Considering its reputation as a hugely effective and engaging means of storytelling online, it’s little wonder that an increasing number of people and businesses are sharing their creative video content via internet streaming platforms.
Video can support businesses to do all sorts of things, from helping to launch and create a buzz around new products, to educating and winning the loyalty of staff, and providing audiences with valuable and engaging insights into a brand’s values.
The power of video marketing
The explosion of social media over the past decade or two has fundamentally changed the way we get our information. What were originally designed as literal social networking platforms have gradually evolved to become tools ripe for helping brands communicate their messages and generate engagement amongst their target audiences.
What’s more, statistics show video is one of the most bankable means of harnessing the power of social media to stop scrolling thumbs in their tracks, and keep eyeballs transfixed on the screen.
As the world of social media continues to expand, more and more opportunities present themselves for creative video content to be utilised to help organisations grow, increase profits, build reputation and drive success.
Of course, with an ever-increasing amount of video content being created there comes the ever-increasing need for platforms to host it. Consequently, a variety of websites have emerged as handy places for social media managers, marketing and communications executives and key business decision-makers to store and share their content in an easily accessible space.
Below, we provide you with an overview of two of the most popular (and recognisable!) online video sharing platforms. They are, of course, YouTube and Vimeo.
Discovering and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each platform means once you have content you’re comfortable to share, you’ll be able to make the most informed decision about which is best suited to your brand and the type of videos you will are generating.
What’s the difference?
Before we consider the two platforms’ differences, let’s first look at their similarities. Each of these widely recognisable video sharing platforms allows users to upload video content, and make it readily available for public viewing.
Beyond this, they both have capabilities that allow you to do things like measure views and sort your content by creating playlists, as well as allowing visitors to search for and view content uploaded by other users. The latter also opens up the possibilities for attracting and connecting with those interested in your particular area.
When it comes to their differences, the major one is that YouTube is a social media site geared towards enabling users to discover video content, while Vimeo is more tailored towards the needs of prolific video makers, by allowing them to easily upload, house and share their content within a community of similarly serious creators.
Take a deeper dive, and a number of other differences soon become apparent …
Access and reach
People use YouTube for every conceivable purpose, whether it’s learning new skills, catching up on the latest television and movies, discovering content from independent film makers, listening to the latest music, or seeking out a nostalgia fix.
YouTube is undoubtedly at the top of the pile when it comes to the myriad of online video hosting platforms, if you’re judging on reach alone. It boasts a monthly usership of two billion users, seriously overshadowing Vimeo’s comparatively miniscule 240 million.
The massive userbase YouTube enjoys brings with it enormous potential for large audiences to discover your content once it’s been uploaded. So, if the potential for optimal reach is your number one priority, YouTube is platform for you.
Search engine optimisation
Because Google favours YouTube content over videos hosted on alternative online platforms, YouTube videos have a much-improved chance of being found by internet searchers organically (i.e. without being backed by an advertising spend).
Conversely, however, the comparatively small number of Vimeo users means content hosted on that platform has a much higher chance of being discovered by other Vimeo users. So, for those looking to share their content with a more niche community of serious video-creatives, Vimeo is probably the best option out of the two.
In addition, Vimeo remains free from advertising, meaning it’s ideal for storing and viewing longer-form content such as documentaries and films.
When it comes to ease-of-access, it’s worth pointing out another benefit of Vimeo, which is that its content doesn’t come up against nearly the same risk of being blocked by firewalls when compared with videos hosted on YouTube.
Storage capacity and cost of use
YouTube is offered free to all, with unlimited storage capacity – a huge benefit to the budget conscious user!
Meanwhile, Vimeo follows a tiered pricing model, with free basic plans at one end of the scale) including 500MB of storage per week), and a $50 per month package at the other (offering users 5TB of space, without weekly limits.) While the former package is ideal for independent content makers, the latter has more appeal for those likely to be creating a large amount of content.
Visual and audio quality
In terms of video quality, YouTube and Vimeo are both incredibly bankable options, which is probably one of the reasons they have managed to solidify their positions as two of the most trusted and recognisable video hosting platforms available.
With Vimeo, you can always be sure of crystal-clear vision. With YouTube, however, video can on occasion appear slightly blurry. When it comes to audio, Vimeo also beats YouTube, thanks to its capability to support sound files of up to 320Kbps (compared to YouTube’s 192 kbps maximum.)
However, there’s one slight hitch … for Vimeo users to take advantage of its highest-quality video and audio offerings, its users must first subscribe to a paid plan.
YouTube provides video creators with a convenient means of uploading, storing, and sharing content, no matter what the subject matter. It has genuinely established itself as the go-to for everything video-related online. You only need consider that YouTube is the most visited place on the entire internet after Google to realise its magnitude and the levels of public recognition it enjoys., In excess of 2 billion users frequent YouTube every month, with more than a billion hours of content consumed every single day! In terms of community size, therefore, YouTube would take some beating.
However, when considering the benefits that come with sharing your content amongst an online community, the level of clutter in the space must also be given some thought. On a platform as crowded as YouTube, the high volume of traffic is not necessarily a positive thing. Not only is content up against a high number of competing videos, users also open themselves up to much greater scrutiny, and with it the potential for negative comments posted in response to content.
While obviously much smaller, the Vimeo community has the advantage of being made up of 90 per cent paid users, meaning it tends to be frequented by video professionals and enthusiasts. These users will generally be a lot more supportive of their fellow video creators. (Read as: on Vimeo, there will tend to be far less trolls!)
Privacy and control
When it comes to protecting your content – for instance, against the aforementioned trolls – both Vimeo and YouTube offer users a variety of privacy settings that can help determine (and even restrict) who is able to view particular content.
While the two platforms each provide capabilities that make videos either private or public, Vimeo offers more nuanced privacy options, including the ability to select audiences such as ‘Anyone’, ‘Only me’, ‘People I follow’ and ‘People I choose’. In addition, premium (read as: paid!) Vimeo users are given the option to post password-protected videos and generate private links. This all means creators retain ultimate control over who can discover and view their content.
Meanwhile, YouTube contains three specific privacy settings, namely public, unlisted and private. While public videos do what it says on the tin, unlisted videos can be accessed only via their given URL, and private videos can be viewed only by the uploader themselves, and a list of specified users.
When it comes to the popularity of video content viewed on mobile devices, the stats don’t lie, and a massive 70 per cent of YouTube views come from a mobile phone or tablet! This is likely down to the YouTube app being so user-friendly, accessible, and incredibly dominant in mobile streaming, outperforming the likes of big players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
Conversely, while videos shared through Vimeo are fully optimised for mobile viewing, the stats are nowhere near as impressive as YouTube, as you would probably expect. So, if you know your target audience is likely to access information on-the-move (if your audience skews younger, this is more than likely the case), then YouTube is probably your best bet.
Support and moderation
When comparing the levels of support offered by the admins of these two platforms, Vimeo comes out in front. This is understandable, considering the business model underpinning Vimeo is designed to generate revenue from creators, rather than from advertisers, as is the case with YouTube.
User support with YouTube extends to written instructional resources and access to an online support community and, while this does offer some user reassurance, it does not provide the same levels of timely and tailored support as its lesser-known counterpart.
For this reason, a clear point-of-difference when working with Vimeo is access to technical support in the form of phone calls and online chat functions. This means issues tend to be troubleshooted quickly, and users are better empowered to get the most out of using the platform.
The commitment of Vimeo to supporting content creators in this way makes it a particularly attractive option for less experienced creatives still navigating and learning about the world of online video streaming. With support immediately accessible relating to the specific issues they may encounter in real time, they are likely to enjoy a more user-friendly, and less frustrating experience.
Both YouTube and Vimeo boast in-built analytics dashboards, which are easy-to-use and offer useful, compelling insights that can help inform user decisions about their video strategies going forward.
With Vimeo, detailed analysis over and above some basic stats wields an additional price tag. For those happy to pay, this platform offers allows for the creation of customised reports that take a deep dive into analytics such as location of viewers, traffic sources, device types, and timestamps of where viewers have stopped watching.
Going a step further, Vimeo gives access to data on engagement around every video on various social media channels.
However, YouTube is the obvious winner out of the two, considering it provides all of the above free-of-charge, as well as advanced data including age and gender of viewers.
Which of these two video hosting platforms is right for my video content?
These two big-hitters in the world of online video content hosting each have a long list of inherent pros and cons. For that reason, the right choice for one creator might will be the wrong choice for another. The platform you decide on will depend on numerous factors, including the audience you’re trying to reach, the purpose of your content, and the budget you have available to play with.
You’ve already made a great start by reading this post and, in doing so, taking time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, alongside what you’re striving to achieve by creating video content. This will stand you in good stead to make an informed decision about the video hosting platform that will best serve your distinct purposes.