YouTube or Vimeo: It Just Depends on Who You’re Trying to Reach

While YouTube has the bigger audience, Vimeo users say the site offers better content and greater control over monetization.


YouTube and Vimeo have never really been on par as content powerhouses, despite both services being created within six months of one another. But marketers and content creators may want to ask themselves why they prefer YouTube or Vimeo when one service may not offer the tools or reach that they need or want.

People often cite the quality of content on Vimeo as one of its strengths. On the other hand, YouTube users upload more than 100 hours of video a minute. Vimeo’s 25 million users couldn’t possibly keep pace, but there seems to be tighter quality control, in part because of the paywall.

According to Brian Honigman, a marketing consultant writing for Sumall blog:

YouTube’s users might be prolific with the amount of content added, but they do not have a reputation of being the most discerning bunch. In fact, as of now (there will certainly be many more tomorrow) there are roughly 42 million cat videos alone.

YouTube’s success is undoubtedly because of its massive audience, but it can be easy for marketing messages to get lost in the never-ending stream — especially if you are attempting to market organically. YouTube is also working defensively to retain its talent and its dominance, so other services like Vimeo could be the more stable option as YouTube shifts allegiances between large and small content creators.

In fact, Vimeo is the better choice for catering to a smaller audience. The paywall may be a sticking point for some marketers, but the premium service might be worth it for those willing to invest deeply in their video content.

Honigman writes:

[P]erhaps the biggest feature of being PRO is simply being listed as such. One of the key benefits of Vimeo over YouTube is that there is less competition for attention. Having your account listed as PRO takes this advantage another step by further separating and elevating your content.

Another potential problem for using either service is content ownership. Vimeo allows content creators greater control over the monetization of content, and its rights to distribute content end when the video is removed from the service. Uploading to YouTube certainly cedes more rights to the site.

Given some current trends on YouTube, such as the devaluation of advertising revenue and large media companies colonizing the service, YouTube may no longer be the most user- or content marketing-friendly place to upload video. As the online video market opens up, smaller services like Vimeo are becoming increasingly better options.