YouTube or Vimeo – Where Should You Host Your Videos?

Firstly, a little disclaimer — there is no right or wrong answer here, YouTube or Vimeo can both be utilised by filmmakers for achieving different goals. We have no loyalty to either, and our opinion is completely unbiased.

As YouTube and Vimeo have slowly morphed into the media giants they are today, it has become apparent that aspiring filmmakers and artists may have a tough choice when it comes to picking where they should host their content.

YouTube’s success can easily be credited towards the level of content hosted on the site, but as we especially know — its not quantity, it’s quality.

Just to give you an idea, As of September 2012, 9/10 of YouTubes most viewed videos were music videos — with the exception of viral videos like “Charlie bit my finger-again!” which has to date achieved more than 480 million views.

On the flip side, Vimeo’s most viewed videos range from beautiful time-lapse shots to incredible video art.

YouTube definitely stands tall above Vimeo in the digital entertainment sector, but while YouTube has been ploughing resources into development, Vimeo has been slowly but steadily growing a following of filmmakers and documentarians, who have moulded Vimeo into something quite unique.

This brings us onto goals. What are your goals for the new video you’ve just finished? Do you just want to go out and get as many views as possible, not caring where they are coming from? Or do you want your content to be viewed by people in similar industries as you, who actually care?

If you are only interested in boasting to your friends about how may views/likes you’ve got, then YouTube is probably your best option — It’s got a larger audience and usually achieves far more exposure than Vimeo. But the chances of a well known filmmaker contacting you after seeing your video on YouTube are much slimmer than with Vimeo. As with Vimeo, most of the people viewing your videos are creative people themselves who work in very similar industries.

So that’s enough about audiences. Let’s move onto to other factors that could potentially rock the vote.

Video Quality


I don’t know about you, but if I’ve worked on a project in HD using top of the line cameras, weeks in post production and lots of expensive takeaways; I will not be happy showing my film to anyone unless they are able to view it in high definition.

Both Vimeo and YouTube give you the ability to show your videos in HD quality with their clever compression techniques. However, Vimeo has always put a large emphasis on video quality and size. Vimeo seems to understand that creative people appreciate being able to do that little bit more when displaying their work, and this has won them the respect of a large proportion of the video industry. The fact that Vimeo pushes slightly higher quality means that loading times can often be longer for viewing HD content. Luckily, most video people set themselves up with a beasty fiber optic connection and a decent computer, so the fact that slightly higher specs are required for comfortable HD viewing doesn’t alienate too many people.


Monetization for videos has grown very rapidly over the last few years. In April 2012 YouTube announced that anyone could now become a partner and monetize their videos. ( )

Previously, you had to get vouched for by another YouTube channel which had already achieved partner status to be able to monetize your videos.

YouTubes deal for partners is pretty good: You can slather your video in AdSense adverts and retain 55% of the revenue earned from each video. You can achieve earnings as high as $5 per 1000 video views, which isn’t that bad if you have marketed it well and are raking in views.

It took Vimeo eight years to bring monetization into the picture, but when they eventually got around to it, there was no lack of praise from the Vimeo community.

Vimeo currently offers two ways of monetizing your content. The first method of earning on Vimeo is called a tip jar. This nifty little feature lets people ‘tip’ you for your video, donating whatever they want. You retain 85% of whatever goes into that jar, with the remaining 15% covering transaction costs.

The use of the tip jar is limited to Pro and Plus members however, which means that you need to be paying for a Pro or Plus account to take advantage of this.

The second way in which users are able to monetize their content is Vimeo’s ‘Pay to View’ feature. This feature basically protects the users content, only allowing accounts which have paid the fee to view it. This means that short film lovers can essentially go to the cinema in their own home, buying their ticket and then relaxing and seeing the film in full HD.

The reason Vimeo does not offer a revenue share program like Google do with YouTube is because they are completely against offering content with adverts attached. This makes the Vimeo viewing experience far superior to YouTubes, because instead of having to wait for 5 seconds and then click the skip button, you can simply hit play and relax, enjoying the content as it was originally intended.



There is no real contest when it comes to Aesthetics. Vimeo gets the points.

Vimeo knows that film makers, producers, designers and creative people in general are always subconsciously looking at and assessing their surroundings. Well they aren’t wrong. And this understanding of their target market has lead to them developing a streamlined, presentable interface that people love. Vimeo are huge advocates of keeping it simple, and their sleek, clean and elegant design proves that.

YouTube went through refurbishment a while back, and although they have definitely improved their interface, it still leaves a lot to be desired. That said, YouTube is catering for the masses, and is doing it very very well. We need to remember that Vimeo is somewhat targeting a niche, wheras YouTube is targeting everybody.

Although both YouTube and Vimeo have an embed feature, Vimeos seems to look much more professional when imbedded into a site. Vimeo have gone for a fresh, modern style for their video player, whereas YouTube have kept their black, grey and red video skin pretty much the same for quite a while.


YouTube is always free, which is a big bonus for small businesses/individuals who don’t have spare capital lying around. This means that you can access the full functionality of YouTube from day 1 with a fresh account.

With Vimeo, things are slightly different. Although you are not forced to view adverts with Vimeo, you are limited to a mere 500mb of upload space per week for your videos — which as you know, is nothing when you are talking about HD video. Vimeo know this as well, so they have created the problem and given you a solution as well, but at a price.

The lowest tier of premium account on Vimeo is a plus account. Plus accounts cost $9.95 per month and they remove many of the limitations placed on free accounts. With a plus account you receive 5GB of upload space per week, HD resolution up to 1080p, a customisable video player and express video conversion ( which means your video will appear online as soon as you have uploaded it, instead of having to wait for 40 minutes, which is always annoying!)

The higher tier of account for Vimeo, aimed towards larger production companies and businesses, is the Vimeo Pro account. The pro account will cost you $199 per year and will give you 50GB of storage to start with, and then will add more as you need it. You are able to access the pay per view option, mentioned above, You can host HD portfolios with your own Vimeo domain, which can be very useful for media businesses and freelancers alike. You are able to view advanced stats about your videos which can be really useful in identifying who is viewing your content. Vimeo usually limits the amount of embedded views you are allowed to have, with the pro version you can have up to 250k embedded plays, which is pretty good considering the quality of the stream. There is no file size or duration limit with Vimeo pro, which means you could potentially host your entire film on there!


So, now you’ve read all of this — what conclusions can be drawn?  For me, as you may have noticed — I am a great fan of Vimeo and what they have achieved. But the bottom line is that YouTube is for the mass market, it mainly caters for users looking for online entertainment. Vimeo is more specialist, catering more specifically to the creative market. In most cases, I’d say upload your content to both — what’s the harm?

But if you are sending people to view your work, they will always have a more streamlined experience on Vimeo — no adverts, no distractions — just your content, the way it’s meant to be viewed.

That’s all for now,

Harry – Free Stock Footage and Motion Graphics