Why choose Vimeo over YouTube? Here are a handful of strong reasons for why you might host videos on Vimeo over YouTube.
YouTube is the king of online video. The brand is so well-known that most people aren’t even aware that alternatives exist. However, other video sites are actually better than YouTube in some ways. Like Vimeo, for example.
Vimeo has grown massively over the last decade, and has become YouTube’s closest competitor. Vimeo may have a smaller userbase than YouTube, but when comparing Vimeo vs. YouTube, it can be argued that Vimeo is better than YouTube in some ways.
In this article, we outline the reasons to host videos on Vimeo over YouTube.
1. Vimeo Offers Better Encoding And Video Quality
YouTube’s mantra is quantity over quality. Users upload more than 500 hours of footage to YouTube every single minute. And YouTube needs to process all of these videos before they can go live. In order to handle that kind of load, YouTube must balance compression speed with compression quality.
On the other hand, Vimeo’s mantra is quality over quantity. Because Vimeo has stricter guidelines for acceptable videos, its processing load is far lighter than YouTube’s. And that means it can focus more on maximizing the quality of each video using better encoding techniques.
If you upload the same video to both YouTube and Vimeo at the same resolution, the Vimeo version will look a lot better because it will have a much higher bitrate.
2. Vimeo Offers Greater Prestige
Take a second to ask yourself what comes to mind when someone says “YouTube video”. Then consider what comes to mind when someone says “Vimeo video.” If you have experience with both sites, then your perception of each brand will be radically different.
YouTube is basically a video dump. You can upload anything you want as long as it isn’t sexually explicit, gory, excessively violent, etc. No one will stop you if you want to upload low-quality content that’s pointless or spammy, whereas Vimeo is very strict about what it allows.
This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this limits the kinds of channels you can run on Vimeo (for example, you won’t find any gaming-related content beyond documentaries). However, most people perceive Vimeo videos as more professional than YouTube videos. In other words, if your output fits into one of Vimeo’s video niches, then being on Vimeo means something. It’s certainly more prestigious than being on YouTube.
This is why Vimeo is home to some of the best short films you can watch online. Whereas YouTube is biased towards channels that produce a lot of content, Vimeo is biased towards creators who put a lot of work into each video. Quality, not quantity.
And don’t forget about Staff Picks. Vimeo loves to curate high-quality content, and being selected as a Staff Pick is a respected badge of honor—many careers were launched after being discovered by curators on Vimeo.
3. Vimeo Has A More Sophisticated Audience
Because Vimeo limits the kind of videos that can be uploaded, and is seen as a more prestigious site than YouTube, it attracts a different sort of audience.
So even though YouTube has more reach than Vimeo, each of your Vimeo viewers is more likely to engage more deeply with your content. YouTube’s audience is one of low attention spans, lots of distractions, and a penchant for rapid-fire viewing, whereas Vimeo viewers are more receptive to slower and more thoughtful content. Viewers’ expectations are different.
This is made most evident when you compare the comments sections of both sites. YouTube is infamous for its terrible commenting atmosphere—it’s tough to find a comment that isn’t from a die-hard fanboy, a die-hard hater, or someone who’s trying too hard to be funny.
It’s a completely different story on Vimeo, where commenters tend to be more constructive, mature, and insightful. As a creator, this can be quite refreshing.
4. Vimeo Offers Greater Artistic Freedom
There are two aspects of YouTube that can prove frustrating for those who want to create certain kinds of artistic content. Leading to videos disappearing for no reason.
The rules for sexual content are inconsistent on YouTube. You can find explicit videos on YouTube that have been up for many years, yet videos that are merely suggestive can be taken down for being overly sexual. What if you’ve made a mature music video? YouTube might take it down, but Vimeo welcomes it as long as it has artistic value.
Music is another big issue on YouTube. In particular, the content ID system that automatically scans each upload for copyrighted tracks and silences anything it deems as a violation. The system is too aggressive and operates according to a “silence first, fix later” policy. Even if you’re authorized to use a certain track, you’ll have to jump through hoops to restore audio. Not so with Vimeo.
5. Vimeo Boasts Unique Features And Customizations
If you don’t care about any of the above, then here are a handful of practical advantages to using Vimeo over YouTube. In terms of features and flexibility, Vimeo beats YouTube in several ways.
- Replace video but keep URL: This is one of Vimeo’s best features. You can replace any of your existing videos with a new upload without losing its URL, thus keeping all of the likes, comments, stats, and not breaking any embeds that may exist on third-party sites.
- Password protection: You can set a password on any video so that only those with the password can view it. YouTube doesn’t have this feature, only allowing videos to be Public, Private, or Unlisted.
- Domain-restricted embeds: Vimeo lets you set which domains are allowed to embed your videos, and you can do this on a per-video basis. This way you can hide your videos on the Vimeo site itself and only make them viewable on your site.
- Web player branding: Vimeo lets you alter the appearance of its HTML5 web player by inserting your own logo and branding, which is great when embedding videos on your site, whereas embedded YouTube videos always look the same and end with that unsightly suggestions page.
- Advanced analytics: Depending on your subscription level you can get various levels of analytics, starting with a traffic dashboard and custom reports, going all the way to engagement graphs and Google Analytics integration.
- Make money with pay-per-view: Vimeo On Demand lets you create dedicated VOD pages where viewers can pay to watch videos. You can sell worldwide or only in certain countries, and you keep 90 percent of the revenue. This is a convenient way to make money from your work without employing ads.
- Plus, Pro, Business, Premium plans: Unlike YouTube, Vimeo is funded by its community rather than advertisers. You CAN use Vimeo for free, but free accounts are limited to 500 MB of uploads per week. Vimeo Plus costs $7/month, Pro costs $20/month, Business is $50/month, and the top-tier Vimeo Premium is $75/month.
Are You Going To Start Hosting Videos On Vimeo?
To be clear, Vimeo is not always the right choice when comparing Vimeo vs. YouTube. If you need to maximize total reach, create content, not in line with Vimeo’s niche, or avoid paying to lift restrictions, YouTube might be a better fit for you than Vimeo.
However, if you’re going to focus on short films, documentaries, music videos, interviews, journalism, or travel, then Vimeo will serve you much better. You may get fewer views than if you had used YouTube, but you’ll get significantly more engagement out of each of those views.