This article was originally published at The Social Penguin Blog.

Google’s YouTube has long been the de facto standard for video hosting and sharing for most businesses, but that’s rapidly changing thanks to smaller competitors who are offering better tracking, analytics, and sharing tools.

The most notable competitors are Wistia and Vimeo; the former is known for its business-targeted features, while the latter is popular among quality-obsessed producers. Both offer some things YouTube doesn’t yet.

Vimeo: Sharp Quality, Precise Metrics

Europe’s answer to YouTube is Vimeo, a video service most popular with artists and businesses who want to show their rich and digital media savvy.

In 2007, Vimeo beat YouTube to the punch in video quality by becoming the first consumer-accessible video hosting site to offer high definition playback.

It was just one year later that Vimeo launched Vimeo Plus, a pro-focused service that offered greater hosting capacity, even higher video quality, priority uploading, more embedded player customization options, and a number of advanced statistics features not available to consumer-level customers with free accounts.

Finally, Vimeo unveiled Vimeo Pro, which is designed specifically for small businesses and enterprises — that includes marketing agencies.

Pro is where Vimeo beats YouTube by leaps and bounds. It allows businesses and agencies to put their own logo on embedded players, it gives clients analytics tools that rival those provided by Google for web pages, and it even allows clients to create custom portfolio websites to represent their products and values.

Wistia: Better Engagement and Sharing

Wistia has no consumer option at all. It’s strictly for businesses, and that shows in its features, which include numerous useful tools that YouTube doesn’t offer.

For example, Wistia allows you to control access to videos on a user-by-user basis, and integrate videos with email marketing campaigns through MailChimp — that’s one of the most popular and powerful email marketing applications on the web.

The big selling point behind Wistia is user tracking, though. You can view audit trails that display the complete history of an individual’s interactions with your videos and your account. That includes when he or she watched a video, and even at exactly which point in the video he or she stopped watching.

On top of that, Wistia offers content management tools usually reserved for enterprise marketing tools. You can have multiple users within your company operating independently through your Wistia account. They can send messages, track contacts, and even post videos under individual names. It’s kind of like how a blogging platform like WordPress uses statistics and by-lines for individual contributors.

The Future of Online Video Marketing

Video keeps getting bigger and bigger on the web; it accounts for the majority of bandwidth used in many countries. That trend will continue, so before long it might not be enough to simply run a blog. Your company or agency may need to produce videos as well as written content.

These tools are designed for that, and they both do it better than YouTube in most cases. YouTube has the advantage of added exposure, but there’s no reason you can’t use Wistia or Vimeo for your hosted and branded videos while still uploading additional versions to YouTube for exposure.

Don’t follow the flock; consider these lesser-known alternatives because they can give you an edge YouTube can’t.

[Original publication: The Social Penguin Blog, Image credit: Joshua Davis Photography]