When we say “online video”, we always think about YouTube. That is no longer a surprise that almost every company – from a small legal entity to a huge corporation runs their own YouTube business channel. While no one can deny the unprecedented marketing benefit of such branded channels, there is one natural question: is it safe to host all company videos on YouTube in the heyday of various YouTube video downloaders? The obvious answer is “no”, since YouTube cannot guarantee that your video content will not be ripped and pirated. So let us discuss the pros and cons of YouTube video hosting for business and check out the possible alternatives of this means. PROS: Free and unlimited video hosting The truth is that YouTube is one of the rare video streaming services that offers high quality video hosting for free. So it makes YouTube really attractive for all businesses, since companies can also customize their channel appearance in an easy way. Another plus is unlimited video storage: you are free to publish as many video clips as you wish. No extra charges will be asked. Lead generation for your business YouTube already has one billion audience and it is unreasonable not to take advantage of it. Even if you do nothing special for your video promotion on YouTube, be sure that your content will gain regular views and generate additional leads to your site or product. Another great thing is that YouTube videos are indexed by Google, so if they are well optimized, your videos can also bring you a good deal of search traffic. Have a look at the example below: here’s a video from YouTube is on the first page of search results for “used cars” query. Easy embedding & sharing Once you have uploaded your company videos to YouTube site, you may easily embed them to your corporate website or share on any social media channels. The videos will be played equally well on a desktop PC, Mac, or any mobile gadget, since YouTube automatically creates several different video variations supported by all known web browsers. Besides, there are special apps for top mobile platforms which serve your online videos in a user-friendly way. Brand promotion YouTube offers a number of solutions for businesses wishing to advertise their brands. These include various video ads, promoted videos, overlay ads, sponsored search results, and some others. Thus, you may easily attract more attention to your brand by using YouTube video hosting platform. The only drawback is that video advertising is more expensive than context and banner ads. CONS: Intrusive advertising YouTube is full of promotional content and whether you want it or not, it will be associated with your videos. Especially, if you use third-party materials like an audio track or video parts from existing movies, YouTube will automatically show video or overlay advertising on your videos. This is done due to YouTube Content ID technology, which contributes to fair use of copyrighted content. If your content coincides with some piece from the fingerprints database, you’ll see the ad on your video as on the example below. Proximity of competitors Also, note that your company videos will be always surrounded by the related video content from your competitors. As a result, YouTube visitors may easily distract from your message, switch to other videos, and finally proceed to your competitor site. Once you have invested time, money, and possibly advertising budget, that is not a very good perspective, is it? Your videos may be ripped off How do you like the idea that your company videos may easily occur on other YouTube channels, sites, DVD compiles, or on personal computers of anyone who wants to save them? If you host your company videos on YouTube, you can easily get such a spreading with the help of various YouTube downloaders, for which just your video URL is enough to get the whole video offline. Poor video customization How many color schemes for YouTube player did you see? It is only one for ordinary users! Can you add more controls to the standard YouTube player? Hardly so. Of course, there are some customization options available for embedded videos like “show suggested videos”, “show player controls”, but these solutions can hardly help your videos fit your company’s website. However, you can still get the benefits of YouTube custom channels; you have to invest a good sum of money into advertising. So what’s the bottom line? It all depends on the goals you pursue. If you are looking for publicity and low-cost video promotion, please welcome to YouTube. Still keep in mind that you may spend time and money in vain if there would be countless video content from competitors. What are the alternatives? You may upload your company videos to other video hosting sites like Vimeo or Dailymotion. Still the problems will be the same as on YouTube, while the benefits become less evident. Another option is to buy a custom video hosting. SproutVideo or Wistia offer plans from $25/month for businesses. Here you need not worry about your video security, customization, and closeness of competitors. Still it requires good money if used on a regular basis. I think the most appropriate option is to host videos on your own website. At first sight, it may seem a bit challenging, since you need to prepare videos in special Flash or HTML5 format and write the code for embedding them. However, with free software like Freemake Video Converter, this task will take just a couple of minutes. You will need to add your videos, choose FLV, SWF or HTML5 format, and grab web prepared videos and code for website integration. The benefits are the same, while cost is zero. Therefore, with no special web mastering skills required, you can easily add any of your company videos to the official website or blog and be sure that no one will misuse them or turn in your competitors’ favor. ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.