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Vimeo VS YouTube for video makers – A comparative approach

by Chance Bulger

Author: Charles Bulger


So, you are looking to start making videos online!

Well… there’s many places to post your content and grow an audience, but which site is the best? You surely know about YouTube being the biggest video website in the world. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best spot for you to post your content. You must look at all your options!

In this post we compare another popular video website, Vimeo, to YouTube, from the stance of a content creator.

The main differences between the websites are the number of visitors, the advertising strategies, quality of content and customization options.


YouTube is absolutely huge; it is estimated that they have over 1 billion unique visitors per month. While Vimeo is only estimated to have 70 Million viewers per month. That is obviously a massive difference.

Check out our article on these crazy Youtube numbers.

This means that the audience potential reach on YouTube is much larger I theory, but perhaps that is not the case for your niche. Potentially, more people in your market may prefer to be on Vimeo.

Content Uploaded (competition)

Vimeo’s main goal is to actually limit the amount of content created on their platform, in order to have a higher standard of quality. They do this by having a maximum number of hours of video that each user can upload. If a creator wishes, they can then choose to purchase more space from a tiered plan.

YouTube simply doesn’t have any measures in place to secure that users are uploading quality content. There are more videos on YouTube, and many more being uploaded every minute, but the quality is lower. You’ll see a lot more amateur (taken from a shaky phone camera) videos merely because people have no restrictions when uploading them.

Advertising (Revenue)

Another big difference between Vimeo and YouTube, is their monetization methods.

A user on YouTube, will see advertisements before the video, during the video and after the video.  You will see sidebar advertisements, home page advertisements and ads everywhere in between. This is YouTube’s main revenue model, they can take advantage of the Google ads program, because Google owns YouTube. This should be a consideration for a content creator when seeing how they should monetize their channel.

In contrast, a user will hardly see any ads on the Vimeo platform. Vimeo monetizes their platform from paid user plans. This can make the user experience much better; they won’t get frustrated with advertisements like they could on YouTube.

If you are a business, this is also something very serious to consider. On YouTube, your competitors have the ability to target your channel. This could lead potential customers to choose your competitor over you. This issue does not arise on Vimeo, due to the extremely limited number of ads.


On Youtube you are paid based on a 45/55 split of ads revenue between Youtube and the content creator – with Youtube keeping 45% share of advertising income of videos. When people view an ad that is played on your video, click on an ad or even hover over the ad, you will see some monetary return. So the more people that click on your video, the more money you will make. (You can also turn this feature off if you don’t want your viewers to see advertisements).

On Vimeo, since it is ad free, Vimeo offer an on demand service where you can sell individual videos to viewers.  For example, you can sell you indie movie for $8.99 if you choose, Vimeo will then take a percentage of this.

There’s are other ways you can monetize each platforms, that allow creators to have a little more control, aside from the built in method. Publishers can sell products in their videos, create paid reviews videos, join affiliate programs, get sponsors for their videos, ask for donations, and many more.


YouTube has many options when creating a channel page. Creators can upload a channel trailer and have some limited links to other social medias and websites. They have the option to have a header bar on their channel homepage as well. Creators also have the ability to choose what kind of content appears on their homepage (i.e. top videos, most recent, created playlists, channel trailer and much more). However, YouTube has little options for content creators when it comes to customizing their videos.


Vimeo steps it up on the department of overall video customization, especially for their PRO members where there are many options. A PRO member can place stamps like logos throughout their videos and consistent outros with links for all the videos on their account. It might be easier to control branding with features like these.  You can find Vimeo’s paid options and what they include here

Video Privacy

Say you want to have a video hidden from the public on the platform, both platforms allow you to do so.

If you are looking for the most secure options for your video, Vimeo has by far the most options.

YouTube and Vimeo both offers three of the same privacy settings for videos you upload.

  • Public – Videos can be searched, listed, and displayed across the platform and its network.
  • Unlisted –  Not listed publically or searchable on the platform. To access these videos, a person must have the URL.
  • Private – These videos are only visible to you, and specific users you choose.

Vimeo has some bonus options however:

  • Share video only with users you follow – The video will accessible to just the people that you are following on the Vimeo platform.
  • Password lock your video – The most secure option. Where user needs the link and the password to access the file.

So if you really want to secure only certain people seeing your video (like selling a course or hosting a video with private information) . Youtube will basically only allow you to share a private link, but that means once the link is out there, anyone can view the video that has the link. You have to trust the people you give the link to. Vimeo allows you to password lock the video, making it a very secure place to post a video.  

Video Quality

Once again Youtubes sheer size can be seen as a negative. Youtube has to be weary of how much content they store as it costs so much to store video even when they own the servers. Youtube will re-encode any video you upload that is high in bitrate. YouTube’s bitrate is limited to 3Mbps for 720p and 6Mbps for 1080p, which causes the HD quality to be poor.

Vimeo doesn’t have the same massive amounts of video uploaded to their site as Youtube, so they are willing to store larger file sizes. As a free user, you are only upload a max 720P file, anything higher will be converted to 720P.  Vimeo’s bitrate is limited to 10Mbps for 720p and 20Mbps for 1080p. So Vimeo has a higher maximum bitrate and the video quality is a lot better than the YouTube one.

On they uploaded the same video to both websites, here are the results.


Conclusion (Which one should I choose?)

Simply broken down, YouTube has more visitors and naturally more videos uploaded every day (by a substantial number). Giving you the ability to grow a larger audience, and a higher potential to go viral.

Vimeo has a lower number of users, but less videos uploaded, leaving a creator with less competition. However, Vimeo users have come to expect a high quality of content, which is something to pay attention to if you want to be successful. On a side note, it is quite possible, if you brought this high level of video production to YouTube, you could also have tremendous success as users are expecting less.

It may be easier to grow faster from the start on the less competitive Vimeo, but it does have less upside than YouTube when it comes to potential viewers. Vimeo allows you to have better control over your brand and you don’t have to worry about advertisements. It should come down to the content your producing and your niche.

For example, Vimeo might be better for Indie movie makers due to the extremely professional image, sophisticated audience and high upload quality found in a lot of their content. Hosting an indie film on this platform may even seem more professional to users viewing it because of the sleek design of the Vimeo website. The monetization factor also favors this kind of content.

On Youtube, the platform is built to suit the consistent content model like vlogs or weekly uploads. Youtube users are very familiar with using the subscribe feature to follow people; content creators can use this to build a connection with their followers. People are less likely to be willing to pay individually for daily vlogs, so the ad model would suit this content better.

It might also be helpful to look at the competition in your market on each platform and see if you believe you can compete in it. Please note all the comparisons between Vimeo and YouTube in this article. You must decide what you value as a creator and/or brand and decide what will work best for your content.


Author: Chance Bulger

Writer, blogger based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Yann Keerim
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