Why Pay for Video When YouTube is Free?

  •    Wes is the founder of iPlayerHD, a business video platform. Weather permitting, he splits his time between Maine and Arizona.

Can you remember the first time you watched a video on the web? Or the day you first heard the name YouTube? Unless you were living in a cave in Outer Mongolia (Isn’t all of Mongolia Outer?), it was sometime in 2005, the year YouTube first appeared on your monitor and began its rapid march toward becoming the number two website in the world, second only to Google.

Despite billions of views and billions of dollars in advertising revenue each year, YouTube continues to be a money sink for Google and parent, Alphabet, Inc. While we really don’t care why YouTube loses money, Google cares a ton, as they should. So they do all they can to increase revenue. By the way, they earn most of their ad revenue from videos that live on the YouTube domain and not from the YouTube videos embedded on your website. Remember that as we continue this discussion.

Have a look at the control bar of a typical YouTube video embedded on a typical website.

​While YouTube allows you to disable ads in your embedded videos, they do not allow you to remove the YouTube logo/link you see at the bottom of the player. That’s because YouTube’s self-interest is to drive traffic back to their domain where they earn most of their revenue. One simple click on that YouTube logo and your traffic has left your site and has been whisked away to a YouTube page. And, no surprise here folks, that page often contains competitor videos tagged similarly to yours. Regardless, your traffic has left the building and may never return.

As it is, we all have a bit of IADD – Internet Attention Deficit Disorder – a result of a constant barrage of information, texts, emails, more information, more texts, more emails. So adding distraction to your own website makes no sense. No sense at all.

This all begs the question “Why risk losing site traffic that you and your team worked overtime to obtain just to save a few dollars by not using a private video hosting platform?”

Most of us work tirelessly trying to stand above the crowd, to be heard in a very noisy neighborhood. It’s a tough world and we need to stay on top of our game if we are to succeed. We need lots of traffic landing on our webpages because only a fraction of that traffic will convert. And we need to do everything we can to keep that traffic on our sites.

Savvy marketers follow this simple mantra “Use YouTube to drive traffic to your website. Use an ad-free, private video hosting platform to keep it there.” There are many good business video hosting platforms from which to choose. The small fee you’ll pay every month pales in comparison to the much greater cost of losing a potential customer who was lured away by YouTube.

While there are other reasons to use a private video hosting platform, including robust features not found on YouTube, your primary motivation should be to protect the traffic you’ve worked so hard to obtain. That should be reason enough.