When it comes to online video hosting, there are really only two sites that stand out above the rest: YouTube and Vimeo. But which one is better? They both have their own advantages and disadvantages, so deciding which is best for you depends on what your needs are:

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YouTube Pros

1 Large Market

YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, right behind Google. With over 1 billion unique visitors every month, it’s the obvious choice if your intentions are to go the viral.

2 It’s Free!

This is one of the more obvious pros, but that doesn’t make it less true! For no cost at all, you can upload an unlimited amount of videos with very few restrictions. While Vimeo does offer a free account, users are restricted to file size, length, etc.

3 Unlimited Length

YouTube has moved beyond their original 15 minute upload limit and now lets users upload videos of any length. All you have to do is verify your account through your mobile phone.

YouTube Cons

1 Large Market

Its strength is also one of its greatest weaknesses. There’s a lot of junk on YouTube that people have to sort through in order to get to your video. Making something that stands out can be a challenge.

2 Distractions

When you watch a video, YouTube clutters the sides with links to related videos and display ads that appear in the videos themselves. The likelihood of users clicking away can be risky.

3 Thumbnail Options

YouTube users are limited to 3 options when it comes to the thumbnail image. This is unfortunate seeing as thumbnails can really make a difference on whether your video gets a view or not.


 

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Vimeo Pros

1 Professional Market

Vimeo provides a much smaller market filled with professionals and film enthusiasts. Many of these people are paying for the service, so they’ll generally be more engaged and have constructive feedback.

2 Quality

Vimeo’s layout is much cleaner than YouTube’s, allowing viewers to focus on the videos themselves. Distractions, such as related videos and advertisements, are non-existent which provides a much better viewer experience.

3 More Options

Once your video is uploaded, you have the option to add your own thumbnail image, brand the video player to fit your company brand, and even replace the video file if you make changes later.

Vimeo Cons

1 Smaller Market

With Vimeo, you’re dealing with a much smaller market (60 million monthly visitors). If you are trying to go viral, the likelihood of this is drastically decreased.

2 Free User Limitations

Free users are limited to file sizes of 500MB, 1 HD video upload per week, and the inability to embed HD videos on their sites. Some can manage to deal with these limitations, but if you have a lot of content coming in, you may want to get a Plus or Pro account.

3 Commercial Restrictions

If you are promoting a product or service, Vimeo requires users to have a Pro account. Users who don’t follow this protocol run the risk of getting their video taken down.

While there’s not really a clear winner, you should be able to figure out which one is best for you based on what your needs are. Do you want to go viral? Use YouTube. Are you looking for a nice site to showcase your work? Use Vimeo. Or if you’re like us and your needs overlap between the two, use both.

We use Vimeo more for our creative portfolio so we can have a high quality presentation of our work. With YouTube, we take advantage of its large audience to promote our clients, not just our work. Both sites have their own advantages, so picking which is right for you depends on your needs, audience, and your budget.