YouTube Vs. Wistia: What’s The Best Platform For Hosting Video

Improve Your Video Distribution Knowledge

March 8, 2017/0/0

So you’ve just invested all that money, spent weeks; maybe months planning, your strategy might even have placed your neck on the line with someone with a slightly bigger desk than you; you want need to guarantee that you know how to optimise the distribution of your videos once you have them.

Hosting Video

It’s not as simple as chucking your videos everywhere and anywhere. That’s clumsy, (Panda level clumsy) and it’s going to limit the success of your videos. We will give you the knowledge so when it comes to hosting video, you have a proper strategy.

So…to build a distribution strategy you’re going to need to know a bit about the platforms you’re hosting video on.

We’ve given you a list of 5 tasks and ranked how well YouTube and Wistia handle each of these tasks. At the end you’ll be able to compare them like top trump cards

1. Is It Easy To Customise?



Wistia offers a very personalised experience when it comes to its player.

Wistia player is, in there own so humble words, ‘The most fastest, customisable player available on the web.’

You’re able to customize the colour and controls of your own video player. This is good because you can spread awareness for your brand by matching your video player to fit the colours you’re already identified with.

And, if you pay a little extra money you can completely remove all signs of Wistia’s branding so that the player looks well and truly yours.

(Sidenote) Wistia’s player automatically loads its videos to the optimum playback quality that the current internet speed can handle. So no-one, at least in theory, has to wait for a video to buffer.

Rating – 4


YouTube has basic functionality features. You can’t change the design of the video player,

the play button and all the bars keep YouTube’s colours and branding when embedded on your site. Why does this matter? Well, there’s plenty of case studies that suggest even changing the colour of a call to action button drastically impacts click through rate. So, is it wise to underestimate the importance of colour in engagement. Not having the option to customise could affect the number of views on a video.

But, you have to put this in perspective. You’re still able to stamp your brand into a YouTube video by designing your own thumbnails. This is the most important part because it’s the most obvious thing we look at when we see a video. If people can’t recognise your brand from your thumbnail alone…quit worrying about the colour of a play button: you’ve got bigger issues.

Rating – 3

2. Is It Positioning Your Brand


You don’t sh*t where you eat. Should you work where you play?

YouTube since it’s inception has predominantly been an entertainment hub and is most popular for watching music videos. Out of the top 70 most watched YouTube videos of all time, only 4 aren’t music videos.

So, is it appropriate for businesses to post their content here?

Well it depends…who are you?

People want to be entertained on this platform. And the reality is, some brands fit the blueprint for fun content much better than others. It’s not as natural to make the world of accounting, insurance and data handling look as rock n roll as someone like Nike.

The blueprint isn’t a strict code of course…more like guidelines. You can still generate views without being ‘fun’. There’s plenty of businesses posting testimonials, spec videos, tips/guide material, etc., and building successful channels with lots of views and subscribers in the process.

But, you need to figure out if being entertaining is playing to your brands strengths?

If you’re not producing entertainment focused content, could your more serious content be doing better on a platform not so entertainment based?

Rating – 3


When we meet a new brand online for the first time it’s a bit like looking at a CV. Usually, within a few seconds we will have made some assumptions and have our own idea about this new company.

Where you host your video is a bit like where you went to school…people take more notice when you payed for it.

Unlike other platforms, Wistia isn’t free. When you host on Wistia, you’re letting people know you take your marketing very seriously. And if you brand is recognized as serious strategists, your brands recognised as successful.

Also, the cost to host helps filter out silly content from the platform; the price tag attracts businesses and repels amateurs. You don’t find ‘funniest ever cat video’ or ‘50 greatest fails 2017’ on Wistia because people don’t want to pay to host content like this.

Instead you find the content provided is almost all exclusively from businesses. Associating with this crowd should reflect that you’re a company that takes its video marketing very seriously.

But of course, the downside is you have to pay  a subscription fee in order to host your content

Rating – 3

3. Can It Capture Leads


YouTube’s is absolutely brilliant at keeping its traffic on its website …but it’s not as excellent at diverting traffic to your site.

Using annotations and cards, you can add external links to your video but taking traffic out of YouTube is difficult when there’s so much content still to view on the platform.

The way YouTube is designed, means that clicking away to your site or landing page afterwards, isn’t the most obvious option.

YouTube is ace at getting people to watch the next video…and the next one…and the next one. Features like autoplay, ads, suggestion tabs, and subscription channels means there’s always more content to view.

Even top YouTuber Pewdiepie, net worth $61 million 2016, still has his subscribe button as his main call to action. Trying to direct traffic out of YouTube is clearly very difficult.

Also, paid ads reduce the control you have over your traffic. YouTube uses its personalisation algorithms to know which ads and suggestions to introduce to your leads. This obviously makes things highly competitive because traffic isn’t safe on your video for a second. There’s so many distractions from others in your niche, a certain amount of traffic is inevitably going to be snatched from right under your nose by the worst people imaginable…your competitors. However, this works both ways. You will also steal traffic from your competitors too by featuring on their suggestion tabs.

One final thing on ads. It’s fairly well known that even a few seconds of buffering, drastically increases bounce rates on video.

So how do we expect viewers to respond when waiting 5 seconds to skip an ad. That 5 seconds gives the suggestion tab an opportune window to divert attention, and you could lose your lead.

Rating – 2


One of the ways to direct traffic to your site is by using call to action buttons on your videos. And Wistia has some pretty neat options when it comes to call to actions.

The most impressive one being its turnstile feature. This is what makes Wistia stand out as probably the most clinical platform for capturing email.

Basically, an email capture window fills the screen like a thumbnail and hides the video player behind it. You can set it up so your viewers can either skip or be forced to enter their email address to continue.

The emails you capture are linked directly to your provider, like Mailchimp, so you can start nurturing your leads right away.

So overall Wistia is pretty good at both getting leads to your website straight away and at nurturing leads taking the long journey to your site.

Rating – 4

4. Is It Good For SEO


What’s the whole point of SEO in the first place? Why is it so important to rank high on Google?

Because the more traffic getting to your website the better.

When someone clicks on your YouTube video they found on google, they’re sent to, not to your website.This is big problem with YouTube. You might have created a video thats ranking really well, but it’s not directing traffic to your website…so it’s failed to achieve the most important thing.

But…as well as being a hosting platform, YouTube is a search engine itself. And a pretty big one at that. The second biggest on the internet in fact. Many people simply go straight to YouTube to find video which means you can optimize in more than one place and you have an enormous market to cast your net in.

Rating – 3


Wistia is pretty unique in that it doesn’t have a browsing interface. There’s no way to see the videos they host actually on Wistia itself. All your videos lives on your website, not on theirs.

Having video live on your website is beneficial because it means all the traffic from google searches is sent directly to your website rather than going to Wistia.

This means if you’ve spent the time making sure you’re videos are ranking well, you’ll reap the benefit by taking all the traffic into your website.

By avoiding the ordeal of re-directing people from a platform to your website, you should decrease the chance of people watching your video and then never getting to your site to find out more.

Rating – 4

5. Can You Track Your Video’s Performance


YouTube has some useful analytic tools but the data isn’t always too accurate. YouTube analytics can’t assess your viewers as individuals so instead creates averages to form pretty good estimates.

The data you can collect is pretty vast. You can understand your audiences:

  • Geography
  • Gender
  • Preferred type of device to watch on
  • Engagement with each video (number of views, likes, comments, shares, subscribes)

And…you can’t always determine how much someone liked something by looking at numbers and figures.

Qualitative data is also an important part of video analytics. YouTube offers a very social way to understand your audience. YouTube’s like button and comment section encourages viewers to engage with you directly after watching a video. Direct engagement with your audience is great because sometimes a simple conversation can tell you just as much as stats and figures can.

Even just the frequency of engagement you receive in likes and comments, if you don’t have time to read and respond to them all.

Rating – 3


Wistia’s analytics are perhaps the most sophisticated offered from any video hosting platform.

The analysis is so accurately detailed, you can understand your viewers experience even down to an individual level.

You can track:

  • A viewer’s location
  • Which videos they watched
  • How many videos they watched
  • The heatmap of their interaction
  • When they last watched a video
  • If you’ve captured that viewers email or not

Heatmaps show exactly how a viewer interacted with your video whilst watching it, showing the parts they skipped/paused/rewatched/etc…

With this depth of data, you’ve got the potential to draw many ideas on the strengths of your videos. For example, you can figure out if your videos are nurturing leads well if you see people keep returning to watch more video.

Rating – 4

Final Ranking


Where Should You Be Hosting Video?

It’s important to bare in mind that we’ve only rated these platforms on their ability to do 5 things. There are many more ways to compare them…but we’ve probably already gone on for far too long and can’t talk about everything at once.

But, with the things we choose to talk about, Wistia definitely comes out on top. There are many things that YouTube gives it a good fight for but in some ways it out shines them completely.

  • It’s customizing features are great for functionality and for continuity with your branding, which is good for spreading awareness.
  • It actually drives traffic to your website, which is fundamental if you value SEO.
  • Highly accurate and detailed analytics allow you to understand how to improve your video strategy all the time

So Wistia’s technically the better platform…does this mean you should only be hosting video on Wistia. Well…maybe not. We will be returning to this topic soon to answer why you probably need both.

Til next time,



George M.

George is the marketing executive here at Lumira Studio. He enjoys all aspects of content marketing and won’t consider his job done until everyone is educated on the power of video. Also, he’s a bit of a music geek and likes to get the Led out when he can.


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