Weighing the Options for Hosting Ecommerce Videos: YouTube vs. Third-party Platforms

This post was written by Melody King of Treepodia. Melody has 13 years of experience in IT, focusing the last 7 in eCommerce. During this tenure, she consulted with more than 500 organizations to assist with increasing their site usability, merchandising, conversion, and order size. She has a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, BSIT with a minor in DBA, and MBA.

To make sure your product videos get as many viewers as possible, you may be thinking about hosting them on YouTube. This is a logical step to take, since YouTube has a massive audience, and makes it easy to do social sharing of your videos.

But hosting videos on YouTube isn’t the only option. You may want to check out third-party video hosting solutions that can offer features that aren’t available on YouTube. It’s a good idea to compare YouTube to other video platforms so that you can decide which way to go. Here are some factors to consider.

Look & Feel

Generally, it’s quite easy to embed videos that are hosted on YouTube on your eCommerce website. However, you don’t get too many choices as to how the video is displayed, or what size they are. YouTube-hosted videos generally take up a lot of space – space that you might want to use for more description of the product, or more images. If you host your videos via a third-party provider, you may have more presentation choices available to you. For example, you may be able to use tabs to showcase video options; when visitors click on a tab, the video screen expands.

Free vs. Paid

YouTube doesn’t charge to host video, and free options are always attractive, especially if your company is new and just getting on its feet. But that free price tag may come at the cost of functionality that you need to run your eCommerce business effectively, and to make sure that your videos are seen by the widest possible audience. For example, if you have a lot of videos, it can take many hours to upload them to YouTube, since the site isn’t really designed for mass uploading. On the other hand, a third-party video platform can automate the uploading process so you can get more done in less time.

Search Engine Rankings

The common wisdom says that by placing your videos on YouTube, you’ll get them listed higher in search rankings, since YouTube is owned by Google. Conversely, so the wisdom goes, if your videos are hosted by anyone besides YouTube, they won’t show up as high in search results.

However, this isn’t necessarily true. The algorithms that Google uses to decide video ranking will place higher importance on a site’s topical authority – so a computer equipment site will rank higher in the algorithm for a wireless router video than a similar video on YouTube, which the algorithm views as a video portal.

Shopping Online

If customers see your product in a YouTube video, or watch the video on a social network, they have to return to your website and search for the product if they want to buy it. This takes a lot of time, which may discourage them from making the purchase. Third-party video hosting solutions have features that make it easier for viewers to make a purchase – for instance, being able to add a product to a shopping cart directly from a video player.

YouTube is a popular choice for hosting e-commerce videos, but sophisticated e-commerce capabilities are limited. eCommerce professionals should consider the features they need in hosted video – such as flexible presentation options, metrics and testing. Third-party hosting providers can offer enough options to make them a strong alternative to YouTube.

Image Credit: jonsson

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