We’ve all seen our fair share of websites where the publisher’s primary video player was a YouTube player, and it’s easy to understand why. YouTube is free, can be quickly embedded, and tracks audience views. Either you’re a publisher that doesn’t own any video content and you’re simply embedding videos from someone else’s channels, or you’re the producer who uploaded the video and you want a simple video solution for your own properties. Whatever the case may be, using a YouTube player as your primary player means you are not making monetization your top priority, and unless you’re a brand or a viral video production house, monetization really deserves to be high up on your priority list. For publishers who don’t own videos, fixing the problem is easy – use an alternative service that could provide you with video content, as well as monetization. But let’s talk about the producers that end up weighing their YouTube views higher than making money from those views.
Producers that are serious about video would be wise to consider a video player where they have full control of monetization, whether they have their own ad sales team or use ad networks. Producers should still use YouTube, but it should just be one of many publishing channels in their arsenal, not their entire publishing platform. At the end of the day, getting the most out of advertising is going to be much more valuable than watching your YouTube view count rise.
Monetization is more than just getting views
It can be exciting to watch your view count go up each day (or hour, depending on how much traffic your videos command), but that counter has little to do with your actual ROI. YouTube’s advertising solutions are not for everyone. Channel owners have the option to become a YouTube Partner and have ads shown on their videos for a profit. However, these payments average out to $2 per 1,000 views at scale. Psy made an impressive $4 million on Gangnam Style, but he also had more than 1 billion views. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Psys and Justin Biebers (yes, he was discovered on YouTube) of the YouTube world are few and far between. Additionally, requirements around having a sales team, selling at a minimum price, and operationally managing ads on YouTube make it difficult to sell into your own content. It is possible to earn money from YouTube, but treat it as one of many revenue streams.
YouTube still matters
With increasing audience fragmentation, it’s becoming more important than ever to reach audiences at as many touch points as possible. You should take advantage of YouTube’s viewership of more than 800 million unique users each month, watching 4 billion hours of video. Every video producer should have a presence on YouTube and be seen as a relevant contributor; it just shouldn’t be your primary video publishing tool. YouTube should be one of many thriving publishing channels you manage. Regularly upload content to YouTube that audiences will want to watch, market your YouTube content across your other channels, and use YouTube to drive users to you or your partner’s properties. Media companies that successfully manage their YouTube channel but keep it separate from the video technology they use for their other publishing channels and relationships will be able to enjoy watching their YouTube view counts increase, while maintaining full control over their video monetization efforts.
Controlling your turf matters, more
YouTube is a consumer-centric video platform focused on its community of viewers, and you’ll see this across most of its features. When you embed a YouTube video on your website, video recommendations appear in the player after the video is finished, and they won’t necessarily be for your content. This enables YouTube to keep the viewer in its world, exploring YouTube’s content. Anyone who is familiar with YouTube knows how easy it is to get sucked into the maze of videos. I’m sure you know someone (if it isn’t you) who watches one YouTube video on a site, and 10 minutes later, ends up knee deep in YouTube.com. Here’s the catch – the site and the content owner that got you started on this path are usually long forgotten by the time you’re watching piano playing cat videos. If you were a producer and the audience was on your site, wouldn’t a player that lets you recommend only your videos and keeps the audience exploring the content within your channels be preferable? Even if you’re just publishing other people’s content, wouldn’t it be equally be valuable to keep audiences exploring the content on your site for longer than having them jump ship to YouTube. Granted, YouTube does a great job with relevance at the content and user levels, but there’s more to it when you start thinking about monetization and engagement with your brand.