Tale of the Tape: YouTube vs. Vimeo

Let's weigh the pros and cons of Vimeo vs. YouTube


More content marketers and businesses are turning to video for their online marketing efforts. This is due to the widely held belief that video is the future of content marketing. This is a well founded belief as the level of personal touch that you get with a video that has a regular host is beyond any other form of media. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a human face and voice speaking to you.

The video sharing market largely comes down to YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing. Which one of these video sharing giants is right for you? Well, the answer will come down to the type of videos that you want to produce, who is in your target audience and where they watch videos, and what your budget is.

Pros and cons of YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing: Vimeo Pros

Vimeo is the epitome of professionalism

When you upgrade to a paid “Pro” account, Vimeo gives you what is called “2-pass encoding.” This video uploading process is designed to make your video look much cleaner, while also requiring less bandwidth when your viewers stream it. Less bandwidth being used = smoother viewing.

Pro account holders also enjoy Priority uploading, where you jump the wait and have your video uploaded before any unpaid accounts. This can be invaluable if you have content that needs to go out NOW.

Vimeo’s video player is truly customizable

YouTube always include their logo in the video player. This may make you feel like you’re the second most important company in your own video! Vimeo, however, gives you complete control over the look of your video player. Embed your logo, use your brand colors, and know that your viewer will be instantly recognizable as your own.

A better analytics tool

This may be personal preference showing, but the analytics package offered with a Vimeo Pro account is much better than YouTube’s Insight application. Their most recent update makes it easier to understand, simpler to use, and gives you access to truly actionable data.

You can truly build a community around your videos 

Paid account holders can choose to disable every piece of in-video advertising. This gives viewers the chance to focus on your videos exclusively, and minimizes clicking around to other accounts.

Those in the Vimeo community are able to create their own video channels, start up groups that are aligned with their interests, and even organize their favorite videos into albums for repeat viewings. All of this has lead to a great community of people who care about Vimeo itself, and those on it who give them great content.

Pros and cons of YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing: YouTube Pros

YouTube is the world’s most popular video sharing platform

It’s hard to ignore YouTube’s 1 billion unique visitors per month. These numbers not only make YouTube the world’s most popular video sharing website, but it is also the second most popular website in the world, right after Google!

YouTube is free for all to use

Anyone can have their own free YouTube account. You’re also free to customize that account to look more like your own. Your free YouTube account also allows you an unlimited number of uploads. This feature in particular is great for those with a high budget. Just add that budget to time, and good production values, and you’ll be able to get lots of video content marketing done.

YouTube has plenty of advertising opportunities

YouTube allows you to take advantage of their:

  • Display ads
  • In-video ads
  • Promoted videos

These promoted videos are where you pay to have your own video ads appear when users search for certain keywords. This can be your chance to get into the face of your target market when they’re expecting to find one of your competitors.

Pros and cons of YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing: YouTube Cons

Anyone can get a free YouTube account

The problem with YouTube’s current popularity is all of the amateurs that it has brought with it. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated audience, or want to truly build something that feels like a community, YouTube might not be it.

Your business may get more views on YouTube, but they may not be the high-quality viewers you want to engage with. You’re also going to have to deal with the horror show that can be the YouTube comment section.

YouTube’s advertising is incredibly aggressive

This relates directly their popularity again, as all those potential leads floating around lead advertisers to exploiting it at every turn. The idea that your YouTube account is ‘free’ is relative. You and your viewers are always going to be advertised to. You have no control at all over any aspect of the advertising that is shown along with your video.

Remember above where I was talking about how you can get yourself in front of your target audience when they search for keywords while looking for your competitors? Well your competitors can do that right back to you!

YouTube Insight isn’t very insightful

YouTube’s free analytics program is called YouTube Insights. All you get is a shallow summary of your content’s performance, but with little data that you can actually do anything with. Some users have also complained that the interface displayed is difficult to follow and understand. Your results may differ depending on your data crunching abilities, but the average user will find it frustrating.

Pros and cons of YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing: Vimeo Cons

Vimeo gets less traffic than YouTube

Vimeo has a pretty respectable monthly unique viewership of around 100 million. YouTube, on the other extreme hand, has climbed over the 1 billion monthly unique viewers number. If your viewers, and potential leads, are within those 100 million then you’re in luck.

If your research shows that there’s not enough of your leads on Vimeo, you may be forced to use YouTube due to numbers alone. It should also be noted that YouTube is pretty much the only place to do viral marketing with video.

There are few features available with a free account

You have to pay to use Vimeo’s most useful features. This is why Vimeo is generally a more high quality site, those with pointless cat videos wind up elsewhere.

Reading Vimeo’s Terms of Service will also show that if you plan on uploading any sort of content marketing related video through them that you must upgrade your account to a paid business account.

The mid-level Plus accounts also have a few restrictions:

  • 5GB of upload space per week
  • 5 GB per video you upload
  • Video views are capped

You can pay more for these limits to be lifted by upgrading to a Pro account, but Vimeo may eat into your budget quicker than you expect. Be sure to do the cost analysis before signing up and dedicating yourself to Vimeo.

Conclusion on YouTube vs. Vimeo marketing

This article wasn’t written to give you a definitive answer about which is better. Both YouTube and Vimeo content marketing clearly have their merits. It will, hopefully, have given you the opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses of each, giving you the tools to determine if YouTube or Vimeo video marketing is right for you.

If you still don’t get it, here’s a side by side comparison of the most popular video of all time on Vimeo:

And the most popular video of all time on Youtube that isn’t a pop music video:

Get it now?

Matthew Yeoman is the Devumi.com social media blog writer, and a social media analyst. You’ll find him on the blog Wednesdayand Friday with the latest developments on getting Twitter followers, YouTube and Vimeo views, SoundCloud plays, Instagram fans, and Pinterest followers. If you want to head into the jungle, visit the Devumi Gorilla on Twitter for news every day!

Image courtesy of dolphfyn / Shutterstock.com.