B2B video content marketing: host or post?

Video - host or post?

If you've decided how much money you’re going to throw at B2B video content marketing, you’re now faced with another difficult decision: just where on earth are you going to put it? There are two main approaches to this: you can either host it on your website (typically on the homepage or a dedicated landing page), or you can post it on an external streaming service like YouTube or – well, with all respect to DailyMotion and Yahoo and that, let’s be honest, it’ll probably be YouTube.

Can’t I just shove it everywhere? You know, a best-of-both-worlds, cover your bases kind of thing?

Not really. Sorry, no points for compromise. There may be the odd case where duplicating material across your own site and free channels works out okay, but this would probably require the content to achieve Beatlemania-levels of stupendous popularity.

What you’re doing, essentially, when you post your video to both YouTube and your company website, is putting the latter in direct competition with the former – a bad idea, considering that YouTube can outcompete pretty much anything in terms of search engine rankings. Even if you do somehow win out, you’re still cannibalising your potential view count and eventual conversions – a big no no for B2B video content marketing.

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Basically, you can try to have your cake and eat it if you like, but don’t come crying to us when you get stomach cramps.

Okay, fair enough. Let’s start with streaming sites, then. When should I post my video to the YouTubes and that?

Streaming sites like YouTube have their advantages and disadvantages, and their ultimate value to your B2B video content marketing strategy will depend largely on your overall marketing goals.

Firstly, if it’s on YouTube, it’s not going to work wonders for your site’s SEO value, and even if you do link to your website and use a CTA, you’re not likely to see the conversion results you might if you’re hosting it on your website. Put bluntly, YouTube isn’t really interested in you or your video: it’s interested in getting people to stay on YouTube. Whether that’s by watching your clip or clicking on a rival’s is largely immaterial. In fact, your competitors can pop up in the recommendations section or even the ‘Up Next’ autoplay list. If you’re not confident that your film can compete with what is effectively a virtual sweetshop full of video content, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

All in all, YouTube’s utility as a lead generation tool is rather limited. But if you’re thinking a little bigger, it can be highly effective in terms of raising profile and brand awareness. It’s got well over a billion active monthly users, and while you’re almost certainly not going to get all of them, there’s every possibility that a good number will be looking to buy what you’re selling. Additionally, YouTube – being a somewhat popular social media platform itself – integrates easily with networks like Twitter and Facebook, which allow the user to embed clips into tweets and status updates, increasing shareability and the probability that your target audience will know who the hell you are.

Now in terms of sales, letting them know who you are isn’t the same as sealing the deal – but you still can’t do the latter without doing the former.

If your film fulfils the following criteria, YouTube could be good for your B2B video content marketing:

1.    It’s suitable for a YouTube audience.

Well, no duh. If it’s on YouTube, it’s got to be suitable for YouTube. This doesn’t just mean it shouldn’t be pornographic (although FYI, it definitely shouldn’t). Where you and your company are concerned, this is the golden rule: people don’t go to third-party video sites to buy stuff. They’re there to be entertained, and the videos that do well on YouTube tend to be entertaining as well, and not blatantly trying to railroad the viewer down a particular conversion funnel. If your clip is fun, instructive, and – most importantly – not overtly salesy, you should be fine.

2.    You’re not fussy about visuals.

If your video is visually impressive to the point that you won’t consider allowing it to be seen in anything less than 1080p, you probably don’t want to go with YouTube. It allows clips to be automatically scaled downwards for viewers with slower connections – this can go as low as 240p, which is worse than VHS.

3.    You actually have an audience on YouTube.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got thousands of subscribers to your company’s channel (though it certainly can’t hurt any). Rather, you need to see that people are actually talking about the topic of your video. While YouTube used to have its own keyword tool, this was shuttered in 2014; you can now use AdWords for Video instead to get an idea of what topics are getting the right traction on the platform – and which ones have far too much competition for you to ever really get a proper look in.

If all that seems okay, it’ll probably work for your B2B video content marketing strategy. And the more video you produce, the better: if you’ve got entertaining, engaging content, you can make an entire playlist and keep people hooked on your brand for hours. Days!The potential is there for your target audience to get lost in your content for entire lifetimes, emerging haggard, bearded and with a clear aversion to sunlight. It is a great and terrible power; do not abuse it.

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