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It’s no secret and it’s not up for debate – YouTube is the most popular site for videos in the world. As of 2023, YouTube has over 2.7 billion (yes, billion) monthly active users. In other words, over a quarter of the world’s population are using YouTube at least once a month! On a day to day metric, users are consuming 1 billion hours of video every 24 hours, with 3.7 million videos being uploaded to the platform every single day. An average 694,000 hours of video are streamed by YouTuber users each and every minute. I could go on…but I think you get the picture here.
YouTube has grown into a behemoth and in 2023, it can be difficult to see how any other video platform competes. In fact, are there any viable alternatives to YouTube out there? Let’s take a look.
The advantages and disadvantages of YouTube for creators
First, let’s consider the pros and cons of YouTube for creators.
The pros of YouTube
- As we’ve already detailed, YouTube is by far the most established video platform out there. By default, this means that there are billions of people who could potentially watch your video, all around the world. You can easily share and embed your videos all over the internet.
- It’s free to upload! Uploading and sharing your videos on YouTube doesn’t cost a penny. It’s something we shouldn’t take for granted.
- The potential for making money on YouTube is a huge appeal for creators. Whenever someone clicks to watch your video, YouTube can run advertising before, during and after the video, earning money that they’ll share with you when you’re able to monetize your channel. Some users earn millions of dollars every year from YouTube AdSense. Additionally, creators with sizeable audiences can make use of video sponsorships, affiliate links, as well as the ability to sell merch and products to their audiences.
- Alongside being free, ease of use is the key to YouTube’s success. You don’t need to learn much to get started and the use experience is never complicated.
The cons of YouTube
- While you can earn money from YouTube, it’s not that easy to get started. In order to monetize your channel, you’ll first need to cross the threshold of 1000 subscribers, or accumulate 4000 hours of public watch time within a 12-month period, or 10 million public YouTube Shorts views within a 90-day period. This isn’t straightforward and can take some time and patience.
- Just like any other social media platform, there are certain rules and limits that you have to adhere to. Depending on your channel, this can potentially restrict your content ideas or clash with them. In worst case scenarios, you can find that an account may be disabled permanently without warning.
- If you want to earn money on YouTube, you’ll have to navigate various copyright laws and issues. This means learning the dos and don’ts of YouTube royalty free music.
- As much as it’s a pro, because YouTube is the world’s most popular video platform, it does mean that your content is at risk of copyright infringements. There are plenty of rules and restrictions to stop this from happening, but you never know. People don’t even need a YouTube account to watch your videos.
- Last but not least, another potential con for YouTube is that you can’t really choose what ads are run against your video. It could be any brand or person. This is out of your control.
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Best YouTube alternatives
So, for whatever reason, let’s say you’re seriously considering a YouTube alternative. Are there alternatives to YouTube? Yes. Are they any good? Well, let’s take a look.
Vimeo is an ad-free video hosting platform that’s popular with DPs, producers, cinematographers and professional filmmakers. Alongside video sharing and hosting, there are a range of lead generation and analytic tools, as well as a vibrant, active community to connect with. Many businesses and professional content creators consider Vimeo to be a superior option to YouTube.
- No adverts.
- High-quality 4K UHD streaming.
- This is a community based platform celebrating creativity – it’s a great way to show your portfolio and network in your career as a content creator.
- Human-created picks, awards and features.
- A free plan limits uploads to just 500mb per week and the max video size is 500mb. After that, you’ll have to pay.
- There is no ad revenue potential on Vimeo.
- The number of users on Vimeo is smaller, meaning it may be slightly harder to find and connect with an audience.
- Because the platform is so focused around high-end professional videos created by DPs, cinematographers and other filmmakers, it may not be the right platform for some content creators.
YouTube vs TikTok is a real thing. TikTok has directly rivaled YouTube to the point that it’s proven so popular as a YouTube alternative that YouTube actually created YouTube Shorts as a way of combating this fierce competition! It’s a favorite among the younger creators and social media influencers, continuing to grow from strength to strength with its vertical, snack-sized viral videos.
- TikTok has a large and growing user base and it’s incredibly popular among influencers. If you’re a content creator, you should probably be on TikTok.
- TikTok is by far and away the best platform for content creators focusing on short-form videos.
- It’s free to upload and very easy to get started. The TikTok app helps you create videos in an easy to understand step-by-step format.
- Currently, the TikTok video limit is just 3 minutes long. If you’re looking for YouTube alternatives where you can upload long form content, this isn’t it.
- TikTok demands a certain type and style of video. It has to be vertical and snappy. This doesn’t appeal to every content creator out there.
- Although you have the ability to go viral, it’s rare for that virality to last more than 48 hours. Growing a dedicated audience on TikTok is harder than some other platforms.
Although Instagram originally started off as a photo-sharing social media platform, it’s fair to say that in recent years and months, it feels much more video-focused, making it a viable YouTube alternative. With the rise of TikTok, Instagram (just like YouTube) felt threatened. Rolling out their very own version of TikTok, branded as “Instagram Reels”, there are thousands of videos being uploaded every minute.
- Instagram comes with a large, built-in audience. The most downloaded app in the world and with over 2 billion active monthly users, you always stand a good chance of having people see your work.
- Instagram is very community-based. With the ability to comment and direct message, as well as share your videos hassle-free, it’s a platform where connecting and communicating with an audience is always easy.
- There are multiple ways to share your videos. You can post something in the feed (either vertical or horizontal), post an Instagram Reel or share something to your Instagram stories.
- Native live streaming is also an option.
- Much like TikTok, vertical videos do tend to perform better than horizontal ones – especially in the case of Instagram Reels, where short, snappy vertical content is the name of the game. This might not be the right fit for every content creator.
- There are various restrictions on the video lengths, which may impact you.
- Instagram Reels can only be 15 to 90 seconds
- Instagram Stories can only be 1 to 60 seconds (but you can share multiple)
- In-feed videos can be anywhere from 3 seconds to 60 minutes
- An Instagram Live Video can be 1 second to 4 hours.
- Instagram is a mobile-first application. Video quality will get compressed and they’re best viewed on a phone. If you wanted to show off your work in beautiful high-resolution, Instagram probably isn’t the place to do so.
Facebook Watch is Mark Zuckerberg’s very own YouTube alternative. Much like Instagram, Facebook has doubled down on video in recent years. Facebook Watch is a feature built right into the Facebook experience, allowing users to browse and watch trending videos depending on their viewing history and interests.
- When it comes to built-in user base, Facebook can easily rival YouTube. There are 3 billion active monthly users, with 2 billion of those logging in to use Facebook every day. That’s a lot of potential eyeballs on your video.
- Just like YouTube, you have the ability to earn money from advertising on Facebook Watch videos. These ads will play before, during and after your video.
- Facebook watch supports files up to 10GB in size, and up to 4 hours in length! All of this is for free, too.
- Not everyone is using Facebook these days. The social media site has found it difficult to sign up younger generations who don’t find it very cool to be on the same social platform as their mum and dad. This is something to bear in mind with target audiences.
- Max resolution for Facebook Watch is currently capped at 1080p. This isn’t bad, but it falls short in comparison to Vimeo and YouTube with their crispy 4K offerings (read more about video resolution here).
- Despite its massive user base, the variety of content and viewership on Facebook is definitely more limited in comparison with YouTube. It might not be the best fit for some content creators.
X (it’s still Twitter in all our minds) is a bit like the town hall of the internet. This is where conversation happens and consequently, it’s a great place to share videos. Although it started off predominantly as a text-focused app with character limits, the type of content on Twitter (sorry, I mean X) is now much more diverse and visual.
- Because of the nature of X as a social media platform, the ability to go viral and have your video seen by many people is quite high. The retweet button (now called the repost button) can very quickly send your video skyrocketing, appearing in people’s feeds all around the world.
- Twitter (X) is all about starting conversations and interacting with others. Sharing your videos on this platform can help you build a community and an audience, connecting you with other people who share similar interests.
- Now owned by Elon Musk, X has undergone some huge changes in recent months and it’s not just in terms of the name. The platform is losing active daily users and this uncertainty has seen a drop off in brands and companies spending their advertising dollars here. It can be a bit tricky to build a following on a social media platform that currently seems a little unstable and unpredictable.
- Twitter is still primarily a words-first mobile platform. Videos can do well and do get views, but they’re not the main focus and people aren’t necessarily coming here to watch videos.
- Currently, X videos are capped at 140 seconds in length and have a restriction of 512mb. The resolution limit is also a measly 1200p, highlighting the fact that this is a mobile-first app.
For live streamers and gamers in particular, Twitch has long been considered one of the best YouTube alternatives out there. It’s the king when it comes to gaming streaming platforms. To this day, gaming is still the dominant category on the site, but you will also find plenty of other content creators streaming music and other art.
- By default, there are no ads running on Twitch. Phew!
- If you’re an approved streamer, there is the option to earn revenue through subscriptions and ads.
- Twitch is a social network with a tight-knit communal feel. This is a great place to really connect with your audience and build a following as a content creator.
- Twitch is all about live streaming, so it only suits a certain niche of content creators. If you’re not live streaming, this isn’t really a YouTube alternative.
- In recent years, Twitch has made a number of controversial decisions and changes that have disenfranchised plenty of streamers. Many users have been leaving the platform in favor of YouTube.
- The payouts are a lot smaller when compared with YouTube and, in recent years, come with more restrictions and rules.
When it comes to alternatives to YouTube, it’s well worth taking a look at Dailymotion. This is a site where you can host and share videos with an existing audience, create a channel, build a following and even earn money from ad revenue. It’s probably the closest thing to YouTube out of all the YouTube alternatives we’ve covered today.
- Video uploads are free and unlimited!
- You can earn money on this platform as a creator, monetizing your channel and videos with the ad revenue.
- The video player is sleek and in general, everything feels very much similar to the YouTube platform – it’s comfortable and familiar, making it easy to use.
- There are fewer ads and less restrictions in comparison with YouTube.
- Ads will appear on all videos, even if you haven’t monetized your channel.
- For the unpaid version, uploads are limited to 4GB in size. Meanwhile, if you want to stream in anything more than 1080p, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
- In comparison with YouTube, the audience size here is much, much smaller. It’s not a very popular site in the US, for example.
So, that’s our guide to the very best YouTube alternatives! While YouTube does remain the number one video platform on the internet, there are certainly great alternatives out there and, depending on who you are as a creator and the type of videos you’re making, in many cases these other platforms that we’ve mentioned today may actually be better suited to what you’re doing.
Creating videos online is all about experimenting and testing out what works. By trying out each of these sites, you can find the best home and audience for your content.