Vimeo vs. YouTube – Key Differences Between Two Top Video Channels

Digital Bard YouTube Icon

Understanding the pros and cons of using a few of the web’s video sharing sites

“What are the main differences between YouTube and Vimeo, from a business owner’s point of view?”  We heard the same basic question a few times recently from business folks who are using video and want to make sure they are being smart about it. The rules and concerns are a little different for a company than they might be for a film student or a casual user who just wants to share vacation videos with friends.

The main differences between these two top video sharing sites come down to content control and purposes of use.

  • YouTube is pretty much wide open on both ends – anyone can use it for anything short of porn, but controlling access and sharing of your work is harder to control.
  • Vimeo has stronger controls but more limitations on who can use it for what. Key passages from the terms of service for each video sharing website are below.

Vimeo offers both a free and a paid “Vimeo Pro” account (currently $199/yr.), while YouTube is always free. Which means YouTube wants to show ads before/during/after videos or they limit some of the features. Remember, if you use a free service, you are not really the user, you are the product. :)

That said, Digital Bard uses YouTube for our client’s videos almost exclusively because of easy user access and compatibility with other software and services (like newsletters, websites, mobile apps).  There’s little downside to having an account with both, and many businesses do. Just know the differences and mix-and-match accordingly.

Vimeo Icon– VIMEO (See full terms of service here.)

LICENSE: Vimeo grants you a limited, non-exclusive license to access and use the Vimeo Service for your own personal, non-commercial purposes. This includes the right to view content available on the Vimeo Service. This license is personal to you and may not be assigned or sublicensed to anyone else.

COMMERCIAL USE: You may not use the Vimeo Service for commercial purposes unless:

  • You are a Vimeo PRO user, in which case you may use and access the Vimeo Service for commercial and non-commercial purposes, subject to compliance with the Vimeo PRO Guidelines; or
  • You are a small-scale independent production company, non-profit, or artist, in which case you may use the Vimeo Service to showcase or promote your own creative works.

youtube for business

– YOUTUBE (See full terms of service here.)

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your Content. However, by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in video Content you submit to the Service terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your videos from the Service. You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of your videos that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in user comments you submit are perpetual and irrevocable.

Other video sharing options

There are lots of other video sharing sites, and sites that aren’t primarily for video sharing but still offer that option. If you want to maximize your video exposure, consider posting it directly to your Facebook page (as opposed to linking it), your Flickr account, or link to video from LinkedIn or Twitter. We mention these first because they are accounts you may already be using but just never thought of them for video.

Additional posting or linking opportunities for your videos may include Viddler,, Veoh and Photobucket. Just know that each site has some content rules (for example, is for web series) but it may be perfect for your audience.

And one final option may be to use a service like OneLoad (formerly TubeMogul) to help distribute your video to multiple sites with one login and upload.  It’s kind of like HootSuite for video publishing, and it is a paid service, but if you’ve got a lot of video content to get out, it can be a huge timesaver and it comes with some analytics that you may find helpful.



No Comments

Leave a Reply