The Battle of Short Form Video: YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok

The world of social media – continually changing and short-form videos have become the latest trend, capturing the attention of millions across the globe. Three major players in this arena are YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and of course, TikTok. Each platform offers unique features, user experiences, and opportunities for content creators, brands, and consumers.

Which one should you use in business? We’re here to help you navigate the landscape and make informed decisions about where to showcase your creativity.

YouTube Shorts: A Long Form Pro’s Take on the Trend

YouTube Shorts, launched in September 2020, is YouTube’s response to the growing popularity of short-form video content. As a subsidiary of Google, YouTube brings its extensive resources and user base to the table, making Shorts a formidable contender in the short-form video space.

So, let’s break down what YouTube Shorts has to offer:

Monetisation Opportunities: One significant advantage of YouTube Shorts is its integration with YouTube’s broader monetisation features. Content creators can leverage the YouTube Partner Program, allowing them to earn money through ads, memberships, and Super Chat during live streams.

Wide Audience Reach: With over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, YouTube provides an enormous audience for Shorts creators. This built-in user base can be advantageous for those looking to quickly grow their following and maximise visibility.

YouTube Shorts should also be your chosen platform if the younger generation, are your target demographic. The short-form content consumed on YouTube Shorts is often more popular with Gen Z.

Easy Cross-Promotion: If you’re already a content creator on YouTube, Shorts provides a seamless way to cross-promote your short-form videos within the same platform. This can lead to increased discoverability and engagement with your content. Interacting with this feature will also put you on Google’s nice list and they will show your content off to more people. So, if you’re already an avid ‘YouTuber’, strike while the iron is still hot!

Instagram Reels: TikTok’s Biggest Rival

Instagram Reels (launched in August 2020) is a feature embedded within the Instagram app, aiming to compete directly with TikTok. Leveraging the already massive user base of Instagram, Reels has quickly become a go-to platform for short, engaging videos.

Let’s see how it compares:

Instagram Ecosystem: Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users, and Reels integrates seamlessly into the existing app. This means that your Reels can reach a vast audience without requiring users to download an additional platform. By simply scrolling through their feed, consumers can be shown Reel content from accounts they follow and even suggested accounts, making it as similar to TikTok’s ‘For You Page’ as Instagram can get.

However, as engaging as the videos are when they pop up, many users will pick the likes of TikTok over Reels if they’re craving a short-form content scroll. Yet there is still a large audience to speak to over on this platform, including many Millennials who much prefer Instagram Reels to TikTok. Once again, a lot of the content on here is regurgitated from TikTok, yet its audience may be who you want to attract. It’s also not a bad idea to engage with short-form on Instagram to boost your profile engagement!

Creative Tools: Instagram Reels offers a variety of creative tools, including augmented reality effects, music, and text options. This allows creators to add their unique flair to videos, making them visually appealing and engaging.

Discoverability through Explore Page: Instagram’s Explore page is a powerful tool for content discovery. High-quality Reels have the potential to appear on the Explore page, providing creators with the opportunity to reach audiences beyond their immediate followers and grow their accounts.

The potential on Instagram is endless, especially if you’re a business or a brand looking to gain some attention. Something we recommend doing if TikTok is already a priority platform for you and you don’t want to tackle doubling your content creation for Reels, is to use the same videos for both platforms. If you film within the TikTok app, be sure to save the video before posting so the TikTok watermark won’t be on the screen and then post the same content to Instagram Reels! Voila!

If you need more Instagram Reels Ideas check out our blog.

TikTok: The Pioneer of Short-form Video

TikTok, launched in 2016 in China and internationally in 2018, is the pioneer of short-form video content. With its innovative features and a user interface designed for quick, engaging content consumption, TikTok has become a global phenomenon, particularly among younger demographics.

But let’s discuss what the hype is all about:

Algorithmic Discovery: TikTok’s algorithm is renowned for its accuracy in suggesting content tailored to users’ preferences. This level of personalisation enhances the discoverability of content, making it easier for creators to gain traction and build a following. Getting on the (For You Page) FYP is the ultimate goal for creators, but its design is smarter than you think. Users find themselves down the rabbit hole of a personalised, endless stream of short videos, keeping them engaged for hours on end.

Diverse Creative Tools: TikTok provides an extensive library of creative tools, including effects, filters, and a vast music library. This wealth of options empowers creators to experiment and produce content that stands out in a sea of short videos.

Global Community: TikTok’s user base spans the globe, creating a diverse and engaged community. This global reach can be advantageous for creators looking to connect with audiences from different cultural backgrounds. TikTok is also great if you’re trying to appeal to the Gen Z, or the younger generation. There isn’t a teenager or 20-something around who doesn’t at least know of TikTok; hence, it truly is a global phenomenon that has changed the trajectory of social media video content.

If you’re not sure whether TikTok is for you take a look at our blog… Should Every Business Be on TikTok?

Stumped on Where to Start? We’re Ready to Help!

In the ever-evolving landscape of short-form video content, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok each bring unique strengths to the table.

Content creators must carefully consider their goals, target audience, and desired features when choosing a platform. Whether it’s the wide reach of YouTube, the seamless integration with Instagram on Reels, or the algorithmic magic of TikTok, each platform offers distinct advantages for creators looking to make their mark in the world of short-form video.

However, that’s not to say you have to pick only one. The great thing about short-form content is that it can seamlessly intertwine between platforms, posting the same video on multiple pages.

If this all seems a bit too much to handle, but you want to start getting involved with the trend of 15-second videos to grow your following and highlight creativity, get in contact with us! We can help you strategise and schedule your short-form content, so you’ll look like a pro on your chosen platform/s.

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To schedule a session or learn more email or call Emma on 07799626332.