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It’s a little known fact that video content gets shared a lot more than any article or image and also has a greater chance of going viral.

So when sharing video content online, it’s crucial to understand how your target audience is going to be consuming that content – so that you can choose the best platform to suit not only the nature of your content, but also the mindset and nature of your audience.

In the video sharing space, there are two main competitors: YouTube and Vimeo.

Comparing apples with apples

If we look at the same video on the two different platforms, the immediate look and feel is noticeably different. (As a Harry Potter fan, I couldn’t resist using this as an example!) 

 YouTube vs Vimeo

YouTube vs Vimeo

But the big question on many people’s minds is how to choose between the two. A lot of people aren’t aware of the difference, but the difference is significant. And here’s why…

YouTube vs vimeoWhat’s so great about YouTube?

Online video has become synonymous with YouTube, and with over 450 million unique monthly visitors, it’s no question why. If you’re considering including the video element in your online marketing campaign or strategy with the aim of generating awareness, or increasing exposure or reach – YouTube is the obvious choice.

As one of the most visited, YouTube guarantees you traffic. The fact that the platform was recently acquired by Google doesn’t hurt either. YouTube’s internal search abilities are on par with the largest search engine on the web, making content posted on YouTube a lot more attractive in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO).

Setting up a YouTube account is free, and users are able to upload an unlimited amount of videos  – something to keep in mind in terms of budget, flexibility, and ease of use.

Advertising opportunities allow businesses to display ads, in-video ads, and even promoted videos. Brands also have a paid-for option which allows ads or videos to appear when people search for specific keywords.

YouTube vs Vimeo

And how does Vimeo compare?

Although much smaller in terms of viewership, Vimeo succeeded in building a reputation for quality and better customisation. The downside is that Vimeo does have limited uploads, but the quality of the video is far superior and a cleaner higher quality picture means it requires less bandwidth.

Vimeo offers free and paid-for accounts – the bonus of having a paid account (Vimeo Pro) allows you to skip the queue and upload business or brand videos ahead of unpaid accounts. Something to bear in mind if timing is important to your campaign and you need to ensure your videos are uploaded without any delays.

Another bonus of using Vimeo is that it allows “complete customisation” of its video player. As a brand you’re able to embed your logo / branding / messaging into the player itself – something significantly different from YouTube, where videos always carry the YouTube logo, which has the potential to dilute your brand.

Curating video content for communities

Which is better - YouTube or Vimeo?Community also plays a much bigger role on Vimeo. While YouTube can become a little chaotic in terms of the immense content overload and sheer amount of videos available, Vimeo is a bit more cultured. Members are able to create their own channels, start groups, and organise videos into different albums, meaning that users can search for videos according to a specific category, topic, or interest – making for a much more engaged audience in comparison to YouTube.

Vimeo also has a higher penetration of specialists and professionals within the creative and artistic industries – making this platform a lot more appropriate is these users fall within your target audience.

Another bonus is that paid account holders can choose to disable in-video advertising, allowing increased focus on the content and filtering out the clutter. Vimeo is also a lot stricter about copyright content not being featured, so the lack of recycled and duplicate clips makes for a much more streamlined viewing experience.

Brands and users also have the option to upload a photo to use as the preview image, giving a better reflection of what the video is about. Vimeo also has an embed code generator allowing users to tweak and adjust how much text and other content appears along with their video once it’s embedded on another site.

So how do you choose?

No-one’s saying that you necessarily have to choose – it really depends on the nature of your campaign, target audience, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Sometimes one platform will be more appropriate than the other, but having all the knowledge upfront allows you to make a more informed decision.

What do you think – do you have a preference?