It’s not me, It’s you.
Why I’m breaking up with Vimeo.
It wasn’t long ago that there were a lot of different choices when it came to hosting and sharing video online. It seemed like there was a new video sharing service popping up every so often and one by one they all disappeared leaving really only two for me to choose from- YoutTube and Vimeo.
It’s hard to find someone that isn’t familiar with YouTube. A service that originally started as an eBay competitor that now has “YouTube” stars making 6 figures and a viable distribution/streaming/entertainment/ educational platform. Everyone knows about YouTube/ everyone can use YouTube, and it’s very popular. Which were all great reasons to NOT use YouTube, and instead use Vimeo.
So hold on, I thought this was a break up letter, where did things go wrong?
Vimeo offered much of the same features of YouTube but felt better. It’s a cleaner interface, really less visually cluttered, and became a home for people who were trying to show their best work instead of just cat videos, or grandma having too much to drink at the last family party. There were a lot of things that made Vimeo better for me as a student and then as a professional. I would consult students and companies alike to only use Vimeo for all of its better privacy and features it was offering. Now today, I’m not convinced it’s worth it. In fact for the first time I’m recommending people against it. Lets talk about why.
A few years ago, right around when Google Plus was around,
Google was doing a lot of things with YouTube. And one of those things was integrating al of YouTube with Google Plus. I absolutely hated (and still hate actually) Google Plus. I didn’t want things constantly connected at all times. I found it frustrating.
I primarily used Vimeo for a couple things.
- I used it to store a lot of my “masters”. By buying into a yearly fee, I was able to store my full resolution original files on Vimeo servers as a “backup” of my content. It was great a few years ago when hard drive space was still more expensive than it is today.
- I used it for its awesome analytics. With my paid Plus account I would get detailed analytics about all my videos and see who was watching them and how they performed over time.
- Sharing files with specific clients. By password protecting files I could make sure only a specific person could see the file. This was huge when doing work for a client that couldn’t or shouldn’t be shared elsewhere
- The community was really inspiring me. I learned a lot from others on Vimeo and felt like I was a part of a community.
Frankly- these are all the same reasons why I’m ditching Vimeo for YouTube.
As I mentioned before. I had signed up for a Vimeo Plus account. This let me store my original files on Vimeo and download them later. Normally Vimeo will only play things at default at 720 for non plus members and only hold onto those. With my plus account I could enable 1080 for my videos anywhere.
I was working creating some classes for work and my plus account had lapsed. I caught it about a week and a half after it had lapsed and renewed my plus account. However because there was a lapse in my account they had REMOVED every single one of my original files. And any 1080 versions of any files I had.
That was almost 300 videos that I had up there over a few years hat been gone. Vimeo’s reply was to just re upload the originals. However, most of the originals were gone forever since my home was broken into and my laptop and etc. were stolen.
That was the exact reason I had been using Vimeo. As a way to archive my original files. That really stung, but its not like YouTube can do better than a paid platform right?
Wrong- Using Google checkout I can download a master archive of all the original videos I’ve uploaded to YouTube in their original qualit and their original codec! Have a 4k master in prores 4444? No problem. The one catch is its 1 big archive, not individual videos. But hey, for me that’s actually better so I can just grab 1 large file instead of 300 other ones I’ll forget about.
Like I mentioned with analytics before, Vimeo use to be great. For a fee. You need a Plus account to access them and with YouTube it’s free. For me its even better as the analytics are far more detailed for no extra fee. And the analytics make more sense. I can see things like growth over a week or 28 days 90 days etc. In Vimeo the default is week, month year all time. I just find I need to click more on different topics on Vimeo in general to get to the info I want.
I also mentioned privacy protection for my videos. While it is great to have on Vimeo, YouTube currently doesn’t offer it. What they do have is something just as good (for me). Just share a private link. Chances are if that important to have a password it’s going to only a few people at all. And they are most likely trusted. So for me, this solution is great. In fact if it’s that sensitive you may not want to use YouTube or Vimeo at all, and instead transfer it instead.
The Vimeo Community
And the big selling point was the community, but that’s not really the case anymore. I don’t see any more videos coming from Vimeo anymore. They had a great opportunity to expand their Vimeo School to other topics and workshops, live events etc., but it just didn’t happen. Additionally it’s just become harder to even search for things on Vimeo. Lots of times Ill try my keywords to see if they pop up and more often than not they don’t. Many of the other features just didn’t work right or were half-baked.
The Tip Jar
The tip jar was such a great idea but due to low traffic and the 30%! cut they took per transaction I would be better off going with virtually any other platform for actually selling content. I had played around with the idea of selling some video training VOD but Vimeo doesn’t offer chapters or anything like that making their VOD like a per episode deal that just doesn’t work.
To actually sell videos you need to cough up $199 per year just for the option. With Youtube theres no up front fee and they have only been expanding this even further.
Auto Play and Couch Mode
Vimeo has something similar to YouTube’s “auto play” feature, which is called couch mode that will continually play videos from a certain channel however its not that useful, the title screen for the video is very obtrusive and its hard to navigate easily what’s going to play next or skip to other videos. Every time I use couch mode, I wish it just worked like auto play. Another small misfire that adds to things that I wonder why am I paying for a more limited service.
Monetization Resolutions and embedding
One last reason I’ve decided to make my switch to YouTube is for monetization. The saving grace for Vimeo before was that it was always ad free. Perhaps still ad free but theres some serious caveats to using it Vimeo. First is resolution and Auto resolution now in Vimeo. If you do not have a PAID account with Vimeo or using a free account with Vimeo, you may only link and embed sd versions of your videos, and you can only upload a certain amount per week. Additionally now, even if you HAVE a paid account, theres many times where all my 1080 and higher video will play in 360p. Recently Vimeo has made this switch and many people are very unhappy with the change. Why exactly am I paying for this again?
Opposed to YouTube, where a free account I can choose to display ads, and take part in the monetization, upload as much content as I want, in 4k and HIGHER!, with far more exposure and free analytics that are much more detailed.
As a test I uploaded to both platforms the same video and my YouTube video had 10x the traffic and views. Plus I made money on the YouTube video!
Recently Vimeo has started to roll out 4K support but have no idea who or how to enable that. You tube has support for 4K and higher for Years, new 3d support for 360 cameras vr live events and more.
What does that leave exactly? Skinning a page and adding custom links at the end of videos? That can all be done with YouTube as well including linking with their new cards features.
One last note- I see a lot of people say the “quality of video is better on Vimeo” and frankly that’s just not true. As far as I know they use the same codec and same wrapper for playback. In fact YouTube has a higher bitrate in high frame rate video of 60fps or more. I don’t believe Vimeo supports anything higher than 30 currently.
Currently there are more smart tvs on the market then ever before. And a lot of those tvs have youtube built right in. If i am going to try and reach an audience on as many different devices as possible I’m much better off going with YouTube over Vimeo.
So to recap
the reasons I’m making my switch from Vimeo to YouTube:
Price vs features.
On Vimeo you pay for a plus account and you get analytics, up to 5gb uploads, unlimited hd uploads, analytics and embed controls a.
And no ads.
On YouTube you get all the above and unlimited uploads up to 4K (though Vimeo is just NOW enabling 4k) and streaming options, and monetization and better analytics, and a much larger audience, and I can download a copy of every video I’ve ever uploaded in their original format in one package on YouTube.
For me the choice is clear but lets have one last thought about the difference between YouTube and Vimeo. The future of online video has been moving to smart devices. Most of these are cell phones, however a lot of new televisions have support for YouTube. This means that all those ads, search and analytics are already installed there and supported out of the box. If I want my content to hit as many people as possible, I want to go with a platform that can be accessed anywhere. In 20 years time, I don’t know if Vimeo will still be around and housing my videos but there’s a very strong chance that YouTube will be around, and I’m thinking they will only continue to grow from here.
If you are looking for my Youtube Channel full of free tutorials in Video production tools and programs check it out here: