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Vimeo vs. YouTube – Video Player Showdown!

December 8, 2014

YouTube and Vimeo have been battling it out since the early 2000s. There are advantages and disadvantages to both interfaces- how do you chose what is best for your videos? The answer comes down to your specific needs. Is the goal to attract new viewers or to showcase your work on a professional-looking platform? Are you or your clients willing to withstand the sporadic onslaught of video advertisement in return for a free video host?

Here are a few key points to help simplify your decision:

The Popular Kid
According to YouTube’s press page, the website hits receives around 1 billion user visits each month, with over 6 billion hours of content watched. Not to mention that over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube daily, from across the globe. As far as statistics and internet traffic go, YouTube is global internet royalty. The negative side to this being that there is a massive amount of content competing with yours.

Vimeo isn’t in the same ballpark. A viral video on Vimeo requires much more elbow grease since the site only hits numbers of around 100 million users per month, compared with YouTube’s 1 billion users. If your client already has a large following or market, then perhaps a jump to Vimeo is something to consider. If your video will be posted on an established site with great online traffic, then the risk of having your video pop up near a low-quality cover of “Call Me Maybe” on YouTube may not be worth the trade-off. But generally, traffic means exposure and exposure means revenue.

Round 1: YouTube

Who is YouTube’s Daddy?
YouTube is owned by Google, meaning its videos are prominently featured when using the search engine. Again, that’s extremely important to video traffic and SEO results. Vimeo does allow you to add tags and keywords to your uploads, which if done strategically can lead to an equal result. However, let’s just say it’s all about who you know.

Round 2: YouTube

It’s An Advertiser’s World
Due to YouTube’s success, the company has capitalized on advertisement. Before, after, or even during your playback, you may be forced to watch commercials or pop-ups for a couple of seconds before being able to press the “skip” button. This is a risk; you may lose potential clients and you cannot predict or control what commercial will appear before your content. Vimeo is an advertisement-free oasis.

Round 3: Vimeo

youtube vs vimeo graphic

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch?
This age-old idiom is correct. As a trade-off for free service and unlimited uploads, YouTube uses advertisements. Vimeo’s advertisement-free site comes at a price: 9.95$ a month for 5GB of upload space, to be precise (aka a Vimeo Plus account). Users who wish to upload videos that promote products or services will have to purchase a Vimeo Pro account, at $219/year. But, here’s the silver lining, users who only require up to 500MB of upload space a week can sign up for free and Vimeo accounts include options such as password protection, embed settings and download settings. In short, you always get what you pay for.

Round 4: A draw

Quality Over Quantity
The quality of content found on YouTube means a target audience that tends to be less professional and sophisticated than Vimeo’s. The site is known for short, viral content. Cat and dog trick videos can be entertaining, but that’s not Vimeo’s audience preference. Vimeo’s pull is its sleeker, more aesthetically appealing interface  (with customizable thumbnails and video player colours). Unfortunately, this aesthetic is packaged with lower playback options. Vimeo supports HD playback but will downgrade videos to 1280 x 720p, unless you are a Plus or Pro member. Although, Vimeo’s interface is of a higher quality and its loyal subscribers are comprised mostly of artists and filmmakers, Youtube is surprisingly more conducive to quality video footage. The company has been experimenting with 4K HD video playback since 2010. YouTube is still more forceful with its “suggested videos” – you cannot control the videos that are selected to live adjacent to your own – but it is making strides towards showcasing longer and higher-quality content.

Round 5: Vimeo

Whichever you choose, the following tips are crucial to online video success:

#1 Invest time in personalizing your channel: cover art on Youtube and colour scheme and design on Vimeo. Make your page as memorable as possible.

#2 Do not forget to tag your video with keywords and descriptions that will increase its find-ability on search engines. This is extremely important! The trick to effective keywords is thinking like a researcher. Keywords can be broad like “commercial” or more specific like “Bose” or “bluetooth speaker”. Don’t hold back – the more keywords you input, the higher your chances!

#3 If you are using Vimeo, always respond to comments on your videos. Also, consider finding channels similar to your own and then commenting on their content. Use Vimeo’s closer-knit community to gain followers and attract new business. Youtube is trickier when it comes to comment sections, things can get very heated very quickly. However, following other channels similar to yours is still a good strategy!

#4 Become a cross-platform expert. Sharing your video across multiple platforms means more visibility (think Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, Linked In, etc.). If you choose Vimeo over Youtube, this is a definite must.

The final round: both Vimeo and YouTube can be a great option for B2B companies. In short, both sites are tailored for specific needs and users. If your company prioritizes aesthetic over everything, and superior curation, go with Vimeo. If your priority is to generate traffic and show-off HD video, then YouTube is your best bet.

Want help getting your video ready for either platform? Contact us!

This article was posted on December 8, 2014 at 11:00 in the Corporate category.

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