Online video has been the trend since before Google bought the fledgling YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars back in 2006. Furthermore, the popularity of YouTube and other video platforms has only increased since the early days of Web 2.0. Today the popularity of online video ads is astounding. This year alone online advertisers are expected to outspend TV advertisers by $40 billion. For consumers of online video, the medium is a bit diversified.
These days, people visit their favorite video-hosting sites to be entertained, but also for making buying decisions and other educational purposes. Despite the overwhelming preference consumers have for YouTube video-sharing, niche media like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Metacafe, Ustream, and others can serve up striking results too. The key for optimizing video ads and branding is to select the right tool for the job. Here is a rundown of choices along with the strengths and weaknesses of each.
As you might expect, YouTube is often the first choice for video hosting. The world’s most popular online video channel overall, the fact it’s owned by Google has a lot to do with its dominance. The reasons for this are evident since YouTube gets tons of organic exposure form search. The fact the channel is free is an additional plus, whereas YouTube’s most significant value for business is highly effective ads. Your hotel’s videos on this sharing platform can reach more than 133 million viewers a month (in the U.S. only).
Added bonuses for hoteliers choosing YouTube include a vast variety of video sharing options, unlimited bandwidth, and of course ease of use. Add to this the fact YouTube integrates well with third-party sites like Facebook, WordPress, and HubPages, and it's easy to see the channel’s value for hoteliers.
However, the main reason to use YouTube is market share. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable TV network. Furthermore, a recent report by Cisco found that close to 90 percent of all web traffic is video based. The fact YouTube accounts for a 78.8% of this shows the value for hoteliers. So, let’s recap with the pros and cons of YouTube.
- YouTube is free to use for uploading and consuming videos
- Hotels can create a far-reaching brand recognition on this channel
- The sheer popularity of YouTube ensures higher ad views
- Hotels’ promotional videos are made available to a vast potential audience
- Hospitality and other videos get unlimited bandwidth and views
- The new YouTube keyword tool lets hoteliers identify keywords to use to target potential consumers
- Ads on YouTube videos are sometimes disruptive for your message and to viewers
- As is the case with many Google products, customer service is virtually non-existent
- Many complain that the user dashboard and editor are not intuitive or easy to use
- High traffic periods can make video speed drop dramatically
- For hotels, YouTube is not the most aesthetically pleasing platform
While not as popular as YouTube, the audience Vimeo represents should not be underestimated by hoteliers. The classy online platform receives upwards of 9 million visitors per month. Added to this audience is the fact that videos on Vimeo receive 500 MB (megabytes) for free-account users. Paid users can take advantage of as much as 20 GB (gigabytes) for their creations. Vimeo also offers paying viewers ad-free videos, and cutting-edge statistics tracking capabilities.
Considered by most to be a professional online video solution, Vimeo is really part video sharing platform combined and part social networking community. The platform also integrates well with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking entities. A final note before we get into the pros and cons wrap-up, Vimeo has a tailored aesthetic that just adds value to any hotel video presentation.
- Vimeo users benefit from the free service and the unlimited bandwidth like on YouTube
- Unlike YouTube, Vimeo is less susceptible to peak traffic, and there’s minimal buffering
- Your uploaded hotel videos will be ad free
- As we mentioned, Vimeo is considered a professional platform
- The best for embeding professional, ad-free video on your website
- Uploads can take quite a while, especially for high-definition video
- Other than space, there are not so many advantages for paid accounts
- Paid accounts have good access to customer support, whereas free users often wait
- Vimeo has only a fraction of the audience of YouTube
In terms of audience, Dailymotion has only slightly less monthly users than Vimeo. Once in contention with YouTube and other budding video sharing sites, Dailymotion now suffers because of space limitations and other user values. Still, Dailymotion claims to have higher quality and better playback than competitors, which is just one of the plusses for hoteliers looking to engage an expanded audience.
- All accounts have unlimited bandwidth and storage space on Dailymotion
- Customer support at Dailymotion is lightning fast compared to most competitors
- Uploads go very fast, and the user interface is simplified
- Dailymotion viewers tend to be more of a “unique” audience hoteliers can reach
- There is a two-gigabyte file size limit, which limits HD video
- Videos are limited to 60 minutes or less length
- Analytics are only basic on Dailymotion
- There is not much community engagement going on at Dailymotion
- The low traffic compared to competitors is a big negative
A California company that sprang to life in Tel Aviv, Israel, Metacafe is unique in several respects. Most notably, the platform is moderated by a panel of some 80,000 members a bit like Wikipedia is run. Unfortunately, the moderators are not really tuned into allowing tasteful videos these days. The panel is supposed to review each video to ensure quality and searchability but looking at the landing of the site today reveals shallow quality media, which makes it easier for your hotel video to be found.
Metacafe boasts of some 40 million registered users who might make the service attractive for expanding a peripheral consumer audience. One thing that does work well at Metacafe is the community, but judging from the comments on many videos, we do not think this is the platform to convert hotel guests with.
- 40 million users may be an alternative market
- The service claims over 7 million views per day
- Metacafe, like most other services, is relatively easy to use
- Navigation and organization are excellent
- Human moderators do not seem to boost quality
- The Metacafe audience is not an ideal target for hotels
- Currently, Metacafe only gets about 3 million unique visits per
Next, we move into what could be considered the “fringe” of video sharing with potential for hoteliers. The following are brand new sharing systems with seemingly unlimited potential and highly innovative services that should not be overlooked.
The most popular social network on Earth now allows hotels and other businesses to “go live” and to ad boost video served up to over 2 billion unique users worldwide. The new service has some bugs still, but hoteliers who already use Facebook for marketing, bookings, and guest engagement will certainly find novel ways to covert.
The interface is not perfect, and the glitches can be aggravating, but uploading and promoting existing video really puts your brand out there. As for “going live” – hotels may well become innovators themselves in discovering how to refine the guest experience.
Instagram Live & Stories
Like Facebook Live, Instagram Live has the potential to take the guest experience and audience engagement to the next level. And since Instagram users tend to stay within the platform, the chances of clicks to hotel websites go up when employing these services. Still, in its infancy, we believe that Instagram Live will continue to grow. Instagram Stories have also been proven to be a significant driver for businesses outside hospitality. It seems logical than an image intensive business like travel is tailor-made for such technology. Keep an eye on Instagram.
Given the massive audience of Facebook, it’s almost impossible to imagine an app that may soon eclipse the social media giant. However, crazy as it may seem, the 25-and-under demographic are leaving Facebook in droves headed to Snapshat. Why there’s even a much-publicized “Cold War” going on right now in between Facebook and Snapchat. The latter having just recently launched synching with other apps to capitalize on Facebook’s limitation, is just one battle in the said war.
Billed as the “best way to share a moment” the service seems to have its fingers on the pulse of future customers. Snapchat users now watch more than 10 million videos each day, and the number is growing fast. If your hotel seems like a good fit for the younger set looking for a bit of fun, then Snapchat may prove to be a kind of magnet for bookings. This is another player to watch closely. Better yet, hoteliers are best advised to get their feet wet with Snapchat soon.
For managers and owners who want their hotel efforts to be more interactive where video is concerned, Upstream, a relatively new service, attracts over three million visitors per month. Like Facebook Live, only with better controls and fewer glitches, Upstream lets users use live chat, and even allows viewers to join in the broadcast.
Other notable mentions include; SproutVideo, Brightcove, Periscope, Blip.tv, VideoEgg and the next professional video hosting startup, Vidyard.
Instead of conclusion
Whatever you choose to put your video in front of potential customers, keep in mind that video is the next big thing in marketing. In 2017 alone 74% of internet traffic was video content, and online video viewing is increasing by 118% every year, according to World Hotels.
Don’t underestimate the power of video to drive bookings either. Statistics suggest that reservations are 67% more likely when a video tour is included on a website, and 65% of business travelers visit a hotel’s site after watching its video. There are even more numbers to support the argument that video matters:
As technology progresses, producing quality video from scratch is more affordable and more accessible than ever. Video sharing is also a great way to grow brand equity. Hotel videos can be anything from presentations featuring rooms, facilities, and amenities, to powerful stories like this:
Let your imagination create the story that will capture your guests.