It’s no secret that video content is now everywhere, and it is expected that by 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will consist of video. However, for any content creator and content provider, delivering video content always has one particular issue: video is much larger than text-based or even audio content, so publishing videos on your site can really strain your website servers.
This is where video hosting platforms come in to host your large video files, optimize them, and distribute them to the video player/directly to your viewers. If you want to be serious in your video marketing and/or starting a video content service, then investing in a good video hosting platform is a must.
What Is Video Hosting Service?
As discussed, the key issue to consider here is that video files are large. So, in most cases, we can’t host videos directly on our websites, which can burden our web server dramatically. Even if we have a large enough dedicated server, hosting videos on our own server can often result in slow delivery, stutters, and even playback errors.
This is especially true if viewers are viewing your content on mobile devices which often suffer from unstable connections and the fact that there are so many different screen sizes available in the market today. Chances are, if we host our own videos, it won’t be properly optimized for mobile. Considering more than 50% of all videos online are viewed on mobile devices, then this is a major issue.
A common problem is that since different user bandwidth and screen size might demand different video quality and/or aspect ratio, we’ll need to save a lot of different versions of one video on our server. Not only this will create another size issue, managing these files can be a major hassle.
So, how can a video hosting platform solve these issues?
By using a dedicated video hosting, the hosting platform will take care of all these issues so you can focus on the things that actually matter: creating content and marketing your channel. Your video hosting platform will simply provide you with an embed code, and you can add this code on your website or your app/web app.
Choosing Your Video Hosting Platforms
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using video hosting platforms in delivering your content, how should we choose the right platform for us?
As we know, now we have a wide range of video hosting platforms available in the market with various price ranges and features, so choosing between all of them can be confusing.
With that being said, here are some key considerations you should have in choosing a video hosting platform:
- The purpose of the video
Before anything else, we should consider the purpose of the video content we are going to publish. Different video hosting platforms offer different sets of features that might or might not help your objective.
For example, if your objective is to engage your audience with daily videos, then reliability and uptime might be your most important considerations.
- Your audience’s behaviors
It’s very important to define your target audience and understand their habits in interacting with your content. For example, if they are more likely to interact with live-streamed videos, then you might consider a video hosting that is reliable in live-streaming your content. Your target audience’s behavior should be your main consideration in choosing between the different video hosting platforms.
- Where you are going to distribute your content
Another important consideration is where you are going to stream and/or upload your videos. If, for example, you are only going to stream on Facebook Live or YouTube, then you might not need a video hosting platform at all, since they can be considered free video hosting services on their own.
However, if you are going to publish your content on your site or your own app, then you’d need a professional hosting platform for this purpose.
Different platforms offer different levels of freedom regarding how you can monetize your content.
There are generally three main ways to monetize our video content at the moment:
- Subscription-based video on demand (SVOD): viewers can view all of our videos included in the library after they’ve paid a recurring fee (can be monthly, annually, or even daily).
- Transactional-based video on demand (TVOD): also known as pay-per-view, users can view a single video (or selected videos) after they’ve paid for it/them.
- Ad-based video on demand (AVOD): viewers can view the videos for free, but they will be shown advertising every now and then
With those key considerations, generally, we should look for these important features in a video hosting platform:
- Ease of use: pretty self-explanatory, it should be easy enough to upload, manage, and distribute our hosted videos.
- Analytics: different platforms offer different levels of details in their analytics, and some don’t offer analytics at all.
- Monetization: depending on how you are planning to monetize your content (transaction-based/pay per view, advertising, subscription-based, a combination of these), different platforms offer different flexibilities in monetizing your videos
- Customization: how freely can we customize the video player to accommodate branding
- Security: both for your videos and for your audience’s sensitive data
- CDN: content distribution network (CDN) allows us to distribute videos from virtual servers closer to the viewer’s location, so it will reduce latency and improve reliability
There are plenty of video hosting platforms out there from free ones like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. With so many to choose from, it’s important to understand the key sets of features offered by each, and how they will fit your objective(s).
Above, we have also discussed the key considerations you should have when choosing between different video hosting platforms, and the key features you should look for.
The key here is to first understand your objective in publishing video content, and also your target audience’s needs and behaviors. Once you’ve properly understood them, then it’s only a matter of finding the most affordable and reliable one according to what you need.