The main problem in hosting video is that there has never been a standard video format supported by all browsers. In all cases, today's browsers use a number of plug-ins (for example, Flash) to show video content. However, this is about to change with the arrival of HTML5, which allows embedding on webpages within all the major browsers. HTML5 looks set to be the standard for the future.
You could develop your own video player, but there are a number already available that your website could use to embed HTML5 video into its a pages: VideoJS, JW Player, MediaElement.js, FlareVideo and SublimeVideo are all options worth looking at.
It is also a good idea to have a fallback, by formatting your video in Flash. If your visitor is using a browser that isn't supported by the video player you have chosen, it will automatically look for any other formats the video is available in. Flash is still widely supported, so ensure your video is also available in this format as well.
You can't ignore smartphones and tablets. Video on these devices needs to be handled carefully to ensure it is delivered at the highest quality. In most cases you'll want to use H.264 standards and MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) to encode your video so it can be played on all mobile devices.
And there is a way to bypass the problem altogether. Platt says: "Most video sites like YouTube and Vimeo support video streaming to devices, so if you use one of these, you don't really need to worry about formats."
Spread the word
Data from Unruly shows that video is more influential when it's encountered by recommendation rather than through browsing. That's why businesses need a balance between investing in quality and distribution: good video is useless if you can't reach the people who would enjoy it.
One vital thing to consider when approaching video is how your company's social media strategy will support it. Video technology company Unruly reports that viewers who find videos through recommendations are much more likely to act than people who find them by browsing.
Helpfully, social media services are making video an integral part of their service, and that's making it easier for brands to share their videos. For instance, GoPro uses Vine video to highlight videos made with its cameras. The publisher Simon & Schuster fills its Twitter feed with visual cues to promote current books. And HubSpot invites its customers into its offices with stylish short films.
Rob Crombie, Head of Video at Sneak (the dedicated video production arm of Group FMG) says: "Video is one of the most versatile and valuable marketing tools. Craft a message you're happy with, told in the way you'd want to tell it and publish it everywhere." Making effective videos, uploading them and getting people to talk about them takes planning and creativity, but the rewards for your work can be huge.
- Read on to learn more about how video streaming works.