Video Hosting For Brokers And Property Managers: YouTube vs. Wistia

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Once, CRE pros thought of video as a “someday” feature to add to online property marketing.  Someday is now, because prospects and landlords expect video on their desktop and mobile screens, embedded in listings. promoted with social media links, showing, selling and solving problems around the world and around the clock.

Once you’ve created the walkthrough videos and showcased your space’s benefits, amenities, location and improvements, the task of hosting the clips presents itself.  Video isn’t like photos — playback, (aka streaming), raises technical issues that images don’t.  Video files are far larger in data size than images, not as easily resized as images are on the screen, and not every device or browser supports playback of every video format.  Compared to video, photos are a cakewalk to handle.

Naturally, the software and services industry is working hard to take the hassle out of online video hosting.  New and established companies and services are here and more are coming.  Here’s a comparison of YouTube and Wistia, two video hosting options evaluated with an eye toward commercial real estate:

The War Horse: YouTube

YouTube remains the leader in hosted video online, serving an enormously high and growing number of video streams every second of every day.  Size and variety of content is one reason YouTube is the world’s second most popular search engine, (with parent company Google as the first).  As with every piece of content you put on the web, you need to make sure the YT video page’s text pieces – the video’s title and other data – all point cleanly to the subject so that searchers will find it.

YouTube works best for a “fire and forget” video hosting solution for property marketing.  Once uploaded, a clip gives a viewing user basic playback control, popover text overlays, reports on playbacks, optional comments, basic embedding and other features.  It’s a plain-vanilla war horse, and is free, but could be too crude a solution for property marketers.   A walkthrough video for a property can benefits from features that YouTube doesn’t offer.

Wistia – Not Just Playback

Wistia is a paid video hosting solution.  With the cost comes extra features that can help property marketers.  In addition to the fire-and0-forget basics offered by YouTube – hosting, the ability to embed in any web page, overlays – Wistia can do a little more:

  • Multiple Videos In One Player – Have a property with multiple vacancies?  Want to show the next vacancy right away without making the user leave the page, or the video?  The playlist feature has you covered.
  • Video Transcripts – Wistia supports the presentation of the video’s spoken audio track as text on the web page.  This is a giant benefit for searchers in finding the video as well as viewers of that video, because the transcript can be clicked on and used as a playback control.  Let a user skip to the warehouse part of a clip, or the parking, or the environmental controls portion.
  • Call To Action In-Player – Once the clip is through, a rich interactive call-to-action takes up the player.
  • Private Video Sharing – Easy to provide private, password-protected video content to clients or investors.
  • Customizability – Sporting a ton of customizing features that require no programming, just about any idea you have concerning presentation – triggering things on the web page at a particular point in the video, for example – can be built by a programmer.


So what’s your experience with online video hosting?

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