Today, any company, whether large or small, can easily publish videos on a myriad of websites – public and private, paid and free. Some even allow for multiple video hosting options, such as self-hosting or embedded videos.
So, where and how is it better to publish online videos for marketing?
In this article, we review 5 best options for hosting and streaming online video available today – their unique features, limitations, and pricing.
Although YouTube is the largest video hosting platform and the best one with regards to organic reach, it’s not the most business-friendly.
The main problem with hosting branded videos on YouTube is competition.
By default, your direct competitors can run ads before and during your public videos. Private videos also show suggestions that you can’t control, even in the embeds on your own website.
Here’s an example of a YouTube embed (by the way, notice that we could easily embed this video here, even though it wasn’t created for our website):
Other limitations include YouTube branding on the embedded player, basic analytics, and lack of lead generation tools.
Self-hosting a video means hosting it on your own servers. For example, uploading a video to the Media Library in WordPress, and then publishing it on the same website.
This allows companies to get absolute control over the storage and delivery of their videos. Which is great, when resources are available to build and maintain such a complex IT infrastructure.
High-quality video streaming is a very resource-intensive task: files are heavy, internet speeds are unstable, and viewing devices come in all sorts of sizes and configurations. That’s why even YouTube occasionally runs into playback issues.
Very few companies have the resources to create their own video hosting infrastructure from scratch, and even fewer can operate it profitably.
Good news – there is plenty of ready-to-use commercial video hosting solutions.
To host and deliver videos efficiently, most companies are using dedicated video hosting solutions.
Just like YouTube, these providers allow you to upload your video to their servers, and embed it on other websites. As a result, you get access to a high-speed global video delivery infrastructure for a fraction of its total cost.
However, unlike YouTube, these dedicated providers don’t run any ads and don’t promote other videos alongside yours. Plus, with the solutions listed below, you get much more control over integrations, privacy, and the embedded player.
Here are the most popular sites that enable businesses to host videos online efficiently:
Best basic solution for small marketing teams
Sprout Video offers a core feature set that’s very similar to other providers on this list, often for a much lower price. It includes powerful video encoding, player customization, a marketing suite, video-sharing pages, basic privacy tools, and more.
The marketing suite features custom in-frame email gates, contact forms, clickable elements, automated SEO, and MarCom integrations.
Sprout Video has a useful embedded code creation wizard, that allows not only to change player controls and colors, but also turn it into a pop-up video.
You can also easily generate email embed codes without special coding knowledge.
The starter Seed plan costs $25 per month, includes 500GB of storage and 500GB of bandwidth (plus additional 60 free minutes of live streaming), and 3 users.
There’s no free plan, but a free 30-day trial is available.
Best for content-driven brands with large marketing teams
Wistia also offers lead capture tools and other features that Sprout Video has, but adds more customization, and deeper analytics.
Wistia has a very powerful analytics engine that generates engagement graphs and heat maps. You can get a clear view of all rewatches, drop-offs, interactions, and social stats in one place.
Its viewer-based tracking is also unique, allowing you to know who watched your video, even if they don’t fill in any forms.
Another major difference with Wistia is the ability to create custom channels. It allows you to easily create a “Netflix experience” on your website, no coding skills required.
Additionally, there is an integrated A/B testing feature available with all plans.
Wistia’s Free plan currently includes all of the features mentioned earlier, but it’s limited by the number of videos (3), Wistia-branded player, up to 250 Channel subs, and 200 Gb of bandwidth per month.
The Pro plan includes 10 videos and costs $99 per month, plus extra 25¢ for every additional video (can be a problem if you have many short videos).
User count is unlimited, and each user can be assigned different permissions.
All in all, Wistia works best for the content-driven companies that want to build a community of brand advocates. Think about it as your private, fully-branded YouTube channel.
Best for cold outreach and internal videos
Similar to Wistia, Vidyard offers quality video hosting, automated SEO, CRM integrations, and a quick app to record and edit a video.
It also supports live streaming, 360-degree video, and 4K, just like Wistia.
What makes Vidyard stand out is its unlimited storage (even with the free plan) and deep integration with sales and marketing tools.
If your company uses HubSpot, Vidyard comes as the default choice since it already powers HubSpot Video analytics. This provides a bit more insights on the part of analytics.
Vidyard also features video branching (“choose your own path” type of experience). Useful for creating simple interactive videos.
Other useful features include automatic 3-second GIFs that Vidyard generates automatically to embed into email, and customizable video-sharing pages.
Vidyard lacks CRM integration, custom user permissions, and custom interactive CTAs in all but the top plan ($1250 a month).
There is a free plan for one user with a limit of 5 embeds. A plan similar to Wistia’s starts at $300 per user, and limits embeds to 50. However, link sharing (via sharing pages) is unlimited on all plans.
This makes Vidyard a great choice for cold outreach and storing lots of internal videos, but it’s hardly suitable for companies with lots of users or videos to embed.
Best for enterprises with media departments and broadcasters
While both Wistia and Vidyard are marketing towards large companies too, Brightcove focuses on the enterprise clients as its main customer segment.
Giants such as Ford, McDonald’s, and J&J choose Brightcove for its proprietary encoding technology, industry-leading OTT platform, and advanced live streaming functionality.
Brightcove claims that its HTML5 video player is up to 70% faster than its competitors. Other unique features include DRM-encrypted live streaming, simple Live to VOD (video on demand) workflow, Cloud DVR “Time Travel”, and scalable broadcasting.
Almost half of Brightcove’s customers are Broadcast media companies, and 1/3 are large retail brands, according to 50 Wheel.
Brightcove products appear to have a complex pricing structure. There is no definitive information online as to the cost and limits of each plan.
According to the same article on 50 Wheel, pricing starts from $199 and requires an annual contract, but it’s unclear what that starter plan includes.
A 30-day free trial is also available.
Best for video agencies and small media-focused companies
Although Vimeo is widely known as “that less-popular YouTube”, in reality, these platforms are very different.
Vimeo doesn’t monetize its audience with ads. Rather, it offers a range of very cost-effective plans that combine advanced features with a focus on creators.
Unlike the other video hosting providers above, Vimeo has a central search page, and indexes all of its public videos on search engines automatically. But if you don’t need this – no problem, privacy settings include multiple options for every use case.
Vimeo Pro and higher plans include player customization, interactive end screens, embeddable playlists, in-depth analytics, 4K video, 3rd party player support, customizable Showcase sites (similar to Wistia’s Channels), and priority support.
Another major benefit with Vimeo is that you get advanced collaboration tools and free stock photos, videos, and music. This can be useful for companies with internal video production teams.
Vimeo lacks some in-depth analytics (such as Wistia’s heat maps), A/B testing, and limits the number of users on all plans. Also, Live streaming only becomes available with the Premium plan at $75 per month.
Vimeo Pro costs $20 per month and includes 3 team members, 20 Gb/week upload limit, and 1TB yearly storage, which is enough to store 500 hours of HD video. Embeds and bandwidth are unlimited in all plans.
Vimeo Business ($50 per month) is a package that compares best to Wistia’s Pro plan. It includes Lead generation tools, SEO for Showcase sites, 10 team members, and whooping 5TB of storage (2500 hours of HD video).
There are also other, custom plans, such as Vimeo Enterprise and OTT, that offer branded apps, in-app purchases, and Broadcast-grade lifestreaming (similar to Brightcove).
Hosting videos online is most efficient when it’s done through a reliable, professional video hosting provider.
Our top 5 video hosting websites for businesses include:
Pricing with these providers usually depends on the number of users and/or the number of videos you have.
Finally, no matter which dedicated hosting you will choose, it will most likely feature much better customization, analytics, and customer service than YouTube.
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