What is the Difference Between Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts?


Brand and brand name have played a pivotal role in any marketing exercise. Promoting a brand and making the brand popular have taken up a significant time, resources, and effort for any organization, irrespective of the field or segment of business the organization is involved in. There have been a lot of tools, processes, mechanisms, and modes that have been used to promote a brand.

However, the tools of brand promotion change with changing times. The rise of the online platforms has shifted consumers from mass media such as television to their mobiles and laptops. The consumer viewership for on-demand content has risen manifold that have directly taken a toll on television viewership. Therefore, the advertisement platform too needs to change for the organizations to promote their brands.

Yes! we are talking about the latest hype in the town about promoting using Instagram reels, Tiktok or YouTube Shorts. Confused about which is the best one to promote your brand and products? Then you must invest time on understanding the subtle difference between them – more so between the more popular Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts; the benefits of promoting using each of these platforms and the disadvantages of using these popular methods of brand marketing.

YouTube Shorts Vs Instagram Reels

Thorough Research and Investigation

Creation of short, entertaining, and fun videos have been a popular trend in recent times. While the majority of the content in this form initially was targeted towards creation of fun and entertaining the viewers, the organizations soon realized that these mediums can also be used as a medium of branding just like the advertising campaigns of television or other mass media. Initially, such videos were made popular by a platform called Tik-Tok known for its fun content. However, this format of promotion was soon taken over by other interactive platforms starting with Instagram (known as Reels) and YouTube (known as Shorts).

Shorts are small or short form videos that can be shared on YouTube, a popular platform that has been hosting user contents for decades. YouTube has been a popular video sharing platform known for its unique feature of allowing normal users to upload their content and make it viral among other users of YouTube. YouTube was recognized as an important platform by the organizations too! Probably that is the reason why organizations have been sharing organizational videos, messages of the founders, and other such relevant information on the platform for quite some time. Then what is the use of YouTube Shorts?

What is the Benefit of YouTube Shorts & Instagram Reels?

The Approach

YouTube Shorts allow the users, the organizations in this case or even individual entrepreneurs trying to promote their brand and products, to upload their promotion video on this user driven platform. There are two ways to upload a short on YouTube:

  1. Primarily we can open the YouTube app and login to our account. On the YouTube shorts page, we can click and record a shorts video instantly.
  2. The other way of uploading a short video on YouTube would be to record a promotional video and upload the content on YouTube shorts page.

In the first way, we can only upload a video of 15 seconds length only whereas in the second case, the video length can be maximum up to a minute. The reason why YouTube Shorts is a popular mode of brand marketing is because they are easier to make and they are viewed by a large population, thus helping the organizations target new customers too!

Just like YouTube shorts, Instagram allows the promotion of a brand using their reels feature. Instagram has been a popular social networking site where people have been interacting freely and in a fun way since quite a long time. This influential social networking platform also allows us to upload interesting videos, though mostly personal videos. After realizing the potential and spread of customers that can be targeted using this platform, even the organizations have started talking about their brands through the Instagram Reels. These short videos are called Instagram Reels. These small videos are essentially of 15 to 30 seconds length only, unlike the minute long shorts video uploaded on YouTube.

While both of these types of short videos are used to promote the brand story of any organization, it is important to understand the difference between YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

How YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels are Different

Parameter Instagram Reels YouTube Shorts
Origin Instagram Reels wins the race in this parameter because Such short video uploading feature was started by Instagram before YouTube created its Shorts feature YouTube Shorts was a feature created following the huge success of Tik Tok as a platform.
Duration of Video Instagram Reels are usually of 15-30 seconds length, and not more than that YouTube shorts created directly on YouTube would not be more than 15 seconds while videos previously made and then uploaded on the Shorts page can be of a maximum 1 minute length and not more
Advantage of Duration Instagram Reels are very message that can only communicate messages in an instant only YouTube Shorts give the organizations a comparatively larger window in terms of scope and time to hold the attention of customers and make the customers aware.
Use of Influencers Organizations can use Influencers with huge follower base on Instagram to promote their brand and thus giving a different level of impetus to the messages YouTube does not have Influencers since the nature of the platform is quite different as compared to Instagram. However, the channels have subscribers and interesting content can gain more subscribers that too quite easily.
Reach Reach of Instagram Reels are limited to the members of Instagram and mostly to the followers of the Instagram Influencers. Therefore, the organic reach of Instagram reels is substantially saturated. Reach of YouTube Shorts is quite high as the videos can be shown for a comparatively longer time on the Channel short section regularly. Further the reach is high since the platform can be viewed by anyone, even without the subscription or becoming a member of the platform. Further, the trending hashtag which leads to making the shorts viral can be charting the lists for all the audiences since the YouTube audiences cannot limit their choices and preferences as such.
Ease of Making While videos can be shot similarly, the Instagram platform provides a facility of using various filters, animations, transitions, and other editing options to make the video interesting. Though all this is fun, however, the process can be a little cumbersome and time taking at times. YouTube shorts are way easier to make and can be made by anyone who has a smartphone with a good camera in it. Further, a lot more content, that too content that is engaging, interesting, and has a unique punch can be easily uploaded on the YouTube platform much more easily than the normal video upload on the platform.

Reels v/s Shorts

While the substantial differences make the distinction between YouTube Shorts vs. Instagram Reels quite clear, answering whether YouTube Shorts is better than the Instagram Reels or not would be a difficult choice. This is because both the platforms have their own positives and negatives. Depending on the needs of the organization and the brand marketing needs, the suitable platform needs to be chosen.

  1. In case, the brand needs to promote their brand in a fun way or using the credibility of the popular Instagram influencers within a limited demography, the organization can choose to promote using Instagram Reels. This platform is suitable for organizations that would like to target a customer base with an inclination towards the social factors!
  2. In case the organization wishes to target the brand marketing to a wider population and gain a much wider reach in an easy way. YouTube Shorts would be the perfect choice. This platform is more suitable for organizations that are more focused on viewership and variety in terms of demographics!

After all these detailed discussions, choose the most suitable platform and reap the best branding results using YouTube Shorts or Instagram reels.

Also Read – How to Use Instagram Reels Like a Pro