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 two of the most popular video hosting platforms available, each with its own set of pros and cons. When choosing which platform is right for your school, there are some key considerations to take into account.The first step is understanding the difference between these two powerful platforms before you go ahead and make a decision. After all, you’ve likely invested a lot of time and effort into creating video content that highlights your school, so you’ll want to ensure the  hosting platform is working for you.



Why is video content so important?

Before we dive into the specifics of each platform, let’s take a step back and evaluate why video is essential to your school’s marketing strategy. No offense to all of the other content mediums, but video content has been proven to be the most effective way to engage audiences – and it makes sense! There’s a good reason why ‘how-to’ videos are so popular – watching a quick explainer video is far easier than reading through a lengthy step-by-step guide. Providing relevant and informative video content, like virtual campus tours and school brand videos, are a great way to engage prospective families and give them a new perspective of your school

Let’s now take a look at each hosting platform a little closer to help determine which might be the best fit for your school’s video content needs.




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 due to its high traffic flow. 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 prioritizes YouTube videos in search results over its competitors. 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. In fact, you might be surprised (or terrified) to know that  70% of the content users consume is chosen for them by YouTube’s algorithm. There’s been a lot of debate around the ethics of these kinds of algorithms, designed to keep users engrossed and hooked on the platform. Although the algorithm can be helpful for attracting more views across your channel, the recommendations associated with educational topics on YouTube often miss the mark.  

We wrote an entire blog about whether your school should invest in YouTube ads that we highly recommend to check out if YouTube is currently your front-winner. If you’re worried about advertising turning off users, it’s important to note that they’ll only play before videos if your channel is monetized. 

A quick argument for and against YouTube:



  • Traffic to YouTube is significantly higher than it is to Vimeo
  • Google prioritizes 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




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



The key point of difference for Vimeo, as opposed to Youtube, is the absence of advertising and its customizable player. Vimeo offers a clean and functional platform for publishing video content with the ability to embed it on your school website. While Vimeo does offer a free plan, you should expect to need to front some costs depending on your specific hosting needs. The platform works by offering 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. 

From the viewer’s perspective, Vimeo offers a cleaner experience, which is largely due to its customizable video player. The play enables you to match your brand colors, hide elements, add social links, and apply auto-play or looping behavior. You can also add key marketing features like call to actions in the videos’ endscreen. This is particularly helpful for driving views toward a desired action. 

A quick argument for and against Vimeo:


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


  • 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?

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, it’s important to decide what’s most important to your school for the success of your video marketing strategy. It’s no question that YouTube organically drives more views to your video content through its huge audiences and SEO benefits. So if it’s important to have a channel with larger organic engagement and the ability to run video ads it's a good indication you should choose YouTube despite it’s advertisements and highly competitive content. Otherwise, Vimeo makes the most sense despite it’s fees, it provides a very professional ad-free experience for your school’s video content.

Ready to start creating engaging videos to drive engagement and boost your school's website traffic? Check our guide to some of our favourite tools that make creating video in-house easy or get your hands on The Complete Social Media Marketing Toolkit for Schools