For organizations of every size, shape, and vertical, video is quickly becoming the go-to medium for delivering onboarding videos, custom training, as well as product demonstrations and pure entertainment.
Whether you're live-streaming on social or sending personal, one-to-one messages, if you're making videos, well, you need a place to store them.
Sure, there's always YouTube, but the free platform doesn't necessarily offer much in the way of features—let alone a customizable, ad-free experience.
There are several reasons why hosting videos yourself isn't necessarily a great idea—namely, the lack of sales and marketing tools, optimization suggestions, and customizability you'll find with some of the better hosting platforms in the game.
Video hosting platforms give users the ability to upload and organize video files, but that's just the beginning.
Some platforms come with impressive features including the ability to host live-streams, customize the video player, and even auto-optimize content, so it's ready for Google crawling upon going live.
These products are used in sales, marketing, support, and internal culture-building efforts—and there are all kinds of hosting platforms built for different types of organizations and how they use video.
Why You Need a Video Hosting Platform that isn’t also a Social Media Channel
Smart Insights found that 83% of marketers say video content is becoming increasingly important, and as such, need to be treated with the same care you’d give to your web copy or your written content strategy.
YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo are video hosting platforms that anyone can use, free of charge. However, these platforms might not be the best choice for hosting your branded content. YouTube, as you might have noticed, plays a lot of ads, and it doesn’t offer custom branding.
While free hosting solutions like Vimeo, Facebook, and YouTube take care of quality issues and give you a reliable storage solution, businesses investing heavily in video content should shell out for a paid solution.
Why? Well, there are several reasons—for one, you’ll get a more reliable hosting experience with no ads, faster load times, and customizable players, CTAs, and more. The other key advantage here is that paid platforms come with more advanced analytics, A/B testing, and other cool features that vary by industry.
What Should Brands Look for In a Video Hosting Site?
At the base level, a video hosting platform provides storage and viewing capabilities for video files and allows the user to set different access permissions for visitors. But storage and permissions are scratching the surface for what the best platforms can do.
Here are some features you should look for when seeking out a video hosting platform that can improve your business operations in meaningful ways:
- Compatible with all players and browsers—including Flash and HTML5
- An easy-to-use interface
- Compatibility with mobile devices
- SEO tools that allow you to optimize for search.
- Embedding features that allow you to add videos on all relevant touchpoints.
- Reporting and analytics for video performance.
- Closed captioning
Beyond this short list, consider what you’re hoping to accomplish with video. Some brands require a ton of storage space and features that allow them to collect leads with smart forms and custom CTAs. Others are built to plug right into your existing SaaS stack, so you can record a quick video and share it as you would in an email.
Wistia is a video hosting platform that provides video uploading, publishing, privacy controls, and lots of customization built right in.
This solution is primarily marketed toward marketers looking for ways to engage an audience and boost conversions.
Wistia’s key strengths lie in its advanced analytics features—users can take advantage of tools like heat mapping and engagement graphs, plus lead generation tools that help teams collect the names and emails needed for additional marketing efforts. Wistia integrates with MailChimp, HubSpot, and Marketo, among other tools, making it easy to incorporate your video content strategy into your overarching marketing stack.
What’s more, Wistia offers Channels, a video organization feature that allows you to sort videos with custom tags, and even allows you to optimize videos for search. You can add in Schema.org markup, which can bring traffic to your site by enabling your videos to show up in Google’s rich results--something you won’t find on free hosting sites like YouTube.
Pricing plans range from free to Pro, and it’s worth mentioning that there are some big differences between pricing tiers. A quick breakdown:
- Free: Comes with 25 videos, a branded video player, plus basic analytics and editing tools.
- Basic: $25/month gives you the same features you’ll find in the free plan, plus storage space for 100 videos.
- Pro: The pro plan is $100 per month and builds on the basic, bringing more advanced analytics into the mix, plus lead generation tools and integrations—and now, you’ll have room for 1000 videos.
There are a few things to keep in mind. If you exceed your monthly 200 GB bandwidth, you’ll be charged an additional 33 cents per GB. So, if your videos end up going viral, it could cost you more than you bargained for. If you need a more robust solution, you can contact Wistia for a quote on a custom plan.
Like Wistia, Vidyard is a business solution, but once you start looking through the features these guys provide, you’ll find a solution built for the enterprise client. It is designed to support companies that create lots of content and require deep analytics to prove ROI.
Vidyard comes with some pretty fantastic features, including automatic SEO for videos. So, anytime you upload a video, the platform creates a transcript for the content, combining it with metadata that will enable your content to show up in Google’s increasingly important rich results, and XML sitemaps to ensure Google crawls your content automatically.
If you look on the website, you’ll see that Vidyard has divided its offerings into three key sections: marketing, sales, and personal messaging.
But, the platform also works for support teams and secure communications. They mention on the site that if you have a different use case, you can contact the team and they’ll put together a custom package for you. Within these highlighted areas, Vidyard boasts a massive suite of tools like heat maps and graphs, social media integrations,
Vidyard is built for the enterprise, and as such, comes at a higher price point than other tools on this list.
The starter package is $150 per month--which only supports 20 videos and access to limited features. The Plus plan is $850 and builds on the Starter pack, adding in SEO and analytics features.
Plans that allow you to pick and choose the features that make the most sense for your business start at $1250 per month. Pricing information for custom plans isn’t available on the website, and you’ll need to request a quote from a rep to learn more.
While these plans may be more expensive than most of the competing hosting platforms, there are no limits on bandwidth and this seems to be one of the most positively reviewed hosting platforms--perfect for teams that create a great deal of knowledge base content, as well as personalized sales videos.
Brightcove is an online video hosting platform that comes with a customizable player that promises to help you reach users wherever they are from mobile to gaming consoles and desktops.
At a glance, Brightcove’s lineup of features already looks pretty impressive, making it abundantly clear that this product is definitely built for the enterprise and has thought of everything you might possibly want to do with video from content monetization to social publishing and live streaming.
While package breakdown is a bit confusing, it seems that the platform is broken down into modules and bundles, which the brand puts together to create packages for different types of businesses enterprises, marketing teams, or content publishers.
The live module is designed to help users broadcast live events to your audience, whether they’re on mobile or desktop. Brightcove’s social module allows you to publish videos from your cloud account to social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—and you’ll have the option to manually publish or sync to social automatically.
The audience module is where you’ll find your analytics tools and integrations—so you can track video watches and conversions along with data from tools like Marketo, HubSpot, and Oracle.
Honestly, the pricing set up is a bit confusing. There’s reportedly a starter plan for marketers for $199 per month, but it seems that you’ll need to call the company or fill out a form to find out how much you can expect to pay, and what features are included with each plan.
4. Hippo Video
Hippo Video falls into the affordable category—presenting an accessible option for brands that know they need something more professional than YouTube but can’t afford to shell out the big bucks for a custom enterprise account from Vidyard.
Like the other options in this lineup, Hippo Video is a cloud-based program that gives users access to a suite of video recording and editing tools, plus hosting, analytics, and more.
According to the official website, users can create all kinds of video marketing content from how-tos to customer testimonials, explainer videos, onboarding content, and more. Hippo comes with video hosting and allows you to customize your video player and track how your content performs in real-time.
Where Hippo Video sets itself apart is through a few key features. One example is the ability to include an in-video meeting link, which allows prospects to book an appointment directly from your video message. It also connects with Zendesk and Freshdesk support desks and gives brands the ability to record issue resolutions to boost customer satisfaction.
Hippo Video Pricing
Hippo Video plans range from a free plan that provides 100 GB of bandwidth, plus the ability to create and host unlimited videos. Paid plans start at $15 a month, gradually adding in additional features like lead generation, analytics, and editing tools. The Growth plan is $49 per month and comes with priority support, collaboration and editing tools, plus a custom video landing page builder and an email campaign embedder.
Personalized video is offered as an a la carte service for an additional $100 per month. For an extra $29 per month, you can collect 50 customer testimonials. While this is one of the lower priced options out there, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not a great deal if you plan on using personal video or go over bandwidth limits.
Jetpack falls on the opposite end of the spectrum from a Brightcove or a Vidyard-style hosting platform, though it's a step up from hosting on YouTube or sites like Vimeo. The main advantage you’ll get with Jetpack is that it offers a convenience that you might not find in a lot of these video hosting platforms
Instead, you have a paid solution that is built for small companies, hobbyists, or freelancer types who want an ad-free hosting environment without breaking the bank.
It's worth pointing out that Jetpack is best suited for WordPress users, as the platform is designed to allow companies to host videos in the cloud, while at the same time, allowing to add an embed code directly from WP so videos can play anywhere on your site.
Jetpack has some unique capabilities. For one, it allows you to generate revenue from your website by supporting ad network approval and lets you collect PayPal payments.
We see this solution as a good choice for small operations like blogs or sites with an e-commerce component, as well as certain types of professional services--think content creators or podcasters that want a centralized storage solution for their videos, as well as static images.
Videos are stored on WordPress.com servers, so you don't need to worry about eating up your own storage space. Plus, there are some additional tools built into the program like social media scheduling and video analytics.
That said, this probably is not the right tool for you if you plan on using a video hosting platform to store videos to be used elsewhere--such as YouTube or Vimeo or in a one-to-one context.
Jetpack pricing ranges from free to “professional,” a $299/year plan with security features like automatic malware scanning and spam filtering, plus SEO preview tools, ad network approval, unlimited video hosting, and Elasticsearch-powered search. They also throw in 200+ premium WordPress themes.
6. Sprout Video
SproutVideo is a hosting platform designed to give brands the ability to showcase their ads in a responsive, unbranded video player loaded up with customizable features.
Analytic features allow you to identify who is watching your videos, as well as the points where they lose interest and stop watching.
Brands can measure completion rates for training and educational materials making this a great option for online coaches or other digital educators, as well as brands that use their hosting site as a way to handle employee on-boarding.
7. JW Player
JW Player’s video hosting solution is a platform that comes with adaptive streaming, ad integration (for monetizing your site), and live-streaming support. The hosting site is used leading media sites from Fast Company and Vice to Business Insider and Fox News. And it’s worth pointing out that the key selling points here are fast streaming, high-quality content, and security.
While this solution appears to be targeting more of a news media audience, JW Player could be a good choice for any type of company that creates a lot of video content, particularly video blogs, broadcasts, and knowledge base content.
Plus, the JW Player supports secure broadcasts with complete with DVR, multitrack audio, AES encryption, plus HLS and DASH adaptive live-streaming. Video quality is top-notch--it’s hi-res and high-speed, supporting up to 4k resolution.
JW is built for online publishers and enterprise companies alike, offering a starter package with limited features and an enterprise-grade option with everything built right in from video analytics to advertising features and monetization tools.
However, we only recommend this platform for brands that need professional grade video--news reporting, well-produced commercials, and other pieces of content that fall within the realm of what JW Player calls “premium user experiences.” In other words, if video isn’t central to what you do--i.e. you’re using the medium to send a message to a customer or publish stories to various social media channels, JW may be a bit overpowered.
We’ll finish off with a Bonjoro shout out. We’re not necessarily a hosting platform in the traditional sense, rather a new type of hosting platform that places the human-brand connection to the forefront of business video.
Our solution is different because it’s less about the “content” piece of your marketing stack and more about building connections, one by one, with powerful reporting tools and a wide range of integrations that let you make these face-to-face connections part of a larger, trackable marketing effort.
Bonjoro into the list as a new solution for small sales, marketing and CS teams who want to create, send, and track personal videos with a lightweight and agile tool that can plug into any stage in the sales cycle giving brands better conversion rates, an improved activation experience, and fostering relationships that inspire retention and advocacy.
Where something like Vidyard or Brightcove is made for the enterprise marketing or sales team, Bonjoro is a lightweight option for SMEs who understand that personal video is their secret to success.
Key features include a customizable player, ability to record, send, and track videos from any location, assign Bonjoros to other team members, and quickly review video KPIs so you can continue to learn and improve on your efforts.
Like Wistia and Hippo Video, Bonjoro offers a free plan that gives users the chance to take the tool for a spin before making a full-on commitment. Our free plan allows users to connect their CRM and create unlimited videos. Our $25 per month paid plan offers users customizable branding, three automations, and one message template. And the Grrrowth plan, at $45 a month offers access to unlimited templates, automations, and the ability to send 5 videos at a time.
And yes, if you need something a bit more personal, we offer a custom plan, too.
Where we shine is, we offer an easy, flexible solution to brands who might not have the resources to develop polished video content, but understand the importance of using video to power up their sales and marketing efforts. All plans offer unlimited video recordings, CRM integration, and no bandwidth limits. You’ll also have access to reporting tools that track opens, views, and more.
Looking back at this list, the main thing to take away here is that the best video hosting platform for you depends on finding one that comes with the features needed to help you reach your business goals. Are you creating a lot of knowledge base content or social media stories? Are videos primarily for internal use like employee onboarding or polished content pieces or as a way to improve your sales strategy by replacing email?
At Bonjoro, we see our solution as an extension of the trends we’re seeing on Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where people are sharing videos of themselves in an authentic way. On social, brands are seeing these massive gains when it comes to lead gen and brand building. With Bonjoro, you can do something similar for your leads and customers—and all you need is a phone or your laptop.
Check out the features for yourself by signing up for a free trial.