The Showdown: Native Video vs. Hosted Video

If your digital marketing strategy involves video, you’ve probably asked yourself some of these questions: Where do I distribute my video online? Where will it perform best? How can I guarantee the most views?

If you’re searching for a ready-made solution, stop looking. You have to decide the best fit for the goals you have in mind for the video’s performance. There are plenty of ways to use video outside of TV advertising, and you must identify what works for your brand and the content.

Video distribution platforms are not one-size-fits-all.

When developing video content, always ensure you’ve set a clear goal for what you hope the video will accomplish. Is it educational? Is it a branding piece? Are you hoping to drive conversions? Understanding what action you want people to take after watching the video will help you understand the most effective way to distribute it.



Uploading your video file directly to Facebook allows you to target the video to your intended audience. Facebook optimizes video content more than any other type of post, so you’ll certainly get more views. The Facebook algorithm increasingly favors video; that’s why it seems like every other post in your newsfeed is a video. In addition, people are able to share and comment, creating more reach and a direct connection to your audience. If your video is all about branding or showing off what your business has to offer, then Facebook is your best bet.

The drawbacks of Facebook video? They’re tough to link to from other sites and don’t have a long lifespan, getting buried in other content relatively quickly.

Same with Twitter, where tweets often get buried quickly. However, Twitter videos are highly shareable and can be really engaging. Native Twitter videos can provide a real-time look at events, connecting your audience in that moment.

Facebook and Twitter videos don’t always have to be high-quality productions. Often, videos straight from your smartphone will perform well. This is not the case with hosted videos – brand videos posted there should be high-quality.



Hosting your video on hosting platforms like YouTube or Vimeo provides different, although still beneficial, opportunities for your brand. YouTube and Vimeo allow users to upload longer, higher-quality videos. It is the ideal place to host brand videos, educational videos, news clips and other quality content.

Sharing a YouTube link to your hosted video in a tweet or in an Instagram profile gives your audience access to the full video, versus the short snippet they might see if the video was shared natively. It also gives you the ability to easily access the video later to share again or repurpose.

YouTube and Vimeo are also convenient to link back to from anywhere on the web and integrate with websites seamlessly. This means you, or people who love your brand, can embed the video into a blog or on a website in just a few clicks. This also allows you to put the video where the users are. Plus, they can easily search for it on Google or on the video hosting site itself.


Hosted video and native video both provide a home for your video content that can produce impressive results, but be careful when measuring video views and comparing the analytics between the two channels. YouTube counts a view at 30 seconds, Facebook counts a view at 3 seconds. Facebook has detailed analytics that will let you see how many users watched how much of your video. Pay attention to the number of complete watches for a better idea of how the video resonated with the audience.

So which one wins? You decide. However you decide to share, make it worth the effort.