If you’ve ever wanted to share a wedding or travel video with friends, or you’re a content creator looking to reach your audience, you’ve probably been faced with the basic question: where should I put my videos? YouTube vs Vimeo has been pretty much what it boils down to for years. These are the big hitters. Consumer options. Familiar names.
So, does it matter who you go with? Are they more or less interchangeable? Is one going to meet your needs significantly better than the other?
Read on below to find out what these two services have to offer, who they are likely to turn to, and what you stand to gain or lose depending on your choice.
YouTube vs Vimeo: basics
On the surface, YouTube and Vimeo perform the same function. You can download videos and you can watch videos.
For relatively small-scale creators, they can be used somewhat interchangeably, to download videos and share them for free with an audience.
But they are very different platforms with very different goals. Which choice you choose will depend a lot on your specific goals.
Vimeo offers free and paid on-demand options for viewers, all ad-free, with a high-resolution image and a fee charged to downloaders.
YouTube works differently. It’s free for creators who upload their work and free for viewers, but only with ads. Otherwise, it relies on user subscriptions. Video quality varies but can be very low if you just prefer to stream your content to as many eyeballs as possible.
When we talk about video streaming, obviously the quality of the picture should be taken into account.
YouTube is all about quantity. You will find tons of videos, watched by tons of viewers. An increase in quantity is unfortunately accompanied by a decrease in quality. That’s not to say that creators on YouTube don’t deliver world-class content that is often as good or better than what’s on Vimeo. Many of them are. But YouTube has to handle all this content on a technical level.
This means that the compression quality of YouTube takes a hit to handle all that content without taking forever for the user.
Vimeo, due to its different funding model and smaller overall footprint, can handle content at comparable speeds without reducing the quality of compression.
In short, upload the same video (same size, same resolution, etc.) to YouTube and Vimeo, and Vimeo will spit out a slightly better end product.
Pricing options for creators
Due to YouTube ads, downloading content is free, although users can choose to promote their content at a cost or purchase ads that appear elsewhere on the site. The download itself, however, does not incur a charge.
Vimeo’s ad-free model means it has to charge, and rather than charging viewers, the costs are borne by video downloaders.
Vimeo can be used for free with a basic account, but if you’re looking to download a lot of content, you’ll need a paid subscription. Weekly downloads are no more than 500MB on a basic account, and you’re limited to 10 videos per 24-hour block, as well as a total limit of 5GB on your account.
To go up from there, Vimeo offers four options, with additional data and other perks:
- More: A Plus account increases your limit to 5 GB per week and 250 GB per year, and it costs $ 9 / month.
- Pro: A Pro account goes up to 20 GB per week and 1 TB per year, for $ 24 / month. You can also have up to three team member logins for shared use.
- Company: A Business account removes weekly limits, with an annual limit of 5TB, up to 10 team members, and a cost of $ 55 / month. Here you can also access SEO settings and Google analytics to improve your game and add video calls to action.
- Premium: A Premium account adds unlimited live streaming to the mix, along with live Q&A and polls, live chat, and 7TB of storage per year, for $ 95 / month.
Pricing options for viewers
Vimeo users can watch free or paid content. When paying to access the videos, viewers have two pay-per-view options or an option to subscribe. They can rent content for a fixed term or purchase it so that it remains available to them as long as it is hosted on Vimeo through a paid VOD option. And they can subscribe to a user’s channel for unlimited access. This means that the prices can vary wildly depending on what you choose to watch.
All the money you pay on Vimeo as a viewer goes straight to the downloader.
YouTube, on the other hand, can be almost completely free, with ads supporting the entire model. If you want to remove ads, rather than pay-per-view or individual creator subscription fees, you can subscribe to YouTube Premium.
For $ 11.99 per month, a Premium Membership gives you ad-free access to all normally ad-supported content. You also have the option of playing videos in the background while using other apps when using YouTube on mobile (say you’re watching a TED Talk or music video and want to keep listening while you check out your videos. e-mails, for example).
YouTube also hosts movie and TV rentals and purchases separate from ad-supported and premium content. Just like you can rent or buy content on Apple TV or Google Play, YouTube lets you access VOD content on a pay-per-view model.
The flip side (forgive the pun) is important to many creators: monetization.
Again, it boils down to advertisements. Vimeo’s lack of ads means downloaders aren’t making money, at least not directly, unless they’re putting a price on content through pay-per-view or one-time subscription fees. This contrasts with the kind of passive income that ad-supported videos can generate just from views.
But if you use Vimeo to advertise a product, or show your portfolio to a potential customer, or share a movie or TV show with reviewers, you’re probably making money, indirectly. That money just doesn’t go through Vimeo and doesn’t depend on clicks in the traditional sense.
This is where YouTube shines – and sometimes ends up in hot water, too. While your YouTube videos can also serve as advertising or help you and your work get discovered, you can also benefit from going viral. YouTube makes money from ads that run alongside (or before, during, and after) your videos. The good thing is that creators can participate in this action as well, earning money directly linked to the popularity of their videos.
Vimeo can’t interfere with your earnings – and they’re also less likely to delete videos in general.
If you are looking to share your videos on a large scale, privacy may not be a top priority for you, and you will be interested in YouTube’s huge user base (over two billion unique users logged in per month. against 170 million for Vimeo).
With this larger user base, YouTube offers three levels of privacy on your videos: public, private, or unlisted. It’s a pretty blunt tool, but it does mean you can control who sees your videos, to some extent.
In contrast, Vimeo allows you to control privacy with much more precision. You can leave a video public, password protect it, show it only to your followers, or limit viewing to specific accounts that you select yourself.
YouTube vs Vimeo: final verdict
YouTube and Vimeo, while superficially similar, are very different beasts. There is no clear winner, as both are designed to appeal to very different users.
If you’re trying to stand out as a skin care influencer, make money by showing lots of videos and hoping to reach as large an audience as possible, the YouTube model makes a lot of sense. You will more easily reach your audience. You will have realistic monetization options. And you’ll be able to post whatever you want without spending your own money on finding your audience.
If you are a video artist wishing to share your art with festival programmers, or an editor trying to showcase your work to specific employers, or a filmmaker trying to share your work with an existing fan base, Vimeo will allow you to do so. very good, ad-free, low cost and with magnificent results.