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YouTube is still the most popular video sharing platform online but do you know the hidden cost you’re paying?

YouTube rules

How much video is uploaded to YouTube everyday?

There is no question that YouTube has been the king of online video platforms for years. With almost 500,000 hours of video being uploaded everyday there aren’t many that can compete (although Facebook is doing an excellent job).

Almost 90% of the external videos I have created for businesses over the years have ended up, at some point, on YouTube. This is not wrong. YouTube is a great place to host content, to have it found or to share it from. This blog is not warning you to stay away from YouTube entirely but instead to question how you use it and make you think again.

The hidden cost

For me there are a few downsides to YouTube:

  1. Too much competition
  2. Related or suggested videos can be your downfall.
  3. YouTube branding
“YouTube, on its own, is not a strategy”

Too much competition

With so much video being uploaded to YouTube it can be easy for your content to get lost. Unless you are uploading regularly your video is unlikely to receive preferential treatment from YouTube’s algorithm.

This is not a major concern if you have a strategy behind distribution but the warning here that I always give is –

“YouTube, on its own, is not a strategy”

Related or suggested videos

When you are on YouTube related videos appear down the side, by default, autoplaying at the conclusion fo your video. When your video concludes, whilst embedded, related videos appear at the end.

This is potentially a risk as it is not a guarantee that the related videos will belong to you. I have seen many videos, hosted on YouTube, embedded on a company page that, upon conclusion, promote competitor’s videos.

There are ways to avoid showing related videos with embeds but on YouTube there is no such guarantee.

When you put something on YouTube you risk linking to your competitors. This alone is not a reason to avoid YouTube but is definitely  worth a thought.

YouTube branding

Nothing is free. You got to pay to be in society. First you start with homework.

When you embed YouTube on your website that video is almost always showing the YouTube branding somewhere.

The cost you are paying is free advertisement to YouTube. The question you need to ask is, as a professional business, do you give any other companies free advertising? Are you prepared to give another business free promotion?

Showing YouTube branding is not always bad and can have positive effects for your site but it is important to be aware of the the trade off you are making in exchange for free video hosting.

Nothing is free. You got to pay to be in society. First you start with homework. 

Mel Brooks

Remember nothing is free

YouTube offers a fantastic service: free hosting, access to millions of users and great analytics but it is not truly free.

The data they get for advertising and privacy issues aside you are making certain compromises. For many these are acceptable but knowledge is the best weapon.

If you know what these ‘costs’ are and want to go ahead that’s fine. I recommend YouTube to clients on almost daily basis (always with a strategy and plan). All I ask is that you choose YouTube from a position of knowledge. Take the time to understand the risks and the comprises you are making and then go ahead – it is all part of making a video marketing plan.

For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.

Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.


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