YouTube vs Vimeo: defining the best platform for businesses

Dan Aston

Content & Outreach Executive

These two video hosting juggernauts have been around for over 12 years now, each offering a unique way of publishing and consuming content in an increasingly video-orientated marketing world. The question is, which one of these services is right for your brand? Here’s a guide to some of the pros and cons of each, so you can make the right choice and start getting the most out of your video content.

Reaching your audience

One of the main objectives for any business is to find a way to communicate successfully with their target audience. A quick comparison of the number of users that each platform entertains reveals that YouTube gets significantly more traffic than Vimeo. Over a billion people use it - that’s almost a third of all internet users. Millions of hours of video is consumed each day across 88 countries. While this makes impressive reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean that YouTube the best place to tap into your audience.

Vimeo’s community consists of far fewer people, generating approximately 280 million video views each month. That’s a lot less than YouTube, but Vimeo is home to an enthusiastic and engaging niche demographic that consists of artists, designers, and professional creatives. Its dedicated audience is known to appreciate quality video and you are less likely to come across internet trolls here. If your brand operates in the art, design, or fashion industry then you may find considerable success on Vimeo. Interaction tends to be of a higher quality than that seen on YouTube, and fewer trolls means less spam, with more useful and constructive feedback on your videos in its place.

Paid targeting

YouTube’s demographic may not be as refined as Vimeo’s, but in it lies a third of the entire internet. That’s a lot of people accessible in one place, and crucially there are ways in which you can filter through them. This is where one of YouTube’s key features comes into play. Owned by Google, YouTube has an incredibly finite advertising platform through which businesses can target their audience directly. This is often a very cost-effective method of advertising. Integrating naturally with Google AdWords, insights and analytics are granular, with ads only billable after the first 30 seconds has been viewed.

Vimeo is home to an enthusiastic and engaging niche demographic that consists of artists, designers, and professional creatives.

Vimeo differs completely, priding itself on ad-free video content. It’s simply not possible to advertise here. The platform instead generates revenue through charging for accounts. While there is a free option, upload storage is limited to 500mb a week and it’s not for business use. There are three subsequent levels of membership, each offering increased amounts of storage and user support. Conversely, YouTube is free for all to use (including businesses) and has no upload or storage limits.

Analytics & SEO

Being owned by Google unsurprisingly means that the search engine favours YouTube over other video hosting sites when it comes to ranking. This holds notable implications for SEO. Content published on YouTube will rank at the top of search results, putting Vimeo video at a disadvantage from the get-go. You can further optimise your videos by implementing keyphrases into titles and descriptions, just as you would to a webpage. YouTube also gives you the option to annotate your videos and populate them with CTAs and external links. Vimeo’s firm no-ad stance currently doesn’t support this level of promotion.

While both platforms offer valuable video insights into who is watching your videos and how, Vimeo’s analytics are only accessible through paid membership and aren’t as granular as YouTube’s. YouTube Analytics as a tool is very similar to Google Analytics, and the two are designed to integrate naturally. You can have access to all this data for free, whereas Vimeo’s advanced analytics are only available with a paid-for Pro account.

YouTube’s demographic may not be as refined as Vimeo’s, but in it lies a third of the entire internet.

When it comes to choosing between YouTube and Vimeo, the correct platform depends entirely on who you are targeting and what you want to gain through your content. It also depends on what your marketing intentions are. For quick and effective ad campaigns, YouTube is the platform for you. Alternatively, if you’re looking to engage with the arts world and get creative recognition as well as intuitive feedback, you may find more success on Vimeo.

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