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There can be a lot of confusion around what platform to upload your video to. For all social media, your video should be uploaded natively to the platform for maximum reach potential. So what do you do when you are embedding a video on your website?
YouTube and Vimeo are the two most popular choices. Both have distinct advantages for certain types and sizes of businesses. It’s important to use the right platform to allow your video to reach its full potential. Today, we’ll break down YouTube and Vimeo, and go over the features which are most important to businesses. Here are the advantages at a glance:
- Free To Use
- 2nd Largest Search Engine
- Great for SEO and SEM
- Detailed Analytics
- Higher Quality Video
- Customizable Embed Options
- Update & Replace Videos
- Better Privacy Controls
YouTube is free for everyone.
For YouTube, anyone can sign up with a Google account and create a channel for free. You can then start uploading videos and embedding them onto your website. By verifying your account through text messaging, you’ll unlock upload limits beyond 15 minutes. At this time, you can upload as many videos as you want, as long as each video is under 12 hours total and under 128gb in file size.
Vimeo has a free plan, but to really use the advantages of Vimeo you need to purchase one of their plans. Currently, Vimeo offers paid plans ranging from $7 to $75 per month. Read more about the plans on their website. (https://vimeo.com/upgrade)
Most businesses will want to purchase either the Plus or Pro membership if they are using Vimeo. That will give you player customization, privacy controls, and enough space for your videos throughout the years. If your company uploads a large number of videos, consider the Business or Premium plans. For the remainder of the article, we will talk about Vimeo features using the paid plans.
Vimeo has slightly better image quality.
Image quality is often the first term compared, but it’s probably the least important factor in why you should choose Vimeo or Youtube. Both Vimeo and Youtube support up to 8k resolution, at varying frame rates. The differences come down to bitrate and compression.
Vimeo generally serves video at a higher bitrate compared to YouTube. The exact number is always changing, but most of the quality differences come from the compression of the video you upload. Every video you upload to Vimeo or Youtube is re-compressed to save space. YouTube has over 500 hours of video uploaded each hour, so they compress videos more due to the amount they have to handle.
It’s important to realize that any quality differences will only be seen on a large screen. On a mobile phone, it will look identical. YouTube sees more than 70% of its views from a mobile device. With the majority of people viewing videos on a phone now, quality is becoming a less important factor compared to other hosting features.
Embed & Player Options
Vimeo offers advanced customization in their paid plans.
YouTube’s embed options are very limited. You are mostly stuck with the default player, besides being able to change a few parameters such as size, looping, and autoplay. There are a few ways to get around this through third-party applications, but that can cause some technical problems. It’s not to say the YouTube embed is bad, it just doesn’t have the customization Vimeo has.
With Vimeo Plus and above, you can basically change every visual aspect of the player. The color, titles, branding, etc. This allows you to customize the branding specific to your business. You can even create presets for different embed types. This is great if you have different styles of videos are served up across your website. Changing the preset will update all instances of it.
Vimeo Business and above allows you to set up lead generation options such as email capture and custom call to actions directly in the video.
Vimeo offers more privacy options.
There are certain types of videos, such as software and training videos, that should not be seen by your competition for example. If so, the privacy options of videos may come into consideration.
YouTube has two options for limiting the availability of a video. Unlisted and Private. Unlisted removes the video from any search results on YouTube and Google. It can only be found by directly typing in the link or sharing the link. Unlisted videos can be embedded anywhere and shared by anyone if they find the link. The private option only allows the video to be seen if you share it with someone directly through their email.
Vimeo advanced privacy controls allow you to customize the privacy of a video more in-depth. You can set up a custom password to the video, create a private link, or even limit which URLs the video can be embedded on. The option to limit URL embeds is great, as it prevents people from linking just your video as opposed to your website. If privacy controls are very important to your business, Vimeo is the clear winner here.
YouTube offers more in-depth analytics
Both Vimeo and YouTube have basic analytics for your videos. Analytics are important to businesses because you can dive into what videos are working, how long people are watching your videos, and where your traffic is coming from.
If your business values analytics data, we recommend going with YouTube. YouTube’s analytics are more in-depth and the interface is easier to navigate. You can dive down into which videos are referring traffic to yours, the retention rates and specific points in videos, your click-through rate, and even real-time data of your videos.
All of this data can be customized over time and compared to previous years. Having all this data is very valuable for a business because it allows you to continually adjust your video strategy to what is working well.
Vimeo has analytics, but they are not very detailed compared to YouTube. Our main problem with Vimeo is its analytics interface. It’s much harder to navigate and find the stats that are actually valuable to your business.
Updating & Replacing Existing Videos
Vimeo allows you to replace and update existing videos.
If your business frequently makes changes to videos, you’ll want to use Vimeo. Vimeo allows you to replace the source file, without breaking the link. It will keep the same embed code too, so you will not have to go and re-embed videos on your website. It will also keep all statistics and analytics associated with that video, even if you have multiple updates to it.
When you upload a video to YouTube, the only way you can make a change to the video (beyond the title, thumbnail, and description) is by uploading a new file. You’ll lose all data associated with the video, and have to re-embed it on your website, as it’s a completely new video. If you are changing a lot of videos, this will create a lot of time associated with updating and re-embedding videos.
Search & Audience
YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google.
For a business, specifically smaller to medium-sized businesses, this is probably the most important factor in choosing a platform. If you want to stick with one platform, or only have the resources to manage one, choose YouTube every time. The main reason we recommend this is because of YouTube’s audience size and optimization for search.
YouTube’s audience is significantly larger than Vimeo. Here is a great stat from YouTube: “Over 2 Billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views.” Not putting your video in front of that audience limits your business’s return on investment with videos.
In relation to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Youtube is the winner. Because of the sheer amount of users and youtube searches that are done each day, it makes YouTube the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. Additionally, Google prefers to show YouTube videos in its search results. This is often above the #1 result for a search, and even above paid search ads sometimes.
YouTube is relatively easy to rank #1 for a topic if the video is well made and informative because there is simply less competition. There are over 1.7 billion websites competing for the top spot on Google Search, compared to 25 million+ Youtube channels competing for the top spot on Youtube. A majority of these channels and websites are very small or inactive, but the stat still shows how much more work is required to rank on Google. By hosting your videos on YouTube, you’ll double-dip into the #1 and #2 search engines.
Searching “Traeger vs Grilla Grills” brings up a video before the top search result.
YouTube is Best For Your Business
Every business should use YouTube before adopting Vimeo.
We recommend that every business, no matter the size, use YouTube first before also incorporating Vimeo. This is simply because of the search optimization and audience size of YouTube. Your business is investing a lot into video and marketing, and not having it on YouTube is wasting money. YouTube videos increase the search engine performance of your website pages and are seen by more people.
We recommend businesses to start using Vimeo, in addition to YouTube, when they have an in-house marketing team of more than two employees. When your business is at that point, branding, specific privacy controls, quality, and management become important and Vimeo is the best option for that.
We Can Help
It can be hard to manage your Youtube and Vimeo marketing strategy. Along with creating videos, we also manage YouTube and Vimeo channels for business. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 616-930-2222 if your business is looking to partner with a video marketing company.
Capture Video + Marketing is a creative marketing agency that specializes in video marketing for businesses.