Video is more important in today’s marketing world than ever before. The power to attract, communicate and persuade has never been more accessible. When you consider that 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium, it would be foolish to ignore it.
After shelling out cash for a high-quality production, you might come to question what platform in which you should host your video. Top of mind, of course, is YouTube, with Vimeo ranking as the second most popular choice.
So, what exactly is the difference between these two video hosting platforms?
The most important thing to consider about these video hosting platforms is that they exist to serve different needs. Each of these platforms will have their pros and cons (which I will lay out for you), and ultimately, you will need to decide what is better suited for you.
Vimeo was founded in 2004 and quickly grew amongst the ranks of video enthusiasts. The platform does not boast the same amount of traffic numbers, and you are more likely to find their videos embedded on other sites. Vimeo was the first online video platform to support HD video and, to this day, uses playback quality as one of their key differentiators.
YouTube was founded in 2005 and is the most popular video hosting service in the world. A large portion of the viewers is coming to the site looking for instructional and tutorial videos. Beyond that, there is a healthy social community on YouTube that involves users commenting on or “liking” videos, even creating “response videos.” If a video “goes viral,” it is likely to do so on YouTube.
Vimeo vs. YouTube: The Quality
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of a video hosting platform is the quality. While both platforms can host HD video, there are some slight differences between YouTube and Vimeo playback quality.
Vimeo has become synonymous with high-quality productions and visually stunning videos. The first ones to adopt HD video playback in 2007, they continue to host HD video up to 4K Ultra HD (UHD), but unless you are a paying customer, these get auto-compressed to 720p. Vimeo does, however, allow you to set the default playback quality for viewers.
Here’s a beautiful video of Patagonia hosted on Vimeo in 4K UHD:
Here’s an example of a 1440p video hosted on YouTube (I’ll spare you the trouble of trying to stream the 8K version of this striking video):
Vimeo vs. YouTube: The Costs
Vimeo and YouTube both offer “free user” and “paid user” tiers. The benefits to paid users differ on each platform and really helps to highlight the differences between the providers.
Vimeo has a three-tiered pricing model geared towards the creators. Free users can upload up to 500MB of video a week, but the highest quality available is 720p.
- Vimeo Plus: For $60 a year, you can upload up to 5GB a week and have advanced privacy features. You have the option to upload up to 4K UHD, and ads will be removed for the viewers of your page and videos
- Vimeo Pro: For $204 a year, you can upload up to 20GB a week, serve ad-free videos and access some additional benefits, such as advanced analytics and support
- Vimeo Business: For $600 annually, you can upload up to 5TB total with no weekly limits and serve ad-free videos. You will also have access to several additional features, such as the Vimeo marketing tools.
What stands out here is that by paying on Vimeo, many of the benefits are passed on to your viewers, making their experience more enjoyable.
YouTube’s paid service stands to benefit the viewing experience more than anything. Using YouTube’s monthly subscription service of $9.99/month, YouTube Red viewers can enjoy videos without having to watch ads anywhere on the site.
Free users can upload any quality video up to 8K UHD, and once an account is verified, there are no limits to the video lengths.
Vimeo vs. YouTube: The Audience
A significant difference between the two providers is the audience. YouTube has fostered a more community-oriented platform that encourages engagement, whereas Vimeo has been able to slice out a niche community of video enthusiasts.
Vimeo has a much smaller audience on their website. You will not be likely to amass thousands of views in days, and your chances of going “viral” are slim. That said, it is very clear as to who the audience is. Most people browsing the site are video enthusiasts who appreciate high-quality production. One of the most popular genres on Vimeo is extreme sports videos with stunning visuals. The feedback you receive is likely to be more thoughtful and warranted than you may find on YouTube.
As an example of the content that performs better on Vimeo and the audience you are serving, here is a top trending video at the time this blog published:
As an example of the type of content that performs well on YouTube and an indication of the audience that you are serving, here is one of the top trending videos at the time this blog published:
Vimeo vs. YouTube: Decision Time
In general, businesses that will be embedding videos on their websites may gravitate towards Vimeo while people who are looking to build an audience of engaged followers may find YouTube more beneficial. But, this is not an absolute, and everyone will have different needs.
Now that some of the major features and differences between Vimeo and YouTube have been laid out, it is up to you to decide what your needs are and which platform is better suited to serve those needs.