Vimeo must think it's still the holiday season, because they're still handing out gifts to the members of the Vimeo Plus user community like crazy. Specifically, they're increasing the size of individual video downloads and giving users the option to use custom URLs, as well as a few other little extra perks. If you're a Vimeo user, the odds are good you've been longing for some of these changes for quite some time.
Vimeo is touting these new features in an email marketing campaign to users, so I thought we should take a look and break down what's new.
One of the oldest complaints by Vimeo users has been related to file size, and the inability to upload larger videos. Even when the video upload limit was raised to 5GB for Plus users, it was still somewhat restricted in that users couldn't use up their full 5GB limit with a single video. Now they can. That means longer videos--though file size doesn't always correlate to video time-length.
Here's what the Vimeo team has to say about it:
"It means filmmakers can upload full-feature films in HD, parents can upload an entire soccer game, and your Aunt Martha can upload 2.5 hours of HD video of her cat taking a nap! Also, people who don't want to waste time compressing videos before uploading them can finally skip that step if they wish and upload videos directly from the camera."
Excellent. This is no doubt going to make their users happy--actually, it already is. Just check out what people are saying on Twitter today:
Yeah, I'd say they're pretty happy.
Custom URLs For Your Videos
Now this is some cool new stuff--at least for Vimeo users: custom URLs for your videos. The original URL system identifies each video by a number, which can be tough to remember for even the brightest individuals among us.
Custom URLs will pull your Custom Profile name, and then tack on a word or phrase. Vimeo gives the following example, pulled from their custom profile named "staff":
You'll need to enable Custom Profiles to use this feature, which you can do here.
Those of you concerned with video SEO should take special note: the custom URLs are only simple redirects, and the root URL of the video will still be the numbered version. So, while there are plenty of reasons to be excited about custom video URLs, "better SEO results" isn't one of them.
Better Embedding For HD Videos
Previously, embedded videos from Vimeo didn't happen in HD by default, but rather in their SD format--this is because there are still so many viewers who aren't yet ready to consume HD video due to hardware or bandwidth restrictions.
But Vimeo users are artists and purists, and have long been clamoring for a way to force embedded clips so that they to default to HD quality. And now they can. Viewers will have handy controls on the embedded video player to go back down to SD in quality if they wish, and video creators will get to have their hard work displayed in the highest quality possible by default. Everybody wins.
Another new feature for Plus users is the ability to hide the activity module from their profile page. This act shields your Vimeo behavior from the prying eyes of random users checking out your profile--in other words, you now have more privacy.
Vimeo's user base is loyal and enthusiastic, in part because of the enormous respect the company has for their community. For example, users started asking for the ability to hide the activity module months ago, as you can see on this forum page, so Vimeo did something almost unheard of in this age: they made a change in service based on customer requests. They even updated the forum page with a link once the new feature was live--now that's customer service.
Any video platform that wants to stay relevant is going to have to change with the times. Users are going to demand more bells and newer whistles, and if the demand is not met they'll go elsewhere. Vimeo's demographic is decidedly different from YouTube's core user base, so the features they want are likely to be different as well. As long as they keep listening to their users and responding with a regular stream of updates, edits, and improvements, Vimeo should continue to thrive for quite some time.