If you’ve ever hung out with a few video gurus, you’ve probably encountered the intense arguments over YouTube and Vimeo—which is better? What looks nicer? What option requires the most buffering?
Listening to techy talk like this got me thinking—is there a marketing advantage to using one of the Internet’s two main video hosting options? Loyalists to either will say yes, but let’s evaluate the pros and cons.
From a content marketing standpoint, the variables to consider are pretty simple. More often than not, you want to optimize view count, simplify accessibility, retain strong aesthetics, and utilize a player that can handle videos of multiple types.
Taking a look at YouTube:
When it comes to online video, a good standard to examine first is YouTube because it has the most content and the most viewers of any video host on the Web. 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and over 4 billion hours of video are watched every month. Wow, right?!
However, as a tool, you have to ask: How does YouTube’s functionality meet your needs? For instance, does YouTube’s massive on-page community matter when you just want to have viewers watch the video while its embedded on your blog or website? Conversely, are you trying to attract a larger audience to a social YouTube account with specialized playlists and interactive content? Let’s assume that the ultimate goal is to get people to your website.
With these considerations in mind, here are the Pros and Cons of using YouTube to host your videos.
#1: YouTube has an 800 million-person per month audience, which means that you might be able to draw a higher number of people to your videos. However, with more audience, there’s also a huge pile of content (both good and bad) being uploaded to YouTube at a constant rate. One video can easily become a needle in a haystack. However, such a big audience is hard to ignore, and if you make a strong promotional attack, you can really take advantage. Overall, YouTube’s audience is a definite Pro.
#2: Like most Google services, YouTube is 100% free to use, with unlimited uploads and full customization. There’s plenty of options as far as organization goes; users can create channels and playlists while sharing videos effortlessly. However, YouTube does limit all videos at 15 minutes, and there is a tendency for YouTube to lose aesthetic appeal with a cluttered interface and high number of advertisements. These downsides are definite cons for YouTube.
#3: Of course, if you have the money, the advertising options on YouTube are endless. Rather than using YouTube as a content marketing option, you can easily make it into a tool for strong advertising if you want to pay to make it happen. Businesses, nonprofits, and public campaigns are using YouTube as a proxy for television advertising, so if that’s what you’re looking for, YouTube’s huge audience, is yet again a big Pro.
#4: Since 2005, YouTube’s videos have been embedded across the web. Now, the overall aesthetic of YouTube’s player is familiar across the Web. Although the jury is out on whether the YouTube player affects view count, designers might have something to say about how the ever-present YouTube logo affects your branding. I don’t think this is a pro or con—just something to consider.
If you’re looking for an up-and-coming service—and something that all the college students are using—check out Vimeo. As one blogger put it, as YouTube is to New York, Vimeo is to Portland—and Portland is a hipster’s paradise. The point here is that Vimeo has a niche audience and by some, it’s deemed as the counter-cultural option to YouTube.
#1: Vimeo is still up-and-coming, and although it’s taken a bite out of YouTube’s market dominance, Vimeo currently has only 60 million visitors per month. This makes the viral-potential of any video much lower. It’s safe to say that this is a con for Vimeo.
#2: Vimeo has a much cleaner aesthetic appeal in almost every aspect of its interface. The user experience of Vimeo is at a complete different level from YouTube—everything is organized, easily searched, and it all feels like an artistic portfolio. In addition, the quality of video productions on Vimeo tends to be higher and there’s absolutely no limit on the length of videos being uploaded. This is all part of Vimeo’s appeal as an artistic community versus the anything-goes approach of YouTube. These qualitative points make Vimeo a pro on aesthetics.
#3: With all its artistic emphasis, Vimeo fits into a much more niche audience, centered on good film making and inspiring videos. Removed is all the commercial, gaming, and non-user-generated content. The community tends to be a more professional crowd, made up of filmmakers and film enthusiasts. Some compare YouTube to Facebook and Vimeo to LinkedIn, giving Vimeo a more refined vibe that gets filtered throughout its approach to video hosting. Again, this is a Pro for businesses focusing on B2B outreach.
#4: Vimeo’s embedded player stands in stark contrast to YouTube. The argument for Vimeo is that they’ve designed their player to seem more like third party or native media players than an embedded player. The design is made to highlight content, rather than any sort of Vimeo branding, so you can expect to see it used more and more in the future. Although YouTube’s isn’t bad, I’d say that Vimeo has the advantage here.
Which is right for you?
It’s clear that neither Vimeo or YouTube offer a huge differential in services to marketers. The choice between the two will likely not be detrimental to your content marketing strategy. However, as you look to make nuanced choices about drawing the right audience, you might find one that works better than the other. If you’re using YouTube just as an embedded player, try using Vimeo for a change. Or if you’re looking to create viral videos, maybe you should seek out help from a YouTube account.
The key with all video content is to make it popular by integrating in with a strong social media presence. Learn more about optimizing your social media with our Social Media Optimization Playbook.