Video Platform Options—How Do You Sort Through Them?
An online video platform, or OVP, is a place on the web where you host your videos. An OVP also provides other services such as custom players, analytics, as well as interactivity and opportunities for monetization (earning money from ads on your videos). YouTube is the most famous OVP, but many competing platforms offer features that may be worth the extra cost to you. A site like vidcompare.com enables you to sift through over 100 online video platform options that offer an alternative or supplement to free platforms like YouTube. But it’s definitely a case of information overload. That’s why we occasionally profile some OVPs with video marketing features that would be useful to our readers.
Today we focus on Wistia and Brightcove, two of our favorites. (Since features change all the time, you may want to check back to see if we’ve posted more recently as this post gets old.)
Video platform 1: Brightcove
Brightcove has a very classy feel, and unlike some of the larger and more established video platform companies which offer monthly plans around the $499 level, it has a relatively inexpensive $99/month option. It’s a mature company compared to others in this very new field, and seems well-resourced following an IPO. Given how cumbersome it is to change your video platform, that stability can only enhance what Brightcove has to offer.
Brightcove offers additional video marketing support in a creative way–through their partners, of which MiniMatters is one. They actually compensate the partners for you, and they’ve given us training and updated information so we stay current on best practices and effective uses of the platform. Brightcove’s video platform is a great option for many organizations, as we’ll explain further below.
Video platform 2: Wistia
Wistia has more of a young-and-hip feel than Brightcove, and it also has more inexpensive options. It’s a great choice for your video platform if you have a social-media savvy audience and if you’re pretty comfortable with online technology. There’s no special provision for video platform support through Wistia, though they offer excellent video tutorials. A video company like MiniMatters can certainly offer you support to take advantage of Wistia’s great features, if Wistia is the best video platform for you.
Interactive marketing features on your video platform
Interaction is the name of the game in online marketing, and one of Brightcove’s best marketing features is a customizable overlay that can be set to click through to all kinds of calls-to-action. At MiniMatters, we’ve helped clients use this kind of custom overlay to enable viewers to click directly from a video to a donation page, conference registration page, and other sign-up pages. Brightcove also has a good selection of social sharing features that you can use flexibly on your video players.
Wistia, in contrast, hones directly in on two of the most popular means of generating business leads—Twitter and email. Through Wistia’s Twitter follow lab you can add a clickable overlay that looks like this (with your own Twitter handle): Clicking it during a video will “follow” your Twitter feed without interrupting the video one bit. While Wistia acknowledges that their Twitter overlay, like the Brightcove overlay, doesn’t work on iPhone, their follow button will still appear at the end of your video. Another impressive feature is that you can also easily tweet out your videos through Wistia’s video platform, resulting (like Vine) in your videos actually playing within Twitter—way better than a mere link to a video.
In a similar vein, Wistia offers an email capture tool. This video platform lets you put it at the beginning, end, or the middle of your video, and if you want to you can make it a gate–as in, “enter your email address to continue.” The email capture also plays nicely with email service providers like Constant Contact. It’s a great feature if email marketing is a big part of your overall vision or your needs in a video platform.
Accessibility through your video platform
One thing that Brightcove’s video platform offers that Wistia doesn’t at this time is a 508-compliant player. While Wistia allows you to upload a transcript and enable captions, Brightcove’s 508-complaint player (shown here) offers full support for screen reader accessibility, keyboard control, and closed captioning. If your mission or audience or business extends to people that may expect or prefer this, Brightcove is probably the video platform for you.
The main thing is, choose video
We offer this discussion because there are significant distinctions between Brightcove and Wistia, and then again from free user-generated-content video platforms like YouTube. For many organizations, these distinctions will be sufficient to guide their choices. However, if no clear choice emerges from reading this post and looking at other information about all the video platform options out there, that’s OK. Because the main thing is that video itself is a clear choice. If you use it to your advantage on the online video platform you have chosen, you’ll see results.
MiniMatters offers professional services to help you choose a video platform(s) that will be most effective for you, as we are committed to the idea that promoting your video is just as important as making it.
What feature would you most like to see in your video platform? Let us know in the comments.
If MiniMatters can help you with business video, fundraising video, association video, or other video production needs, we’d love to provide an estimate through our online form, talk with you at 301-339-0339, or communicate via email at [email protected]. We serve associations, foundations, nonprofits, and businesses primarily in Washington, DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia.