Vimeo vs. YouTube: Which Should You Use?

Author Clodagh O'Brien

Videos have always been an entertaining part of the online experience, but recently, they’ve begun monopolizing web traffic as well. For businesses looking to grow and optimize their brand, there are two candidates for a subscription. YouTube, the most commonly recognized of the two, and Vimeo.

Both platforms have their advantages from a business standpoint, but which is best? Throughout this article, we’ll take a closer look at topics like cost, SEO, and storage to find out which platform comes out on top.

Video User Statistics

Much like its parent company Google dominates the search engine industry, YouTube is king of video streaming. While Vimeo has a very respectable collection of subscribers and roughly 170-million viewers per month, it doesn’t compare. According to YouTube, more than 1-billion subscribers use their platform to stream and watch videos.

The Outcome: If you’re choosing a video platform based on potential viewers alone, YouTube takes the win.

Mobile Usage and Optimization

Mobile Usage and Optimization

Although both Vimeo and YouTube have mobile-friendly websites, YouTube has more mobile viewers. 

Over 70% of videos watched on YouTube are streamed over a phone, tablet, or some other mobile device. What does this mean for a business trying to increase traffic? It means that on-the-go consumers are more likely to stumble across one of your videos on YouTube vs. Vimeo.

The Outcome: YouTube wins the mobile market. 

Video Marketing Ads

YouTube allows advertisers to place ads throughout videos, sometimes in multiple spots within the stream. Vimeo doesn’t sell ad space in videos at all, making it less of an asset to business users. 

YouTube’s ad space is one feature that isn’t free, but those who spend more than 10 USD a day will have access to ad support.

The Outcome: YouTube makes the ad placement process much easier for businesses. 

Search Optimization Statistics

Coinciding with the user data, YouTube is vastly more influential as a search engine than Vimeo. In fact, after Google, YouTube is the largest search engine online. There are more keywords, key phrases, and hashtags on YouTube to optimize by than on Vimeo.

The Outcome: Score one more point for YouTube.

Customer Service and Support

Both platforms provide free customer support to their users. Unfortunately for YouTube, this is one area where things get a little jumbled. Due to the massive size of the platform, YouTube support is comprised of community interaction and online instructions. That can be confusing when something isn’t working the way it should. 

Vimeo provides live customer service, as well as supporting documents.

The Outcome: A win for Vimeo. What it lacks in quantity, Vimeo strives to make up for in quality. The personal one-on-one technical support offers a little something extra. 

Data Collection and Analytics

Data Collection and Analytics

YouTube allows subscribers to monitor analytics affordably and with ease. Users have access to all video stats and can view them anytime. Vimeo clients require a paid package to see the same advanced stats. Free users can see some basic analytics, but not enough to form a marketing strategy.

The Outcome: YouTube’s transparency wins hands down. 

Player Customization

The YouTube player is tried and true but fairly one dimensional. Vimeo, with all its focus on quality, offers unique user customization, including color and logo changing. As a bonus, when you alter your default options to reflect a new customized look, past videos are updated automatically.

The Outcome: Vimeo’s artistic freedom earns them a point for customization. 

Viewer Interaction and Community

Vimeo may be the smaller platform, but for creating a community, that is beneficial. Unlike the massive following on YouTube, Vimeo’s condensed community makes it easier for your videos to be seen, shared, and featured.

The Outcome: Vimeo has a less competitive atmosphere than YouTube, earning it another point.

Privacy Filter Options

Vimeo and YouTube both offer basic privacy filters for their users. YouTube filters consist of a public or private option. 

Vimeo’s privacy filter is a little broader, providing users a series of options including public, private, password protection, invisible, and more. Your content is managed and protected on both platforms, but Vimeo goes above and beyond.

The Outcome: Vimeo gives users more control over their content and who sees it. 

Pre-Roll Advertisements

Pre-Roll Advertisements

YouTube may let your business buy ad space on their platform, but this also means rolling ads into your videos.

Pre-roll advertisements are unavoidable on YouTube but nonexistent on Vimeo. Vimeo doesn’t play any ads at the beginning, end, or during your video. Instead, they roll ads beneath the video, unless you purchase the Pro package.

The Outcome: Vimeo takes ad-free viewing to the next level for a win.

Storage Space

Vimeo always seems to provide a little more depth with each feature, but in some cases, it will cost you. 

Storage is another example where YouTube’s free service pushes them to the top. Vimeo’s subscriber packages supply storage by a membership fee, meaning the more you pay, the more you store.

The Outcome: YouTube’s free storage makes it easier to enjoy the platform whether you’re a business or a consumer. 

Overall Cost

While YouTube is free to use, both as a subscriber and a content provider, Vimeo could cost you. Vimeo has a free basic plan, which is adequate if you aren’t uploading high-definition content regularly. Otherwise, you’re left paying up to 50 USD/month for your package based on how many GB you require.

The Outcome: Nothing beats free, which is why YouTube gets this point. 

Making Your Pick

Making Your Pick

Both YouTube and Vimeo are competent and useful streaming platforms. Both services have pros and cons depending on what you want to get out of them. While Vimeo provides users with a more in-depth, high-quality experience, they charge for this privilege. YouTube is free for users and offers access to a global community of streaming video and SEO options.

If you’re rating one over the other based on the qualities above, then YouTube wins 7 to 5. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Still unsure? Consider trying YouTube first for its low price. If it’s not for you, it might be worth paying for Vimeo’s advanced perks.

Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist