Video streaming is where the web is at today. It’s pretty rare for people to download videos, maybe a TV show or a movie, but rarely a short web video. YouTube has become synonymous with streaming video since 2005 when they figured out how to do it well. Before YouTube, streaming video was a real roll of the dice; you didn’t know if the video would load properly, the quality, or if it might risk your computers security.
YouTube changed all of that and with Google’s purchase of YouTube in 2006 they have become the unrivaled king of streaming video. The only other competition is Vimeo and Hulu. The former focusing on artistic and indie videos and the latter streaming ad supported network TV shows.
Should you Use A 3rd Party?
There are two choices you can make: use a streaming service like YouTube or Vimeo, or host the video yourself on your own servers. The problem with the latter is that video files are very large and they use an incredible amount of bandwidth to stream. (you might see a lot more ads on YouTube lately as they are trying to monetize) Unless you have a lot of assets and have a special need to host your own videos streaming from a 3rd party is usually the better option.
One of the great things about streaming services is that they make it so easy for people to share video. You can post a link on your Facebook, send it as a text message, or embed it on a forum post. The “shareability” of a YouTube or Vimeo video is one of its greatest assets. If you want your video to get many views make it is as “shareable” as possible. This means using a well thought out title and description. You should also pay attention to the type of video you are publishing. If you want to get a lot of views make it brief, no longer than 2-3 minutes.
While YouTube is the king of streaming video its main rival Vimeo shouldn’t be discounted. Vimeo will not allow corporate or marketing videos on its site, if you want to put anything up that’s for profit you will have to sign up for their paid service. Their professional program is great for companies that really just want to show video on their homepage. It provides a clean, logo free, player that uses Vimeo’s servers to show streaming video on your site. Whether you want a free branded YouTube player or a paid unbranded Vimeo player both will accomplish the same thing.
The key to showing video on your page is something called the “embed code” both YouTube and Vimeo will show an embed code for most videos. For example YouTube will show an embed code when you select “Share This Video” in the description. The embed code is an HTML code that you paste into your website. You can put it anywhere inside the html body tags to display the selected video. The embed code can do quite a lot of things and is surprisingly powerful. Check out YouTube’s embed code modifiers page to learn more.
Getting video on your site is easier than you think. By leveraging the power of YouTube or Vimeo you can have streaming video bring in more traffic, get more conversions, and increase time on site.