Video Hosting

Sooner or later you’re going to ask this question, “Where should I host my videos?” This is the $64k question. Fortunately, there are more options than ever before but how do you decide which one to use?

1. To Pay or Not to pay, that is the first question.

We are all concerned about the bottom line and free can be very appealing. We’ve all used YouTube and it is the juggernaut of internet video. The only search engine bigger is Google, so you’ve got that going for you. But your video is mixed in with cat videos, Miley Cyrus twerking and even your competitor’s videos.  I am not anti-YouTube, I love a good cat video and I think that there are times when it is the right choice for your organization.
Investing in hosting, though, opens opportunities that a free hosting service doesn’t.

2. Advantages of Investing in a hosting service

There are a ton of hosting services available for your organization, Vimeo, Brightcove, Wistia, Vzaar are just a couple that spring to mind. (I won’t take the time to offer thoughts on each one individually in this article).  Here are things that I look for to evaluate a hosting service.
– Branding & Customization – Can the player be customized with brand identifiers, like a logo and colors? When a video is embedded in your website, you want it to look like it belongs there.
– Analytics – This is a biggie, you want to know how people are interacting with your videos. How of the video are they watching?
– Email Integration – If you send emails out or want to, some hosting services offer embedding integration with services such as Mailchimp. If emailing your videos is a part of your strategy, you definitely want to look into this component. There are even some video services that cater specifically and only to email like Bomb-Bomb.
– Playback – For me a critical component that a hosting service needs to provide is fast and smooth playback. Anytime that I have to wait on a video to load or it pauses to buffer, I’m more than likely done watching that video, I bet you do it too. When the play button is hit, the video needs to play and play smoothly all the way through.

3. Not all hosting services are created equal

Yep, it’s true, there are benefits and drawbacks to hosting service you find. I don’t know that there is the one perfect video hosting service out there, but there are some great ones. Take some time and make a list of the important things to your video strategy and let them help you pick the service that is right for you.

Video Analytics

Watching the number of views of your video tick upward is exciting. Afterall, when you produce a video, the point is for people to watch it.  Basic info like number of views and subscribers is good, but do they give you enough information to evaluate how effective your video is?

1. Beyond the basics

Basic information is just that, basic. It doesn’t really help you make better videos. Let’s say that you create a video and it gets 500 views. Is that video a success? Some of you may say yes others would be less than impressed with that number. Did all 500 people watch the video all the way through or did they stop after the first 15 seconds? Did they rewatch any part of the video? Did they skip any sections? Analytics help get beyond the basics and lets you seehow people watch your video.

2. The information

I use Wistia for my video hosting service. Beyond just hosting my videos, Wistia’s video analytics tools provide great insight to how people interact with each video. Beyond just the number of watches, these anayltics show how long people watched, where each individual stopped watching, and if they watched more than once. You get an overall graph for engagement with the video as well as individual heat maps. Each viewer creates a heatmap where you can see how they watched the video.


3. Digging into the information

If we were international spies, like James Bond or Austin Powers, we’d call this information actionable intellegence. It’s the information that guides what you need to do to make your videos better.

I produced a series of short videos where the client wanted a contact slide at the end of each video. We were pleased with the number of people that viewed the videos based on expectation. As we looked at the data, it was clear that though viewers watched most of the videos, they stopped watching when the info screen came up. Using the analytics we adjusted how the contact information was presented and viewers became engaged throughout the whole video.

Taking the time to use and understand analytics is key to creating effective videos. We all want to tell our story well and analytics help us to be better storytellers.