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Choosing a video hosting platform is one of the most important, and often neglected, facets of creating an effective video marketing strategy. Depending on your video marketing goals, evaluating each platform’s strengths can help you decide which is best for hosting. Remember context (not content) is king in video. A great message delivered to the wrong person, at the wrong time, is unlikely to help you achieve your goal.

In this article, I will discuss how three different video hosts – Wistia, YouTube, and Vimeo Pro – stack up against each other for one of the most important business goals: Lead Generation.

Stay tuned to Pagemodo’s blog on Tuesday when I focus on analytics, engagement, email, customization, and pricing to pick an ultimate winner!

Lead generation is one of the most heavily debated topics in video marketing. YouTube, as the second largest search engine in the world, seems like an appealing option for all your videos; but there are some caveats that can completely turn the tables.

First, video marketing is a means to an end (usually a sale). And in most cases, you want the viewer to visit your website to reach this goal. This is difficult to achieve with YouTube. Phil Nottingham, video SEO guru, researched 95 companies and found a .72% average click-through rate from YouTube to their websites.

Ouch. That’s less than 1 person for every 100 views.

It makes sense though. YouTube is designed to keep people watching videos for as long as possible, not to drive the traffic away from their site.

So how do Wistia and Vimeo Pro compare?

Both services allow you to embed a video on your site such that the Google search result for the video will point directly to your website. If you embed a video with YouTube, the video result may outrank your website in a search and send traffic to YouTube instead of your website. But in order for this to work properly, you must have a video sitemap. Out of the three hosts, Wistia is the only one to automatically generate and update your video sitemap.

Keeping this in mind, remember your goals and consider the nature of the query that will lead users to your video in the first place. Is it more likely a search on Google, or YouTube? Is their question something that might lead to a sale, or is it merely research?

If a sale of your product would answer their question, it’s probably best to embed Wistia or Vimeo Pro which sends them directly from Google to your website. Since Google users tend to have higher purchase intent, and the click-through rate from YouTube is very low, you don’t need to focus on YouTube as a search engine in this scenario.

If your viewer’s query is more research-oriented, making an impression as a thought leader may be more important than sending them to your website. In this case, YouTube has the edge, returning results on both Google and YouTube.  Also, as the social media network of the video world, YouTube is king when it comes to having your content shared.

However, if you have a lead generation strategy that centers on content marketing and blogging, I would highly suggest using Wistia. Yes, you may lose the opportunity for traffic from YouTube, but you gain the power to control the way people interact with your content by building a community on your website. A share on YouTube doesn’t do anything if they never visit your website, contact you, or come into your store. But, a share from a Wistia video from your website creates a backlink to strengthen your website’s domain authority and improves your site ranking in Google.

So why not upload to all three?

Essentially the results in Google would be competing against each other, and you may end up cannibalizing your traffic by sending it to YouTube instead of your site.

Obviously there is a lot of complexity in choosing a video host. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to your goals and which host will help you reach them.

Of course, video can have many goals other than lead generation. So be sure to check back with us on Tuesday when I compare Wistia, Vimeo Pro, and YouTube’s tools for email, analytics, and pricing!

About the Author: George Goodman is the In-House Video Creator for Pagemodo, who focuses on strategically implementing and testing video for maximum results. He also gets down with the funk music. Get more from George on Vimeo.

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