Video Essentials

The Cons and Cons of Uploading Marketing Videos to YouTube

So your company has a new marketing video—maybe its first—and you want to get it seen by as many potential customers as possible. Upload it to YouTube, right? After all, that’s the most popular video destination by far. That’s where the viewers are.

Wrong. For local or regional companies, posting with YouTube could cost them viewers or sales.

whynotyoutubeSpeaking at the recent Gilbane digital content conference in Boston, Tim Lewis, producer of digital content for Continuum Managed Services, spelled out why YouTube is a lousy choice.

“If you upload to YouTube and embed that video to your web page thinking that will boost your ranking, it will in a way because Google ranks YouTube videos higher than actual web pages,” Lewis said. “So, if you searched let’s say ‘managed services Boston’ (Continuum), a Continuum YouTube video will pop up first and then the actual web pages will be below that. While that’s good and dandy, it’s kind of dangerous for two reasons. One, YouTube is a one-way street, and, two, everyone is on YouTube.”

By “one-way street,” Lewis means it’s difficult to drive viewers from YouTube to a company site. If the goal is to attract potential customers, it’s better not to send them to YouTube in the first place.

“You go search ‘managed services Boston,’ you see Continuum, click it, it goes to YouTube not your web page. And the thing with YouTube videos is that you can’t create annotations that will link out to your product page or whatever you want the CTA [click-through action] to be,” Lewis explains. “Most of the time if someone’s clicking on a YouTube link, they’re going to stay on YouTube. They’re not going to go and take the time to type in your website.”

As for the other reason, yes, everyone is on YouTube—but that’s a problem. Sure, there are lots of viewers, but competing companies are there, as well.

“Everyone’s on YouTube. So, if they see ‘managed services Boston,’ they search that, see Continuum, click Play on YouTube, and they see the Suggested Videos panel on the side, they’ll see your competition, because you searched ‘managed services Boston.’ So that’s also pretty dangerous.”

For that reason, Lewis recommends hosting with a secure solution such as Wistia or Vidyard instead of YouTube.

Scroll down to watch Lewis’s full 20-minute presentation.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. You can check me here, but the statement ” And the thing with YouTube videos is that you can’t create annotations that will link out to your product page or whatever you want the CTA [click-through action] to be” is incorrect.

    Posted by Ita Udo-Ema | December 9, 2016, 6:29 pm
  2. It’s not only possible but easy to create click-through overlays on YouTube videos to any landing page on your website. You can do this with Annotations, Cards, or End Screens.

    Posted by David Blair | December 13, 2016, 12:45 pm
  3. What does he mean you can’t create annotations on YouTube? Yes, you can. With links. Back to your website.

    YouTube is just another content strategy channel. Learn how to use it but don’t run away from it. Use YT like any other social media platform as an in point to your website. Learn how to create good CTAs.

    To his point, YT is not a video hosting platform; it is a social sharing platform that uses video as the sharing medium.

    If you are creating video as a benefit to your customers or employees then you should host them at a video hosting provider. if you are trying to attract new customers or build brand (Will It Blend? – look for it on YT) then you must be on YT.

    Does his company also manage video services? Because it sounds like a sales pitch to me.

    And, seriously, we dress like hipsters for credibility? Hmm. Must of missed the memo.

    Can I speak at the next Gilbane? Because I have actual, real information to share.

    Posted by Todd O'Neill | December 14, 2016, 1:17 am
  4. Wow, an article about online video on a site about online video containing a video that doesn’t load or play on mobile devices.

    Should have used YouTube.


    Posted by Paul | December 20, 2016, 11:54 am
  5. And he was a speaker at a conference? If I had paid to go to that I’d be asking for my money back! It is indeed possible to load you tube video’s with click through annotations to your own website. I run across them on a regular basis. It really means the author of this article isn’t really qualified to be guiding others on this subject.

    Posted by wizbang_fl | December 30, 2016, 6:51 pm
  6. At Vidyard, we definitely agree that self-hosting your videos is best for most of your marketing content, but there’s still room for YouTube (and Facebook) in your marketing strategy:

    Having some of your content on the second largest search engine in the world (which is owned by the largest) has its perks.

    Posted by Jon Spenceley | January 4, 2017, 10:05 am
Subscribe to our Newsletter
email address
Online Video Playlist
Online Video Bulletin
Streaming Media Xtra
SM Europe Xtra