating, even though they knew they would get very little – if any – value from helping me so much.
If fast videos are important to you, then Vidyard won’t disappoint with videos playing faster than the speed of light, well, not literally of course, but close enough! Their servers must be powered by Zeus himself because there was absolutely no buffering at any point during a video, even when you click at different points throughout the video quickly.
A large majority of viewers and customers alike won’t wait for videos to load if it takes longer than six to 10 seconds according to a study by KISSmetrics
. If you’re serious about closing the loading gap as much as possible to retain users’ attention, then Vidyard may be a viable option for you.
The sheer popularity of YouTube can help get your videos noticed
Unlimited bandwidth and views
The ads displayed on videos can be disruptive to your message
Customer service is nearly non-existant
User dashboard isn’t intuitive and easy to get around
Video speed can reduce dramatically during high traffic peaks
Video Hosting on YouTube
The Bottom Line
YouTube is a great free service for those on a strict budget, if you’re just getting started or if you would like to increase your chances of being noticed quicker. With features such as unlimited bandwidth and its social media capabilities, it can be easy to engage your audience.
For businesses who want to present a professional brand image and videos, YouTube may not be the best option with their branded player, unhelpful customer service team, limited analytics and a slightly confusing dashboard.
Uploading videos onto YouTube is free and does not have any additional costs associated with it. This is in addition to the ads displayed on the video page. For some people, it may be a small price to pay to be able to upload videos for free.
If you meet the criteria to become a YouTube Partner, you can start earning money from the ads that are displayed on your videos. You can apply on the settings page of your YouTube account fairly easily, but you will need a landline or cell phone to verify that you’re a real person.
A free video hosting solution sounds enticing especially if you can earn money from your videos, but does it actually work well? Let’s take a look at its performance by reviewing its price, usability, customer service, speed and features.
It doesn’t get any better than free when it comes to price, but it does come limitations. YouTube runs ads either before the start of your video or as an overlay on top of your videos.
Often times, the ads are as long as one minute. Sometimes they can be skipped manually after five seconds of viewing, but it depends entirely on the advertiser since they can choose to remove this option.
This can be a problem for businesses and anyone who wishes to appear as professional as possible since you don’t have a choice in which ads are displayed in your video. Although ads are shown based on the tags you provide, accurate ads still may not be shown.
Even worse, if the ads are accurate, business can be taken away from you instead of driving it toward you since viewers may be enticed to click on the ad and at the same time, away from your video.
YouTube is one of the highest ranking sites which is fantastic since it also doubles as a social media destination. This means your videos have higher potential exposure, especially on Google, without doing anything extra.
As for their partner program, unless you post regularly every week and your videos are pulling in at least 100,000 views each, you won’t see a significant revenue stream.
While bandwidth and file size is unlimited, you can only upload videos shorter than 15 minutes. If you become a partner, this video duration limitation is removed.
You can also expect to have access to:
Views by geographic location
Link referrers from YouTube, “direct or unknown” and “other”
Encoded and responsive videos
Messaging, liking, rating and commenting system
Basic video editing
Links to other YouTube pages or videos
Trimming the beginning or end
Free music library (may need attribution)
Partners can offer one-off fees or paid subscriptions
Live streaming events
The best features YouTube has to offer is their unlimited bandwidth, and notable status and popularity among the internet, users and search rankings.
This is especially true since their analytics are minimal, but enough to get by on if your needs aren’t complicated.
I found YouTube to be easy to use, but some of the site’s features can be hidden and difficult to find at times. All your videos, messages, comments, analytics and settings are stored and organized in your Creator Studio, but it can be difficult to see what you want.
I have posted videos regularly on YouTube for about three years and even after visiting the creator studio regularly, I still found it difficult to get around since the layout isn’t all that intuitive with the most prominent features not easily accessible.
I also found that I didn’t receive alerts or emails for several messages and comments on a regular basis.
I would receive at least a dozen Facebook messages and emails on any given week asking if I had seen a message or comment the user sent months ago. As it turns out, I wasn’t notified and many of my fellow YouTubers explained to me that they were experiencing the same issue, among others.
Overall, the user experience from a video creator standpoint is just okay.
Another huge problem many content creators seem to face was that many videos were being falsely accused of copyright infringement by YouTube, when in reality, there was none to be found.
At one point, I received several complaints every month for almost a year. I was able to stop the issue from occurring by quitting as a YouTube partner.
The customer service team at the time informed me my only option was to put up with it with no other explanation as to why it was happening.
Though their past customer service has been largely inadequate, currently, it’s nearly non-existent. There is only limited support documentation available at this point in time.
Videos play fairly quickly during times of low traffic, but during high peaks, expect to wait at least a minute for your video to start – not including the wait time for the ads.
For the most part, buffering can occur and last between 15-30 seconds or less for modest internet connections, but for faster connections, it isn’t usually a big problem.
Uploading videos also a time-consuming process. I used to regularly upload videos that were 15 minutes in length and on a blazing-fast internet connection, on a good day, it took an average of about three hours to upload and two hours to process until the video was ready to go.
Video Hosting Services Compared
At the end of the day, the video hosting option you choose really depends on your needs. If you have a small site with minimal needs (and a minimal budget), a free option may suffice. But for business sites with heavy traffic, and in particular sites that require detailed analytics and customizations, premium options are the way to go.
While your needs are subjective, facts aren’t so based on the reviews above, here are the video hosts ranked from best to worst.
And the Winner Is…?
It’s a tie between Wistia and Vidyard. They both offer intense value and while Wistia is the clear affordable option of the two, Vidyard does have a long list of useful features that well surpasses Wistia.
Bottom line – if you’re on a budget, Wistia offers the most value for money.
But if you’re okay with spending more for an intense increase in value and ROI, then Vidyard is a service to consider, too.
If you need social media and community to be at the heart of your videos, Vimeo offers more bang for your buck, a professional and creative atmosphere with plenty of sharing capabilities.
Whether you decide to self-host your videos or use a video hosting service, we’ve reviewed the top hosts to help you make the best decision for your site or business.