Vimeo vs. YouTube

Although a number of different sites and services allow you to watch TV, stream movies, and upload your own content online, two major sites tend to receive most of the attention on the web: YouTube and Vimeo. We've reviewed both to help you decide which one fits your needs best.

Vimeo vs YouTube

Overall Findings

  • Most popular among personal and business video bloggers.

  • Offers large participatory community.

  • Site's popularity drives higher search engine rankings.

  • Lots of customization options.

  • Limits size of individual uploads (free version).

  • Popular among artists, musicians, and indie filmmakers.

  • Offers large participatory community.

  • Offers paid option for higher quality, less bandwidth usage, and more features.

  • Lets users embed own logos and branding.

  • Advanced analytics.

  • Limits uploads annually.

YouTube is the king of online video. From business channels to personal video blogs to television, YouTube has it all. Founded in February of 2004, more than 48 hours of user-generated video content is uploaded every minute to YouTube, and the site receives over 3 billion views per day. YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for USD $1.65 billion.

Vimeo is largely characterized by its content that is created and uploaded by artists, musicians and indie filmmakers who would like to share their creative work. Although the variety of video content is slightly more limited compared to the wide range available on YouTube, the popular video-sharing site has over 16,000 videos uploaded daily.

Both sites are video sharing networks that allow users to sign up, upload videos for free and participate in a community. In terms of viewing choice and connection speeds, these two sites are some of the best among competing services on the web.

Audience Range: YouTube Is Tops

  • 1.9 billion users monthly as of 2019.

  • Nearly 80% of internet users have an account.

  • Enormous audience potential.

  • 1.7 million users monthly as of 2019.

  • 90 million registered users as of 2019.

  • Fewer users can mean less competition for viewership.

YouTube is the number one video-sharing site on the web. The site popularity can drive higher ranking in search results on Google. Plus, the opportunity for discovery through related videos and search terms gives it a strong reputation. The chance of being discovered by an enormous number of viewers just from uploading a video on YouTube plays a very important role in content promotion.

Although the massive audience and viewing potential can be considered a huge strength on YouTube, it can also be a disadvantage. Your videos can get lost among the many, many other videos. Even if your video is considered to be very creative and worth watching, it may be difficult for others to discover it.

Because Vimeo is significantly smaller compared to YouTube, your video views may be more limited.

Restrictions: A Choice Between Length and Bandwidth

  • No limit to number of videos you can upload.

  • Limits each upload to 15 minutes.

  • Video upload limited to 500 MB per week and 10 videos per day.

  • 5 GB video storage per account.

There is no limit on the number of videos you can upload to YouTube, which is an attractive option for people who like to upload often. However, you can't upload videos longer than 15 minutes without first verifying your account. Depending on the views, subscribers, the number of videos, and other statistics of your account, YouTube will also slowly increase the length allowed for your video uploads.

Vimeo limits you to a maximum of 500 GB of uploads per week, and 10 videos per day. A free account gives you up to 5 GB of storage.

Community Engagement: Vimeo's Nicer

  • Videos can be flagged and removed.

  • Can disable comments to prevent bad comments and trolling.

  • More audience engagement.

  • Friendlier, more positive audience environment.

  • Format and typical content tend to encourage stronger viewer relationships.

YouTube relies on its community to report and flag videos for copyrighted content, pornography, violence or any other inappropriate subject matter. If your video gets flagged, YouTube may remove it from the site without warning. As your videos grow more popular and attract more viewers, you increase the chance of receiving inappropriate comments, profanity, and spam. Bad comments can potentially lead to a bad reputation. For this reason, some users prefer to disable comments on their videos.

Vimeo tends to have more audience engagement due to the focus on creative artistry, filmmaking, and music. You're more likely to receive friendlier comments and make stronger relationships with users on Vimeo than on YouTube.

Money Matters: Both Offer Revenue Opportunities

  • Possibility of revenue sharing for highly trafficked videos.

  • Premium version geared toward viewers, with benefits such as ad-free viewing experience.

  • Uploading commercial content requires Pro membership.

  • Tip Jar feature allows viewers to contribute funds.

  • Offers ability to sell or rent your videos.

If your videos get enough views or your channel attracts enough subscribers, YouTube will invite you into a revenue-sharing partnership. Ads are placed at the bottom of your videos and in the sidebar, giving you the opportunity to earn an income from the popularity of your videos. Although it can take a lot of time and effort to start earning a significant amount, some people are able to make a full-time living from their channels.

Although the Vimeo Pro features are outstanding, a Pro account has a fee. Not everyone will find it worthwhile to pay for premium features, and if you decide against it, you'll miss out on a lot of what Vimeo has to offer.

If you plan on promoting a product or service through a video on Vimeo, you are required to pay for a Pro account. If you upload a commercial video on a free account, you risk having your video taken down.

Uploading videos to Vimeo is already just as convenient as it is with YouTube, but you can get even better quality when you upgrade to a paid Vimeo Pro account. With a Pro account, videos are much cleaner and require much less bandwidth for viewing.

Analytics: YouTube's Are Enough for Casual Users, but Vimeo's Options Reign

  • Offers wide variety of metrics and reports, including data on watch times, traffic sources, and demographics.

  • Business account users can take advantage of integrated Google Analytics.

  • More robust analytics options make it easy to spot trends.

The analytics platform on Vimeo—even the free option—is far superior to that on YouTube. Some users feel that YouTube's analytics system is much too basic.

Final Verdict

Both YouTube and Vimeo offer video producers and bloggers lots of creative, monetization, and tracking options. Your best choice likely depends on your goals. If you're creating lots of videos for your business, friends, or family, YouTube's the way to go. But creative types seeking constructive, helpful feedback and more robust analytics will appreciate Vimeo's artsier take on the video world.