Video Marketing

Youtube vs. Vimeo for schools

December 2, 2020

A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in July 2017. We've updated it to include more valuable, relevant content.

It’s a question that many schools struggle with when deciding where to host their valuable video content: should I use YouTube or Vimeo? These are the two most popular video hosting platforms available, each with its own set of pros and cons. 

If you’ve invested the time and effort required to create quality video content, you want to ensure you’re using a hosting platform that works for you and highlights your school in the best possible way. We’ve got your back, with a clear and simple breakdown to help you understand the pros and cons of each platform and make the best choice for your school.

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Why is video content so important?

Before we dive into the specifics of each platform, let’s consider why videos are essential to your school’s marketing strategy. Video marketing is here to stay, in fact,  it’s still growing! This is because video content is proven to be the most effective way to engage audiences.

Video content is more immersive than just text or images because it’s a visual and auditory medium. When you get somebody to your website, you only have a finite number of seconds to capture their attention and leave a good impression. Videos are your best bet to help your message land.

Using video helps you show a more nuanced take of your school and culture; you can capture tone and atmosphere so that other formats can’t. Whether it’s virtual campus tours and school brand videos, interviews with staff or testimonials from students, providing relevant and informative video content is your opportunity to engage your audience and truly convey the value of your school. 

As well as being informative, detailed videos also allow for a level of transparency that helps build trust with your audience. For example, showing a space from all angles or a candid moment caught on film. This authenticity is key to inspiring your audience and helping your school stay top of mind long after they’ve clicked away from your website in a crowded marketplace. 

Now let’s take a closer look at each hosting platform to help determine the best fit for your school’s videos.

 

Youtube

With over 2 billion active users per month and 500 hours of content uploaded every minute, YouTube comes across as the most popular kid on the block, especially among content creators. Just by creating an account, YouTube permits users to upload, share, and store videos, run targeted advertising campaigns, and embed videos on other websites. The best part? YouTube is completely free – no hidden costs or fees here!    

A significant competitive advantage for YouTube is that it’s owned by Google. This means that the world’s largest search engine prioritises YouTube videos in search results over other hosting platforms. That’s a pretty big perk if you’re looking to boost SEO for your school website

Any avid YouTube user knows just how easy it is to go down the ‘recommended video’ rabbit hole. You might be surprised (or terrified) to know that 70% of the content users consume on the site is chosen for them by YouTube’s algorithm. There’s been a lot of debate around the ethics of these algorithms designed to keep users engrossed and hooked on the platform. Although the algorithm can help attract more views across your channel, the recommendations aren’t always the most relevant or may even draw your audience toward a competitor. 

If YouTube is your current front-runner, it’s also worth considering whether you’d invest in YouTube ads. We wrote an entire blog about this that we recommend checking out. If you’re worried about advertising being off-putting to users, it’s important to note that ads will only play before videos if you choose to monetise your channel. 

YouTube in a nutshell:

Pros:

  • Traffic to YouTube is significantly higher than it is to Vimeo
  • Google prioritises YouTube videos in search results
  • YouTube is 100% free to use
  • You can create Youtube Ad campaigns with your content
  • Unlimited video storage and file sizes

Cons:

  • You have to put up with advertisements that are often irrelevant 
  • Suggested videos can detract attention from your website 
  • High competition with other videos on YouTube

 

Vimeo

The key point of difference for Vimeo, as opposed to Youtube, is the absence of advertising and its customisable player. Vimeo offers a clean and functional platform for publishing video content, with the ability to embed directly into your school website. While Vimeo does offer a free plan, it’s more likely that you’ll need to pay, depending on your specific hosting needs. The platform works by providing weekly storage plans; if you have a large library of videos or publish content consistently, you may need to opt for a Plus or Pro plan. 

Vimeo offers a cleaner experience from the viewer’s perspective, largely due to its customisable video player. The play enables you to match your brand colours, hide elements, add social links, and apply auto-play or looping mechanisms. You can also add key marketing features like calls to action in the videos’ end screen. This is particularly helpful for driving views toward the desired action, such as an enrolment link or contact form. 

Vimeo in a nutshell:

Pros:

  • Video player customisation allows your videos to be more consistent with your school’s branding
  • Clickable calls to action help to drive marketing goals
  • No pre-roll advertising means your video won’t be covered in ads like YouTube

Cons:

  • Video storage is limited 
  • The free option probably won’t cover your video needs, so expect a monthly fee
  • Vimeo hosted videos are less likely to rank highly in Google’s search results compared to YouTube

 

Which platform should you choose?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to consider the factors that will have the biggest impact on your school’s marketing strategy. There’s no question that YouTube organically drives more views, thanks to large audiences and SEO benefits. So if it’s important to you to have a channel with larger organic engagement, or the ability to run video ads, then YouTube will likely be your top choice. Alternatively, Vimeo makes the most sense despite its fees, as it provides a very professional, ad-free experience for your school’s video content.

Ready to create engaging videos that drive engagement and boost your website traffic? Check out our guide to our favourite tools for making easy in-house videos.