Vimeo vs YouTube: Which Video Platform is Right For You?

Vimeo vs YouTube: Which Video Platform is Right For You?

In this post you will find an in-depth Vimeo vs YouTube analysis with all the pros and cons from video platform.Vimeo vs YouTube online video platforms

When it comes to online video platforms, two of the biggest players who’s names always come up are YouTube and Vimeo. And deciding which is best for your business or website, it not always easy.

The biggest site of them all is YouTube of course, but Vimeo has some great features and a community that is something to admire.

However, to really understand the benefits and drawbacks of these two competing video platforms, you need to look at all the features. So the following will show your first a broad overview of what these video sites offer. Then a more in-depth comparison of specific features and how they might affect your decision.

And although this post focuses on how businesses might decide between YouTube vs Vimeo, you will find all the details relevant to any video producer, marketer and user.

YouTube for Business

There are a lot of great things to give YouTube the edge in this field, so why not take a look at those first.

Pros of YouTube

  • It’s the world’s most popular video sharing platform (1 billion unique views a month)
  • SEO is built in so you can be found the the content of the video
  • YouTube is owned by Google so often gets ranked in search results
  • YouTube currently accepts full HD videos (1080p) and even the new 4k (So Does Vimeo since January)
  • You can interact with your audience in comments
  • You can grow a following with the follow buttons
  • Annotations can be added within videos to lead people to act (CTA)
  • YouTube if completely FREE (unlimited hosting, bandwidth)
  • You can earn money through their TrueView Advertising program
  • The already huge community can take your video to new heights (viral?)

Cons of YouTube

The cons of YouTube are less technical than they are the way the platform works as a social media network

  • Competitors content or even ads can be displayed near yours
  • Public content and not as easily controlled or policed
  • Lack of customer service or support
  • YouTube comments are rarely well moderated and can detract from your content
  • The network is designed to keep people on site, so people are less likely to visit your website
  • Many businesses block YouTube videos internally

Vimeo For Business

Vimeo is certainly not as popular or well known as YouTube, but that does not mean you should dismiss it as an option. There are many great videos and businesses on Vimeo. So what are the pros and cons of Vimeo:

Pros of Vimeo

  • No advertising for viewers (no pre-roll ads)
  • Vimeo favors higher quality content (ie. displays what is great, not popular)
  • Higher quality contributors tend to post there
  • Customization of video player (logo, colors, thumbnails etc)
  • Can use own domain
  • Analytics is more detailed
  • Beautifully designed layout for watching videos

Cons of Vimeo

  • Significantly smaller audience, so less visibility
  • No Free accounts for business usage (minimum $17 per month)
  • Restrictions on storage based on plans
  • Google said to favor YouTube in search results

More Detailed View of YouTube vs Vimeo

Above was a quick and dirty overview of the two big guns in video sharing online. Now, let’s dive into some more detail on how these two stand head to head on specific points.

Cost & Plan Limits

YouTube is free, plain and simple.

And although Vimeo has free accounts, they can’t be used for business. So unless you are using Vimeo for personal stuff, you have to pay at least $199 a year.

YouTube has no upload or storage limits.

Whereas Vimeo has upload limits on all plans. And on the smallest business plan has 1,000GB of storage a year (20GB each week) with unlimited views.

Audience Size

You can’t beat the audience that YouTube has, as the world’s largest online video platform. We are talking 1 billion+ unique visitors a month, with 6 billion hours of video watched per month. (see more YouTube statistics).

Vimeo on the other hand has 170 Million visitors per month, which is less than 20% of the audience on YouTube (see more Vimeo statistics).

Video Communities

The community on YouTube extremely broad, incorporating the whole wide as an audience. However, you have to look a little deeper than that when making a decision about a platform.

The viewers on YouTube can be a lot less forgiving and are prone to nasty comments that border on trolling and flaming (internet speak for nastiness). So when posting on YouTube you have to contend with the barrage of comments that may come your way, many of which are not complimentary.

The plus side is that you can built up a large following through their massive audience and have millions of people supporting your brand around the world.

Vimeo is very much a more controlled community with strong guidelines which are certainly on point:

We request, nay— we insist! — that while you are on Vimeo you respect the people you encounter, as well as their videos.

Quality of Content

Another aspect of the openness of YouTube is that anything and everything can be uploaded. Including pirated and not so pleasing material.

So it pays to beware as a business owner that your videos could be displayed in search results and similar videos alongside content you would rather not be associated with.

Vimeo has more of a quality feel in general, with their strong community, higher quality content and customization of your brand.

The Wormhole – Timelapse 4K from Michael Shainblum on Vimeo.

Just pop over to their homepage and you will see the difference between the content they choose to display, and YouTube’s popularity contest.

When you pay for something it quickly filters out a lot of the noise.


YouTube is all about advertising. If you have watched any YouTube videos lately, you will know that a lot of them are interrupted by what they call pre-roll advertising. This is done using their TrueView advertising platform. Users can normally skip the video after a certain period, but still it is annoying.

And to compound this issue, at least for business, it is possible that your competition is placing ads on your content by targeting keywords that you are also targeting. So while your future customers is viewing your content, your competition could also be advertising to them.

Of course, the flip side to this is that as a content producer on YouTube you can make money by enrolling in their TrueView advertising program.

Vimeo, on the other hand, reaffirmed their no advertising stance just last year in March. They are all about paying for video hosting and premium services, and not annoying your viewers.

So if you priority is your viewers, then Vimeo is the place to host your video.

But if you are looking to make money with your content through ads, then YouTube is your only choice really.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization of Videos

YouTube is owned by Google, and despite any claims otherwise, you will notice that most search results feature at least one YouTube video on the first page.

So by having your content on Youtube, you have a far greater chance at appearing in search results for the keywords that matter to you.

Optimizing your YouTube content is, of course, something you need to do to achieve this, but being on YouTube is the key.

Access and Privacy

YouTube is normally viewed as a completely public forum, and when your videos are uploaded that is normally the default setting – public.

You can adjust this for videos you upload to either Unlisted or Private

Unlisted is just a URL which only you know (so not protected).

Private is a video you can choose to share with up to 50 people who have YouTube accounts.

Vimeo, on the other hand, has a range of privacy settings which I have copied below:

  • Anyone – Allow anyone to see this video.
  • Only me – Make this video visible to me and no one else
  • Only people I follow – Make my videos visible only to people I follow on Vimeo
  • Only people I choose – I’ll select people with whom I want to share this video (Note: this setting will only work for sharing with other Vimeo members)
  • Only people with a password Protect this video with a password (Note: you can share password protected videos with non-Vimeo members)
  • Hide this video from (Plus + PRO only) – I want to post this video on the web but don’t want it to be available on (This will hide your video on and remove it from public Albums, Channels, and Groups. This feature is only available through Vimeo Pro)

Another quick issues to highlight here is that many companies block YouTube videos so that their employees cannot watch them. So if you are hoping to reach a more business-oriented audience, they might not be able to see your videos.

Vimeo or YouTube, Which Should You Choose?

As you have seen in this Vimeo vs YouTube comparison, these two video platforms are quite different.

YouTube is more open and for the masses, while Vimeo is more professionally focused with a lot more features, at a price.

Ultimately, when you are deciding which to use it is really dependent on what you goals are and what compromises you are willing to make.  And with all of the above information, you should be well armed to make that choice.

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