YouTube vs. Vimeo: Learn From Our Promotional Hiccup

No one likes a hiccup in their promotion—especially when you expected your message to spread virally on Facebook, but it wouldn’t as easily. More frustrating? It wasn’t a Facebook problem, but the inability to choose an acceptable thumbnail frame on YouTube that would satisfy Facebook’s advertising rules. The solution? Use Vimeo and YouTube and leverage the strength of both. It’s less than convenient, but using both services enabled us to use the best of both worlds

No one likes a hiccup in their promotion—especially when you expected your message to spread virally on Facebook, but it wouldn’t as easily. More frustrating? It wasn’t a Facebook problem, but the inability to choose an acceptable thumbnail frame on YouTube that would satisfy Facebook’s advertising rules. The solution? Use Vimeo and YouTube and leverage the strength of both. It’s less than convenient, but using both services enabled us to use the best of both worlds.

We’re in the midst of a short video test for a performing arts organization. We’ve started a contest using short video clips as a way to introduce new music to the fan base, build engagement and ultimately sell concert tickets to a series of performances in mid-April.

In today’s blog, we’ve described an issue that arose for our first video when we posted it on Facebook. It didn’t really hurt the campaign, but rather, reduced our viral reach. Fortunately, we had alternatives and we figured out how to fix the issue for our second video. This is learning that will be important to you if you plan to post videos on Facebook and use promoted posts and pay-per-click advertising to generate more traffic to the video.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

We’ve used promoted posts in the past. Based on our use of Facebook promoted posts last Christmas, and the fact that Christmas show ticket sales were up 20 percent over a year earlier, we believe those promoted posts contributed to the sales increase. And we certainly know that using promoted posts grew our number of fans.

When we posted our first video in this series for the April Shows, we used the promoted post option as we’ve done before. But this time, a few hours later, we received an email notification from Facebook that the promoted post wasn’t approved.

We figured out the reason, and it was that our thumbnail video image had too much text on it to meet Facebook promoted post standards. With YouTube hosting the video, you have little flexibility over the thumbnail image you want. The ability to choose an image is important if you want to use paid promoted posts on Facebook. If you want to promote a post, Facebook requires 80 percent or more of the image to be a photograph or other graphic treatment, and only 20 percent text.

While Facebook still included the video on our page and it was visible and played for our fans, it meant our post would not be promoted to friends of fans.

Thankfully there is an alternative in Vimeo. Vimeo allows the user to choose the exact frame from the video you want to appear when the video isn’t playing. So for our second video, a frame was created where the text was less than 20 percent of the image.

Facebook approved the promoted post, which enabled us to also create a pay-per-click advertising program. In the meantime, the video was also posted on YouTube, which we use for the video on our landing page.

Learn more in today’s video about our experience. We also describe in more detail the pros and cons of YouTube vs. Vimeo.

In the meantime, please share your comments, suggestions and experiences. We’re all learning here together, and we hope you’re enjoying the ride.