Did you know that only 20% of online visitors will read content in its entirety, while an impressive 80% will watch a video?
Video can bring huge benefits to any company website or blog and as video content grows in popularity most companies are including it in the digital marketing plan.
Pros and Cons of YouTube Versus Vimeo
Both YouTube and Vimeo have a number of pros and cons, but your final choice will depend on:
- what you want to achieve with your video marketing
- your target audience
- budget considerations
- company branding and style.
YouTube Pros – The Power Of The Giant
YouTube has audience and ranking power
There’s no denying it – YouTube is huge. It has over 1 billion users and each minute 300 hours of video time is uploaded to the platform. As the world’s second largest search engine, it’s no surprise that YouTube is owned by Google. This gives it an immediate advantage in terms of SEO, meaning that popular, optimised videos hosted on YouTube are more likely to rank highly in search engine results.
Speculation has also been rife on whether Google has been stopping snippets from some non-YouTube videos appearing in search engine results, favouring those hosted on YouTube instead.
And because it’s Google owned, you can link your YouTube account to your Google+ business page, which may it give even more ranking kudos.
A YouTube account is free
Everyone loves a free lunch, and to some extent that’s what YouTube offers for video sharing. There’s no charge to set up a channel, upload a cover image, display basic details about your company and website, and upload as many videos as you choose.
Advertising and revenue opportunities abound
YouTube allows you to promote your brand or sell your products with different types of ads (in-stream, display and search). You can promote specific videos by linking them to keywords, so that when users search for those terms your own videos appear in results.
Even without advertising, the YouTube cards feature let’s you place an interactive call to action (CTA), such as a ‘visit website’ link, at different points in your video.
As a content producer you can also make money by enrolling in the YouTube TrueView advertising program.
YouTube Cons – Quantity Over Quality
Content quality is patchy at best
So what’s the bad news when it comes to hosting on the video king? Delving into the dense forests of YouTube matter, you’ll find some good but plenty of bad, or let’s say ‘poor’ quality material. Which means that your oh-so-beautifully-crafted work may appear alongside some not-quite-so-savvy content.
And because YouTube does its very best to retain traffic within its site, it displays related content immediately after yours, which can include the videos of competitors or simply low-end stuff you wouldn’t want your brand associated with.
Branding and customisation is limited
Options for customising the video player to reflect the colour and feel of your brand are non-existent – it’s very much a YouTube-branded experience.
The advertising opportunity is not all good
The large amount of intrusive advertising on YouTube is also a drawback for users. In addition, the downside of some of the ad opportunities mentioned above is that competitors can ‘steal’ your video audience by targeting keywords around your product or brand, with the result that their own video ads appear.
Analytics are basic
There are basic analytics tools, but they are limited.
YouTube is not always accessible
Many companies block employees from accessing the larger social media sharing sites, and YouTube is often top of the list.
Vimeo Pros – A Professional Look and Feel
Vimeo represents quality over quantity
What started as a small community of filmmakers has mushroomed into something much larger, but Vimeo is not (yet) nearly as well-known as its competitor. It’s certainly gaining traction, with recent figures suggesting an audience in excess of 170 million.
The upside of its smaller and more niche status means that in general the content posted is less spammy than on YouTube. Overall, the site has a much cleaner, more professional look and feel. The video below is an example of a high quality video in today’s Staff Pick section.
There are higher technical specs and extra features for paid accounts
While individuals are allowed to post videos free of charge, Vimeo’s Ts and Cs require that all commercial content is uploaded to a paid account. There are two different types, a mid level and a pro account, and each of these offers a range of more sophisticated features to work with.
Superior video quality is offered through what’s called “2-pass encoding”, a technical term meaning that your video will look superb and need less bandwidth when viewed, giving the viewer a far better experience.
Viewing can be ad-free
In a paid account, all in-video ads can be disabled, so viewers who are irritated by advertising have an ad-free period and are more likely to watch the video to the end.
Branding and customisation options are good
Unlike in YouTube, you can customise the look of your video player in Vimeo, including your own logo and the colours of your brand. You can choose to include or exclude features like author and descriptive text.
You can customise the url of your video, so that it’s not a random number and can be easily remembered or shared. Choosing a thumbnail as the cover image (a crucial element in making your video appeal) is a much more user-friendly experience than in YouTube.
You can modify your content once uploaded
Vimeo allows you to modify your content after uploading it without changing the URL or losing any likes or comments already made. To date this isn’t a feature YouTube offers.
Privacy and sharing options are strong
There are more options around privacy and sharing available in Vimeo. For example you can choose to share a video only with people who you follow, or you can make it password protected which can be useful for training or confidential information-type material. You can embed the video on your website and make sure it can only be viewed there, which ensures that all the traffic for that video goes through your site.
Analytics are advanced
Vimeo’s paid accounts give you more advanced viewing statistics, with weekly, monthly, yearly and geographical figures.
There’s plenty of support
With the paid accounts Vimeo promises very short response times to support queries (normally a turnaround of 4 hours) and provides good technical support in general, something that is almost non-existent in YouTube.
Revenue options for content creators are good
In the pro account, Vimeo on Demand is a feature that allows creators to charge people to rent or buy a movie, holding onto 90% of the profits.
Vimeo Cons – Cost and Traction
Traffic volume is much lower than YouTube
In comparison to YouTube, Vimeo’s 170 million+ viewers a month is underwhelming, which means that your video is less likely to be found and viewed either randomly or through search. Without the power of the giant factor that YouTube (in conjunction with Google) has, and the corresponding influence when it comes to search engine rankings, your video may be harder to find.
Cost is a factor
If you want to upload anything commercial and access the extra features you need one of the two business accounts, which cost €49.95 per annum for Plus, and €159 for Pro.
There are data restrictions
Even with paid accounts, there’s a limit to the amount you can upload. For example the Plus account is topped at 5GB of upload space per week, 5 GB per video uploaded and video views are capped.
So What’s The Verdict?
Giving some consideration to your budget, your content marketing objectives, who your target market is, and the type and volume of videos you want to upload will lead you to choose one over the other.
While YouTube can be a hectic and crowded viewing experience, it has the advantage of a readily available mass audience and SEO pluses against which Vimeo can’t compete. If your audience is primarily B2C and looking for fast entertainment, climb on board the YouTube ride.
But if you’re communicating with a B2B, high-end or niche consumer market that appreciates a superior quality, ad-free experience with more of a brand than an entertainment focus, Vimeo may be the right option for your business.