Beginner's Guide to Choosing the Right Video Hosting Platform
Video killed the radio star, and now it’s on to its newest target: traditional internet content. In fact, by the end of 2020, more than 80% of all consumer web traffic will be video. Fittingly, B2B companies have begun ramping up their video marketing initiatives: 71% of B2B marketers now produce videos as a part of their marketing strategy.
Image source: Content Marketing Institute
But for businesses looking to leverage video as the powerful, lead-generating tool it is, a quality video hosting platform is a must. Free hosting sites like YouTube remain a heavily pursued distribution avenue for B2B marketers, as their engagement rates are so high. But how and where these videos are engaged with is where the plot thickens, and even more so when it comes showcasing videos directly on your website. So in this post, I’m going to cover:
- The pros and cons of free video sharing sites.
- The benefits of on-site video hosting with a platform.
- How to use the features of a video hosting platform to market more effectively.
We'll then close off with a list of 10 crucial benefits video hosting platforms offer to B2B marketers, just to sum everything up.
Intro to free video hosting sites
Video is no different.
Video hosting sites give you the ability to upload and play videos on the internet. There are free video hosting platforms, also known as video sharing sites, and then there are paid video hosting platforms that come with additional and more advanced features. Let’s first take a look at free video hosting/sharing sites.
There are a number options available out there when it comes to free video hosting online, many of which you’ve likely heard of, including:
For any of these sites, you can upload your marketing videos to your account and generate sharelinks.
Pros of free video hosting sites
B2B marketers flock to free social video platforms when it comes to website video presentation, and for good reason: According to G2 Crowd, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.
YouTube, the second-most popular website in the world, offers an intuitive, easy, and most importantly free embedding experience. Compatible with virtually any CMS (content management system), all you’ll need to do is copy your YouTube video’s embed code and paste it into your editor. If you want to get fancy, you can even customize the video player and tinker around with the code in order to hide the controls.
Customizing its embedded YouTube video, Slack has it pop out to viewers once they click on a purple play icon.
Drawbacks to free video hosting sites
While the experience is easy and the engagement is almost guaranteed, there are drawbacks to free video hosting platforms that marketers may not be immediately aware of. We’ll use YouTube to demonstrate these disadvantages, but they can apply to other free hosting sites as well.
Reduced website engagement
First, it’s important to remember that like any other company, YouTube’s primary objective is to facilitate a constant flow of visitors to its own website. Even if its code were to be manipulated, a YouTube player will still likely prove to be a ‘trapdoor’ of sorts for website visitors who engage with it. All visitors have to do is click on the YouTube icon or share button and they’re off of your website. And they haven’t even gotten to the recommended feed at the bottom of their player...
Leads falling through the cracks
Related content next to your video and below it will not only keep your would-be website visitors on YouTube, but it’s likely that it will also recommend videos featuring or even directly promoting your competitors.
This YouTube video appearing on monday.com’s homepage will encounter a recommended video featuring its primary competitor, Asana.
B2B marketers know that getting prospects to land on a website is already a task in and of itself. Opening a trapdoor through which leads can slip simply cancels out all the hard work you put in to getting them there.
Limited data on viewership
Traditional, free methods of on-site video presenting will provide some insights into the way your videos are performing. However, these will largely be surface-level; namely, total view counts, and like-to-dislike ratios. These kinds of vanity metrics may be enough for Bieber or Beyonce. However, B2B companies require data pertaining to individual viewer patterns.
For B2B marketers to leverage videos towards lead generation, they need to be able to see exactly how each viewer engaged with a given video. Which leads us to the need for a quality video hosting platform.
B2B companies require data pertaining to individual viewer patterns.
The benefits of a paid video hosting platform
For B2B marketers looking to maintain brand consistency and drive bottom-line goals with video, a paid and higher-quality video hosting platform is often the best investment. These video hosting platforms are designed not just to share videos, but to help marketers get the absolute most out of them. Let’s go over some of the advantages a quality video hosting platform can offer.
Customization and control
Offering extensive yet easily-implementable customization features, video hosting platforms can have your videos appearing completely synonymously with your website’s overall design and feel. Incredibly user friendly, video hosting software will let you choose your video players’ color, size, controls and positioning within your web page—with no coding required.
Video hosting platforms come with robust security features that allow you to decide whether or not you want your video shared. They help companies unwilling to relinquish control over their intellectual property see to it that no one can copy their video’s embed code.
Unlike with YouTube, there is no danger of viewers slipping through the cracks with a video hosting platform. You decide what recommended content your viewers are presented with while watching a video. No more recommended competitor content, and no more ways to easily bounce out of your site.
Finally, video hosting platforms will provide you with all the data you’ll need regarding individual video viewership. Information pertaining to each video viewer is registered and made immediately available on the video hosting solution’s analytical dashboard.
The guessing game is over. You can see exactly who watched a given video, the type of device that was used to watch the video, where in the world the video was watched, and, of course, how much of the video your viewer watched.
Here’s what Cincopa’s analytical dashboard looks like.
You can break it down further, if you’d like. The exact moment each viewer stopped watching a video and the exact moment he or she returned (or moments, if there are a few additional views) are made immediately apparent.
Other features, such as video-heatmaps, provide data regarding the performance of a given video within a designated time frame. All the information pertaining to the viewing of a specific video will be aggregated, after which you will be presented with a visual graph detailing your viewers’ interaction with it.
Based on this data, you can learn a lot about what makes a good video for your audience.
For example, if viewership plummets at key moments during a video, you might want to recalibrate. The value proposition showcased right before the big drop may require some tweaking. Otherwise, you may want to think about removing it from your video entirely.
Incorporating video engagement into your marketing automation workflows
To be carried out professionally and at scale, B2B marketing initiatives require sophisticated platforms; the kind designed specifically for each stage of the marketing funnel. Most B2B marketers use marketing automation platforms to carry out, measure, and improve their outbound activities. Each website visitor’s interaction with a certain platform is registered: every blog read, every link clicked and every form submitted.
Image source: Moosend
As videos are far and away the marketing content most likely to be engaged with by website visitors, it’s more critical than ever to have a sophisticated video hosting platform so that you can incorporate video into your outreach in a way that makes sense with your audience’s specific wants and needs.
By integrating your video hosting platform with your marketing automation solution, you can bring video engagement into the fold. Let’s talk about two ways this can be done and how it benefits your B2B marketing initiatives.
Factor video engagement into lead scoring
Marketers are tasked with taking cold leads, ‘warming them up’ with compelling content and then funneling them towards sales. With marketing automation platforms, marketers can set behavioral thresholds for leads. If a prospect fails to meet a specific target (e.g. "clicked on two company emails") he or she can be given negative points. In the event that they meet or exceed such benchmarks, leads will be given positive points. Marketing and sales usually team up to define the ideal cumulative score that would indicate a lead has matured and become sales qualified.
Video hosting platforms enable B2B marketers to award leads with points according to their engagement with videos. You can decide that a lead is given positive points for passing and/or meeting a defined benchmark (e.g. "viewer passed the 10 second mark of the landing page video") and negative points to those who fail to meet it (e.g. "viewer refused to fill in the form in order to continue watching the video"). With your videos highly likely to be engaged with, this can be game changing.
Video hosting platforms enable B2B marketers to award leads with points according to their engagement with videos, and since videos are highly engaged with, this can be game changing.
Add videos into your marketing workflows
B2B marketers dictate continued interaction with leads based on how the latter engage with their content. Through sophisticated workflows, you can set out an extensive road map accounting for any and all conceivable lead life cycles.
When you integrate your video host with your MAP (marketing automation platform), you can easily add videos to your emails, blogs, and landing pages as workflow parameters.
You can decide that a video viewer can be contacted by a sales representative if he or she engages with the video in a certain fashion (e.g. "viewer watched the video more than three times"). With executives more far more likely to engage with a video, you will likely find yourself driving quality leads to sales reps.
When you add highly engaging videos to your emails, blogs, and landing pages as workflow parameters, you will find yourself driving quality leads to sales reps.
Here’s what a HubSpot workflow looks like with video viewing as a branch condition and enrollment trigger.
B2B marketers stand to benefit from video hosting platforms
I've covered a lot in this post, so let's sum up the benefits of a video hosting platform:
- Maximize site engagement. Free video hosting sites will drive traffic away from your site, while a quality platform will keep them engaged.
- Stop losing leads. Related and suggested videos on free hosting sites are often those of competitors, causing leads to slip through the cracks.
- Maintain your brand. Video hosting platforms offer customization so you can maintain a seamless, on-brand experience for your website videos.
- Keep your data safe. Video hosting platforms come with robust security features.
- Maximize viewership. Integrating a video onto your site with surrounding context will keep viewers watching.
- Gain audience insights. See exactly who watches your video, how long they watch it, where they are, what device they’re using, and more.
- Improve your videos. By seeing exactly where viewers are dropping off, you can identify changes to make to the video to boost performance.
- Identify more leads. Video hosting platforms integrate with marketing automation software so you can factoring video engagement—the most popular form of engagement—into your lead scoring.
- Provide more lead-generating content. A video hosting platform will enable you to add videos to your workflows so you can offer them in emails, landing pages, and more.
- Get more customers. With the ability to add video into every stage of your marketing funnel without losing them to the black hole of YouTube, you are sure to see more leads reach the bottom of your funnel and convert into customers.
Video’s ascent to the top of the internet food chain is imminent, and B2B companies looking to tap into their true business potential would be wise to approach website video presentation strategically.
While free and easy to use, YouTube is not without its drawbacks. A video player that will easily send viewers out of your website offers very little in the ways of analytics. A video hosting platform is a good option for B2B marketers who want to generate leads through video.
With dynamic customization features, website videos will appear on-brand and without any "trapdoors". Good video hosting platforms will also provide in-depth analytics pertaining to each individual viewer; and through simple integrations, these valuable metrics can be leveraged towards powerful automated marketing processes.
About the author
Yoni Yampolsky is a marketing manager at Cincopa, a video marketing and hosting solution that helps users untap their videos’ true business potential.