Much as we value YouTube’s popularity, you’ll see one of Vimeo’s advantages over YouTube right away. Here’s what greets you in their front page:
Vimeo’s user interface is cleaner and more attractive than YouTube’s, in spite of YouTube’s recent channel design improvements. You can fill your site with the most amazing videos in the world, but a good looking channel and crisp video player helps show them off. If your video is like a painting, Vimeo is like a very classy frame.
With the Vimeo player, you see a small number of very clean buttons and, elegantly, they disappear soon after the video begins playing—leaving the viewer to focus on the video. Contrast this with eight buttons on the bottom of the YouTube player that stay in place for the entirety of the video. Since a player is always a part of the viewing experience, that’s a key advantage.
The distinction between the two sites also extends to the types of categories they offer for tagging your videos. We’ve found this a particularly strong asset for Vimeo; sometimes it’s hard to even find good categories on YouTube. We may be stuck with labeling our videos “nonprofit” on YouTube; Vimeo has 215 videos just in the category “social justice,” and 931 videos in “socially minded documentaries.”
People who take their video seriously are more likely to have a Vimeo presence. It’s a much smaller community than you find on YouTube, but many nonprofits, as well as artists and documentary makers, are attracted to the serious ethos that Vimeo’s created. Goofy amateur pet videos don’t have much presence on Vimeo. And Vimeo is working to solidify their community by running such events as the Vimeo Festival + Awards. Their Creative Commons area encourages an atmosphere of artistic experiment. Currently, Vimeo has an aura of professionalism that YouTube can’t offer.
Vimeo offers a “pro” version for $199/year. That’s pretty affordable, and it lets you customize your video player and removes video time limits.
Our client the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation has a clean, crisp Vimeo channel:
While it’s tedious to use Vimeo and YouTube, we recommend doing so if possible to maximize the chance of your video being found on the Web. It might take less time than you think. And if not—maybe it’s time to give MiniMatters a call about helping you.