Looking for the right video host? External video hosting is the way to go if you want to make sure your website stays speedy and isn’t bogged down by bandwidth issues. Luckily, most video hosting platforms provide a ton of extra features that help ensure your video is a success, like analytics tools, software integrations, and more — but, if your company is small or you’re just starting out with video marketing, how do you know which video host is right for you?
With so many options out there, things can get pretty overwhelming. That’s why we’re breaking down a few of the most common third-party video hosting platforms and giving you some insight into what makes them shine.
Keep in mind, these are third-party services, meaning they aren’t social communities you can search and explore the way you can with YouTube or Vimeo. But they do offer more robust services when it comes to video management and data reporting. Keep that in mind as you research the right provider for you and your company.
Vidyard is an all-in-one centralized video hosting platform for businesses of all sizes. It helps businesses manage and leverage video effectively, from the initial upload and hosting stage, to full analytics tools that give you a better picture of your audience and demographics.
Vidyard’s lead generation features make it stand out from the pack, excelling not only at increasing brand awareness and generating leads, but nurturing those leads and helping them convert into sales. Whether you want to gate your video with an email address field, or add a pop-out or final CTA to collect more user information, Vidyard makes the experience seamless. Plus, they integrate with tons of third party marketing software, like Hootsuite and Marketo, so you can track your users’ behavior and correlate it to exact sales.
But Vidyard does have some drawbacks. They’re not very transparent about their pricing structure — you have to request a custom quote if you want an idea of how much they charge. (Spoiler alert: They’re more expensive than the competition and they have no free basic plan.) Custom plans average around $1,500 per month according to one source, which is a pretty significant yearly investment. But that investment could provide greater value than you’d find with another hosting service. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend; after all, those pricey extra features could be the tools you need to close more sales.
Wistia markets themselves as a solution for businesses that need video content for their websites, including marketing, support, and sales videos. You don’t necessarily want to host your social video content on Wistia or any content whose purpose is to increase word of mouth.
If reach is your goal, Wistia says: Go with YouTube. But, if you want to drive traffic to your website, improve conversions, or increase engagement on your owned channels, Wistia is your best bet.
They have a totally customizable video player that’s clean and sleek. They have in depth analytics that give you an aggregated view of your video’s performance – you can even drill down to an individual email address and see that person’s specific viewing activity. They also provide cool extra features like engagement graphs and heat maps that give you a clear idea of how your audience is consuming your content.
Similar to Vidyard, Wistia can get pretty expensive. They run a subscription-based pricing model where you pay a flat rate per month for a certain number of videos, and then get charged extra for any video beyond that limit. Though they have a free plan, that plan only allows for 3 video uploads and only 200 GB of bandwidth per month, which can run out very quickly. Their Pro plan is $99 per month and allows for 10 free video uploads. Seems reasonable, but if you run out of bandwidth, prices can skyrocket quickly.
Launched in 2004, Brightcove is a higher-end platform that focuses on doing more than just being a video host. They offer a full range of services, from consulting, strategy, and design services, to streaming, on demand, and live content hosting. Differing from both Vidyard and Wistia, Brightcove uses video ads and distribution to help clients monetize the content they create. And, because of their robust set of API and integration features, it can take a more tech-savvy mind to fully utilize all of Brightcove’s tools.
That’s both their biggest drawback and their biggest strength. Brightcove’s user interface is less than intuitive; users call it “overwhelming” and some even mention requiring a developer to help them navigate the video studio modules. But, despite these obstacles, Brightcove offers features no other platform does, like cloud video storage, HTML customization capabilities, geo-targeting, A/B testing, DVR functions – a breadth of tools that are amazing if you know how to use them.
Their lowest cost plan starts at $199 per month and gives you access to their social integration suite, interactive video tools, viewership analytics, and more. Their enterprise plan starts at $499 per month and provides you with all the live streaming and cloud tools you need. Custom pricing goes up from there.
Brightcove likely won’t be the best solution for most small and medium businesses, but for larger enterprise companies with tons of video content that are looking to incorporate new technology and interactive features into their video marketing, it could be the perfect fit.
SproutVideo offers a really clean and easy-to-use interface in addition to a ton of analytic and reporting data, but their more robust plans come at a pretty steep price.
They’re renowned for their seamless, unbranded video experience. Their reporting features are robust as well, offering full video performance data, viewer data, location and domain data, and more. But SproutVideo seems to stand out the most when it comes to customer service. Every customer gets their own customer service representative and user questions are usually handled within one business day, a feat nearly impossible for a company as big as YouTube or Vimeo.
They also have a full range of engagement tools, lead capture and call to action resources, and even multiple page layout and customizable themes, a lot of the same features offered by Wistia and Vidyard (though, admittedly fewer than Brightcove.)
Their packages are a little more expensive, however. SproutVideo has a number of package options, differing only in the number of extra features offered, like advanced video site options, geographic restriction, and sign-on options. But those features may not be worth the jump in price unless they’re especially important to your business model.
The starter Sprout plan costs $59.99 per month and offers 125 viewer accounts (what SproutVideo calls login credentials for secure video access, not actual video views), 5 team member accounts, and 500 GB of storage and bandwidth. Their Tree plan is $199.99 per month and offers 500 viewer accounts, 15 team member accounts, and 500 GB of storage and bandwidth. Finally, their Forest plan is $499.99 per month for unlimited viewer accounts, 50 team member accounts, and the same 500 GB of storage and bandwidth. Though the higher-tiered plans are more expensive, they offer a flat amount of bandwidth and storage across all plans, so the starter package may be all you need.
So which one is right for you?
If you want an easy, no hassle experience that’ll get you lots of views, you’ll want to stick to a free tool like YouTube. If you want a community of video professionals and the chance to shine in a high-quality environment, Vimeo may be right for you. But if your goal is to gain detailed reporting, actionable insights, and a robust hosting solution that’ll integrate fully with all your marketing software, a third-party solution may be the right fit.
Which one you choose is up to you, but most brands will benefit from an option like Wistia or SproutVideo, which aren’t the most expensive of all the full-service hosting options, but offer a full range of data reporting, hosting, and management tools. Just keep an eye on how many videos you upload, what your video advertising and distribution plans are, and how big your hosting budget is.
Honorable mention goes out to these other video hosts that offer a little something extra to their customers.
Wipster is a great tool for uploading, sharing, and editing your video content, and their platform allows you to comment directly on video frames, making it a great collaborative platform for video review and video workflows.
Ooyala is a star when it comes to end-to-end video management, reliability, and new video media, like over-the-top video (OTT) streaming, pay-per-view integration, and more.
Dailymotion is most like YouTube, a video hosting platform and streaming content provider, but with a rebellious streak. They’re known for hosting content that doesn’t meet the guidelines of other strict hosting platforms, and have become the R-rated darling where you can upload and browse darker, more risqué content.
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