Video is fast becoming the lifeblood of online marketing, branding, and communication. Done properly, it’s an incredibly effective medium for increasing awareness, engagement, and generating traffic. However, many businesses and webmasters shoot themselves in the foot by using third-party video hosting services like YouTube and Vimeo. While there are clear advantages to using YouTube in some cases, including increased exposure, the fact that your content is living on someone else’s site can limits the sort of content you can publish and what you can do with it.
The alternative is self-hosting a video sharing site that bestows many of the same benefits as using YouTube, while ensuring that you remain firmly in control of your content. So, why should you be using a self-hosted video sharing site rather than YouTube and its competitors?
Ownership And Control Of Content
When you publish your content on third-party video sharing services, you submit to a series of conditions that remove much of your control over that content. You have limited options for promoting and displaying your videos. It’s very easy to unknowingly step into a breach of YouTube’s terms and conditions, and if you do your content can be taken down, rendering any previous marketing efforts worthless. Incoming links will go nowhere and embeds will be disabled. If you host your own videos you have complete control over the conditions of their publication.
Avoidance Of Censorship
There are serious limitations to the sorts of content that YouTube considers acceptable. As a subsidiary of Google, YouTube is bound to help maintain its parent company’s corporate image. Content favored by niche communities but frowned upon by the wider community is subject to censorship on third-party sites. If you host your own video sharing site, so long as your content is legal, you’re unlikely to have problems.
No Revenue Sharing
YouTube is “free,” but that freedom comes at a cost: a percentage of all advertising revenues and limitations on the advertising that can be shown. As a publisher of your own content, self-hosting allows you to use whichever advertising networks you desire and sell advertising spots directly.
If you own the site and the content, you also own all advertising revenues that it generates.
Benefit From Your Own SEO
Videos are excellent SEO tools. They tend to garner more sharing than other media. Sharing and embedding means incoming links. If your videos are hosted on YouTube, most of that SEO advantage is lost. Your own domain does not benefit.
Furthermore, if you host videos on YouTube and then embed them in your own site, as is very common for businesses producing video content, because YouTube’s domain authority is likely to be much higher than your domain’s, any results including your video are going to have YouTube in a significantly higher position than your site.
Higher Engagement With Your Content
YouTube is massive and hosts many millions of videos. One of its main strengths is diversity of content. That’s great for YouTube, but not so good for content creators who need to keep people engaged with their videos rather than those of a competitors.
Overall, while YouTube is great for hosting the occasional video, for anyone serious about video content, self-hosted video sharing sites are the only way to go.