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YouTube Shorts vs Instagram Reels vs TikTok (The battle of short-form video content)

by Colling Media - July 06, 2022

YouTube Shorts vs Instagram Reels vs TikTok

Ever since TikTok took the world by storm in 2020 by perfecting short-form video content, other companies have been trying to duplicate the same strategy. With creation at your fingertips, all platforms share a multitude of features with video sounds or backing music and access to a plethora of in-app editing features. Let’s be honest, short-form, multi-segment video was made popular by TikTok. YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels are clones in the best way, yet each platform still yields its own benefits.

Hitting the market in September 2020 as a beta, YouTube Shorts was made available in over one hundred countries and reached 15 billion average daily users in the span of a year. While videos are obviously not new to the YouTube platform, Shorts offers new tools not available for long-form videos. With control of playback speed, choosing a song to add from an expansive music library, effects, and more, Shorts has a unique grasp on an oddly familiar formula. With so much replication, it can be hard to decide what to implement into your marketing and advertising strategy.


 TikTok is largely popular because of its ability to amplify influencers and creators. The ability to connect with friends through content and messaging tools is not new. However, TikTok now has more Gen Z users in the United States than Instagram does. More than 37.3 million Gen Z members access TikTok at least once a month in the United States. Only 33.3 million Gen Z members do the same on Instagram, reports eMarketer

However, TikTok has been known for its humor and entertainment at a quick glance. This can make it difficult for brands to find a place on TikTok because the content might not align with the brand’s core values.  

Instagram Reels

Purchased from Meta in 2013, Instagram has been a hit since the beginning of its existence. With the sole focus being on images and captions, Instagram allowed brands to build an audience quickly. Meta reports that up to 675.3 million users can be reached with ads on Instagram Reels, reports Hootsuite. Reels allows you to publish content that your built audience will see immediately. The success of other platforms utilizing short-form video content has forced Instagram to adapt.

While it takes some thought and practice to decide which content is best for Reels versus regular Instagram feed videos or Instagram Stories, there is no clear answer. Reels seamlessly flow into your Instagram feed even with an elongated 4 x 5 formatting that utilizes more screen real estate.

YouTube Shorts

In recent years, YouTube has been a place where people go for more long-form videos that are often more polished. YouTube Shorts don’t fit the typical formula that has led YouTube to its success. Many countries have bans on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, giving YouTube the upper hand in terms of trust and data security.

YouTube hasn’t offered too much “new” since its beginning, making any new feature already associated with a video content behemoth likely to get traction. Variety Magazine reports Youtube Shorts now has more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. The implementation of Shorts brings creators from all platforms and all ages. As a brand with existing long-form content, Shorts allows you to deliver content that aligns more properly with company culture and core values. YouTube Shorts is also the only platform that offers a scheduling option, giving creators and brands leverage on the most appropriate times to view their content. 


With video content creation at your fingertips on these platforms, deciding which channel to use and how to leverage them for your brand marketing and advertising is becoming more difficult. Understanding each platform and how they can benefit your brand is vital and brands that fail to implement and understand new channels are often doomed to struggle. 

If you need help getting better advertising results with your social media marketing, contact us.

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