Youtube vs Facebook vs Vimeo

There are many different platforms for hosting your videos, and the arguments for using each one are different as each one has their own advantages (and limits). A few years ago there was just two – Youtube and Vimeo. And the decision between the two was fairly simple, if you wanted lots of people to watch your video then you chose Youtube, and if you were looking for a more professional and creative look then Vimeo it was. But Facebook has changed all of this. With it’s continuing push towards video, and the way it limits the reach of externally hosted videos it seems that Facebook has pushed itself well and truly into the arena.

So first, I’ll break down each platform to look at their strengths and weaknesses, and then we can come back and look at what could suit you.

Youtube

The king. The one we all know and love. The one with the great community. Youtube has an incredible community and when you upload content the best way (more on this in the future) you can create a really powerful following. This is something Facebook seems to miss, all the videos are viral type videos, it is all quick in the moment content.

Positives…

  • Great player + apps across every platform
  • Great watching community
  • Ability to really grow your following.

Negatives…

  • Doesn’t work as well when sharing to facebook
  • Sometimes messy player
  • ADS

Youtube Screen Shot

Vimeo

The one with great quality, but less reach on the platform. I find Vimeo videos do better on facebook then Youtube videos do. Once you open a plus account (£60/year) then you can embed the videos anywhere without any reference to Vimeo which is really great for client website etc – Youtube + facebook videos look messy like this.

Positives…

  • Good player
  • Looks professional
  • No ads over videos.
  • Loads of professional tools once you start paying

Negatives…

  • Limited space on the free plan
  • Player doesn’t work as well as Youtube’s

Vimeo Player

Facebook

Facebook Video has been around for a while, but it becoming more and more prominent. It is clearly starting to have effects on youtube, especially when it comes to people/brands with a mid-sized following – They will find themselves split in where to post content. Facebook video allows huge reach and affordable easy advertising with video too. These reasons alone are almost enough to give Facebook the crown now, but I think it’s more complicated than that.

Positives…

  • Huge organic reach
  • Easy to advertise
  • Cross platform works great
  • Autoplay

Negatives…

  • Quality limited to 720p
  • Lots of ‘views’ are not more than 10 seconds without sound
  • Can be difficult to use video to build a community.

Facebook Full screen Video

Thoughts

My issue with Facebook video is the autoplay – although it means it catches people’s attention it means the ‘quality of the viewer’ is certainly lower than if someone has clicked to play a video on youtube for example. That being said, with the limitation of youtube (+ Vimeo) videos on Facebook if you are a brand with a big Facebook following, then without a doubt, you should use Facebook video. Then on your website, you could embed your videos using Vimeo or Wistia (if budget allows it.)

So should you never use youtube? Not at all. If you are wanting to have a real connection with your audience through video then YouTube may work best. If you are making good videos regularly then I think it is worth looking at how you can use YouTube for the full videos, and then create short clips for Facebook.

Live streaming is another factor in the mix. Currently, it’s much easier to go live on facebook then it is on Youtube. But Youtube are reportedly developing a ‘GoLive’ app so you can stream live straight from your phone like on Facebook. But if proper streaming with switching gear etc is what you are looking at, its back to the reach vs quality and features argument. You can also add in Twitter + Periscope into this conversation if you wanted to! But another time I think!

Bottom Line

Youtube – Community for regular uploaders + a back catalogue of your video content. Committed to video for the long run? This is for you.

Vimeo – Professional looking hosting great for showing your videos off – works well on embedding to your site.

Facebook – Reaching the most amount of people.

In short – use them all. If you have a great video, or great videos then wherever you post them they will do well, cause the most important thing is good story and content.