Video is increasingly becoming a pivotal part of digital marketing. That is mainly because over 90% of users say videos greatly help them make a purchase decision, a fact that’s not hidden from any smart marketer. Yet adding videos to WordPress sites continues to be a nasty experience for most site owners.
Here are a couple of reasons:
- Uploading videos to your WordPress media library will strain your server resources, eat up bandwidth, and slow video playback.
- Videos uploaded to YouTube and other video hosting sites come with links that lure your visitors back to the video hosting sites, which reduces your conversion rates.
- YouTube videos lack your branding since YouTube, and other video sites use their logos, and so on.
- Videos on a hosting site such as YouTube come with related or recommended videos, which could be videos from your competitors, or videos unrelated to your message. This confuses or misleads your prospects.
- Other than YouTube, most video hosting sites charge outrageous prices and have bandwidth restrictions.
What, then, is a WordPress site owner to do?
Well, most people end up on YouTube because it’s free, easy, and they don’t know any better. However, there is a better solution, and it comes in the form of a WordPress plugin known as SmartVideo by Swarmify.
Today’s review revolves around the SmartVideo plugin that you can use to:
- Serve professional-looking videos to your audience.
- Offer blazing-fast videos to your visitors (In fact, SmartVideo videos load 12X faster than most players, including YouTube and Vimeo). The direct benefit is more conversions since fewer visitors will bounce.
- Say goodbye to branding and links from video hosting sites keeping more of your leads on your website.
- Eliminate related or recommended videos that have nothing to do with your business
- Add more video controls to your videos for a better user experience.
- Pay less for video hosting without worrying about bandwidth and traffic restrictions.
- Give your server a break if you were previously uploading videos to your WordPress media library.
- Track the performance of your videos like a boss
- Ingest your videos from more storage buckets such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc effortlessly.
- Boost the speed of your existing videos automatically.
What a long list?
Yes, and there is more as you’ll learn in today’s Swarmify SmartVideo review. We cover the features, pricing, and finally install & configure the whole thing to show you how to use SmartVideo to supercharge your videos.
What is Swarmify SmartVideo?
Swarmify is a video hosting company that focuses on serving accelerated videos using the same tech used by big players in the streaming video industry, including Netflix and Hulu. They offer the world’s fastest video experience at incredibly affordable prices and without restrictions like many competing companies.
They also offer more flexibility and options than competitors, which makes their solution perfect for a wide range of businesses, big or small. The service is ideal for video hosting websites, photographers, filmmakers, social networking sites, personal blogs, and business websites—virtually any heavily trafficked site with a lot of video content, and everything in between.
Swarmify’s service works for all types of websites, not just WordPress sites. For WordPress users, however, they released the remarkable SmartVideo plugin that helps you to set up and automate video acceleration on your website. It’s so simple to set up and use; you’ll be serving faster videos in less than 10 minutes.
You don’t need any prior technical knowledge to install, configure, and use the SmartVideo WordPress plugin. Once you set it up, the plugin will start working instantly. It will convert all videos automatically and serve the faster versions in the beautiful Swarmify player.
If you’re using YouTube or Vimeo, it replaces the cluttered player with a cleaner and distraction-free player that looks professional from the word the go. The same goes for all other video hosting and storage sites.
You don’t have to do anything manually – everything runs in the background, and it works with new and existing videos.
In the next section, let us quickly go over the features.
Swarmify SmartVideo Features
Swarmify offers you all the features you need to start serving faster and high-resolution video content to your eager visitors. They don’t have time to waste waiting around for videos to buffer and stall. Here is what you can expect:
Clean, Distraction-Free Video Player
While YouTube offers you video hosting freely, remember there is nothing like a free lunch. They are making money one way or another. You’re virtually sending traffic their way unknowingly.
The free video player that YouTube offers you is intelligently designed to siphon visitors from your website. When users spend more time on YouTube, they make millions from ads and whatnot. It’s the name of the game.
Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother adding their logos, branding, recommended videos, and links back to their platform. And the same applies to all video hosting services that offer you a free video player.
If you think I’m lying, how many times have you ended up on YouTube after watching a video on a different website? I’ll wait as you do the mental math. Heck, who am I kidding? We’ve all fallen for the trick countless times, and it’s so benign to notice what’s going on.
Your website visitors aren’t immune either. You spend so much effort, time and money generating traffic, so it doesn’t make sense to give it all up to YouTube and other video sites.
You need a video player that eliminates the links and all distractions, so you can keep your leads where you need them the most – on your website. Swarmify video player doesn’t contain links, even if you’re using YouTube.
In other words, it removes all the links and branding leaving you with a clean video player that doesn’t funnel your visitors to YouTube. To help with branding, you can add your logo and match the video player colors to your site.
Also, it’s responsive and compatible with all web browsers, desktops, laptops, operating systems, and mobile devices. Further, it supports a variety of video formats, including MP4, WEBM, MOV, and so much more.
Robust Video CDN
Nobody likes videos that take an eternity to play, and when they finally play, keep buffering. It is the quickest way to kill user experience and send prospects away. For the best results, your videos need to load in record time, preferably faster than your competitors.
Delivering fast video content is especially important if you serve the content to users across the globe. If your website is hosted in the US, for instance, USA users will enjoy faster speeds than people in Asia. The inverse is also true. So, how do you ensure all your users enjoy fast videos no matter where they are in the world?
You leverage the power of a content delivery network or CDN in short. A CDN is simply a network of servers located in multiple locations around the world. When you upload your content to your website, a CDN makes copies and stores them in different places. When a user visits your website, the content is served from the server closest to them, boosting loading speeds tremendously.
Swarmify offers you a CDN that’s fine-tuned to deliver video at lightning-fast speeds. Their video CDN is dedicated to videos only, and not any other type of website content, meaning your users enjoy instant start, zero buffering and no stalling.
Moving website content, let alone video, is an arduous task. If you have the skills to do it on your own, you will expend a great deal of energy and spend countless hours. If you lack the skills, you will have to put money down and hire an expert. With a massive number of videos, migrating from one provider to another can cost you an arm and a leg.
Other video hosting companies lock you in with bad deals that drain you. They make it extremely difficult to move from their service because they are immoral and not confident in their service, to begin with. It can be a nasty experience having to put up with shoddy service because of some fine print, clause, or stipulation.
Swarmify SmartVideo doesn’t play these games. For starters, converting videos from other providers is as simple as A, B, C. In fact, you can continue uploading videos to YouTube and serve them to your users via Swarmify. You don’t need technical knowledge or a costly expert to move and serve fast videos with SmartVideo.
Secondly, Swarmify doesn’t lock you or hold your content. If you want to move to another provider, they are cool with that because it’s the right thing to do. Besides, it’s your content, and you’re free to do whatever you want with your data.
Unlimited Video, Simple Pricing
Many video hosting companies trick you with unclear pricing that lures you in with what seems like low costs at the beginning. Once you’re through the door, you’re in for a surprise. You are hit smack in the face with low limits, added service billing, and overage charges. No wonder many people opt for free services.
Unknown to many website owners, delivering videos over the internet comes with a lot of costs. You have to account for encoding fees, storage charges, and the cost of transmitting videos. Other costs include video player licensing, bandwidth, and analytics, among others. Many companies purposefully confuse users since they know you don’t know about all these expenses.
But not at Swarmify. The company bases its billing on video views, not bandwidth – and there are no hidden costs. For one all-inclusive price, you get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and encoding. You also get other features that would cost you dearly if you were with a competitor.
Fun Fact: Most competitors don’t offer most of the features available in SmartVideo.
Quickly, here is a list of additional features:
- Background video acceleration
- Real-time analytics
- Continuous streaming optimization – SmartVideo continuously monitors the video experience of each user and prevents failures before they occur.
- Easy to install, configure and use
- Seamless integration with WordPress, Beaver Builder, Divi, Elementor, Shopify, Squarespace, and others
- Professional support by super-smart developers, including phone support (for Enterprise customers), email, ticket system, and knowledge base
- 7-day free trial to test the waters
- 100% money-back guarantee so that you can test Swarmify SmartVideo risk-free
- Monetize your videos with Swamify’s ad network integration support
- Your branding, including the capability to add your logo to videos
- GDPR compliant
That out of the way, let us cover pricing.
Swarmify SmartVideo Pricing
Swarmify is pretty much affordable to all types of businesses. For WordPress users, the plugin is free to download and use at WordPress.org. You will, however, need a paid plan to integrate your website with the Swarmify video acceleration service.
They offer three plans, as shown in the screengrab above:
- Small Business plan that currently costs $29/month for 50,000 views. Typically, it retails at $59/month.
- Video Pro plan that costs $59/month at the time of writing for 100,000 views. Usually, $119 monthly.
- Enterprise plan for users with custom needs. You’ll need to contact Swarmify for a quote.
For every 1000 views above their fair usage limits, you pay just $1 buck. From where I’m sitting, I would say these plans are pretty affordable (and provide the best value for money) compared to what competitors offer.
With that done, let us now install and configure the SmartVideo plugin on your WordPress website. For our test, I’m working with this Total WordPress Theme video I got from YouTube.
Here is how everything looks after embedding the YouTube video on my sample site:
Nothing much to see but notice the apparent link back to YouTube that can siphon away your leads quickly. And below, notice the link again, recommended videos and the YouTube logo when I play and pause the video:
Okay. Now that you know what I’m working with, let us roll them sleeves and get our hands dirty.
NB: You need an active Swarmify plan/account to enable the plugin.
How to Install the SmartVideo WordPress Plugin
The SmartVideo WordPress plugin is available at the WordPress.org plugin repo, meaning we can install it directly from inside the WordPress admin dashboard.
Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New, as shown below.
Next, enter “smartvideo” in the search box, and once the plugin appears, hit the Install Now button:
After that, click the Activate button:
Don’t pop the bubbly yet; we still need to connect the SmartVideo WordPress plugin to Swarmify.
What to do?
Learn more in the next section.
How to Configure the SmartVideo WordPress Plugin
Now the fun part, let us connect SmartVideo to Swarmify, so you can start accelerating your videos like a pro. In your WordPress dashboard, click the newly added SmartVideo menu item:
Doing so leads you to the beautiful SmartVideo panel shown below:
Nice, huh? On the above screen, you have two options, as shown in the image.
- If you already have a Swarmify account, simply click the Configure button.
- If not, click the Create an account button, which takes you to the pricing page on Swarmify.com, where you can purchase a paid plan.
Since I already have an account, I click the Configure button, which leads me to the configuration page shown below.
It appears I need a Swarm CDN Key. To obtain the key, I must log in to my Swarmify account by visiting dash.swamify.com. This is all so easy. So, I head over to my Swarmify account, and copied my Swarm CDN Key, as highlighted below:
I head back to my SmartVideo configuration page, pasted the Swarm CDN Key, and hit the Enable SmartVideo button, as we detail below:
And that’s it; the SmartVideo WordPress plugin starts scanning my website for YouTube and Vimeo videos immediately. If there are any videos, the SmartVideo plugin will convert and display them “…in a clean, fast-loading player automatically, requiring no extra work on your part.”
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
How more relaxed could accelerated videos be? Let us check our test video and see what we have now. Here, it is:
Wow, just look at that; the notorious YouTube link at the top is gone! And here is how it looks when I play and pause the video:
Again, the link is not there, recommended videos are a thing of the past, and the YouTube logo is gone. Poof – all gone! Also, the video starts instantly, without buffering at all. Color me impressed.
NB: Depending on the size of your videos, the conversion might take longer. I had only that one video for my test, and it took less than 2 minutes to see the results. Not that I was counting.
How do you know the video has successfully converted?
You will see Video Acceleration: On at the bottom of the video, as shown below:
Now, you can continue embedding videos from YouTube and other sites, and SmartVideo will convert the videos automatically in the background. If you’d like to add a video directly, you can use the SmartVideo button in the classic editor:
Click the button brings up the following pop-up, which makes it easy to add videos from a wide range of sources:
Additionally, the pop-up offers you basic and advanced options such as:
- Custom poster images
- Option to start the video muted
- Ability to loop the video
- Toggle video controls off/on.
- Play video inline, so that Safari on iOS doesn’t play the videos fullscreen
- And an option to make the video player responsive or not, but always keep this on 😉
If you use the Gutenberg editor instead, you’ll find the SmartVideo block, which works similarly:
At the time of writing, SmartVideo supports Classic Editor, Gutenberg, Beaver Builder, Divi, and Elementor.
There you have it; now you can easily add SmartVideo to your WordPress website and serve cleaner and faster videos to your web visitors. They will thank you for it.
Offering fast-loading videos is vital since page speed is an important SEO ranking factor. Additionally, a fast website (with fast videos, of course) provides a better user experience, which increases your conversion rates.
If you’re looking to dominate search engines and boost conversions with your video content, choosing Swarmify SmartVideo technology is a no brainer.
And as you’ve learned here today, installing, and configuring the SmartVideo WordPress plugin is as easy as A, B, C. You’ll feel much happier when you see the new video player in action. I know I was delighted.
Now, please pop that bubbly!