Sometimes adding a YouTube video to your site can help to enhance the user experience and add value to your existing content. However, I recently stumbled upon an interesting issue when including a YouTube video on a client’s website. In fact the issues raised were so interesting that I decided to create this article to help dispel some of the fallacies associated with using YouTube videos on your site. Hopefully, after reading this article you will avoid any pitfalls and feel more comfortable about using YouTube videos to enhance the user experience of your site.
What are the benefits of having YouTube content on my site?
There are several benefits to having YouTube content on your site. First and foremost, it improves the user experience of your site which can cause visitors to stay on a page for longer, increasing the likelihood of sales conversions. There is also evidence that YouTube videos can reduce website bounce rate, that is the percentage of visitors who enter your site and then leave rather than navigate to other pages in your site. There are also SEO benefits to having YouTube videos embedded on your site but I won’t go into detail about those here.
Can I use a video that someone else posted on YouTube?
Absolutely! This happens all the time on the Internet. In fact, YouTube even encourage you to do so with the ‘share’ button below each video that allows users to share the content on a multitude of social media platforms. What most people don’t realise and possibly further antagonized by the recent SOPA issue , is that once a video has been posted on YouTube, all copyright to that video is then owned by YouTube who in turn grant permission for anyone to use that video. In other words, any video that is posted on YouTube can be used by anyone in the world. This is what it says exactly in YouTube’s terms of service:
8.1 When you upload or post Content to YouTube, you grant:
- to YouTube, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable licence (with right to sub-licence) to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform that Content in connection with the provision of the Service and otherwise in connection with the provision of the Service and YouTube’s business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels;
- to each user of the Service, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such Content to the extent permitted by the functionality of the Service and under these Terms.
Copyright issues that have been much publicised of late are mainly concerned with the user who posts content directly to YouTube. If the user does not have permission to post the content, such as a movie or tv show, then they are guilty of copyright infringement. Of course if the content is self created, such as a video tutorial, then permission is self-given by default. Ultimately, you do not need to worry about copyright infringement when using video content posted by someone else on YouTube, on your website.
How do I embed a YouTube video on my site?
It couldn’t be easier! Once you’ve found a video that you’d like to embed on your site, just click the ‘share’ button under the video then click the ‘embed’ button. Once you’ve tweaked a few of the customization options, all you need to do is copy the <iframe></iframe> code and paste it on the page you want.
Does it benefit whoever posted the video if I use it?
Quite simply, yes it does. I have heard some really strange claims from people who have been reluctant to let others use their YouTube videos (even though they have no real say about this) such as ‘they are trying to market using our footprint’ or ‘they are just using our video to improve their google-ranking’. Theses claims are extremely misguided and shows a real lack of knowledge when it comes to search engines, SEO and marketing. The truth is that using someone else’s YouTube content on your site is likely to benefit whoever posted the content more than it would benefit you. That is why, when possible, it is even more beneficial to post your own unique content through a YouTube channel and embed that on your site.
The main benefit to the owner of the video is the added SEO benefit they receive from having a link to their video on another site. The more backlinks a site, or YouTube video has, the better it will rank in search engines. Another benefit is the increased traffic and popularity the video will generate from being embedded on another site. When you embed a YouTube video on your site, the video has a link within it to the source of the video, the owner’s YouTube channel, which could have various other links to the owner’s business site. Therefore as a result the owner of the video could see increased traffic to their business site. As a reference, a YouTube video I embedded on a client’s site linked to a YouTube channel where the average number of views for their videos was around the 800 mark. The video I embedded had over 200,000 views.
Can the owner of the YouTube video ask me to remove it from my site or demand a reference link?
Definitely not! Once the video content has been posted on YouTube, all rights to the use of the video no longer belong to the owner. Furthermore, the video can be modified subject to YouTube’s terms. In other words, if you want the video to start and end at a certain point or you don’t want to show ads, then you are entitled to do so. If the owner asks you to include a reference link, you are not obliged to do so. The only way the owner of the video can stop you from displaying it on your site, is to remove it from YouTube. Now, this would be quite drastic and only really damages the owner of the content, not the person using the video on their site. However, you may want to include a reference as a goodwill gesture, if the content belongs to a complementary business. I would advise in that situation to make it clear you are performing a goodwill gesture otherwise they may continue to be misinformed about their copyrights on YouTube.
What do you think? Have you encountered any fallacies when it comes to using YouTube content? Do you have any questions you’d like to ask? Feel free to use the comments below.