A bearded gray-haired man works on a wood-working project in front of a small camera and boom mic mounted on a tripod. The man uses a pencil to trace the shape of a smaller plank of wood onto a larger plank of wood. He wears a red-and-blue plaid shirt under a khaki apron and is looking at the camera over the tops of the glasses perched near the end of his nose. The man's workroom is cluttered; there are shelves behind him crowded with various spray bottles, and the worktable is scattered with various tools and pieces of unstained wood.
Video hosting platforms are for more than just uploading videos. You can hold livestreams and virtual events, send out calls-to-action, and even make your videos interactive. — Getty Images/JohnnyGreig

Video can be a highly effective marketing tool to help your small business improve engagement, generate leads, and increase conversions. One study found that social videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Whether you use video in your email marketing, as social media content, on your website, or elsewhere, statistics prove it’s one of the most impactful ways to reach customers.

In order to make video work for you, you first need to find the right video hosting platform. Look for a platform that is user-friendly and easy to navigate, with simple uploading and embedding processes. These platforms each have different features to help you customize, promote, and analyze the results of your marketing videos.

Vimeo

Vimeo is an all-in-one video hosting platform that allows businesses to make, manage, and share videos and virtual events. Vimeo is a platform known for its collaboration tools, which allow creative team members, freelancers, and other stakeholders to share works in progress privately. Plus, Vimeo integrates seamlessly with popular platforms including TikTok, HubSpot, Shopify, Meta, and WordPress.

“Despite bringing in far less traffic than YouTube, Vimeo has garnered a reputation for hosting higher-quality content overall. It's also known to create a great experience for viewers and marketers alike,” wrote one reviewer.

[Read more: 4 Best Practices for Creating Engaging Social Media Videos]

YouTube

YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the internet, with 1.9 billion users logging in every month. Perhaps the biggest draw for small businesses is that YouTube is completely free to use; you can monetize your content and earn from videos posted on your channel. However, this also means that YouTube could place ads before, during, and after your content. This can distract viewers from your video content.

YouTube’s popularity can be a double-edged sword for small businesses. On one hand, there’s a ready and eager audience on the platform looking for content like yours. On the other hand, you will be competing with other video creators for viewers’ attention. It can be difficult to stand out among the millions of other videos on YouTube.

Wistia

Wistia is a video hosting platform packed full of marketing tools. It works slightly differently than Vimeo and YouTube in that you don’t post videos on a public page. Instead, you upload videos privately to Wistia and embed them on your web pages or emails. The video player is customizable and ad-free, and you can add calls-to-action and in-video contact forms to generate leads. Built-in analytics makes it easy to track the results of your video marketing efforts.

Look for a platform that is user-friendly and easy to navigate, with simple uploading and embedding processes.

Unfortunately, Wistia’s hosting isn’t ideal for sharing your videos on social media. When you export videos to social media, you'll lose any customizations, calls-to-action, or other marketing features. Some small businesses may find it too limiting as a result.

Spotlightr

Spotlightr, formerly branded as vooPlayer, is a very affordable option that targets service professionals, including teachers and coaches. As such, Spotlightr offers powerful security features, like HLS encryption and polymorphic access tokens. This allows you to prevent unauthorized access to course material and other proprietary videos.

In addition, Spotlightr has a unique quiz feature that you can use to overlay and stop videos with interactive questions. Businesses can use these questions to collect marketing information or assess if a viewer is learning from your videos. “You can also create custom overlays that link to other videos, offer coupons, or otherwise engage your audience,” wrote Zapier.

Some reviewers note that Spotlightr can be a little tricky to navigate. Likewise, it has limited customization features that might not make it the best fit for creating marketing campaigns.

[Read more: Easy-to-Use Video Editing Software for Small Businesses]

SproutVideo

SproutVideo offers both livestreaming and hosted videos. It’s a very comprehensive video marketing platform with features including lead capture, post-play screens, video SEO tools, video landing pages and websites, and premium integrations. It also boasts advanced video privacy options, from password protection to single sign-on, IP address restriction, geo-restriction, and more.

SproutVideo users like the customer service the platform provides. “The support staff have been super helpful with helping us resolve issues with our deployment and have taken feedback to heart making changes we have suggested. They get back to us super quick even after hours,” wrote one reviewer.

Like Wistia, SproutVideo doesn’t offer the advantage of a built-in audience. There are dozens of features available in this platform, which can make the learning curve a bit steeper than other tools on this list.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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