Vimeo vs YouTube: Which should exist in your strategy?

Sep 19, 2016
Video Production

If you’re a seasoned content marketer, no doubt you will understand the importance of including high quality video content in your content marketing strategy. But does your brand have a strategy for where to host your video, as well as what your video should be? 

The two big players in online video hosting are Vimeo and YouTube. The two platforms have different benefits and shortcomings, so deciding between the two for your brand should be a strategic consideration.


YouTube is the ‘big’ platform in terms of brand awareness, yet other key considerations when selecting between the two competitors include:

Most Users

First and foremost, the biggest benefit of using YouTube as a hosting platform is the size of user base. YouTube has more than one billion users — accounting for almost one-third of all people who use the Internet. In terms of a global spread, YouTube is localised in 88 countries and can be accessed in 76 different languages, which covers 95 per cent of the world’s internet population.

Even with such impressive statistics thus far, YouTube shows no sign yet of slowing down as growth in ‘watch time’ has increased at least 50 per cent year-over-year for three straight years. In fact, YouTube has surpassed simply existing as a video hosting platform and is now ranked as the second most popular search engine in the world.

Free for Business

Another key benefit to businesses is the platform is free for all users, including businesses.

User-Generated Content

With such a high volume of users using the platform for free, YouTube facilitates the development of a lot of user-generated content. For brands wishing to encourage users to develop their own content to contribute to marketing campaigns, YouTube would be an intelligent choice in platform.

However with so many amateur videos on YouTube, there is a subsequent variety in quality that some brands wish to avoid by association.


Another undesirable aspect of using YouTube as a video hosting platform is viewers will often have to sit through pre-roll advertisements before they consume your content. This can significantly disrupt the user experience, and with many viewers becoming less patient with traditional advertising, this may increase bounce rates on the content.

Owned by the king

And yet, a key benefit to using YouTube from a content marketing perspective is the fact the platform is owned by Google. This is a major benefit to your search rankings because Google favours results on its own platforms, as opposed to foreign platforms like Vimeo.


Although there are many benefits to using YouTube to host your video content, there are not quite enough to blow Vimeo out of the water just yet. Amongst others, key considerations for using Vimeo to publish your brand’s video content include:

No advertisements

Unlike the competitor service, Vimeo has no advertisements to watch in order to gain access to content. This makes for a more seamless user experience, and the messages of your business don’t have to compete with another brand’s messages.

Paid business account

Vimeo requires businesses to sign up for a paid account. A business account remains affordable at $219 a year. In the ‘pro’ membership you have access to up to 20GB of 4K Ultra HD video storage each week, which is also in contrast to YouTube’s unlimited uploads.

Higher-Quality Content

With fewer users, and a limit to how much content can be uploaded, there is a perception that videos hosted on Vimeo are in general of a superior quality to those of YouTube. This can be seen in the most popular videos for each site. YouTube’s most popular video of all time excluding music videos is the Charlie Bit My Finger video:

 Whereas the most popular video on Vimeo is a spectacular timelapse of space:

Supportive community

Given the small community, the comment sections on Vimeo usually give more thoughtful, in depth feedback than the notorious trolls of YouTube. The first rule of the community guidelines on Vimeo is ‘Be Cool and Play Nice’ where users are asked to respect the people you encounter, as well as their videos

Player Options

Of great benefit to business is Vimeo’s capacity for customizable players and embed options. With a Vimeo business account, you can add a logo to your video player, use third party players or create custom outros to add to your work. This greatly exceeds the ‘one size fits all’ capacity offered by YouTube to users and businesses alike.  

Poor search results

Once again it is worth noting it is harder to gain users through organic search if your videos are uploaded to Vimeo rather than YouTube. Using Vimeo, you are more likely to drive traffic to your content through embedding it on other webpages, sharing it through social media and commenting on other videos in the community. 

Given the various pros and cons of each channel, it’s hard to declare a decisive winner between Vimeo and YouTube for use in your content marketing strategy. Depending on your business goals and brand values, different platforms may suit different businesses, and the choice must be made based on research and strategic direction. If you’d like guidance about which distribution channels to use for your content, contact Lush. Each of our content marketing strategies thoughtfully considers the creation, distribution and amplification of high quality content.