YouTube_EMBEDThat is the question. While many brands and companies may share other fun and inspiring videos, most don’t use YouTube embeds for their own marketing content on their site. Why is that?

Very early, one of YouTube’s features that made it stand out was the ability to share its videos simply and easily. Whether sending the link by email or sharing to social sites (once they became a thing), YouTube allowed you a place to distribute your content from but also a hub to share it from. Something that YouTube also created was the ability to embed your video on another website. Here are a few of the biggest reasons YouTube embeds are problematic for brands:

1. Blocked by Firewalls

Many companies block websites like YouTube and Facebook citing “productivity reasons.” While these employees are likely still watching the videos and going on Facebook from their mobile devices, it still doesn’t help your business if all the videos embedded on your website are blocked.

2. Ads

The channel can control whether or not they want to allow ads on their YouTube Channel videos. So while a brand can control their own videos, they can’t control what ads are being served to someone else’s video they may have embedded on their site. The ads could even be a competitor.

3. Recommended Videos

This can be controlled by clicking the “Show More” under the embed code

show more embed options
and then unchecking the “Show suggested videos when the video finishes.”

show suggested videos on YouTubeHowever if you forget, it can show a bunch of competitor videos at the end of your video. One client has a girl’s dance school and posted a cute video of a Kindergarten dance routine but forgot to uncheck this option. You can imagine what came up after “girl’s dancing”. We’ll just say not so cute and innocent.

4. Can’t Swap Video Files

Not a huge issue for many. However if you are doing A/B testing of your video content or realize you need to tweak the video, you can’t replace the video file and keep the same embed code. If you work in a company where the IT department needs to add any embed codes or make changes, this can be time consuming and infuriating.

5. Watch on YouTube Icon

This is the biggest drawback of all. At any point while watching your video using YouTube embed code, the viewer can simply click the YouTube logo to “Watch on YouTube” and POOF! they are gone. Once on YouTube they are surrounded by more shiny bright objects and they’ll forget why they were on your website watching your video in the first place. You can use the “modest branding” options where you add the code modestbranding=1 after the question mark in the URL, so this:

becomes this:

This will replace the large YouTube logo with just the word “YouTube” in the upper right corner. Not perfect but a bit better.


All these problems aside, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and companies need a presence there. What many do is have a separate YouTube strategy. Your website video marketing strategy is to guide the interested viewer through your sales process. On YouTube, your goal is to educate and pique the interest of the viewer but ultimately you want to get them to your website where you can control the experience.

While YouTube is critical to businesses from a content marketing strategy in getting viewers’ attention, ultimately the problems with the embed function make it less than ideal for use on company websites. There’s a ton of other critical functions that a business video hosting provider like Wistia or Sprout Video will deliver like rich analytics, customizable call-to-actions and integration with sales/marketing automation software that YouTube cannot. So YouTube as a branding and education channel? Hell yes. But when it comes to the video player that is driving conversions on your website, stick with a business video hosting platform that was designed to convert your viewers into customers.


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts