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- 12/15/2014


7 Crucial Points in the Vimeo vs. YouTube Debate

Today’s marketing battles are increasingly taking place through video. Once limited to only the biggest brands with the deepest pockets, today’s most effective video content is often filmed for less than the catering budget of yesterday’s TV ads. Brands and businesses that once would have struggled to gain even a regional foothold can now use video to compete for market share on an international level.

As marketers, it’s increasingly crucial to understand the benefits and limitations of the video-sharing services that make this level playing field possible. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the two best-known video-hosting services for business: YouTube and Vimeo.

1. YouTube’s reach is undeniably greater. With over 1 billion unique visitors watching over 6 billion hours every month, YouTube completely dominates the world market for video content. This massive, global audience makes it much easier to reach a specific segment. Vimeo, by contrast, has perhaps 100 million total users.

2. YouTube’s platform and technology are backed by Google. Not only does this give YouTube integration the best search engine and analytics data on the planet, it also provides a huge level of development resources. As a result, YouTube is available on virtually every desktop and mobile device, with code that is being actively developed. While Vimeo offers many of the same kinds of services to its clients, it has struggled to keep pace on the development side, particularly on the mobile front.

3. YouTube’s service is free, and offers unlimited uploads. From a cost-benefit perspective, YouTube’s limitless uploads and complete lack of fees is hard to argue with. While the cost-savings does come with a few significant trade offs (see below), it looks great on a marketing budget spreadsheet. It even makes Vimeo’s reasonably priced service of just $199 per year for 1,000 GB seem steep.

4. YouTube is cluttered, noisy and extremely competitive. Over 100 hours of content are being added to YouTube every minute, tagged with every imaginable search term and keyword. While YouTube may be free to use, if you want your content to actually be discovered around a search term, you’ll have to pay. Vimeo channel-based format completely sidesteps this issue.

5. YouTube’s format is designed for keyword poaching. Because every keyword is up for auction, the most likely ads shown next to your content will be those of your direct competition. YouTube uses this system to encourage even greater competition and higher advertising prices, and it can easily erase any savings from its free, unlimited hosting. This is another issue completely avoided on Vimeo’s model, which allows users complete control over their channels.

6. YouTube doesn’t really want viewers to leave their site. Every time a user clicks on an ad or a video link that takes viewers to new website, YouTube loses another pair of eyes that could be watching more ads. The system quietly encourages users to stay on the site, meaning that the biggest competitor for the platform’s advertisers is arguably YouTube itself. Once again, Vimeo’s more traditional vendor relationship with businesses allows them to avert this conflict of interest.

7. YouTube and Google has untold control over your data. If there’s ever a problem with your content, such as a copyright claim made against some part of it, you’ll have your work cut out for you getting it resolved, or even talking to a human being about the issue. As a true corporate behemoth with near-total dominance of the market, YouTube can largely do what it pleases. As a much smaller shop that is at least somewhat dependent on subscriber fees, it’s not surprising that Vimeo tends to put more of a focus on customer service.

Which service is best for your business? It depends on your goals, your budget and your comfort level with the technology. Both are strong options, and both can be used to meaningfully contribute to an overall marketing strategy. Here at SumAll, we can help you make the most of either platform, allowing you to track important trends, grow your performance and increase your long-term results.

Updated November 22, 2017.