Any ol’ marketer from New York City to Timbuktu knows to put his videos on YouTube, the “no-duh” (free) go-to place to host your video content. And now Facebook has been going hard on video for over the past year, sucking up and promoting as much video content as much as they can. We wrote about all the free ways you can promote your videos or look at your video ROI and analytics in previous posts.
But the truth is that savvy marketers know that they can’t rely solely on free hosting, especially if they want more control, analytics and insights into what’s working and what’s not. Instead, at some point they will have to turn to paid video marketing platforms like Vidyard, Wistia, VideoSprout and others.
Wait, what? Pay for video hosting?
Professional video marketing platforms are centered around not only hosting your video content, but also providing a slew of analytics, tracking and marketing tools. The idea is basically to specifically identify your video viewers and their engagement behavior and make the most of it, taking your videos from a finished piece of content that just “sits there” and making it more dynamic, effective and actionable.
“The idea is basically to specifically identify your video viewers and their engagement behavior and make the most of it.”
Some of these video marketing platforms can also be integrated into your existing CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and MAPS (Marketing Automation Platforms) platforms such Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, etc., so that you can track and manage your leads on the basis of what types of videos they are watching. How deep these integrations go depends on the platform.
We know this is a complex space, so we’ve done a quick-and-dirty a rundown on the major video marketing platforms to give you a sense of which one might be best for you.
Price: Free – $200 per month
Analytics: Basic coverage
Marketing Tools: Beginner
Vimeo is the slightly cooler, older, but ultimately less successful cousin to the bloated ad-beast known as YouTube. Vimeo is basically a good option for companies that don’t have a big budget but nonetheless need something a step above YouTube for hosting their video repository. Vimeo is really good with HD content, social sharing and privacy settings. It’s a more elegant, curated experience than YouTube, and you can do a lot with a free account.
“Vimeo is a more elegant, curated experience than YouTube.”
However, when it comes to the paid accounts, Vimeo is lacking in features that make it worth paying for. In terms of advanced analytics and viewer tracking, it’s much less robust than the other options we’ll discuss below. Vimeo does however offer the ability to sell or rent your video content, which can be lucrative for content producers and independent filmmakers (Vimeo gives 90% of the price to Creators). Overall, Vimeo is a nice step above YouTube, but if you’re really serious about your video marketing efforts you’ll need something more heavy duty.
Price: Free – $300+ per month for Enterprise
Analytics: Full coverage
Marketing Tools: Diverse and powerful, in $100+ plans
Bonus Points: A free plan you can actually use
Wistia has been around for a while and is really robust in terms of its features set, and has a clean, modern and spare interface. Their video player offers tons of customization options in terms of aesthetics. Analytics wise, they have cool features like heat maps to show you exactly which parts of your video were engaging and which parts induce drop off. They also show easy- to-understand Engagement Graphs to understand how your videos perform as a whole. Another key marketing feature that Wistia offers are “Turnstiles,” which essentially allow you to insert a gateway between you and your content, prompting the viewer to enter their email address or other contact info in order to watch or continue with a video, and thereby converting them into a lead you can contact.
“Wistia is a slick, user-friendly yet powerful platform with a wide range of clear pricing plans”
Pricing-wise, there is a nice free option that allows you to test the waters, but it means that all your videos will have a Wistia watermark on them. Once you get to the $100 Pro plans and up, that’s when the advanced analytics and user tracking features kick in, along with the marketing features like Turnstile, annotations and integrations with CRMs and MAPS.
Wistia is a slick, user-friendly yet powerful video marketing platform with a wide range of clear pricing plans, and is a great straightforward option for those who are ready to make a real step up from YouTube.
Price: Custom, no free plans
Analytics: Full coverage, pick and choose
Marketing Tools: Powerful and diverse
Bonus points: thumbnail A/B testing, customized videos
Vidyard is another biggie in the video hosting platform space, and they really focus on enterprise clients who are serious about turbocharging their video marketing efforts. The truth is they have so many features it’s hard to know everything you can get from them, and the website can be a bit confusing on elucidating their offering. But the good thing is they will custom craft a solution for your company, and not necessarily make you pay for a bunch of features you won’t use. It will however be pretty pricey.
Of course, Vidyard offers many of the same robust features as Wistia, including customizable players, user analytics, email gating, CTAs, etc. Their integrations with CRMs and MAPs are also stellar, with integrations with Eloqua, Salesforce.com, Marketo, and more and integrations with CRMs and MAP.
They do go the extra mile, however, with features like A/B testing on video thumbnails, customized “video hubs” for your content, and the ability to create video journeys/sequences of multiple videos for your customers.
Vidyard is also now pushing hard the concept of “personalized videos,” which is exactly what it sounds like–videos that can dynamically insert personalized video content like your name or company into a piece of content. Fill in your details here and check out the video they send you. Pretty amazing!
Price: 14-day free trial, $25-$400 a month afterward
Analytics: Full coverage
Marketing Tools: Strong, focus on security settings
Bonus Points: “Video Websites” feature
SproutVideo seems to receive less attention than Wistia or Vidyard, (they are a bit less fun in their branding and marketing efforts…) but it also is a strong option that has a lot of the same features as the others, although it can end up being really pricey because their plans are based heavily on bandwidth usage.
SproutVideo is really strong on security settings–making videos only available behind passwords, logins, etc, which can especially important for enterprise/ B2B clients that don’t want their videos to go viral. They also offer strong analytics and engagement tracking, as well as marketing tools like CTAs and email gates. And they are especially known for the hyper customizability of their video player.
Their newest feature is all about building “Video Websites,” which aims to cut out all the 3rd parties and technical aspects that used to be required in building video websites and makes it all doable yourself.
Price: 30-day free trial, $25-$500+ a month afterward, save 20% when you pay annually
Analytics: Really limited
Marketing Tools: Medium, can’t integrate with CRMs
Vzaar is a smaller player in the space, but they’ve been around for a while, having started as a video platform for eBay sellers, and also having at one point been invested in by director Oliver Stone (random fun fact).
Vzaar really emphasizes their bulk uploading, customizable player, security settings and stellar customer service, but they are definitely lacking when it comes to marketing and analytic tools to take your videos to the next level (and most of the other contenders listed here have these.). However, they do have a helpful tool for helping to improve your videos SEO.
Their pricing is also quite expensive, especially considering the dearth of missing features that you can get from others for similar price
The Big Daddies:
If you’re a larger publisher, distributor or content owner who are looking to monetize on their video content, it’s likely you may need an even more robust solution. For this, there are even bigger companies like BrightCove, Kaltura and Ooyala. I won’t go into all the details and pricing plans on these companies here, but chances are if you’re in need of one of these heavy-duty solutions, you definitely already know…
Video Marketing Platforms Recap
The video marketing platforms space is a crowded one, and there’s a lot of great options that are out there that might suit your business, but for price and value, Wistia and Vidyard are our top choices. Wistia is more affordable, while Vidyard is a bit more powerful and customizable, but ultimately are either excellent options for the marketer who is serious about making video marketing a priority for their brand.