We at FastPix stopped saying “video is the future” because it’s already happening! Video has become the keystone of online engagement, with reports indicating an 88% increase in user engagement on websites featuring video content. As the digital landscape evolves, integrating video into your platform has transitioned from being an option to a necessity.

According to the latest industry report from Statista, video now constitutes over 80% of internet content, demonstrating its dominance in capturing user attention. Additionally, a survey conducted by Nielsen suggests that users spend 70% more time engaging with video content over static content.

But that’s not all, integrating it seamlessly into your product is more crucial for engaging audiences. When considering how to integrate video into your application or website, there are three primary approaches: Embed Video, Native video using API-based third-party platforms, or developing an In-house DIY solution. Each method presents its own set of advantages and considerations, catering to diverse needs and objectives.

What’s Your Objective?

Define your objective first! Your requirement for video might include prioritizing user experience enhancements, scalability for accommodating growing user bases, customization to align with brand identity, efficient resource utilization, or even a blend of these elements.

For instance, if the primary aim is to offer a seamless, branded video experience while efficiently scaling with user growth, the ideal solution should provide a balance between control, scalability, and expert support. Here are a few high-level factors which you can consider while evaluating different approaches to stream video online:

high-level factor to consider while evaluating different approached to stream video online.

Different Ways to Stream Video Online

1. Embed Video

Embedding video involves integrating video from a hosting platform directly into your webpage or application. Services like YouTube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion offer easy embedding options, allowing users to showcase videos without hosting them directly. This offers a swift start and is also cost-effective, making it ideal for initial testing. However, it often lacks control over branding, user experience, and scalability, potentially impacting long-term engagement.

The benefits of embedding include:

  • Ease of Use: With a simple embed code, users can quickly display videos without worrying about hosting or bandwidth issues.
  • Wide Reach: Platforms like YouTube have vast audiences, potentially increasing the visibility of embedded content.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Hosting videos on free platforms saves on storage and bandwidth costs. But this comes with a loss - your audience is not yours!

However, embedding video also comes with limitations:

  • Limited Customization: Users have minimal control over the player's appearance and functionality.
  • Ads and Distractions: Third-party platforms often display ads or suggested videos, diverting attention from the content.
  • Dependency on External Platforms: Any changes or issues with the hosting platform might affect the embedded content's availability or functionality.
  • Customer Experience: To be able to upload videos you need to sign up for the embedding video service like YouTube or Vimeo. This impacts the customer experience by adding an extra step for you. This plays a major factor to retain customers as every user prefers an easy to use and simpler solution.

Further, YouTube provides a features which restricts public access to any video by listing it as private. But in case of your viewers - they also need to sign-in with their designated accounts on which the video was shared (Gmail Id). This becomes a hassle both for you and your viewers.

problems users normally face while uploading a video.

Native Video using API-based Platforms

Using third-party platforms like FastPix or others offers a balance between control and efficiency. These platforms provide robust APIs, customizable solutions, and comprehensive support for quick deployment. They enable complete control over the user experience while offering scalability and expertise.

These third-party API-based platforms offer:

  • Enhanced Customization: With wide range of functionalities, including uploading, managing, and streaming video content with varying degrees of customization. Users can tailor the player's design, features, and interactions to align with their brand.
  • Analytics and Insights: Access to detailed analytics and pre-built dashboards help in understanding audience behaviour and preferences. With viewer engagement and quality of experience metrics these dashboards help to make better decisions on how to improve.
  • Monetization Options: Some platforms provide built-in monetization features, allowing users to generate revenue from their video content.

However, API-based platforms also present challenges:

  • Costs: While more customizable, these services often come with subscription fees or usage-based pricing models.
  • Developer Focussed: Implementing and integrating APIs might require somewhat technical expertise, potentially complicating the development process. But most platforms provide robust API documentation and guides which can make the process easy and seamless.

DIY In-House Approach

Building an in-house video infrastructure promises full customization and control as you build according to your needs. However, it demands extensive resources, technical expertise, and ongoing maintenance. This approach can be slow to market, diverting focus from core product innovation. Challenges also include the need to keep pace with evolving video trends and standards.

Benefits include:

  • Complete Control: Organizations can tailor every aspect of the streaming experience to align perfectly with their brand and user expectations.
  • Scalability: In-house solutions can be scaled according to evolving needs without being constrained by third-party limitations.
  • Data Security: Direct control over data storage and security measures can be crucial for sensitive content. You can build security features as you wish but there a lot of technical complexity. For instance if you’re using AWS, then you would need to connect or integrate with several different functions and services from the extensive list of AWS services to enable the desired solution.

Few challenges with in-house solutions:

  • High Development Costs: Building a robust video streaming infrastructure requires substantial investment in resources, time, and technology.
  • Maintenance and Updates: Continuous maintenance and updates are necessary to keep up with evolving technology and user expectations.
  • Resource Intensiveness: A dedicated team of skilled professionals like developers and video engineers are required to develop and maintain the in-house streaming solution.

An extensive analysis by Forrester Research emphasizes that 65% of enterprises face challenges in maintaining and scaling DIY video solutions, citing resource constraints and slower time-to-market as primary hurdles.

A Detailed Comparison

  • Control and Customization: DIY offers the most control, but third-party platforms like FastPix offer a high degree of customization while streamlining setup and integration.
  • Scalability: Third-party platforms excel here, providing infrastructure and support for scaling seamlessly.
  • Maintenance and Support: DIY requires ongoing maintenance, whereas third-party platforms offer worry-free maintenance and dedicated support teams.
  • Time-to-Market: Embedding is quick to set up, but DIY can be time-consuming. Third-party platforms strike a balance, offering faster deployment than DIY.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons

Each method offers its own set of advantages and drawbacks:

  • Embedding: Quick start but lacks long-term control and scalability.
  • DIY In-house: Complete control but challenges in maintenance and innovation.
  • Native Video using API-based Platforms: Efficient setup, control, and scalability with reduced maintenance burdens.

We have collated a comparison between FastPix (API for video) and the most widely used services across DIY and Embeds. Think of us as biased but this is the real picture:

AWS vs YouTube vs Wistia vs FastPix parameters

Choosing the Right Approach

In conclusion, the decision shouldn't just be based on immediate needs but should encompass future scalability and innovation. Because, we are now at inflection point in how forward-thinking companies are leveraging video to drive connection and traction.

Embed vs native video vs DIY have differences in approach – and this decision will have long-lasting implications for team bandwidth, development time, and the ability to keep up with new video standards and technology. It will affect how you grow, and your ability to iterate and build new video experiences over time into your product.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn about three ways of streaming video online.
  • Get an insight of the differences of the three ways: Embed, DIY and native videos.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of the three ways.