The case for web videos on a company’s website has been well documented: a focused video can do wonders for converting viewers to contacts. It is also true that, implemented properly, the video can play a role bringing relevant traffic to your site.

There are two options for implementation:

1 – Firstly, you can implement them yourself – we call this self-hosting

2 – Or, you can implement to one of the popular public platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube or Daily Motion (and no doubt many more these days). It’s not for us to say which of these platforms is the best, but as Google and YouTube are more or less the same thing when it comes to search the answer presents itself.

The real choice is about hosting or embedding. Here are some views to keep in mind:

Self-hosting pros:

  • No copyright issues

With a self-hosted video, the content is all yours and nobody can copy it without your permission. Moreover, it is far more difficult to download a self-hosted video than an embedded video.

  • No Advertising

Sometimes Youtube diplays unwanted adverts. It’s not a common issue but it did happen once with one of our music videos; because of a copyright infringement issue involving the track, Youtube was displaying ads at the bottom of the video, so in this case we had to host the video ourselves.
All the viewing figures are yours.

Because your site is the owner of the video, every ‘share’ from a user is yours, which provides some good back links to your website. However, as you will see later, back links from youtube are good as long as the videos are implemented according to the best practice.

Custom built and designed video players

Depending on the video hosting solution you are using, you can design the ‘look and feel’ or your player to incorporate company colours as well as features like pop-up players, lightboxes and shadow box players. HTML5 video players allow you to add interactive functions within the video which helps improve the user experience and creates new opportunities to convert.

Self-hosting cons:

  • Cost

A video takes a lot of space to store, so your hosting provider will charge you for providing data storage. You are also likely to incur streaming charges for every time a video is played. This is likely to be just a fraction of a penny each time, but if your video suddenly goes viral you could unexpectedly be liable for some big charges. There is a flip side to this in that you may suddenly have many more conversions and sales.

  • Technical skills

Implementing videos can be quote a sophisticated process. You have to upload the video to the server and then carry out a series of tests to optimise the video to play as efficiently as possible across a vast range of browser and broadband speeds. This mattered because slow playback is one of the main reasons that causes people to give up and leave the video (and probably your website).

  • Reduced search engine visibility

Following on from the above point, it is likely that self-hosting will reduce the ability of the search engines to find your video. You can of course ‘tag’ your video with the right meta data that will help the search engines, but you have to remember to do it and it’s usually quite a fiddly, time-consuming job.

Embedding pros:

  • Free hosting

Yes, it is free. No headache with free hosting platform such as Youtube. The main thing is to create an account for your business.

For a YouTube type channel our advice is to avoid mixing your personal profile with your company profile/ Create a new Gmail account and then a company Google + account and link the YouTube channel to that account.

  • Massive audience

Vimeo, Dailymotion or Youtube are drawing an amazing number of views the world over. These platforms provide the highest chance for your video to be viewed, shared and promoted on social media. You need to do your work to get found, though. For example, linking back to your site within the description area, writing a relevant headline title and the correct keywords. If you have several videos on the same subject, be more specific about keywords. Targeting is the key!

  • Very fast loading

Why are platform players so fast while self-hosting players are struggling? Well, it is easy to understand: YouTube, Daily Motion etc. invest millions of dollars developing their technology! Key areas they focus on are playback speed and viewer usability- anything that makes it easier for the view to be watched in the best quality.

  • No technical skills needed but some common sense helps

Just follow the instructions, which usually means just drag-and-drop these days… That’s about it! It may take some time to upload a new video, but that’s down to your broadband upload speed. Apart from that, all you will need is a relevant, descriptive title and some useful keywords. Overall, embedding a video is not rocket science.

However, if you are code-savvy, you can use Javascript to alter a video players’ style as well.

Top Tip: If a YouTube video is embedded on your site, you can disable the display of related videos at the end as not to distract your audience: deselect the option “include related videos” before copying the video embed code.

Embedding cons:

  • Your video is not yours anymore

Here is the point: the hosting platform can decide to suspend your video. Be sure your video is not breaking any rules. The platform owner could decide not to make your video available in a specific country, which would mean that it won’t appear on your website in that country.

  • Advertising

On embedded Youtube videos, you may see ads showing up at the bottom of your video. You can specify that you don’t want any ads in your account settings if it is your video coming from your channel and you have all the rights over it.

  • Losing your audience

Yes, people may be more comfortable clicking on a familiar Youtube or Vimeo logo to watch your video from that platform, but as long as they end up at your account. If your account, keywords and related content are set properly, the key to success is simply quality content.

  • You can’t choose your player design or thumbnail

Even if embedded players are looking better than 3 years ago, the design options are limited unless you have strong Javascript skills to manipulate the provided code. An example of this is the limited options available on YouTube for choosing the thumbnail image that is shown when your video is ready to be played. [Update: reports are that Youtube will allow this sometime soon].


So to conclude, you’ll have to make a choice depending on your strategy.

Self Hosting

Platform Hosting
  • No copyright issues
  • Well, your video is not yours anymore !
  • No Advertising
  • Advertising can be avoided
  • All the viewing are yours
  • Viewers can migrate from your site to the platform site.
  • Fancy players and you choose the thumbnail
  • You can’t choose your player or the thumbnail
  • Expensive
  • Free
  • Technical skills needed
  • Easy to handle
  • No additional audience
  • Huge potential side audience

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