• Patrick Schober

Vimeo Could Ruin Your Marketing Efforts, But It Might Be Better Than YouTube

For all of the traffic YouTube receives on a daily basis (about 30 million visits a day), you'd think it was the absolute king of video platforms.

Not quite.

Although it's far behind in second place, Vimeo is still the 299th most popular website in the United States, pulling in an estimated 116 million visits a month (about 3.7 million visits a day).

That sort of traffic is only 12% of what YouTube pulls in, but the fact remains that some people and businesses simply prefer Vimeo over YouTube.

And although YouTube is immensely popular, there are plenty of reasons to rail against it: persistent ads, aggressive commenters, limited customization options—the list goes on and on.

But for every reason to not like YouTube, there’s another one sucking in marketers and business owners. With 2 billion users worldwide, 62% of businesses actively use YouTub to post content and 90% of consumers say they have discovered new brands and products on the platform. Plus, YouTube has received heaps of praise from marketers trying to reach targeted audiences.

So, with so much fanfare going toward YouTube, why are businesses still using Vimeo?

The Case Against Vimeo

First, let’s discuss some of the reasons why so many businesses choose YouTube over Vimeo.

1. Reach. Vimeo only brings in about a tenth of the traffic YouTube enjoys.

As a result, the chances of someone simply happening upon your video is lower than if it existed on YouTube.

Google also favors YouTube videos in the search results, which isn’t surprising when you remember that YouTube is owned by Google.

According to research from the Wall Street Journal, Google prioritizes YouTube videos even when the same video received better engagement and a larger number of views on a different platform.

If you’ve only uploaded videos to Vimeo, there’s a good chance people will never find them through a search engine like Google.

2. Advertising. Unlike YouTube, Vimeo doesn’t make money through advertising. Instead, it generates revenue through fees for storage space and “tips” for content creators.

Backed by the power of Google Ads, YouTube allows extremely targeted ads, empowering you to target through everything from interests to specific YouTube channels.

3. Stickiness. Like many social media platforms, YouTube wants you to spend as much time as possible on its site.

Take a look at my screenshot from a recent video:

YouTube Video and Sidebar Example

YouTube knows I love watching sketch comedy clips and listening to music, so it served a sidebar of videos it thought I’d enjoy. The goal: To keep me on the site as long as possible so YouTube could continue serving ads.

Now look at a screengrab from Vimeo:

Vimeo Video Example

The focus here is on the content, not the potential rabbit hole I could fall down if I click something in the sidebar.

4. Pricing. YouTube, as you know, is free for both users and creators. (There is, of course, YouTube Red, which is an ad-free experience for users running at about $12 a month.)

Vimeo has a free version as well, but pricing can run from $84-$900 a year.

Vimeo Plan Options

Take a look at the “Plus” plan above, which offers 5 GB per week and 250 GB per year. This roughly translates into about 18 minutes of video per week (though it could be considerably less, depending on your video quality) or 15 hours of video a year.

If you create a sizeable amount of video content each year, you may need a subscription just to post through Vimeo.

The Case For Vimeo: How Vimeo Offers A Few Advantages Over YouTube

Despite its advantages from a marketing and advertising perspective, YouTube has fallen behind in thinking about creators and consumers.

Here are some reasons why Vimeo might provide you with a few advantages:

1. Content creation. YouTube does have the YouTube Creator Academy and the platform offers some limited controls in the YouTube Video Editor, but it leaves the heavy lifting of producing high-quality videos to the creators.

Vimeo, meanwhile, offers a helping hand.

Vimeo provides a variety of unique templates and similar tools to customize your video.

Vimeo Template Options

These are especially convenient for content creators who aren’t comfortable using programs like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut to add those desired finishing touches.

Vimeo’s user interface is also arguably much easier to use than YouTube’s. If you’ve never worked inside a video editor before, Vimeo offers a solid set of training wheels.

2. More sophisticated audiences. Vimeo and YouTube are both video platforms, sure, but they draw entirely different crowds. YouTube offers a million flashing buttons at any moment, pulling viewers into quick bursts of content and sparking a variety of commenters, some of whom are toxic.

Vimeo moves at a slower pace, so it attracts a different audience, one that tends to be more thoughtful and engaged (as you can see from their comment sections).

If you’re creating content for a well-educated or artistic demographic (and you don’t need the SEO power of YouTube), Vimeo could be a solid platform for you to exist in.

Final Thoughts

Vimeo has two Achilles’ heels:

  • Its videos struggle to rank in search results.

  • YouTube’s user base is significantly larger than Vimeo’s user base.

However, Vimeo also offers a more intimate user experience and grants creators a few extra tools to work with.

If search traffic and discoverability aren’t critical to your overall content strategy around video, Vimeo could be the way to go.

That said, most businesses rely heavily on search performance and traffic, and most small businesses can see considerable gains through a platform like YouTube over Vimeo.

In addition, there are no rules against using both platforms. In fact, Vimeo even features a tool for sharing directly to YouTube.

As with all marketing tools, whether or not Vimeo is the right fit should be decided on a case-by-case basis, but it should not be written off altogether. Given a chance, Vimeo could prove to be the tool your business needs.

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