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Insights YouTube vs Vimeo: which is best?

YouTube vs Vimeo: which is best?

The biggest online video platforms: explained

Launched within a year of each other, Vimeo and YouTube are both host platforms for video content. Created with the same purpose of sharing film, their tools are similar and have led them to grow into successful businesses. 

However, there are some key differences in their uses, audiences and features that marketers need to be aware of before they sign up. This article will explain them all to help you choose the best option for your needs. 

How do Vimeo and YouTube work? 

Both Vimeo and YouTube are platforms people can use to upload and share their video content publicly or in particular communities. Filmmakers, creators and businesses can all sign up for a membership and add their film files to the site. Other users can then watch these vlogs, documentaries or features without having to download them to their devices. 

These functionalities mean they’re both useful for sharing video content and projects with an audience. 

The differences: Vimeo vs YouTube

Before you sign up and start sharing on either of these platforms, you need to understand how they differ. 

  • It is also used as a search engine and social media platform 
  • The user demographic is very broad and includes the general public
  • A huge range of content is shared on the platform, from casual vlogs to professional adverts
  • Advertising is a major focus on the platform
  • Content can be accessed for free with no sign-up
  • It is made purely for sharing video content
  • The audience is more specific, with videographers and creators making up the majority of users
  • Video content tends to be of professional-level quality 
  • There are no ads on this platform
  • Individuals need an account to access and use the platform


The free-to-access nature of YouTube means it has a much broader usage and audience demographic. With more than 2.7 billion people using the platform globally each month, the potential for reaching large amounts of people offers a higher conversion potential for businesses.

Vimeo has a more professional and specialised audience with 230 million worldwide users. This smaller community has a large proportion of creators and videographers who recognise and appreciate quality content. This means that, depending on your business’s objectives, you could tap into a more active and engaged audience.


The type of content shared on the two video platforms varies massively. Particularly when it first launched, YouTube was heavily saturated with start-up, solo producers who made videos purely for their niche, targeted audience. 

This meant a lot of the videos tended to be of a lower production value than those on Vimeo. That was until professional YouTubers such as Joe Sugg and Casper Lee started to grow in popularity. With better kit and full production teams, content quality improved to a Hollywood standard that matched that of Vimeo. 

However, the demographic differences mean the type of content on each platform varies greatly. On Vimeo, documentaries, animations and promotional videos are more common as they appeal to its professional audience. YouTube’s content is more suited to a public demographic and includes numerous vlogs, lifestyle videos and podcasts.


From the perspective of creators like us, there are a few key differences in the platform’s features which can affect the work we produce for businesses. These include: 

  • Video quality, with YouTube supporting up to 4K resolution and Vimeo supporting this, HDR and Dolby Vision 
  • Without a verified account YouTube videos can only be a max length of 15 minutes while they can run up to 120 minutes on a basic Vimeo account 
  • The maximum total video storage available to basic Vimeo users is 5GB, with a limit of two video uploads per month and 25 total. On YouTube, these limits aren’t defined, though there is a restriction on the number of videos an account can upload per day
  • To edit videos for YouTube, you need to use the YouTube Create app. With basic Vimeo accounts you can use limited editing tools such as templates, simple animations and trimming tools
  • Vimeo allows users to set up libraries and folders which YouTube doesn’t permit

There are some tools which both platforms offer including live streaming and adjustable playback speed. 


Both Vimeo and YouTube offer user analytics for account holders. YouTube’s tool is free, while you have to pay to use it on Vimeo. This means YouTube users can quickly tap into basic video metrics at no cost. However, the insights are limited to data such as watch time, views and subscribers. 

The paid-for analytics tool on Vimeo allows creators to take a more in-depth look at their video performance. Most views per city, device and source URL can be examined. Users can also see how people are engaging with your videos, whether they’re dropping off halfway through, what parts they enjoyed and what they skipped over. 

Using this data, creators can adapt future content to enhance engagement with their audience.


One of the reasons YouTube has grown in popularity so quickly is that it’s easy to monetise content on this platform. That’s because advertising is permitted and straightforward to set up through the platform. All creators need to do is start a channel and they can create a video ad or full campaign. Plus, they can track the results of these ads and use these insights to improve new ones. 

There is no direct advertising on Vimeo. However, it is possible to monetise content through their OTT platform. From this, creators can build a streaming service that’s easy for paying subscribers to access on-demand. They can also set up these channels so audiences can pay-per-view or advert slots can be sold. 

Which video platform should you choose? 

Overall, when it comes to YouTube vs Vimeo, YouTube is more popular because creators can access a wider audience more cheaply, quickly and easily. Now a search engine and social media channel as much as a video sharing platform, regular algorithm updates mean businesses can target specific audiences more easily too. Plus, they can monetise content using advertising.   

In contrast, the lower audience numbers and paid-for nature of Vimeo make it less popular with businesses. However, for those looking to establish their own custom subscription channel or position themselves as a high-quality content creator, the platform is ideal. 

To find the right option for your needs, consider your business’s specific video content needs and look closely at the features above. That way, you can make sure you’re sharing it in the right place and monetising it effectively.

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