Video is the hottest medium on the web right now. Evidence shows video outperforms any other medium and grows brands faster than all other social engagement. Videos on your site can showcase your product, offer advice and support, or simply entertain. The decision you have to make isn’t if you should have video on your website, but how you should host it. Here are the factors you need to consider before making that decision.
Uploading the video directly to your website might seem the obvious choice. However as discussed with self-hosting images, there are pros and cons to storing any media on your server. If being image-heavy can slow down a site, imagine how much slower a video-heavy site will be. Unless you’re on a dedicated server, chances are your visitors will be frustrated by lagging if you try to self-host.
People access websites in a variety of ways. 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and over a third use mobile devices exclusively.Your site will likely attract a combination of computer, tablet, and smartphone traffic, using a variety of browsers and viewing your content in a variety of resolutions. Just as your site needs to be responsive, so do your videos.
Self-hosting means uploading a number of different files to suit all the browsers, devices, and resolutions required to give all your visitors an enjoyable viewing experience. You have to upload multiple files for the same video. Then you need a plugin or code to determine which is shown to each visitor. Getting it right can be time consuming and complicated. And at the end you’re using a lot of storage and valuable bandwidth.
Ease of use
There’s no getting away from the fact hosting through a third party such as YouTube or Vimeo is the easiest option. Videos upload in minutes, then all you have to do is copy and paste a code into you webpage or blog post. If you self-host, you’re going to need at least basic coding knowledge.
Did you know YouTube is the internet’s second largest search engine? It processes over 3 billion searches a month. That’s more than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, and AOL combined. Google integration also means YouTube videos are displayed in response to general web queries as well. There’s a reason big businesses such as Coca-Cola and Nike have their own YouTube channels.
Using a third-party host might seem like the obvious choice, but self-hosting does have advantages. If you host video directly on your website, there’s no dispute over ownership. It also means you can display it however you like, and the content can be whatever you want. With self-hosting, there’s no fear of having your videos reported or taken down. Depending on how you upload and display the video, it can also be harder for the video to be downloaded.
This can be a big bonus, because everyone hates ads. The flip side is if you have a particularly successful video, that ad revenue can earn you valuable income. You also get full control over the design of the player, rather than sticking with a generic template.
If you self-host, you’re not competing for site visitors only to send them elsewhere once they arrive. Sites like YouTube are designed to keep people watching, and you can quickly lose your visitors to cat videos. With self-hosting you can keep visitors on your site, exactly where you want them.
Having videos on your site is a great way of improving your web strategy and increasing social engagement. Whether self-hosted or embedded through a third party, they can bring a valuable boost to your business.