YouTube vs. Vimeo: Video Wars

By Jenner Brown.

A question I often get asked is which platform is best for hosting your online videos, YouTube or Vimeo? The answer is case specific. They are very similar, having the same underlying purpose and structure. The difference between the two is subtle, kind of like Mac vs. Windows. Let's dive in a bit deeper and look at the comparisons.

Like Windows, YouTube has a much larger user base and is more utilitarian. It is owned by the mighty Google and that puts it pretty far ahead when it comes to reach and visibility. While both platforms use search, the YouTube search engine is much more commonly used by people searching for online content. If someone is searching solely from within YouTube, your Vimeo videos will be invisible. The key with YouTube is to take advantage of the keyword tagging to make sure people find you. Start with that and then focus on getting people to subscribe to your channel.

Like Mac, Vimeo is the darling of artists and designers, filmmakers, musicians, and the like. The Vimeo interface, simply put, is prettier and more stylish. Also, you can set your videos to playback in beautiful HD as a default option. This may not seem like a big deal, but as a content creator I always want my work showing in the best quality possible. YouTube also allows you to upload HD video, however, all YouTube videos by default play in standard definition. Viewers must manually switch to HD by clicking on the settings tab. Since most people simply aren't going to do this, your YouTube videos are probably being watched in SD.

It's also good to note that both platforms are essentially designed as social media outlets. Each has followers, comments and likes, much like Instagram. Make sure to use that communal aspect to your advantage as you set out to post videos that grow your influence online.