If you’ve been in ministry in the Western world for any length of time, you’ve already asked yourself this questions. Which is better for my ministry, YouTube or Vimeo? Or, is there a third option?
The debate has raged on since Vimeo came on the scene. It seemed to provide an alternative to YouTube. The YouTube versus Vimeo debate is kind of like the debate between Mac and PC. Who wins? Macs may seem “cooler” but by sheer volume, PCs outpace Macs in every single way. As far as volume, PCs are the winner. Is that the only category, though?
When it comes to technology, volume doesn’t usually matter. I declare Macs the winner because of their reliability, durability, and resiliency. Not to mention their simplicity, which is important for ministry. Right now, I’m writing this on a 7 year old Macbook Pro. That kind of longevity is impossible on a PC.
Does volume matter when it comes to YouTube versus Vimeo?
Yes. And no.
YouTube’s volume is incredible. It reaches 1 Billion unique viewers per month, and growing. Vimeo gets 60 million.
Many ministry leaders like to use Vimeo because it’s cleaner and sleeker. However, YouTube’s reach and impact far exceeds Vimeo’s, and that gap is increasing in YouTube’s every month.
Ministry leaders are called to reach and impact people with the Gospel, so why use a platform that is much more limited? YouTube is where the people are so shouldn’t that be we ministries are at? Yes.
Staying away from YouTube is like deciding to remove your ministry website from Google because you like the Bing experience better. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?
So does that mean that you should stay away from Vimeo and stay exclusive to YouTube? Not necessarily.
Let me explain.
Vimeo provides a much better and cleaner viewer experience. Vimeo’s strength comes when it’s videos are imbedded in your website or when you drive someone there for the sole purpose of viewing a video. I know ministries that do their entire Volunteer training exclusively through Vimeo.
On the other hand, YouTube is great for people searching and finding your videos.
So what should my ministry use?
1. YouTube beats Vimeo when it comes to volume
YouTube is the hands down winner over Vimeo when it comes to volume.
Right now Vimeo gets 60 million unique visitors per month. YouTube gets over 1 billion unique visitors. That’s 1,566% more visitors per month. YouTube is where the people are.
2. YouTube’s search capabilities beat Vimeo’s
Having a powerful search feature is what made Google the undisputed King of search engines. It’s no coincidence then, that Google owns YouTube. It also means that your website is likely to receive more visitors through Google if you have a YouTube channel pointing to it.
It also means that your videos are more likely to show up on page 1 of Google if you have a lot of videos on YouTube that point to your website and vice versa. Google likes cross contamination. I can’t think of any other way to say it. Use all Google platforms and you’re more likely to receive visitors through Google.
3. Sharing is caring – YouTube beats Vimeo again
Sharing videos you enjoy is a strength of YouTube’s. It’s also a platform that everyone knows and everyone trusts. You can send anyone a YouTube link to your favorite cat video and people will watch it. Vimeo isn’t nearly as known and therefore, not as trusted, especially outside of the United States. Because of this and its search feature, it’s possible to receive views on a video for years to come. Social sharing is also optimized on YouTube, making it easy to share across all major social media platforms.
4. Easy to use – YouTube wins again
They both have great features and both have pros and cons. However, YouTube is SO EASY to use that anyone can do it, and everyone does do it. It has a subscription feature that allows viewers to see subscribe to your channel, it allows you to promote on other people’s channels, it makes uploading and editing videos a cinch, and if you get a ton of traffic, you can even bring in some serious money from YouTube!
5. User Experience – Vimeo wins!
I admit, it depends what you mean by user experience. Assuming that since you’re leading a ministry, you don’t want your viewers to be redirected to Adult content or questionable content. Because of that, Vimeo wins.
You can embed a Vimeo video on your website and it can be a great user experience. YouTube won’t give you the same benefit.
Both YouTube and Vimeo are social networks. Both have integrated commenting systems, as well as legitimate communities. However, YouTube is much larger and a much more social, social network than Vimeo.
6. How much is YouTube and/or Vimeo? – YouTube wins
You can upload unlimited HD videos of any length or stream HD content on YouTube for free. Vimeo has a monthly or yearly membership fee that increase if you add more content than you are allowed. Therefore, many ministries choose YouTube as their main video channel.
7. Censorship? – Vimeo will NOT censor your videos (maybe)
Censorship of Christianity and/or Conservative thought is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, both Vimeo and YouTube have been found guilty of this type of censorship.
YouTube has been known to censor videos that embrace Libertarian and Conservative points of view. YouTube has even censored videos that talk about how the US Constitution is relevant to Americans today! YouTube is currently censoring 34 PragerU videos!
Vimeo has censored videos that speak of homosexuality as being a sin, although, in Vimeo’s defense, they cited it was because of a copyright infringement.
Is there a third option? Kind of.
Vimeo may be great to embed on your site – and I recommend that you do that. YouTube may be great if you wish to reach people outside of your circle – and I recommend that you do that. Both of these platforms should be your go to budget solution for delivering video content.
However, for ministries who have a healthy budget and a couple tech savvy individuals on staff, start displaying your own videos using Ooyala. Ooyala was started by a couple YouTube employees. They wanted to provide a better experience for companies seeking to display videos.
Still, YouTube is a great way to reach outside of your circle and possibly grow your church or ministry. However, because of YouTube’s history of censorship, don’t upload any videos that you don’t have copies of somewhere else!
What’s your experience been with YouTube and Vimeo?