Choosing the right video platform for your content

Video Platforms 

Unless you have the magic viral touch, gone are the days when you could just upload a video to the web, sit back and let the views role in.

Too much of video content marketing is a game of throw the sticky man at the window and see if sticks or falls. Chances are you’ve created some amazing content but’s it’s languishing in a buried youtube channel at the bottom of your website. It doesn't have to be this way.

This post is to help you choose the right video platform to share your content BEFORE you create it. Thereby optimizing your production choices and making it more likely to be viewed and shared by your target audience.

Facebook vs. YouTube vs. the rest of them

Top video platforms YouTube and Facebook each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Navigating the pros and cons of each service will help provide a clear idea of where you want to host your content.

YouTube is the big kid on the video sharing block; with years of building their brand and functionality, it has become the go-to for for online distribution. However, Facebook has been making strides to create its own network of channels and, depending on your goals, could be a more appropriate place for your video to be hosted. And then there are the myriad of mobile social apps that use video as either a primary or secondary channel.

When choosing the right platform consider the following questions:

  1. Who do want to reach and which video platforms are your target audience already using?
  2. What technical limitations exist for your content e.g. type of content, video duration, quality, size etc.
  3. How do you want your audience to interact with your content?

Pros & Cons of different video platforms

Youtube - PROS 

  • No technical limitations on videos  
  • Powerful SEO - Is owned by Google and is #2 online search engine
  • Powerful Analytics
  • Fully optimized for mobile, live video and next-gen VR or “360” videos    
  • Annotations & Cards add interactivity 
  • No upload or storage limits after verification  
  • Massive audience - YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network
  • Ability to create channels for your brand
  • Live streaming recently added (2016) 
  • Completely free

Youtube - CONS

  • Typically less shares and comments than a native facebook video
  • Competitors content or even ads can be displayed near yours
  • Online ads turn people away from your content 
  • Comments are poorly moderated and can detract from your message
  • YouTube is designed to keep people on YouTube, so people are less likely to visit your website
  • Many businesses block YouTube videos internally
  • No guaranteed technical support

Facebook - PROS 

  • Biggest social network in the world - FB claims 1.35 billion monthly active users
  • More socialized - videos appear in people's feed - people more likely to comment and share
  • Native hosting more prominent than linked content 
  • Fully optimized for mobile, live video and next-gen VR or “360” videos
  • Better moderation of content - there are between 800-1000 FB moderators worldwide! 
  • No ads in videos 
  • Completely free

Facebook - CONS

  • Some technical limitations - Max 1280px resolution, 30 fps or less, 1.75GB or less
  • Video duration max 45 minutes
  • Shorter lifespan, videos quickly sink to the bottom of peoples feed
  • Harder to search for older native video content 
  • Weaker analytics - Facebook counts just 3secs as a view
  • Majority of Facebook’s videos auto-play without sound

Vimeo - PROS

  • No technical limitations on videos
  • More aesthetic - used more by creatives & filmmakers 
  • Vimeo favors higher quality content (ie. displays what is great, not popular)
  • Customization of video player - logo, colors, features, thumbnails etc
  • Can use own domain
  • Detailed Analytics 
  • Large supportive community, very few trolls
  • No Ads!

Vimeo - CONS

  • Smaller audience, so less visibility
  • No Free accounts for business usage - £159 per year (2016) 
  • Google favours YouTube over Vimeo in search results
  • Some limitations on video upload/storage for each pricing plan

Wistia - PROS

  • Complete control of how your video is hosted and a fully customizable player 
  • Great for website landing page videos that keep people on your site for longer 
  • Wistia ensures your videos rank for pages on your website, not YouTube
  • Best platform Analytics & Heatmaps
  • Works on every device 
  • Collect emails/lead data in videos with a simple ‘turnstile’ tool 
  • No Ads!

Wistia - CONS

  • Free for personal use but pricing starts at $25 a month for a non-branded player 
  • Lacks the audience base, SEO or social power of YouTube/Facebook
  • Wistia videos are not searchable like YouTube videos

Instagram - PROS

  • All done on a mobile phone, editing tools make it a great option for businesses with low budget or resources
  • Creative App features & filters make content more creative such as hyperlapse, timelapse etc.  
  • Great for  B2C - 40% of most shared instagram videos are by leading brands
  • The go-to social network for teens - Approximately 30% of US teens say Instagram is the most important social network. 
  • Owned by Facebook - built in social network, great for shares and comments

Instagram - CONS

  • Videos must be 3 to 60secs long 
  • Instagram is primarily a photo sharing platform so this is what people expect - videos comprise only 6% of total posts
  • Not possible to attach text with a video 
  • Limited desktop functionality

Vine - PROS

  • 6 second looping video clip
  • Also allows for external upload of videos for higher production quality 
  • Requires very little budget and  resource - just 6 seconds of raw video
  • Makes use of looping functionality, since people will watch again and again
  • Owned by Twitter so more shares! 

Vine - CONS

  • If teenagers aren’t your target audience you might want to skip the app altogether
  • Humour and originality are key to Vine success
  • Some people don't like looping videos!
  • Limited desktop functionality  

Snapchat - PROS

  • Disappearing text, photo and video messaging app
  • Fun customizable video messaging capabilities - text, emojis, drawings, filters and frames
  • 71% of Snapchat users are under 25
  • 45% of US youth between the ages of 13 and 17 use the app
  • Recently (2016) launched a ‘discover’ video feature which enables companies to distribute videos to Snapchat users
  • Live streaming

Snapchat - CONS

  • Videos limited to 10 secs and self destruct after 24hrs 
  • No two-way user engagement
  • If teenagers  aren’t your target audience you might want to skip the app altogether
  • Media perception that it’s used as a video “sexting” app
  • Typically entertainment and celebrity use 
  • Limited desktop functionality
video platforms

The video landscape is evolving all the time, there are always new platforms/apps to discover, mobile video is increasing and 360 (VR) video is disrupting the market but hopefully you've now got a better idea where to start. . What doesn't change is the need for interesting, original, thought provoking ideas and stories that make great video content. 

The key takeaway is to be strategic with your choices and supercharge your content by integrating platform choice into your video marketing plan. Instead of just throwing it at the wall and seeing where it sticks.  Choose wisely...the right platform will enable you to reach your audience faster, better and make your content more likely to be shared.