Working with one of our clients, we were tasked to find a video-hosting service to promote a series of videos to enlighten the world with knowledge. The two heavyweights we were looking into to host the thought leaderships episodes were between YouTube and Vimeo.
From my personal perspective, YouTube is to online videos what Google is to search. However, when I think of YouTube, I think of webcam videos, product reviews, and the always entertaining pet videos. When I view channels on Vimeo, I see more creative usages of video, people with a passion for creative, and a much more artistic community.
I had to set my perspective aside to determine what service would be best for our client. Below we take a moment to examine the two hosting services and some key factors that helped us determine our video marketing strategy. In general, YouTube is really no better or worse for hosting videos than Vimeo. It’s all about how you use any given video hosting service, considering the advantages of each service in relation to the goals of publishing your videos. Let’s look at how these two stack up:
Interesting fact: Vimeo (Nov. 2004) was founded before YouTube (Feb. 2005). Though YouTube is the more popular service for people to host their videos. In 2010, 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube. Vimeo has over 3 million members and an average of of more than 16,000 new videos uploaded daily.
YouTube, at the time of our reviewing of the online video hosts, would not allow videos to exceed ten minutes in length, and 2GB in size. This has since changed for most accounts, but if you are a new user, you are limited in the length of your videos to fifteen minutes in length. This can be extremely annoying, if you don’t want to have to go back and cut and edit your videos.
With Vimeo, there is no cap on the length of video that a user can upload. However, users can only upload 500MB per week with a basic account. Vimeo offers a premium account for $60/year that lifts the restriction of the 500MB upload limit to 5GB and allows for unlimited HD uploading with priority uploading over basic accounts.
Quantity or Quality?
If you’re looking purely at the numbers, YouTube is your undisputed champion. YouTube’s new content daily easily trumps Vimeo’s daily uploads. But, as the expression goes, sometimes less is more. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Quality or quantity? After all, 10% of all the videos uploaded to Vimeo are in HD. The videos are always quick and responsive and buffer incredibly fast. You don’t have to use the paid feature on Vimeo, it just means that it will take a little longer for your videos to be converted to HD.
I’ve noticed that YouTube is not great for HD videos because of how slow it causes the videos to buffer. This can be incredibly frustrating for your viewers, especially when the video keeps pausing to buffer.
The bottom line is that if you want better quality videos that buffer much quicker to put on your website or blog, then I highly recommend checking out Vimeo to host your videos.
As for actual businesses, it is a little tougher to decide. YouTube has the reach, but Vimeo has the quality. From a business perspective, there is one thing about YouTube that bothers me. Let’s say, for example, you have a link on your website to a video on your company’s YouTube Channel. Once a viewer has watched that video, a series of “related videos” appear on the screen. While this is great for the user because they can now watch more content that interests them, it is not necessarily great for me. That related content could be, and probably is, my competition. Sending a potential client from my YouTube video, to a competitor.
From the interface perspective, I find YouTube very cluttered, and frankly ugly. The constant ads and annoying annotations (those tacky speech bubbles that always pop up over a video) are my two pet peeve features on YouTube. Vimeo does away with both of these features and provides a simple interface for all users, however with the basic account, you do not have the ability to fully customize your player.
Where as YouTube, you have the ability to customize your Channel page to your brand or you can use YouTube to your advantage like one of my favorite examples of a company using YouTube FOR their website, BooneOakley. Check out their home page.
Now, the $64 million dollar question – which one is better for you to promote your brand? I guess this is another one of those “it all depends” scenarios. If you want to SHOW the world something you should use Vimeo but if you want to TELL the world something you use YouTube. In fact, YouTube is owned by Google and videos on YouTube tend to rank much better than any other video site. So, I do recommend still using YouTube for your video marketing efforts.
But ask yourself: Do you want to have MANY people watch your videos or do you care more about WHO is watching your videos?
After looking at some of this criteria, we decided to go with posting videos on… Vimeo AND YouTube.
Because of the sheer size of YouTube and number of users you can generally expect to get more views on YouTube than Vimeo. So if your goal is to get more people to see your video, link to both accounts via descriptions or annotations on the videos. We utilized YouTube with snippets of some of the series of thought leadership videos, but for the full “high-end” videos, we pushed all the users to the Vimeo channel based on the HD quality of videos and the length allowed.