The last time our list of 300+ video sharing sites was updated, the race for video dominance was still a very real possibility for many sites. Since then, some clear victors have emerged and the landscape has changed dramatically. A good chunk of those sites have since gone belly up or at the very least bowed out of the online video competition, so the following is a list of the most relevant places to post your video content today.
List of Sites to Upload & Share Video Content
This list is up to date as of May 2016, and we have separated it into two sections - video-on-demand, and live-streaming. We've also include links to our resources for the main video platforms.
All-In-One Video Sharing Sites (like YouTube)
For the purposes of this post, we refer to video-on-demand as a service that allows viewers to watch content when they choose to do so. Aside from designated premium content that can only be accessed via a paywall, the overwhelming majority of video content on the following platforms are free to any user, across any device. Let's take a look at the big four:
If you’re reading this site, chances are you’ve heard of YouTube and use it regularly. Google took the time to build the most comprehensive site for posting videos online and it shows - YouTube is now the top video site in the world by a wide margin.
In case you aren’t aware, YouTube has a revenue sharing feature, more than 1 billion users uploading over an estimated 500 hours of video to the site every minute, and more than a million advertisers using Google ad platforms.
Facebook video generates over somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 billion views per day. The good news is that you likely already have a Facebook account and if you don’t, it’s very easy to create one, both as an individual, and as a brand.
With the focus Facebook is placing on video right now, it’s the best time to consider posting there, and it's only a matter of time before all of the hiccups are fleshed out of the Facebook video rights management, or content ID system, now that the site is introducing Rights Manager. The social networking site also has a revenue share program for some creators, which makes it arguably the biggest video site outside of YouTube. Not only that, but Facebook is a true contender for the top spot down the road, if current trends continue.
Vimeo is like YouTube’s artsy cousin. It has very similar features to Google's video platform, but tends to be considered the go-to place to post short films and episodic content.
Although YouTube has a much larger audience, Vimeo is the place to target an audience that appreciates well-made creative films, rather than the short entertaining video clips that have become the hallmark of YouTube. Vimeo has a number of revenue sharing models, including a “Tip Jar” and Vimeo on Demand. This allows creators great flexibility with ad-free models. This trade-off comes with a yearly subscription fee to post to the on demand portion of the site.
Dailymotion seems to be the community-first site that often gets left out of the online video race, but it has a great platform that is definitely worth utilizing for video.
The site has a robust set of analytics for creators, a revenue sharing program and a content ID system for combating copyright violations. Like YouTube, you are required to have an account to upload or comment, but you can watch video there just fine without one.
Mobile Video Centric Apps
Advances in mobile technology have not only led to massive consumption of video across smartphones, and tablets, they have also facilitated a whole range of new mobile-centric, single-purpose video apps.
As YouTube moved away from short-form content, Twitter owned Vine rose up to fill that void. Vine’s 6 second content is easy to digest, which allows it to be used for multiple purposes. It can certainly be used as a home platform, but since it has no direct way to monetize it, it lends well to starting a conversation and connecting with audiences off platform. Vine is also a great place for well-timed content. If something is trending in social, becoming a part of that conversation is easy with a short vine. The last reported number of active users was 40 million in 2013. Vine also reported in early 2015 that they are seeing 1.5 billion loops per day.
Instagram is best known for pictures, but just a year after Facebook acquired it for $1 billion in 2012, they added video as well. Like Vine, the videos are short form and now go beyond the original 15 seconds. Users can now upload content that lasts up to one-minute, which many brands are already taking advantage of. Instagram has the added benefit of leveraging over 400 million users, not to mention its integration with Facebook. Instagram also lends well to bridging the conversation between platforms and also has no native revenue sharing model.
Snapchat has really risen to prominence in the last couple years, and is at the forefront of ephemeral marketing. It is very here and now and with the addition of Snapchat Stories, content can be added and kept up longer in a 24-hour personal feed of sorts.
Snapchat is another great place to connect with an existing customer base and lends well to timely content. The fact the messages disappears gives it an “act now” appeal and a feeling of exclusivity for customers. Snapchat generates 10 billion video views a day, creating a never-ending conversation with their fans and friends.
Twitter is an interesting place for video. For one, Twitter already owns Vine, which has a much bigger foothold in the video space and already integrates well with Twitter. Twitter video does have the added benefit of posting 30 second videos. For the most part, it fills the same needs as these other sites, but is a little late to the game.
You can certainly leverage a Twitter following with Twitter video, but established mobile video platforms are much more commonly used than Twitter video. This list would be incomplete without it, but there is a good chance it may be irrelevant the next time we update this list of platforms.
Live Streaming Video Sharing Sites
Live streaming, as the name suggests, allows viewers to watch online video in real-time. Mobile apps, like Blab, and Periscope, allows brands and creators to broadcast events to millions of viewers anywhere, and any time. With that kind of reach, we expect to see more brands take the leap into live-stream, and leverage the kind of engagement this specific type of video content can generate.
Ustream was one of the first video platforms to facilitate live-streaming, way back in 2007. The live interactive site gives a platform to any creator with a camera and decent internet connection to upload content to a global audience via their own channel. It's basic service is free to all users, and there is a premium option for professional broadcasters. It was acquired by IBM in January 2016 for $130M as part of a plan to build out the tech giants cloud video services.
Facebook Live is available to verified Facebook page owners, and allows creators and brands to broadcast live to followers on the platform. Users have the option to select their target audience, and can choose to save the video content to their timeline, and video archive. Videos can also be embedded on external sites, including social media channels. Such is Facebook's investment in video, it announced earlier this year that live video is going to receive priority in the user's News Feed, with the site's algorithm ensuring that this type of video format will be more likely to appear higher for the Facebook user. Facebook also confirmed that live video is getting around 10x the engagement of other video content on the site. Keep an eye out for our in-depth best practice guide for Facebook Live which is coming soon!
In April 2016, YouTube announced the support of 360-degree video live streams, with the first major live-streamed broadcast coming from the Coachella music festival. The site is also rumored to be working on an app to rival Periscope, called YouTube Connect. Live video will be available through the app, as well as on the creator's YouTube channel, and their will be tagging and chat features available.
Although mainly thought of as a live-streaming service, Twitch will record content that has been streamed and archive it on your channel for future viewing. There is also a partner program on Twitch that allows content to be monetized and paid subscriptions to channels that offer additional perks. For live streaming, especially on desktop, Twitch is the top option right now. Amazon, acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million.
Twitter’s Periscope app is another live streaming service that gained a following with creators, and viewers. So much so, it was named confirmed as Apple’s app of the year in 2015! Periscope has been used for 200 million broadcasts to date - 100 million in the last three months alone. Twitter users get a notification from a creator or brand when a live broadcast is about to begin, and viewers can provide instant feedback by sending 'hearts' to show their approval (and by bailing out of the broadcast if they don't care to follow).
YouNow is growing in popularity among Millennials, and is a platform that focuses completely on live video. It's unique in that it has dismissed typical engagement features like shares and upvotes, in favor of a social commerce system where viewers can leave YouNow 'Bars' for creators in a virtual tip jar. Some of the top creators on the site can earn upwards of $50K per year using this feature.
There are certainly other video posting sites out there, but if you are building an audience, sharing your work, or looking to leverage a platform for your brand, I’d recommend these platforms as the only relevant ones right now. Only a handful of sites are really aiming to be an all-in-one solution for video, which the rest have very specific uses where they excel. When looking to post video content, keep this in mind and pick the platform that’s right for you and your content and your goals.