One of the most powerful ways a brand or business can market themselves online is by creating and promoting video assets. According to comScore data, 188.2 million people in the U.S. watched 52.4 billion online content videos in December 2013, and throughout that entire year, 93 percent of marketers used video for their online marketing efforts.
Video also helps to increase engagement and shareability of any piece of content, which is why it’s important for businesses to start incorporating it in their marketing mix. The only question you’ll have to ask yourself is: which video hosting site should you use?
For most brands, the answer comes down to a head-to-head battle of Vimeo vs. YouTube. Each has a distinct vibe and a unique set of pros and cons for businesses, and you’ll want to understand both before making a decision about the winner for your brand.
The Pros of YouTube for Business
It’s the World’s Most Popular Video Sharing Platform
Let’s look at some of the statistics from the YouTube press page that convey just how much of a powerhouse the site is for video sharing.
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
There are even more impressive stats at the YouTube Statistics page, but the point is that YouTube is without a doubt the highest-trafficked web-based video publishing platform.
YouTube Is Owned By Google
Search giant Google acquired YouTube back in 2006. Here’s the video that was created by the video platform’s founders in response to the acquisition:
One of the biggest implications of this acquisition? Seer Interactive noticed that Google is actually removing some video snippets from its search engine results pages that aren’t from YouTube. Since Google is mainly displaying snippets from YouTube, businesses using other video hosts may get lost in the search results since the visible snippets are a much more enticing result to click on.
If you aren’t already on the world’s second largest search engine, there’s very little barrier to entry. It’s completely free to create a YouTube Channel for your brand. We’ve put together this guide to creating a YouTube account to help your marketing team get started so you can begin sharing your video content with fans.
Paid Advertising Solutions
Once you have your YouTube account set up and your videos uploaded, you can easily extend your reach through paid promotions. YouTube has a guide on getting started, but it boils down to three main steps:
- Upload your video to YouTube.
- Create an AdWords account.
- Launch your video ad.
With its massive audience, refined targeting features, and various ad options, YouTube is a fantastic platform for running your paid advertisements.
The Cons of YouTube for Business
Quality of YouTube Content
With over 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s safe to assume that not all of it is going to be the best quality. If you’re attempting to position yourself as a professional product or brand, having spammy or offensive content appearing next your videos could hurt you.
Have you ever searched your brand name on the major search engines and found another company was advertising on your brand keyword? Well that same thing can happen if you put your company on YouTube. By taking advantage of some of YouTube’s robust targeting features, competitors can attempt to steal your video audience by placing their own ads on your videos.
YouTube and the businesses that use the platform to reach their customers have two completely conflicting goals. Where a brand is more likely to want users to click through to their site, YouTube wants users to stay on the platform. That’s why YouTube will often show videos related to yours in order to get the audience to keep perusing. Sometimes YouTube will even put a competitor’s video in the related section.
Lack of Access
For some businesses, you want to reach your audience while they’re at work. Though many companies have relaxed their internet restrictions on YouTube, the site is sure to be banned in some offices. That could make it difficult to hit all of your target audience if you’re solely using this platform.
Tips for YouTube for Business
TIP 1: Spend time personalizing your channel. YouTube calls it “cover art” for a reason: make it unique and interesting. Striking visuals will help create a memorable experience for your viewers.
TIP 2: Properly optimize all of your videos for tags, keywords, and descriptions to better ensure you show up in the search engines for proper queries.
TIP 3: Transcribe your content. Not only will this help the search engines recognize what your content is about, it could also help hearing-impaired viewers.
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The Pros of Vimeo for Business
No Video Advertisements
You didn’t read that headline wrong; Vimeo doesn’t run advertisements on any of the videos that you upload. This is probably the biggest advantage of hosting your videos on Vimeo instead of YouTube. There is a much better chance of a user watching your entire video if they don’t have to watch ads or deal with banners popping up during the process.
Cost Effective Business Account
Unfortunately, running a large and successful website isn’t free. Vimeo has been kind enough to keep their website free of advertisements, which means they have to collect revenue in another way: paid subscriptions. Never fear, however, there is a Vimeo business plan for only $17/month, which includes:
- Up to 20 gigs of video storage each week
- Unlimited HD plays
- No bandwith caps or time limits on videos
- No advertisements on your videos
- Advanced statistics
Quality of Content
Since Vimeo isn’t the most well known of the video sharing sites, it’s less likely to get spammed with a ton of poorly made content. Here is an example of a video that shows up on the homepage of a freshly created account on Vimeo:
It’s an incredibly beautiful piece of content, whereas the videos at the top of a new YouTube feed are typically what’s trending, which at times can be very different than this example. This isn’t to say that all of the content on YouTube is of lower quality, or that all of the content of Vimeo is this great, but it does seem like Vimeo favors this type of higher quality video.
This idea is related to the notion that Vimeo has more quality content. Since the site is much more niche than YouTube, there is a good chance that only serious video creators and watchers are frequenting the site on a regular basis. People viewing and commenting on your videos are a lot more likely to give you constructive feedback.
The Cons of Vimeo for Business
Less Traffic than YouTube
Although Vimeo has been increasing their traffic over the years, the most recent reports we could find still only put them at just over 100 million users. This is a lot of eyeballs on a site, but not nearly as many as YouTube has.
Google Search Results
It has been speculated, though not yet confirmed by Google, that the search engine will start to remove videos from their results pages that aren’t hosted with YouTube. This can be a scary prospect for businesses that see Google results as their highest driver of online traffic.
Limited Amount of Uploads
None of the Vimeo plans give users the ability to upload an unlimited amount of videos, which is something that YouTube offers their free users. Though this helps keep the site from being inundated with content, it does put a limit on the users who want to upload a lot of videos.
Tips for Vimeo for Business
TIP 1: Comment on other users’ videos. This site is more close knit than YouTube, so building a community of thought leaders should be one of your highest priorities. This also means you should make sure to respond to those who comment one your videos.
TIP 2: Make sure to disseminate your video across multiple channels. Vimeo has a smaller natural audience and less visibility as a video platform, so it’s important to do more cross-promotion on your social profiles, your website, and any other online platforms you use.
Which Platform To Choose?
When choosing a video hosting platform, it is best to consider the goals of your business and your budget. Ultimately, it is not about which is the better platform; it is about what’s best for you. Just know that whichever one you do choose, your business will benefit from incorporating videos into its online marketing strategy.
Kevin King: Kevin King is the SEO Manager at Sprout Social and a film critic turned analytics geek. When he isn't poring over massive Excel files, he can be found enjoying live music, indie films and select craft beers.
Hmmmm... What caught my attention is the part about Google no longer indexing videos that aren't hosted on YouTube, or something like that. Is that just Google's way of driving more traffic to YouTube? Sounds like Microsoft tactics to me.
As a political activist and candidate for public office, I've had additional insights into Google, which is much shadier than I realized. As Google grows bigger and more powerful, I knew it's just a matter of time before it went over to the dark side.
At any rate, that insight alone motivates me to use Vimeo. I might try putting certain kinds of videos on Vimeo and others on YouTube. It will be an interesting experiment.
Thanks for the informative article.
Is there a way you can add domain level privacy. I want to host videos on youtube but use them for creating an online course.
@MuralForm Yes, YouTube is the king.... btw you can get professional video player layout with no YouTube logo by using Julbul.com ... so this way you get the professional video player layout on your website and free traffic and leads from YouTube simultaneously.
Paying is not always better. As for example this post shows it. To have no bandwidth limit you need to pay for vimeo but no bandwidth limit for free youtube. Obvious choice there. It is called adblock for youtube to have no advertisements. Still free. I rather stick with youtube with smooth videos to watch then be forced to pay and get only 20 gig space to use. Should be pay for unlimited not pay for limit. Business is to get something out of it for as much as you can. Youtube has vimeo by the balls.
If it is only the matter of player's look then I would say by using Julbul.com we can get the same vimeo look for YouTube videos.
So I think there's no point to use vimeo over YouTube.
thanks for all thos infos , in my opion i think vimeo is the best video hosting platform , because it gaves you more scurite and privancy to your profile and also your videos .
and more than that , i liked thier video platforms because of the absense of Ads and also POPADS.
Thanks for this. Really helpful.
I think we will use both platforms and direct business contacts we are pitching to, to our Vimeo content. And our generic audiences to our youtube content.
@NickyMarketing I would disagree, because now we can modify the YouTube player's look by using julbul.com. So YouTube videos can also be embed on business sites with a professional look and unlimited color options [with no YouTube logo at all :)].
@Scott really its an good idea , but you must concentrate just on one platform , to make it more usefull.
@XNINJA Not really it's totally possible to use both. You can post previews and ads on youtube of your content on vimeo and direct people there. It's as simple as that. You can post snippets on YouTube as well.
I use Vimeo Pro because it offers a private mode that's great for our Intranet. I can hide all video from the public and also set the system to only allow embeds from specific URLs and to not allow downloads. That's not assured security since one could still use their own screen capture utility to save a copy while connected to the Intranet but it's still pretty good. My only beef is that it's difficult to setup the account and billing for a company. I pay for the subscription and I get all the emails. We could use better multi-user administration and alerting. I give Vimeo Pro an A.
The only thing i hate about Vimeo is the lag. Even the example video here lagged about every 6 seconds. I have 8gigs of ram, a great video card, and 60mb internet - yet it lags. None of the other Major video sites do, only Vimeo.
@ttowngeek Exactly, even for pro lag.
Great stuff, thanks so much. What I was searching for when I found you was "Does Youtube penalize you for linking to paid content on your Vimeo channel?" I love YT's versatility fo rmy channel so far, but some of it live music, cover bands (over 50,and YT has NOT ever blocked or silenced audio on any of them).
But I want to offer some hi-def premium content (say, either pay 99c to watch a full-length interview, or 99c mo for everything, features which Vimeo has), and want to know how blatantly I can say this in the description, annotations, etc.) I just don't want YT to one day delete my entire channel because of this!
Also, if I read correctly, YT needs me to have 1,000 subscribers before I can offer paid content. Does anybody know differently?
Thanks Kevin for sharing such detailed information. I can see new players in the market like Phando and many other trying to compete with industry giants; I have used YouTube a lot and Vimeo in recent past, so I like this interesting read.
Hey, nice post. However, I think that Youtube allows users to disable the advertisment in theirs videos, isn't it?
@javierbello youtube doesnt allow you to disable other peoples ads, but you could insted not monetize your channel, therefor not having ads on your own videos. That would be kind of like ABC allowing you to turn off the commercials lol. You CAN however add a plugin for firefox or chrome that skips many of these videos. Kind of like a popup blocker
Thanks for the great article Kevin! -- One thing you didn't mentioned is the difference between the two when it comes to music rights. So for example, say you decide to film your kids and do a quick little film of them and as the background music you choose any song out there that is playing on the radio (or any type of copyrighted song). And you are doing this as a personal project so that you can share it with your family/friends. -- I've found that Youtube will silence the audio if its copyrighted materials and you dont have the rights to use it, but I never had any problems with Vimeo. Now, I know this was the issue a few years ago, I don't know if this was changed.
@jorge considering vimeo vs youtube. https://www.harryfox.com/license_music/youtube_license.htmlI think Youtube already has an agreement with many artists to use music. Basically, if you have a video on youtube that has copyrighted music playing on it, youtube plays an ad (monetizes) that video and send a cut to the band (or rights holder). Or this is my understanding so far.
Two Questions: 1-Does it mean Vimeo has rights to the content it posts or airs and can they also give or as they say link your video content to others? And does this last even after you end your airing it on Vimeo
2- is this similar for YouTube?
- 3.1. As between Vimeo and you, (a) Vimeo owns the Developer Tools, the Vimeo API, the Vimeo Content, the Vimeo Marks, the Vimeo Player, and the Vimeo Website; and (b) You own Your Application. Except as expressly set forth in this Agreement, neither party transfers any right, title, or interest in or to its intellectual property.
- 3.2. Subject to your compliance with the terms of this Agreement, Vimeo hereby grants You a limited, non-exclusive, revocable license to use the Vimeo Marks for descriptive purposes in connection with your Application, provided, however, that you may not use the Vimeo Marks in the name or logo of your Application (i.e., you may not call your Application a "Vimeo application") without Vimeo’s prior written consent.
- 3.3. You grant Vimeo a limited, non-exclusive license to use Your name, logo, and trademarks for the purpose of listing or featuring your Application on the Vimeo Website. You further grant Vimeo permission to link to your Application. The foregoing rights shall not be deemed obligations by Vimeo to promote your Application in any way.
- 3.4. Vimeo reserves the right to develop applications and services that are similar to Your Application.
@rawrealblues There isn't any real downfall to using both. It's all dependent on your needs and your particular situation. There would definitely be more benefits (than any negatives) to using both since it opens up your content to a bigger audience and creates more flexibility in how people embed your videos.
Ultimately it comes down to what's feasible for your business.
Hope that helps!
@Kevin King @rawrealblues Hi Kevin....I create videos for my clients. Youtube gets them "ranked" in local search engines, can I get my Vimeo videos "ranked" all the same? And, everytime I put an incredible music track on my youtube video that's copyrighted, BAM, it's got that darn ad in the upper right corner....Would I experience this with Vimeo?
I'm so happy I found this article Kevin King. I've often wondered why brands use Vimeo over YouTube. But I'm confused about something. It seems the major reason to shy away from YouTube is so that there aren't ads run on your video. However, when we uploaded our videos on YouTube, we're given the option for "monetization" by enabling ads to be displayed on videos. As long as that option is not enabled, they can't run ads. Or am I misunderstanding something? Thanks.
@TwirlyGirlUSA That's a good question! The "monetization" feature is available to users who want to earn money from the ads being displayed on their videos. It's something you have to opt-in for (criteria here - https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/97527?hl=en). You can then connect an adsense account and start making money.
@Kevin King @TwirlyGirlUSA Kevin. I've been trying to research using copyrighted material on youtube (considering vimeo). I film bands and work with them to distribute those performances. From my understanding, youtube has an agreement with music publishers. So if you have a video with a copyrighted song then they play ads on your video. They collect the monetization and not you. How that comes into play if you do have license to use the music is something I'm trying to figure out.
@chphotovideo @Kevin King @TwirlyGirlUSA The placement of ads for copyrighted music is automatic and it's up to the user like you (the uploader of a video) to say, "hey - we paid for the music" and make counter-claim... not hard to do... I'm just going through that process at the moment with a client (with my video production hat on). This stuff is listed in the video management section.
I actually think this is MORE responsible than what Vimeo does because Vimeo seems to let people post videos with other people's copyrighted music on it.
So in this case, thumbs up to YouTube.
Clearly the market dominance is winning - INCLUDING a win for copyright holders (= anyone who creates something!)
Let's hope they stick to Google's ultimate motto of "do no evil" and that the absolute power they're starting to wield doesn't corrupt them absolutely :)
This was useful. Ive thought for a while that we should do both, and I still think so after reading the article. YouTube for all of its benefits, Vimeo to embed on our website
used your article as a reference here Don - cheers.
I am just moving into video content myself. I don't have time to test and compare myself this was a useful post - I will probably go with YouTube for stability. This is a post I just wrote with my thoughts and experience over the last two years building my social media marketing strategy.
Thanks for the great post - Sam Edge
@peterdavidkirwan There is way too many social icons on here. What are you talking about? Top and sidebar and bottom of article.