As consumers, we often make judgments about the quality of a product based almost exclusively on price.

We expect that a Rolex keeps time longer than a Fossil, that a Mercedes is built with higher quality parts than a Kia, and that Cap’n Crunch tastes superior to Crisp Crunch. Though, with respect to Crisp Crunch, it doesn’t help that their “captain” mascot looks like an uninviting, pale-skinned creep who forgot to take off his marching band uniform. But, I digress.

While price certainly plays an important role in shaping our perceptions about a particular product or service, we’ve likely all had experiences in which higher price didn’t necessarily result in a better end result. And, even so, sometimes our needs don’t necessitate that we purchase the best product. Sometimes, good enough is just fine.

For many bank marketers who are beginning to wade into the waters of video marketing, good enough is probably fine. After all, one of the perceived benefits of social media marketing is that it’s free. And, the free video platforms available through Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo are, for the most part, fine.

But, for banks looking to get more out of their video marketing strategy, how you host your video is, in some ways, just as important as the video itself. And, when it comes to video hosting, there are three areas where, simply put, you get what you pay for.

1. Aesthetics

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the color scheme of your bank website isn’t red and black. Maybe yours is. Most banks use cool, soothing colors—blue, green, purple—in their corporate branding. These colors convey professionalism, trust and credibility. Well, most of the time.

YouTube makes it incredibly easy to embed their videos on your website. All you have to do is copy and paste the iframe code into your site, and boom: you’re good to go. But, YouTube’s big red play button and black border probably don’t match the other content on your site.

While YouTube allows you to customize your bank’s YouTube channel, they do not provide you with the ability to modify the appearance of the video player. You’re stuck with that red button.

But, there are other video hosting platforms that don’t lock you into a specific color scheme. Sure, many of these platforms are not free. But, for an institution wanting people to open large accounts and take out million dollar loans, even the smallest difference in a web user’s first impression with your brand can make a big difference. Having a customized video player that matches your site, while seemingly small in the grand scheme of things, creates a more polished, sophisticated experience for the viewer.

2. Analytics

Video is the most interactive form of content. It engages more senses than any blog article or infographic. It’s also the most resource-intensive to produce, and as such, it’s important to gather as much analytic information as possible. View count tells part of the story, but for many marketers, knowing the number of video plays is no longer sufficient. A lot of people may start your video, but if they stop watching after 30 seconds, what good did the video accomplish? This is where a paid hosting platform goes a long way.

Wistia, a hosting platform based out of Cambridge, MA, provides a number of useful metrics, including the IP address location and heat map of each viewer.

With heat maps, you can quickly discern if your audience is engaging with your videos. For instance, if you notice that fewer than half of viewers finish a video, you might need to shorten the video’s length or find ways to make it more entertaining. Or, if you notice that several viewers are re-watching certain sections (as indicated with the darker coloration in the heat map), then perhaps a part of your video is unclear and could use additional clarification. This is helpful stuff!

Furthermore, if you’re looking to use video as a lead generation tool, knowing where your viewers are located can be particularly helpful. If your business development team is targeting a specific industry, knowing when employees of certain companies watch your videos can help validate that your content is reaching the right audience. Plus, it’s also a lot of fun to see when (and how often) your competitors are watching your videos.

3. Call-To-Action

Speaking of lead generation, a recent study of millennials suggests that video is a key-influencer in purchasing decisions, with 80 percent of millennials indicating that video has helped them make purchases.

An effective video can play an important role in driving conversions. And, Facebook has picked up on this. With their native video player, Facebook has introduced several pre-set call-to-action (or CTA) options. While these CTA options represent a significant enhancement over previous versions of Facebook’s video player, you are still fairly limited in your ability to customize the viewing experience.

Some video hosting platforms, such as Wistia, provide a number of tools to help convert viewers into customers. If 80 percent of millennials are truly influenced by video, then, as a marketer, your video should enable them to take the next step in becoming a customer, or at the very least, a subscriber of your content.

Link To An URL

Let’s say you’ve produced a video that highlights your new checking account. You would hope that—after watching the video—the viewer would want to open an account. After all, that’s the goal. So naturally, it would make sense to add a CTA at the end of the video with text that reads, “Open Your Account Today,” and a link that takes the viewer directly to your online account opening page. Having the CTA link inside the video window is much more effective than including a link below, and with many paid hosting platforms, this is incredibly easy to do.

Collecting Subscriptions

What’s more, though, is that—with Wistia—you can collect email subscriptions directly inside the video window. Maybe your video is more educational than product-specific. Or, maybe it’s just entertaining. While these types of videos may not necessarily drive new customer conversions, at least not immediately, they can be just as effective in converting viewers into subscribers. And, over time, you can begin to convert those subscribers into customers.

So, instead of taking your viewer to a product sign-up page, you can give them the option to subscribe with their email address. The email addresses you collect can be routed automatically to a list in your preferred email marketing platform (MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, etc.). Now, you have a list of prospective customers you can communicate with, all of whom have previously shown an interest in you.

Making The Most Of Your Video Strategy…

Again, depending on your current video marketing strategy, some (or all) of these features may not be of much value to you. But, if you’re already investing money, time and energy in producing video content for your site and social media channels, you owe it to yourself to—at the very least—consider using a paid hosting platform. With the enhanced analytics and conversion tools, you’ll be better positioned to maximize your audience’s engagement with your videos.

What video hosting platforms is your FI currently using? Let us know in the comment section below!