YouTube, or not YouTube. That is the question.
– William Shakespeare

Okay, so Shakespeare said absolutely nothing about YouTube. Or videos at all. Ever. (I’ll escort myself to the corner now.) But sometimes we tend to run into clients with that same question.

Obviously YouTube is worth investing in. But how do you know whether it should be the biggest tool in your marketing belt?

Let’s take a look at where the popular hosting platform excels… and falls short.

Perk #1: It’s Familiar.

Let’s be honest: if you know what the internet is, then you know what YouTube is.

It’s right up there with Google, Amazon, and Twitter. It’s well-established, it’s popular, and it’s a brand that’s instantly recognized by millions. If you have a YouTube channel, then people know you have videos to share – and people loooove videos.

Perk #2: It’s User-Friendly.

One of the reasons why YouTube has become – and remained – popular in the first place is because you don’t need to be an expert in web design or SEO or production value to use it. It has a simple interface, optional bonus features, and you can usually share it on social media websites, multiple devices, or embed it in your website with minimal training.

And… that’s about it for the perks.

Funny thing is, it’s hard to think of any great things about YouTube beyond those two factors. Everything is summed up right there. People going viral, videos gaining high SEO… anything praiseworthy about YouTube comes down to the fact that it’s a familiar and flexible medium that we’re all used to handling. But sometimes that is exactly the problem.

We’ve grown so accustomed to YouTube that we rarely stop to think whether a hosting platform should have or do anything better.

So let’s examine where YouTube falls short.

Problem #1: It Steals Your Audience.

When you post your video to YouTube and embed it in your website, if people click on it, then guess where they go? Not your website.

YouTube gets all your visitors, and all the credit.

Now, if you’re a high school quartet singing Disney covers, that may not be significant. But if you’re a well-established industrial firm and your website traffic matters, then YouTube could be damaging your outreach and even revenues. Especially if people are searching for you on their work computers, with productivity software that potentially blocks “social” sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

And YouTube doesn’t just acquire your visitors, either: after they arrive, it slowly leads them away from you.

Once prospects watch your video, the popular site often leads them away on rabbit trails to other companies or channels thanks to the “Autoplay” or “You Might Also Like,” features… not to mention that your video might be getting smothered by advertisements… even advertisements for other companies in your industry! It’s like being required to set up billboards for your competitors next to your own. “Oh, you’re looking for information about that model of forklift? Here are what the other forklift companies have in stock, too!” Historically not a good sales tactic.

Problem #2: It’s Not Good With Data.

Big shock: Video marketing means dealing with marketing as well as videos, and marketing requires measuring numbers. Lead generation, click-through rates, engagement – all things that YouTube’s classic “view counter” can’t quite replace.

How can you measure whether your video was really a success? With YouTube… you kind of can’t.

Are tons of people enjoying it and sharing the link? Are disinterested viewers searching for something else and clicking away after stumbling onto your video by accident? Did a popular website reference your video in a blog post and send hundreds of prospects your way? Did your loyal customers come and replay the clip over and over in search of answers to a question you didn’t quite address?

If you want to recognize and adjust for any such developments, whether getting rid of misunderstandings or capitalizing on your five minutes of genuine fame, you need proper analytics to be able to read what’s going on.

And despite being owned by Google, home of Google Analytics that can measure all sorts of things for you… YouTube just doesn’t have any good data-measurement features.

SEO is easy to build with YouTube’s keyword feature… but Google’s own structured data testing tool isn’t able to recognize any YouTube embeds as video objects, either. That means that instead of boosting your website’s credibility by showing Google that you have a video displaying your expertise, its SEO algorithm glosses right over you. Meaning that all your hard work isn’t even getting noticed and pushed closer to Page 1 of the web’s most popular search engine.

So is YouTube great for video hosting? Absolutely. But should it be your central weapon of choice for video marketing? Probably not.

So what other options are out there? You’ve probably seen some here and there without realizing it. A lot of corporations elect to use platforms like Vimeo (which is actually pretty similar to YouTube), or privately host players on their own site – which can be outrageously expensive and requires a lot of bandwidth, not to mention training.

As a company with a pretty gigantic video collection, we know how important video hosting is.

That’s why we offer to host videos for our clients, with a platform that is easily embedded into their website and won’t suck traffic away to its own site. You’ve probably seen it if you’ve ever browsed through our vlogs or watched the videos we’ve made for our clients. This system allows us to collect data on the real behavior of the audience, as well as direct where viewers go when the video is done.

We still post videos on YouTube as a secondary resource, but we rely on a more sophisticated platform to measure actual campaign results and ROI.

Now we can get a better idea of how many people are really watching our videos; where they’re losing interest; and more. Best of all, our private platform is recognized by Google’s SEO algorithm, which means boosted credibility and organic search recognition.

Still not convinced? Head over to our demo reel and check out the platform for yourself, or watch our latest vlog about how this whole “video analytics” thing works. And if you still have questions, feel free to contact one of our video marketing experts and hear more about it straight from the source.