Should Vimeo kill the YouTube star? It’s a matter of traffic

Yesterday, we looked at some of the traffic benefits of uploading a YouTube video, following Peter Strong’s now classic rap video.


Of course, this raises a question. As one commenter asked: Why you should use YouTube rather than a paid video hosting service, such as Vimeo Pro?


Well, Old Taskmaster says the answer will depend on what you want to use your video for.


Let’s start with the basics. What’s wrong with hosting your own videos? After all, there are perfectly good plug-ins that let you host a streaming Flash video on WordPress, or other content management systems, such as Joomla or Drupal.


The answer is because videos – especially high definition ones – are big files. Aside from using up a lot of server storage space, you only need a few people downloading them to burn through a few gigabytes of bandwidth. This, in turn, makes streaming videos really expensive to host yourself.


What this means is that if you want commercial videos on the web, you’ll have to pay for them, either through advertising, by making your clips pay-per-view for your viewers, or by paying for that bandwidth and the storage space.


Now, there are many benefits to going with YouTube. It’s free for your viewers to use. It’s free to upload your videos on to. You can host many videos on there. Not only is it a free site, but it’s a free site that allows commercial videos; many free video hosting sites frown on business videos, but not YouTube.


However, these benefits are paid for by Google shoving its ads on before the start of your videos – and over the top of them too!


Now, if you want to embed – say – a product demonstration video on your website, making sure your visitors don’t sit through five seconds of someone else’s ad before they can skip to see your product could be worth paying a premium for.


There are other cases where a paid video hosting service might be the best solution. For example, if you have a pay-per-view video, if you want to offer easy downloads of your video (as Vimeo Pro does) or else if you could have explicit content in your videos.


However, aside from the price, there’s a really huge downside to not going with YouTube.


As Old Taskmaster’s pointed out before, in terms of market share, YouTube is absolutely massive. Of the 182 million Americans who watched a streaming video in May, 154.5 million watched it on YouTube. That’s a huge chunk of the market. As an added bonus, the YouTube app comes pre-installed on any smartphone or tablet worth buying.


Not going with YouTube means that your video will not appear in the results when someone searches for a video on YouTube, either on the app or the website. It will not appear as a recommendation after another video. In turn, those users will not click through to your website. As far as world’s second largest search engine (YouTube) is concerned, you and your business do not exist.


In terms of luring viewers to your website or blog, going with another video hosting site is like setting up an account on MySpace but not on Twitter or Facebook: To most users, you do not exist.


If you include links back to your website in your video and your video description, a YouTube clip is a powerful way of generating traffic. At present, not even the next largest competitor – Facebook – has the scale to compete.


So, to sum up, there are cases when using paid video hosting services, such as Vimeo Pro, makes sense. However, if you want to generate traffic for your website, YouTube is the only way to go.


Your job, as an entrepreneur, is to work out what you want your videos to achieve, and choose the right service for your business.


Get it done – today!


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments