I have written in the past about the importance of having a video embedded in the homepage of your website, not only for search engine optimization (SEO) but also to engage potential clients immediately. One of the questions I am often asked once clients receive their final video is whether they should upload to YouTube or Vimeo. With many different video hosting sites out there it can be hard to determine which site is best for your business. Therefore let me summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each.
In the last few years as YouTube has risen in popularity, and been acquired by Google, it seems that YouTube will give you the best search engine results. That means if you type in a phrase on Google, the first videos to come up in the search results will more than likely be related YouTube videos. Additionally, YouTube now offers many advertising opportunities so you can generate revenue from your videos. And with an estimated 800 million monthly viewers worldwide, showcasing your videos on YouTube can provide you a very wide reach.
With that said, because of the popularity of YouTube, the types of videos you come across will range from professional masterpieces to amateur fluff. A potential customer or client trying to find your video, or watching your video, will be bombarded with other video recommendations all of which will draw focus away from you. Think of how easily we can go from watching a beautiful time lapse video to a zany cat video. Also when you upload a video to YouTube, because of their compression, you may notice a significant loss in quality.
Known for their more simplistic site with many advanced customizable features, you can upload a video to Vimeo with very little loss in quality. Furthermore, with a Vimeo Plus account you can customize everything in the player features and settings, allowing you to adjust the colors and text in the player and even embed your logo into the player itself. You can also control which sites are able to embed the video.
So, what’s the drawback with Vimeo? The major difference is that Vimeo does not generate nearly as large of a viewership as YouTube. And while you can upload with a free account, you will find many of the advanced features require upgrading to a Vimeo Plus or Pro account.
The best thing is to first decide what type of video you are going to post. Is this a promo video to be embedded on your website? Or, is this a fun, short video you want to be passed around? Given that both sites allow you to create a free account, my answer would be to post your video to both YouTube and Vimeo. Use YouTube as a platform to get maximum exposure for your video and use Vimeo when embedding your video on your website, blog, etc.