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Let’s face it; everybody is watching videos on the internet these days.
In 2019, the number of digital video viewers worldwide amounted to over 2.6 billion, and experts project it to reach over 3.1 billion by 2023 (Source: Statista).
And in the last two decades, the two major video-sharing platforms YouTube and Vimeo have dominated the market.
In the battle, YouTube vs Vimeo, which service is best for your business in terms of quality and pricing? And what are the other alternatives to consider — if any?
Let’s break it down.
What is Vimeo?
While everyone not living under a rock is familiar with YouTube, the competitor Vimeo is not as widely known.
In 2004, Vimeo was a video hosting, sharing, and services platform designed especially for the filmmaker.
Many video professionals still regard Vimeo higher in terms of video quality to this day. It’s the platform of choice for those who want to present their work online in the best quality possible.
And Vimeo still has a professional community of like-minded auteurs, animation professionals, video creators, and consumers.
Vimeo operates as an exclusive community, separating content with high video and sound quality from less polished content on the internet.
The beginning of YouTube: cat videos for the masses.
YouTube arrived a year later in 2005. The new video-sharing and social media platform designed for the everyday man quickly became one of the most popular websites on the internet.
Before the popular short-form videos of Instagram and TikTok, YouTube dominated the world of online video in every form.
From day one, music videos, home movies, how-to videos, and short-form series were available on YouTube. And, of course, cat videos… LOT’S of cat videos!
YouTube is a user-friendly community, open to all videos, from professionally produced music videos to amateur short-form content.
If you want to start your own YouTube channel check out the Dos and Don’ts of Creating a Successful YouTube Channel.
Vimeo vs. YouTube for Business
Winner: Probably YouTube (depending on your niche and branding requirements and more. I’ll get back to this in a minute).
Both YouTube and Vimeo have come a long way since their early beginnings.
Both platforms have evolved into multi-million dollar businesses that allow any video content creator who is serious about video branding and marketing to upload and share videos.
So which video platform is best for business?
YouTube is the best choice for most businesses. It’s free to use and performs better than Vimeo in search, business analytics for tracking ROI and provides one of the largest user bases on the internet.
Vimeo is an excellent choice if you’re looking for more dedicated technical support or specific customizable branding requirements. However, their free plan is limited, which brings me to Vimeo Pro.
Vimeo Pro vs. YouTube for Business
Winner: It depends on your niche.
If you have the budget, you can get a Vimeo Pro Plan.
In Vimeo Pro, you’ll have access to dedicated support, advanced analytics, and professional privacy.
You also get the option to upload your content in ProRes for maximum image quality, which is the standard of choice for many video professionals.
Vimeo’s quality and niche community make this an excellent option for specific brands. So if Vimeo Pro is worth it for your business entirely depends on your niche.
Fx if you’re a professional video content creator, animator, or filmmaker, and you want to make your showreel look the best, Vimeo Pro is for you.
Or you might be working for a major company, who values professional privacy options and advanced analytics to track your brand’s performance. Here Vimeo Pro is the way to go.
You might also want your brand to feel more exclusive, in which case Vimeo is also the best choice.
But if you don’t have the budget, you can have unlimited storage and a potentially larger audience for free on YouTube.
Vimeo vs. YouTube Quality
Vimeo offers the best quality. Vimeo’s video quality is considered cleaner and crispier. Video on Vimeo is viewable in a range of rates up to 8K with a minimum bandwidth of 22 Mbps. (Source: Vimeo).
Does Vimeo or YouTube have better audio quality?
Once again, Vimeo takes home the gold in this category. The sound quality on Vimeo is higher with support of 320Kbps through one of their paid plans.
Plus, as mentioned above, if you want to showcase your videos in the best format possible, you can upload them in ProRes. However, this option is only available in Vimeo Pro.
Vimeo vs. YouTube Ads & Monetization
Winner: YouTube (unless you don’t want ads).
If you’re thinking of running your ads on a video platform, you can’t beat YouTube.
Strategically placed ads bring in lots of money for the platform and its content creators. The downside is how it affects viewing content.
YouTube offers an advanced, user-friendly ads platform, as well as personalized support from a “YouTube Advertising Expert” when you spend $10 a day on ads.
A lot of eyes on your content not only get your brand out there, so creating video ads and have them play on other content creators’ videos is a good strategy if you’ve got the budget for it.
Monetizing your own content
It’s no secret that successfully sharing content on YouTube can bring in a lot of revenue.
If you want to make money from your content, most YouTube channels get five cents per 1,000 views. YouTube pays out $18 per 1,000 ad views. (Source: Omnicore)
If you want to use YouTube as a source of income for your business, you can use the platform in other ways too: Learn Five Steps to Monetize YouTube Channel.
Vimeo is an ad-free zone but does offer monetization tools for creators
Vimeo is ad-free, so if you plan to build revenue from content this way, you’re out of luck. You also can’t purchase ad space on Vimeo, even if you wanted to, because they don’t allow it.
However, Vimeo does offer monetization tools that allow creators to sell their content or provide pay-per-view options. An example of this working successfully is with the Vimeo series High Maintenance.
Outside of these options, Vimeo itself generates revenue through its subscriptions.
From Vimeo Plus to Premium, the four different subscriptions are for professionals, businesses, and advanced users who want to take advantage of exclusive professional amenities.
Vimeo vs. YouTube Pricing?
YouTube is free.
The Vimeo basic plan is free as well.
So how should you decide? The thing is, that if you opt for free storage and sharing, you get more for free with YouTube.
True, the Vimeo business and premium subscriptions (Vimeo’s tiered pricing model ranges from Plus, Pro, Business, and Premium) allow for custom branding, increased storage, SEO, Google analytics, and live streaming.
So save the premium quality; these features come included with YouTube’s free service.
Vimeo vs. YouTube for Embedding Videos
Vimeo offers more control of sharing and embedding settings. You can restrict sharing of your business’ videos with personalized branding.
YouTube allows blocking people from embedding videos, but these restrictions can apply to your business as well. If you want to host private videos, YouTube is not ideal.
Vimeo vs. YouTube for SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, i.e. how to your online content to rank and show up on the first pages of Google and other search engines.
In recent years, videos have begun showing up in the top spots on Google making them an important part of any SEO strategy. And, by far, most of these videos are from YouTube.
That’s probably no surprise since YouTube is currently is the second most visited website globally, next to Google, its parent company. (Source: Alexa)
If your business plans to create video content tailored to a specific search query (e.g., how to make your video go viral), your video should be on YouTube.
Despite creating great content, you can optimize the chances of your video showing up on the first page of Google, by making a great description of what the video is about, but also transcribing the video and creating subtitles.
Even though voice recognition and automatic translation are getting better, there is still a long way to go before the algorithms can transcribe your words perfectly. – Especially if you’re not a native English-speaking person. So help it out!
If done right, you improve the chances of your video ranking high in the search results – not only on YouTube but also favored on Google over articles from other websites as well as videos posted from other platforms.
Vimeo vs. YouTube for Vloggers
YouTube has one of the largest userbases on the internet. If you’re trying to reach a broad audience, there’s no question that you should choose YouTube.
Vimeo version of YouTube’s features come with paid subscriptions and storage limitations. The only plus side, on Vimeo, you can keep your same URL if you upload a higher quality recorded version of your video or live stream.
The Final Round: Vimeo vs. YouTube Content
The Winner: YouTube
Who has the better content for your business?
For businesses, Vimeo isn’t the place you’re going to find random home videos. The platform is specifically designed for professional videographers and creators to share their content amongst their peers.
Where other sites encourage anyone and everyone to upload video content of any type to the site, Vimeo takes a more exclusive approach with their process. The exclusion means the amount of content and the views are much lower than on sites like YouTube.
Privacy is excellent for internal business or exclusivity but a downside for exposure for video marketing.
YouTube is a worldwide giant in terms of its user base. The video can be a mainstream movie trailer or a personal vlog entry from a fitness influencer. Endless possibilities.
Over the last decade, YouTube content established the biggest entertainment names, including major recording artists like Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes.
Viewers on YouTube watch at least a billion hours of video content a day. Users upload five hundred hours of video per minute. (Source: Omnicore)
Vimeo vs. YouTube Audiences: Who’s Watching What?
Are you wondering which audience is right for your business? Video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo allow greater high-quality exposure of your content than traditional social media platforms.
YouTube has over 2 billion active monthly users and 122 million daily active users.
Its worldwide appeal gives content creators one of the most diverse audiences on the internet. The downside is that this can also garner unwanted or unnecessary negative attention in intellectual theft or harassment.
Vimeo is a more exclusive user base designed to accommodate filmmakers, creatives, and professionals. The niche markets of creators can appreciate each other’s work without the unmanageable negative aspects of a worldwide audience of over 2 billion.
Vimeo is around 170 million viewers, a significantly smaller than YouTube. However, approximately 90 percent of these viewers have a paid subscription placing them in a more refined category than YouTube’s free viewership.
So, which audience watches what?
Let’s segment the audiences into three groups and look at the numbers (Source: Statista).
Gen Z? Millennials? 15 – 34? YouTube reaches more people in this demographic than any other television network. 77% of 15-35-year-olds in the United States alone have an active presence on YouTube.
This audience is watching everything from music videos, product reviews, vlogs, and more.
Baby Boomer? Old-Timers? 68% of baby boomers watch YouTube video content for entertainment. If you create product-centric, how-to videos for your business, there’s a guarantee this audience is tuning in.
Babies? The Kids? 81% of parents with children aged 11 years old or young watch YouTube videos. Kid-focused marketing content will go a very long way. The proof? The most-watched YouTube video is the Baby Shark Dance.
What are alternatives to Vimeo and YouTube?
Metacafe offers high-traffic, 90-second clips with funny thumbnails. The website was established before YouTube, setting the trends for future platforms like Vine and TikTok.
Dailymotion is considered one of the best alternatives to YouTube based on its highly familiar layout. With fewer restrictions and less monetization its limits the distraction of low-quality content.
A majority of users search music videos on YouTube, and the mainstream content comes from Vevo. It’s the best alternative for music videos, but that’s the only content available.
TikTok is the reigning champion for short-form video content. Currently, TikTok has about 1 billion monthly active users. The count is estimated to increase to over 1.1 billion near the start of 2021. (Source: Wallaroommedia.com)
If you’re considering using TikTok as part of your marketing strategy for your business here are 12 tips on how to get a video to go viral on the platform.
Twitch is the best alternative if you’re in the business of live-streaming or gaming. While based on the gaming community, there’s a place for music, television, and many art forms to produce content on this platform.
Table comparisons of Vimeo and YouTube.
That was a lot of information. As a kind of summary, I’ve created these tables with the pros and cons of using Vimeo and YouTube.
|No pre-roll ads|
Great video and sound quality
Advanced, specific privacy options
Smaller, sophisticated audience
Personalized technical support-on-demand
Video player customization options
|The number of users|
2nd largest search engine
Free to use for business and individuals
Unlimited, accessible storage for all accounts
Free analytics tools
Free live streaming
User-friendly ads platform
|Lacks search optimization with Google|
Limited free storage
Smaller audience and less traffic
Paid subscriptions for businesses
Paid access for live streaming, analytics
Highly competitive platform
Lacks advanced, in-depth analytics
Average video and sound quality
So, who are you going with?
YouTube has been around for over a decade and is the current frontrunner in almost all sales video marketing statistics. The data is there to support any decision-making for an individual or business.
However, if you want exclusiveness, better privacy options, and the best video quality, Vimeo is superior.
Would your business rather reach a wider audience with fewer restrictions, or produce high-quality content for your professional peers?
Millions of people will continue streaming video content on the internet every single second.
Choosing the right method of distribution for your business all depends on what type of content you’re producing, and what type of audience you want to reach.
The first step is creating great content.
Myke Thompson is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and humorist based out of Los Angeles. When he’s not working on his own projects, he supports other artists as a creative manager in music, art, film, and television.