If you’re interested in exposing your business or brand to a potentially huge audience, then you’ll want to have a presence on video-hosting websites like YouTube and Vimeo.

But which of these sites is best for your business? The answer depends on a number of factors, including the type of videos you produce, your target audience, and of course, your budget.

This article weighs the pros and cons of two of the most respected options to help you decide which video hosting platform is best for your business.

YouTube: Pros

YouTube Pros

With an estimated 450 million unique, monthly visitors worldwide, it’s almost impossible not to consider YouTube for your video-marketing campaign. This type of popularity makes YouTube one of the most visited sites on the web, and certainly the number one video hosting site in terms of traffic. YouTube has the added distinction of being owned by Google, so it probably doesn’t hurt to have video content that’s indexed by the world’s largest search engine. In other words, you’ll likely increase the odds of your video being seen if you host it on YouTube.

You can set up a YouTube account for free, and customize its look and feel to reflect your existing company brand. You can also upload an unlimited number of YouTube videos to your account. These points may be important considerations if you are concerned about budget, flexibility, and ease of use.

YouTube offers a number of advertising opportunities for your business, including display ads, in-video ads, and even promoted videos. You can pay to have your ads or videos appear when people use specific keywords to search for videos. Given the sheer volume of people visiting YouTube on a daily basis, a strategically crafted ad campaign on YouTube can reap excellent results. Check out YouTube’s advertiser’s guide for more information about your advertising options.

YouTube: Cons

YouTube Cons

Precisely because of its popularity, the subject matter of YouTube videos run the gamut from high-definition masterpieces to low-end filler. Sometimes it can be hard for a viewer to find the diamonds in the rough. Any potential customer trying to find your video on YouTube will be inundated with video distractions — often of a very unprofessional nature.

While you are clearly not responsible for anyone else’s content, your audience may have to steer through a lot of clutter in order to see your message on YouTube.

Advertising may also be considered a negative attribute for YouTube. There’s always the potential for a competitor to advertise its own products and services within your videos or to display its ads when a customer is searching for you. Because advertising appears in every video on YouTube (to support the free application), customers may be distracted by these ads when they’re viewing your business videos.

Although YouTube offers a built-in analytics tool called Insight, some have suggested that the analytics data is too basic, or provides more of an executive summary than actionable data. On the other hand, others have suggested that the interface for Insight is cumbersome and difficult to use. Of course, in order to make a fair judgment, you should compare the analytics capabilities of YouTube with other video-hosting sites.

Vimeo: Pros

Vimeo Pros

Vimeo bases its impressive reputation on quality and customization. For example, with a paid, “Pro” account, Vimeo offers what it calls “2-pass encoding.”According to Vimeo, this process makes videos much cleaner, requiring less bandwidth to view.

Priority uploading, also offered with Vimeo Pro, means that you can skip the queue and upload your business videos ahead of other unpaid accounts. This may be important to your business if you have timely videos which need to be uploaded without any delays.

Vimeo also offers “complete customization” of its video player, allowing you to embed your logo and branding into the player itself. This differs significantly from YouTube, where videos always carry the YouTube logo (potentially diluting your brand). In addition, we believe the analytics package offered by the Vimeo Pro account is superior to YouTube’s Insight application.

The Vimeo community is also a marketing aspect that Vimeo uses to promote its service. Paid-account holders can choose to disable in-video advertising in order to focus on the content of the videos they’re watching. Members can create their own channels, start groups, and organize all of their videos into different albums. In general, this makes for a much more engaged audience than on other video-hosting sites.

Vimeo: Cons

Vimeo Cons

At just under 17 million unique, monthly visitors worldwide, Vimeo has significantly less traffic, and is less well known than YouTube. With less overall traffic to the site, your business videos may see fewer views on a platform like Vimeo

Videos with higher views, hosted on sites with higher traffic, tend to be treated more favorably by search engines. It’s possible that videos hosted on Vimeo will appear lower in search engine results when compared with similar videos hosted on a more popular platform.

Some of Vimeo’s best features are available only with a premium, paid account. In fact, Vimeo’s Terms of Service document states that if you intend to host commercial videos promoting your product or service, then you must purchase a Vimeo Pro account.

Pro accounts also come with restrictions. With a Pro account you are limited to a maximum of 50 GB of upload space per year, with a cap of 5 GB per uploaded video. Video views are also capped at 250,000.

If you want to upload additional videos or allow additional views beyond the specified caps, you have to purchase upgrades from the Vimeo “Store.” If budget is a concern for your video marketing campaign, you’ll have to pay close attention to the fine print with Vimeo.

Which is Best?

Which Platform is Best

Online video has become synonymous with YouTube. Its size and high profile make it an obvious consideration for hosting your business videos — and of course, it’s free. On the other hand, Vimeo has built its reputation on providing a professional platform with advanced features and a more engaged audience.

When choosing the best platform to host your business videos, consider the goal of your campaign (views vs. engagement), your budget, and your brand itself. YouTube may be more suitable if high volume and high exposure are key considerations for your videos. If brand reputation and detailed analytics are more important, then Vimeo may be the better choice. In either case, your business will benefit from being part of the vastly popular, online video movement.

[Source: eBizMBA Rank, Image Credits: Sepehr Ehsani, Digitalnative, ian murchison, shawncalhoun]