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The Disadvantages of YouTube as a Video Destination for Lead Generation

Note: This is intended to be a quick summary. If you are looking for a more detailed outline or personalized guidance, feel free to get in touch with me at

When considering the right place to keep you videos — especially as a destination for your viewers — YouTube often comes up as the default. And that does make sense in some ways. It’s free, doesn’t require internal resources, gives you analytics… It’s simple and does what you want.

But here’s the thing. YouTube (*ahem* Google) makes money with ads. That’s their world. So they set up a system that takes web traffic and holds onto it, recycles it, moves it from video to video, exposing users to ads along the way. This is great for brands that are advertising on YouTube as well — lots of opportunities to test-and-learn with video ads. Create a video, then create an identical video with slightly different b-roll or music and see which performs better. Rinse, repeat. Brilliant.

But as a destination — the place where you send traffic to consume your videos — there are substantial disadvantages compared to housing the videos on your website. And if you are using YouTube as your end destination, you may not be driving lead flow with video, which I cover in this previous post.

Here’s a brief overview of the specific items that may make you rethink using YouTube are your primary video destination:

  1. Other brands advertise on your content. That’s right. You’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on video production and it’s attracting eyeballs. Must be nice for the advertiser!
  2. Your viewers are naturally led away from your content and towards whatever YouTube thinks they’ll watch. I’ll jump on YouTube to watch the video we created for Knotel and when the video ends, I’m immediately brought to 11-Year-Old Tyler Butler-Figueroa WOWS With “Don’t You Worry Child”. Yeah, he’s good, but it doesn’t benefit Knotel.
  3. Limited control over branding. You don’t get to own the look or feel. Your brand guidelines become secondary to YouTube’s red play button. That’s why we advise all clients to do what Partners Healthcare did with their  Innovators in Offices Getting Coffee landing page.
  4. SEO. Google will start to surface your YouTube page instead of your website in search results.
  5. You can’t capture leads. Not until you are directing your traffic away from YouTube and to an owned landing page like this.

So, in sum, YouTube makes money by circulating traffic and exposing them to ads. As a brand, this is good as an advertiser and not so good if you’re using YouTube as your video hub.

Have an underutilized YouTube page or kicking off youTube initiatives and not sure where to take it? Email me at and I’ll let you know what I think

About the Author: James runs client success at Sightworthy, a platform for affordable and fast social video creation using pre-existing video assets.


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  1. […] Finally, where are you driving your traffic to take the action that can be tracked and leads to business results? It rarely makes sense to create snackable social videos unless there’s a next step. For example, “Watch this teaser and click on this link to come back to our landing page and view the longer video, and then get prompted to give us your email.” When you start seeing these landing pages showing up in Tableau as a top contributing factor for your top of funnel, you know your strategy is working. And if you’re asking “Why doesn’t YouTube work as a destination instead of my landing page,” you should probably also give this a read. […]

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