YouTube is bad for your business. Their free video streams come with hidden costs: lost control of your video, diluted SEO, and sabotaged sales funnels. None of that matters if you’re posting birthday party or tee-ball videos. But, if you partnering with YouTube to boost conversion, you’re sleeping with the enemy.
Your video frienemey
Videos draw eyeballs. Nobody knows better than YouTube. In January 2012, YouTube surpassed 4 billion views per DAY. Some argue those videos boost search results. They sure do—for YouTube.
When your videos come up in search results, those links bring viewers to YouTube, not your site. Your content, their win. What’s worse, as of now, YouTube’s only link to you is found in the description field. How many of those do you read?
Hidden conversion leaks
Those videos also punch leaks in your conversion funnel, providing your hard-earned traffic an easy exit to YouTube. While you can block display of other content at the end of a video, it’s nearly impossible to block in-video ads. And, removing the YouTube link is forbidden. Just read the user agreement:
“If you use the Embeddable Player on your website, you may not modify, build upon, or block any portion or functionality of the Embeddable Player, including but not limited to links back to the YouTube website.”
What’s worse, your content becomes theirs to use as they please:
“By submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.”
That’s just nuts. But, you have a choice.
Free Video Antidote
The benefits of paid professional video hosting far exceed the costs of a free service. These three options provide better control, trackability, and increased SEO benefits:
Reliable meat-and-potatoes hosting. Customizable player, basic stats, and control of where you video can be embedded make this one a worthy consideration. At $59 a year, it’s a bargain—and well worth the added price over basic Vimeo.
I have clients who use Vzaar because it offers an app allowing direct uploads from iPhones. In addition to features Vimeo offers, Vzaar adds call-to-action links, customizable URLs, variable encoding options, and more. You’ll also pay more: $29 to $499 a month.
Wistia provides the most hiccup-free viewing experience of any I’ve tested. Their best-in-class embed tool, rock-solid SEO options, view-by-view video heatmap analytics, and customer service make Wistia your best choice. Prices range from $23 to $239 per month.
While I recommend (and use) Wistia, any of these three provide better control of your video and user experience. Preserving the sanctity of your conversion process more than offsets the cost.
Let go of the idea that video streaming should be free and start getting your money’s worth. You’ll never look back.