What’s the Difference Between Vimeo and YouTube?

YouTube vs Vimeo: What are the Differences?

If you're looking for a video hosting platform to upload and share your videos, then YouTube and Vimeo are both brilliant options. While YouTube is undoubtedly the biggest video platform out there, with more than 2.51 billion active users in January 2023, that's not to say it's the best choice for everyone.

Depending on your business goals, the type of video content you're uploading, and your intended audience, you might find that Vimeo is the better option. And there are also factors including cost, privacy, ads, and monetization to consider too.

To help you decide where to host your video, we've highlighted the key differences between Vimeo and YouTube. Read on to see for yourself which platform caters best to your company's needs.

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YouTube vs Vimeo: The key differences

1. Types of content

The type of content you're going to be creating and sharing will play a part in determining which video hosting platform to use. Let's start with YouTube. The popular platform is a melting pot of content - from how-to tutorials and music videos to personal vlogs and cute animal clips, you'll find anything and everything you could possibly imagine, which means it's a great place to upload a variety of content.

Vimeo is more specialized. Its main purpose is to share and circulate professional work, giving businesses, filmmakers, videographers, or other creatives the opportunity to share high-quality videos and get honest feedback from other professionals in the community. Which leads us on to the next difference between Vimeo and YouTube...

2. Communities

As we've already seen, YouTube's community is enormous. With more than two billion active monthly users and more than one billion hours of content watched every day, YouTube offers a lot of potential exposure and visibility, and the chance to grow your online audience.

But bear in mind that quantity doesn't always equal quality. Greater exposure can mean an increased risk of negative and sometimes offensive comments. And given the number of users - who all have the ability to upload video content to the platform for free - it can also be hard to cut through the noise and get your video noticed.

Vimeo has a much smaller community of around 260 million active users, which does mean less reach. However, Vimeo's community is more specialized, largely made up of businesses, filmmakers, videographers, and creatives. This community is generally very supportive, with many users engaging with content and offering constructive feedback.

3. Search engine optimization

YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet, right after its parent company Google. So if you're planning on creating videos tailored to a specific search query (https://transcribe.com/blog/how-to-add-captions-to-video)"), YouTube is your best port of call.

Not only will your video appear in YouTube's own search results, it will also be more likely to appear in Google search results, as Google has been known to favor videos from YouTube over those posted on other platforms like Vimeo.

Top tip: Transcribe your videos for an even greater chance of ranking in search results!

4. Video quality

Both YouTube and Vimeo support high-quality video and audio playback. Both support up to 8K resolution, and both also support a range of audio formats, including stereo and surround sound.

There are plenty of tests and comparisons, however, that pit Vimeo's video quality as more crisp and clean compared to YouTube. Vimeo prides itself on video quality, and it also provides more control over the compression and encoding of your videos, making for higher quality playback.

5. Cost

YouTube is free to use, even for businesses. Anybody wanting to upload videos to the platform or watch them can do so completely free of charge, and you have unlimited free storage too! So for content creators with limited budgets, YouTube is a great choice.

But is Vimeo free to use, too?

Vimeo does offer a free basic plan, but it limits you to two video uploads per month, and up to 25 videos in total. After you reach 25 videos, you'll need to upgrade your account to upload or create more videos.

There are four paid plans to choose from - starter ($9 per seat/month), standard ($25 per seat/month), advanced ($65 per seat/month), and enterprise (price tailored to your specific needs). Each plan provides different upload limits and features, and Vimeo offers a free trial of each so that you can see for yourself whether the plan is right for you before committing.

6. Advertisements

One of the main bugbears of YouTube for viewers is that they're forced to watch adverts before (and sometimes during) a video. Since YouTube is a free service, this is how it makes its money. But it does result in a somewhat annoying viewing experience, which can sometimes be enough to turn viewers away. That said, users can pay for an ad-free premium subscription.

Vimeo, on the other hand, takes pride in keeping its site free from ads. This provides a more enjoyable and less distracting experience for viewers, who won't be disrupted with ads before, during, or after your video. So while you do pay a subscription fee, your audience (and you) does benefit as a result.

7. Monetization

When comparing Vimeo vs Youtube, monetization is an important factor to look at if you're hoping to earn money from your videos.

YouTube has a clear approach to monetization through ads. To earn revenue, you'll need to apply to the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP), where you'll receive around 55% of the revenue generated from ads shown before, during, and after your videos. You can also charge channel memberships.

Vimeo is an ad-free platform, but while you can't earn revenue through ads, you can make money via Vimeo On Demand and Vimeo OTT. Vimeo On Demand allows users with a Standard or higher membership to sell videos, and keep 90% of revenue after transaction costs. Creators on Vimeo OTT can earn a steady source of revenue through both on-demand video and live stream monetization.

8. Embedding features

Want to embed your videos on your website? Both YouTube and Vimeo make this possible, but with YouTube you're left with a YouTube-branded video player. What's more, at the end of the video, viewers are shown recommended videos, which may not be any of yours. Worse still, they could belong to your competitors!

Vimeo, on the other hand, has far superior, customizable embedding features, including branding, text and colors, and the ability to customize your outro and add your own suggested videos.

9. Privacy settings

Many businesses want to be able to control who can view their content. For example, you might want training videos to only be accessed by your employees, or you might want to offer exclusive access to your content to paying subscribers.

Both YouTube and Vimeo allow you to set your videos to private or public, to disable comments, and to prevent anyone from embedding your videos elsewhere.

Vimeo's privacy settings go a step further, giving you more specific and nuanced control over your content's privacy. You can add password protection to videos, share a video with only those who follow your account, and hide it from the Vimeo community (so that you can embed the video elsewhere without it being visible on Vimeo itself).

10. Analytics

Analytics features help you to understand your audience and monitor how well your videos are performing. After all, there's little point in having a video marketing strategy if you can't measure and improve it!

Both Vimeo and YouTube offer stats on views, comments, likes, shares, and total plays, but for anything more advanced than this on Vimeo, you'll need a paid plan. On YouTube, however, you get everything from traffic sources and device details to gender and geographical data completely free.

YouTube or Vimeo: Which should you choose?

You should now have a clearer understanding of the differences between Vimeo vs YouTube, and therefore a better idea of which video platform is the best choice for your business.

If you're still a little unsure of which to pick, then have a think about your business goals and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of video content are you going to be creating?

  • Who is your target audience?

  • Are your videos tailored to specific search queries?

  • Is high-quality compression important to you?

  • What budget do you have to work with?

  • Do you mind if your viewers are served ads while watching your videos?

  • Do you want to earn revenue directly from your videos?

  • Do you want to embed your videos on your website?

  • How much control do you need over your content's privacy?

  • How in-depth do you want to go with analytics?

In general, YouTube is the better choice if you want to gain organic search traffic, target the general public, and measure your videos' performance.

Vimeo is better than YouTube if you have specific branding requirements and want to embed high-quality videos on your website, if you're working on video projects that are targeting creative professionals, or if you want to get constructive feedback on your videos.

No matter which platform you choose, it's important to add captions to your videos. This is made possible with the help of transcription tools! Learn how to transcribe a YouTube video and how to transcribe a Vimeo video.

Written By Katie Garrett

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