While YouTube is the most well known video hosting platform on the market, as well as now the second biggest search engine in the world, it isn’t the only game in town. The second runner-up in is undoubtedly Vimeo.
While Vimeo is still a much smaller platform, with far fewer video searches on its site (280 million views per month versus YouTube’s cool 1 billion), Vimeo videos are still useful when optimized for search engines, and can be just as effective as YouTube for boosting traffic and lead gen through your video marketing efforts.
Here’s everything you need to know about Vimeo, including the pros and cons of hosting videos on Vimeo depending on your marketing goals.
Wait – what is Vimeo?
Vimeo was founded as a video platform for creatives and professionals in 2004 and thrives today thanks in major part to the platform’s passionate creator-user base, which currently tops over 70 million people.
Having grown up a lot over the last fourteen years, Vimeo is like YouTube’s cool older brother: a little more sophisticated and just a touch more pretentious, but in a totally fun way.
What makes Vimeo different than other video hosting sites?
In a word: quality. Stricter upload guidelines mean less uploads, which means there can be more of a focus on the quality of the videos that do end up being uploaded.
Other video platforms that aren’t as strict end up prioritizing the quantity of videos on their site over the individual quality of those videos. While this is a very technical distinction, it’s this type of detail that can make a big difference, especially if you’re planning on using high-end digital cameras to capture breathtaking visuals for your business.
Additionally, Vimeo is an ad-free platform and gives you more control over how your audiences view your content.
When should you post on Vimeo instead of YouTube?
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to host a high-quality video that will live on your owned content channels, or are you trying to tap into a creative community with a thought-provoking campaign? If the answer to either of those is yes, then Vimeo is a great place to experiment. It’s good for hosting standalone content that will live elsewhere, and the platform’s community can get really fired up over video content that engages them in a real way.
However, if you’re trying to rack up views through social shares and attract as many people as possible, you might want to consider another platform, like YouTube or Facebook, that also have advertising options to boost your video’s reach.
Should you go Plus, PRO, Business, or Premium?
It all depends on how serious you are about your video marketing efforts. Here’s how the four categories break down:
Vimeo Plus: $7 per month (billed annually) or join for $12 billed month-to-month. 5GB/week of storage – up to 250GB a year. “For everyone.”
Vimeo PRO: $20 per month (billed annually) for 20GB/week of storage and up to 1TB a year, or get up to 3TB total with no weekly limits for $34/month. Also, team collaboration – add up to 3 team members to manage videos and collaborate on private projects within your account. “For professionals.”
Vimeo Business: $50 per month (billed annually) and up to 5TB total with no weekly limits. Up to 5TB total. Also features team collaboration up to 10 team members, and provides video marketing tools to capture emails to generate leads, among other neat add-ons. “For teams and organizations.”
Vimeo Premium: $75 per month (billed annually) with up to 7TB total storage. In addition to team collaboration, with premium you get up to 1080p live streaming capabilities included, with integrations to stream directly to social media and live chat your audience. “For advanced video needs.”
If you have an in-house video team, Vimeo Business or Premium are going to be vital resources, both for the extra space and team collaboration benefits. If you’re planning on working with an outside agency and posting the occasional marketing video every quarter or so, then a Plus or a PRO account will easily fit your needs.
Now for the Pros and Cons…
Pro: YouTube may have the quantity, but Vimeo has the quality.
As mentioned, Vimeo has chosen a different business model in order to be a solid counterpoint to YouTube – in particular, in how they encode the videos users upload. With less videos to upload, Vimeo has a lighter load of data to process, which means the bitrate of the videos users upload will be a lot higher. Even the audio tracks sound better on Vimeo because it supports 320 Kbps.
Con: There’s less channel diversity on Vimeo.
A big bonus of getting into video content marketing is the wide range of videos you can make to attract, engage, nurture, and delight your customers. Because of Vimeo’s strict nature, however, businesses are more limited in what types of channels and content marketing they can host on their site.
For example, while beautifully directed lifestyle videos flourish on Vimeo, the type of lifestyle channel you might find on YouTube doesn’t exist in the same way. Gaming channels are practically nonexistent, cooking channels are few and far between, and day in the life and vlog style videos usually don’t mesh with Vimeo’s more scrutinizing quality standards (the exception being documentaries.)
Pro: Vimeo feels more prestigious, and perception is everything.
No one can deny the effectiveness of a viral video – the views don’t lie. However, there’s a big difference between a viral YouTube video and a viral Vimeo video. First off, because of the quality control, Vimeo videos are usually held to a higher standard, and thus are often perceived as more professional. And if your video can fit into Vimeo’s niche community, it often means a lot more than a decently viewed video on YouTube.
Vimeo also has a unique feature called Vimeo Staff Picks, where Vimeo’s own team members curate their favorite videos from week to week and are featured on the main page of Vimeo. Plus, because the community is smaller, the feedback is often more personal and thoughtful, and more supportive overall.
Con: Uploads on Vimeo cost money.
While Vimeo offers a diversity of membership options, it is an ad-free platform, which means that, one way or another, users do have to pay. The free version of a Vimeo membership allows 500MB in uploads a week, but as anyone who has ever uploaded a video on the internet knows, that’s next to nothing. If your business is going to be posting a lot of videos, you will need to pay for a higher membership level.
Pro: Vimeo lets you update a video after it’s been posted.
A unique Vimeo feature is the ability to re-upload a video with changes without losing any of that video’s statistics. For example, if your video has a lot of likes, but you’ve included the wrong CTA or a title card has a name misspelled, you can painlessly fix it without losing all that early momentum.
Con: Vimeo isn’t on Google’s payroll.
While it might not seem fair, it makes sense. YouTube is owned by Google, and so YouTube videos are often prioritized in Google searches. That’s not to say Vimeo videos can never be optimized to show up on the first page, but they have to work that much harder.
But if you can’t beat them, join them. There’s no reason you can’t create videos for YouTube and for Vimeo and host them on different channels. As long as you aren’t posting the same videos on both channels, you won’t cannibalize your own video’s traffic.
Pro: Vimeo’s VOD feature could bring in new revenue for your video content.
Vimeo’s recently launched Video On Demand feature (for Pro accounts and above) allows creators to make VOD pages for their video content, where viewers can pay a small fee to watch videos. The VOD feature also allows creators the option of offering their content to the world or restricting it only to certain countries. The best part? The creators keep 90 percent of the revenue.
How this can benefit your company if you aren’t in the movie business? The answer is branded short films. Branded shorts are short films sponsored by a brand that collaborates with filmmakers to tell a compelling short story and usually includes their brand as an afterthought or an element in the film. It’s a new, creative (although expensive) way to combine narrative storytelling with product placement in a way that feels genuine. Since funding these productions is usually costly, with Vimeo’s VOD option, you can now monetize the production, creating even more incentive to try out this new type of hybrid video marketing.
Vimeo’s high-quality video hosting services, supportive niche community, and unique, cutting edge features make them an attractive choice if you’re experimenting with different types of storytelling in your content marketing.
However, if you’re trying to maximize your video’s reach with in-platform advertising options, or creating content that doesn’t fit with the creator-focused community on Vimeo, you may want to stick to YouTube or Facebook for the time being. And if you can’t afford Vimeo’s membership fees, you should definitely take advantage of YouTube’s free video hosting services.
Before making any type of video to upload, it’s important to have a strong, well-conceived video marketing strategy that specifically outlines your marketing objectives and your video advertising and distribution efforts. If you need some help organizing your thoughts, reach out to one of our creative producers. We can help you map out a content strategy with tailored content that fits your brand and execute your vision with a rock-solid production team.