By Jeff Bradshaw, EO Calgary member and CEO of Zoom Web Video Integration.
Web video is changing the way we communicate for both personal and business use. It’s fast becoming the default communication tool online, and web users have already become enamoured with sites like YouTube. And for good reason, YouTube is a clearinghouse for practically every piece of video you can imagine. I use it daily to see things like viral videos, news updates and gossip video. What I don’t use YouTube for, however, is my corporate video distribution.
Despite the popularity and search engine preference that comes with YouTube, I’ve discovered a whole host of issues and possible pitfalls that all business owners need to be aware of. So before you post any of your corporate video on YouTube, I’d like to share a list of considerations that may help you avoid unwanted headaches with your web video strategy.
- Free May Not Be The Best Option
There are many options for posting your video online that may be a better fit for your needs — options that will allow you to maintain better control over your content. YouTube is a public sharing site that makes money off of selling advertising to viewers of your video content. It’s not always the best choice for corporate video content.
- Customization of Your Video Player
YouTube channels have very limited customization capabilities, and your brand will always be cross-promoted with the YouTube brand. If you want to keep your audience focused on your content and your brand then a customized video player is a smarter choice. It will also allow you to create a video player that matches your website.
- Legal Considerations
Like most technical agreements, people usually sign up to sites like YouTube and never actually read the User Agreements, or if they do read them, they don’t understand them. We should have your lawyer – or, even better, an entertainment lawyer – review the YouTube agreement before you sign off and start posting video content. Legal clearance for talent, music, logos, locations, artwork, etc. are all things that need to be considered when producing and broadcasting video content.
- Search Cannibalization
There are many theories online that talk about YouTube videos cannibalizing your regular online search results. These theories state that by posting your videos on YouTube, you may be driving traffic to YouTube as opposed to your corporate website. There are plenty of arguments both for and against this theory. Do some research and come to your own conclusion.
- Competitor’s Videos
YouTube allows for other videos to be related to yours. This feature can be beneficial or detrimental depending on what the related videos are. If the related videos are from a weak competitor, it may be beneficial to your business. But if the related videos are from a strong competitor, it may be detrimental. YouTube does have an option to turn off related videos, but you’ll need to pay a fee.
- Inappropriate Related Videos
If your competitor’s videos don’t show up as related, you still run the risk of having inappropriate videos showing up along side your content. These inappropriate videos could be harmful to your corporate image.
- Distracting Related Videos
If you’re lucky enough to avoid having both competitor videos and inappropriate videos show up next to yours, you still have to consider the threat of distracting related videos. These videos may be more interesting than yours and might cause your viewer to skip right by your content. You’ve worked so hard to get your viewer, make sure you don’t lose them.
- Competitor Advertisements
Similar to the related videos, your competitors can buy ads that will show up when people search for your videos. Again you can avoid this from happening, but it will cost you.
- Comments Can Hurt
Are you prepared to handle negative or lewd comments posted by viewers? PR professionals recommend leaving these comments alone to avoid the appearance of censoring the general public. You should accept these comments as a necessary cost of using a public video sharing site to host your videos. Please make sure you check with your CEO before agreeing to allow comments because they may not be cool with someone calling them a $%&# in the comments section of your videos.
- Downloading of Your Video Content
No video is 100% secure online, but sites like YouTube are an open market for downloading apps that let anyone rip off your video content. Just imagine what an unsatisfied customer or disgruntled employee could do with your corporate video content! In a matter of minutes, they can re-cut your video and post it back online as a not-so-glamorous version of your corporate video.
- Length Is Important
YouTube doesn’t let you to post video content that’s longer than 15 minutes. While we don’t recommend you post long videos on the web, if you do have a 16-minute corporate presentation, you’ll need to look for a different supplier.
- Can Your Audience See You?
If your target audience is behind a corporate firewall, chances are YouTube will be blocked. YouTube is a public video site and many IT departments block the entire site. What happens if your audience can’t see your videos? Consider other video hosting options that don’t get blocked by corporate firewalls.
- Who Is Your Audience?
Are you targeting a specific audience, like customers, employees and investors? Or is your target audience the entire world? Asking yourself this question is important. A site like YouTube may not be an appropriate location for videos like executive messages, training videos or investor presentations.
- Do You Have A Long-Term Web Video Strategy?
If you don’t, you should consider getting one. YouTube is a great short-term solution for hosting video content, but it may not be the right choice in the long-term. What if YouTube starts charging for their hosting? Will it still be part of your plan? Always consider your long-term web video needs before jumping into sites like YouTube.
- Content Control
Is it okay if YouTube keeps your videos on their servers, even after you’ve tried to remove them? Or would you prefer to know that once you pull a video from a portal it’s no longer available for download? If you answered yes to the latter, YouTube probably isn’t the host for you.
Our company is one the first web video agencies on the planet. We specialize in the planning, production and delivery of web video solutions. We started in the traditional film and video production business in 1997 producing TV commercials, corporate videos and broadcast programming. We started our web video division in 1999, long before YouTube was even created. We think YouTube is a very effective communication tool and we use it ourselves for certain types of promotional videos, but it’s not the be all, end all when it comes to corporate web video.