There's no doubt that YouTube makes it really easy to embed videos into your website. It's easy and there are lots of benefits. At what point, though, does showing the YouTube video player hurt your brand?
There are a lot of benefits to using YouTube - they include:
There are some disadvantages to using YouTube also:
And then there's one more disadvantage - the YouTube logo.
It seems that having that YouTube logo showing up on a video player on your website might not be the best thing.
A little while back I stumbled across the website of a well known brand. The design of their site was incredible, clean, sleek, advanced, and easy to navigate. Everything came together into a unified sleek and modern brand image…until I scrolled down a bit and saw an embedded YouTube video. It disrupted the entire cohesive look and feel of the site.
This article was written by someone I know - Al Falasch. I participated in the survey he did.
His survey reports 68% of people favoring the non-YouTube video player.
When I took the survey, I thought the same thing and that's how I voted. I voted for the #1 image, which was the one that had the Vimeo-looking player (without the Vimeo logo). The other image was the same but had the YouTube player.
Again, YouTube is easy to use. I tell clients all the time to use it BUT I also agree with the survey Al did - let me explain...
When it comes to people publishing video, it has to be easy. If it's not easy, they're just not going to do it. That's what a blog is - a blog is a tool. You can login, write something up and publish it. The website takes care of putting the article in the right place. It's easy. By having this tool, people find blogging just a bit easier and, thus, they do it more often. I think it's the same with video... it's better to have website owners publish more videos on YouTube than publish just a few on their own without being on YouTube.
There's a huge benefit (SEO-wise) with having video on your website and many believe that having a YouTube video on your website helps with SEO (in fact, I have a few websites I've set up just to test this and I can prove this myself).
I'll admit - publishing video on a website could be easier than it is now. We're always looking for better solutions but, as it stands, you have to convert a video file into HTML5 video if you want it on your website. Doing that takes a little bit of work - more work than simply uploading to YouTube and pasting in code. I think, pretty soon, it'll be easier but for the moment, that's where we're at.
Our workaround (here at Webstix) is if a video is going to be shown on the home page, we'll just show an image (screen shot) of the video with a play button on it. We mainly do this so that a video player doesn''t have to load when the home page loads (making it load faster and potentially rank a bit higher). When a website visitor clicks on that image, the video player opens in a light box overlay and at this point, it might be coming from YouTube - again, for the advantages there. So this is a hybrid solution.
Yes, for branding, it's probably better to embed your own video using a plain video player than use YouTube but if you want to be sure that people using iPhones can view the video, then you should use YouTube embeds. We have clients that are doing it this way - here's an example (gThankYou.com):
And then showing the light box and a non-YouTube video:
I'd be interested in your comments on this topic - what do you think?