By 2019, video content is predicted to command a hefty 80% of all web traffic. If you haven't started thinking about how video fits into your long-term marketing strategy, now's the time to start taking it seriously.
Before you dive into creating videos, it's important to figure out where you're going to host them. YouTube is obviously the largest video hosting platform on the web, but it might not be the best choice for every business.
To help you find the best fit for your company's unique needs, we compared YouTube directly against smaller, more niche platform Vimeo across a number of factors. Read on to see the results, and decide for yourself.
YouTube vs Vimeo
YouTube will be the better choice for most businesses. It's free, generally performs better than Vimeo in search, offers solid analytics for businesses looking to track ROI, and commands a massive number of users. If you have specific branding requirements or need advanced support, Vimeo could be a better choice.
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YouTube leaves Vimeo in the dust here. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet, right after parent company Google. If you're planning to create a video tailored to a specific search query, (e.g., how to pick a font for your website), your video belongs on YouTube. Not only will it appear in search results directly on YouTube, but Google also seems to favor videos from YouTube over those posted on other platforms.
YouTube offers unlimited, free storage for all accounts, while Vimeo charges for storage on a tiered basis. The basic, free Vimeo account option gives you 500MB of storage per week. With their highest level, $50/month package, you can store 5TB total with no weekly limits.
No Pre-Roll Ads
If you upload your videos to YouTube, there's a good chance a pre-roll ad will play before it, which has the potential to deter some viewers from sticking around. Vimeo currently doesn't allow ads, and it doesn't look like they'll be changing this policy anytime soon.
Running Ad Campaigns
If you're thinking of running your own ads on a video platform, you can't beat YouTube (You also can't purchase ad space on Vimeo, even if you wanted to, because they don't allow it.)
User numbers don't tell the entire story. With such a massive audience on YouTube, the environment is naturally more competitive. It's easier for your video to get drowned out by thousands of others if you aren't planning to feature it somewhere off YouTube. Vimeo's smaller, more community-driven platform might be a better option if you're hoping to tap into an existing creative niche, or get featured on their hand-curated staff picks page.
Advanced Privacy Options
Both YouTube and Vimeo give you the option to set videos to private or public (the default setting on YouTube is public), but Vimeo offers a handful of more nuanced, specific privacy options if that serves your interests. You can add a password protection option to videos, share a video only with people who follow your account, or even hide it from the Vimeo.com community -- which could be useful if you plan on embedding the video on your website and want it to be viewable in only one place.
Vimeo's sleek embedded player offers a number of useful customization options that YouTube can't match, including hex color customization and the ability to include a custom player logo (on Business and PRO accounts). Plus, when you change the default customization options on your account, all previously embedded videos will update to reflect the changes automatically, with no need to go back and tinker with any code.
YouTube takes the win here because all their analytics -- ranging from basic statistics like views to more advanced options -- are completely free. Vimeo does also offer powerful analytics tools to evaluate performance, but you'll have to pay to access everything but basic stats.
So which one should you choose?
It depends largely on what exactly you want to accomplish with your videos. If you're looking for a creative community where you can connect with other video creators and gain some exposure in a specific niche, Vimeo is a better place to start sharing your content. If you have business goals that revolve heavily around search optimization and ads, YouTube is your best bet.
Originally published Jan 25, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated April 12 2021