YouTube Vs Vimeo – YouTube is the king of online video. The brand is so well-known that most people aren’t even aware alternatives exist. However, other video sites are better than YouTube in some ways. Like Vimeo, for example.
There are some big differences between YouTube vs. Vimeo, and understanding those differences will help you select the right option for you.
This article outlines the reasons to host videos on Vimeo over YouTube.
YouTube Vs. Vimeo: Encoding and Video Quality
YouTube’s mantra is quantity over quality. Users upload more than 500 hours of footage to YouTube every single minute. And YouTube needs to process all of these videos before going live. So YouTube must balance compression speed with compression quality to handle that kind of load.
On the other hand, Vimeo’s mantra is quality over quantity. Because Vimeo has stricter guidelines for acceptable videos, its processing load is far lighter than YouTube’s. And that means it can focus more on maximizing the quality of each video using better encoding techniques.
If you upload the same video to both YouTube and Vimeo at the exact resolution, the Vimeo version will look better because it will have a much higher bitrate.
YouTube Vs. Vimeo: The Communities
YouTube’s community is large, with over 1 billion users that watch hundreds of millions of hours of content – each day! With that many people comes risks. You may run into some questionable, highly offensive users that are not afraid to tell you exactly how they feel about your video.
YouTube’s larger audience produces more content, but keep in mind that quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
Vimeo has a much smaller community. Of its 170 million viewers, about 42 million are in the United States.
Vimeo’s community is generally very supportive and has many users that offer more constructive feedback than you may find on YouTube.
Another notable distinction between the two is that you will often find higher production values with a smaller community.
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YouTube Vs Vimeo: Prestige
Take a second to ask yourself what comes to mind when someone says “YouTube video.” Then consider what comes to mind when someone says “Vimeo video.” If you have experience with both sites, your perception of each brand will be radically different.
YouTube is a video dump. You can upload anything you want as long as it isn’t sexually explicit, gory, excessively violent, etc. Also, no one will stop you if you want to upload low-quality content that’s pointless or spammy, whereas Vimeo is very strict about what it allows.
This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this limits the kinds of channels you can run on Vimeo (for example, you won’t find any gaming-related content beyond documentaries). On the other hand, however, most people perceive Vimeo videos as more professional than YouTube videos. In other words, if your output fits into one of Vimeo’s video niches, then being on Vimeo means something. It’s certainly more prestigious than being on YouTube.
This is why Vimeo is home to some of the best short films you can watch online. Whereas YouTube is biased towards channels that produce a lot of content, Vimeo is biased towards creators who put a lot of work into each video. Quality, not quantity.
And don’t forget about Staff Picks. Vimeo loves to curate high-quality content. Being selected as a Staff Pick is a respected badge of honor—many careers were launched after being discovered by curators on Vimeo.
Vimeo offers four membership options: Plus, PRO, and Business, Premium. They each have different levels of storage and support, as you can see in the chart below.
Vimeo does offer a basic, free membership, but it limits you to 500MB maximum storage per week.
Alternately, you can make a YouTube video completely free with unlimited storage for hosting. This is because YouTube focuses on making money with advertising, not monthly or yearly payment plans like Vimeo.
That said, YouTube offers a $9.99/month subscription service called YouTube Red, which allows you to view videos without ads.
In addition to being able to watch videos ad-free, you will also have access to a slate of original programming, the ability to download videos so you can watch offline later, and a music app.
Because Vimeo limits the kind of videos that can be uploaded and is seen as a more prestigious site than YouTube, it attracts a different audience.
So even though YouTube has more reach than Vimeo, each of your Vimeo viewers is more likely to engage more deeply with your content. YouTube’s audience is one with low attention spans, lots of distractions, and a penchant for rapid-fire viewing, whereas Vimeo viewers are more receptive to slower and more thoughtful content. Viewers’ expectations are different.
This is most evident when you compare the comments sections of both sites. YouTube is infamous for its terrible commenting atmosphere—it’s tough to find a comment that isn’t from a die-hard fanboy, a die-hard hater, or someone trying too hard to be funny.
It’s an entirely different story on Vimeo, where commenters tend to be more constructive, mature, and insightful. As a creator, this can be quite refreshing.
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Have you ever uploaded a video, then realized you needed to make a change to it? Vimeo allows you to replace a video after it has been uploaded without losing that video’s stats. This can be very helpful if you realize you made a mistake in your video or something like a name needs to be updated.
On the flip side, when you upload your video to YouTube, you cannot change it without completely deleting the file and re-uploading it. This means that you will lose all of your views and stats.
If you use YouTube, double and triple-check spelling and content because you can’t fix it once you post it!
Vimeo Offers Greater Artistic Freedom
There are two aspects of YouTube that can prove frustrating for those who want to create certain kinds of artistic content—leading to videos disappearing for no reason.
The rules for sexual content are inconsistent on YouTube. You can find explicit videos on YouTube that have been up for many years, yet merely suggestive videos can be taken down for being overly sexual. What if you’ve made a mature music video? YouTube might take it down, but Vimeo welcomes it as long as it has artistic value.
Music is another big issue on YouTube. In particular, the content ID system that automatically scans each upload for copyrighted tracks and silences anything it deems as a violation. Unfortunately, the system is too aggressive and operates according to a “silence first, fix later” policy. As a result, even if you’re authorized to use a certain track, you’ll have to jump through hoops to restore audio, not so with Vimeo.
Vimeo offers password-protected content. This can be great if you are reviewing content with clients and want to keep it hidden. Vimeo offers a variety of other privacy options as well.
YouTube allows three options; public, unlisted, and private. Unlisted means only those with the link can view it, while private means only those you invite with an active YouTube account can view it.
To be clear, Vimeo is not always the right choice when comparing Vimeo vs. YouTube. If you need to maximize total reach, create content, not in line with Vimeo’s niche, or avoid paying to lift restrictions, YouTube might be a better fit for you than Vimeo.
However, if you’re going to focus on short films, documentaries, music videos, interviews, journalism, or travel, then Vimeo will serve you much better. You may get fewer views than if you had used YouTube, but you’ll get significantly more engagement out of each of those views.
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