The YouTube vs. Vimeo Debate: What Video Hosting Site Are You Using?

Author: Craig Pollack Date: Mar 02, 2018 Topics: Social Media

With the ever-increasing use of online video hosting, the question isn’t should businesses leverage video platforms?, but rather which video platform works best for your specific business? Cisco Visual Networking Index reports, “Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016.”This leads us to the hard-hitting question: YouTube or Vimeo?

These top performing video sites offer anyone an opportunity to express themselves through various forms of videography and now businesses are utilizing them as another way to both promote their company as well as distribute informational, entertaining, and constant content. But how do you decide which one is best for your company? To figure this out we’ve weighed the pros and cons of both to help you decide exactly which platform could help boost your business’ visibility as well as remain relevant to others within your buying circle.Before weighing your pros and cons, there are three things to consider:

  1.  Audience: To whom are you promoting your content to?
  2. Quality: How are you promoting your content?
  3. Purpose: Why are you promoting this content?

Knowing the answers to these three questions will help you understand why you are using video and in turn will lead you to determine how to decide which platform to use (based on the advantages and disadvantages of both). So, let’s break down the pros and cons of each video hosting platform to help you decide which one to leverage your content on.


1. Number of users and community quality

If your main concern is the quantity of eyes on your content then YouTube is the best options. Being the second largest search engine, next to its parent company Google, YouTube has over one billion users. This easily beats Vimeo with its claim of one-third of the entire internet-using population. At 240 million monthly users and 35 million registered users, Vimeo just can’t compete. But don’t let these numbers fool you. More users mean more ways your content can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the ever-growing content on YouTube. Another issue you may run into is unwarranted comments from users trolling around pages to randomly leave offensive comments on. This type of interaction may scare off some of your potential customers or lead to a never-ending stream of unnecessary comments. Vimeo offers a more professional community-driven platform which can result in better quality of views – especially for business use.

2. cost and storage 

Now if cost is an issue, then YouTube will be your best bet. It’s free! It also offers a $10/month ad-free version, if you want to avoid all those pesky, distracting ads. Also, if you’re planning to post a lot of content then YouTube is still your best bet being that it offers unlimited free storage to all its users. While still offering a free version, Vimeo on the other hand also offers paid tiers (Basic: free, Plus: $59.95/year, Pro: $199/year, and Business: $599/year) which come with various additional options for managing your account and the types of videos you can upload, based on the tier you choose. The tier also dictates how much storage is available to you. For free, Vimeo offers 500MB of storage per week. The higher the tier you choose, the more storage that is offered, with 5TB at no limit with the top Business tier.

3. ADS

YouTube and ads go hand in hand.  Pre-roll ads play before and after almost every video and can be a major distraction to the viewer, potentially losing their interest and pulling them away from your content and towards another video or site. Vimeo does not allow ads at all. But it is important to note that because Vimeo does not offer ads, you also cannot purchase ad space. YouTube, on the other hand, encourages users to buy ad space, even offering expert support when you spend $10 a day on ads.


Setting videos to public or private is a feature both hosting sites offer, but what about advance privacy options? With Vimeo, users have a variety of privacy options including:

  • Password protection options for videos
  • Video privacy from those who do not follow your account
  • Hiding videos completely from the Vimeo community

YouTube only has three options: public, unlisted, and private.


Vimeo videos are known for their high-quality production and offer many customization options for your video player including:

  • The ability to replace an already uploaded video without losing any of its performance analytics.
  • Custom player logos withthe ability to change the default customization on your account which will also update all previously embedded videos with the same look and feel.
  • No limit on video lengths as well as the ability to host its own domain.

Although YouTube offers none of this, it does have quicker loading times. YouTube also will immediately detect copyrighted music and images, which can help protect you if you are unintentionally infringing on a copyright.


Don’t let all these many variables deter you when trying to decide which video platform to use. Both YouTube and Vimeo offer some form of support for questions you may have as well as analytics to gauge how successful your content is performing. Vimeo offers some pretty deep analytics, but again, which tier you choose to utilize will dictate the level of analytics available to you. On the other hand, YouTube analytics are free and a bit more advanced than Vimeo, offering features such as insight into what devices your viewers are using, audience retention, and “clickable hotspots” on top of your video that allows viewers to interact. Vimeo’s technical support gives businesses with novice knowledge about video platforms the confidence to post successful content. YouTube, on the other hand, is built on community shared knowledge and experience with a section for FAQ .


Some companies restrict access to sites like YouTube. A consideration to make if you’re targeting an audience that would view your content in the office. Although a company that blocks YouTube would likely be doing the same to Vimeo.  Also, with YouTube you may end up cannibalizing traffic to your website. You want viewers to visit your site, but YouTube wants them to stay where they are. And they’re good at doing that. Who hasn’t fallen down a rabbit hole of suggested videos? The solution: make a convincing pitch to viewers to visit your site, and consider using those clickable annotations.

So, what does this all come down to? When trying to decide which video hosting platform would serve your business’ marketing goals best you need to know what you’re trying to promote, who you’re trying to promote it to, and why you’re trying to promote it. With those answers, you can then decidebetween the two options. If a platform that will allow unlimited content exposure, to a massive unfiltered audience, with high analytical feedback for free is what your business is seeking, then YouTube is right up your alley. But, if a platform with high-quality content, to a specified professional audience, and multiple customizable video options that are all ad-free is really what you’re looking for then Vimeo would serve your business best. And, in the end, if you can’t decide, vetting both, never hurts.

What kind of content is your business trying to promote and what platforms is it currently using? How do you leverage video hosting in your content promotion endeavors? Let me know your thoughts by sharing your suggestions in the comments box below or feel free to send me an email to discuss this topic in depth.

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Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.