With the emergence of short-format videos, social media engagement has increased a lot. Currently, there are two major players in this space: YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. Since the ban of TikTok two years back, a lot of debate has been occurring about which one

is a better alternative to it.

Here is a detailed analysis of YouTube Shorts vs Instagram Reels, to help you determine which one is the best short-format video platform-

Benefits of short-format video platforms

Here are some of the reasons why short-form videos are so popular-

Grab and hold of your attention- They are 15 sec long videos, known for their ability to keep the reader’s attention.  If you once start watching the videos, you’ll not stop even after hours of watching them.

Short and easily digestible- Short form content nowadays are much more concise and easy to digest than longer format videos. Users are watching videos on the go, rather than sitting down and watch longer format videos, users like watching shorter format videos for their information.

Super sharable- Short format videos can be recorded and shared very easily. Its the social element of it that makes it so much popular.

A brief history of short-format video platforms

Instagram Reels

Instagram leveraged the ban on TikTok and developed its platform for users to create short videos. Initially, Reels was launched with 15 seconds video length options. Gradually they increased to 60 seconds and now you can create a Reel of up to 90 seconds.

According to Instagram as of December 2022, it ha over 2 Billion users and 90% of that user base watch at least one Reel every week. Facebook which owns Instagram utilised the growing userbase of Reels and implemented them in their app earlier last year.


YouTube Shorts


To rival Instagram Reels, YouTube came up with Shorts. The transition for YouTube was relatively easy as the creators already knew how to create short videos because of TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Using their massive fanbase, creators such as Mr.Beast, Zach King, and MKBHD quickly gained popularity in the Shorts format. One of the biggest advantages of YouTube Shorts is that if the users get bored of the short format videos they can easily transition to regular long YouTube videos.

Thorough Evaluation of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels


YouTube has 2.2 billion active monthly users. Shorts receive 15 billion daily views every day. YouTube’s largest audience demographic is 15-35 year-olds.

The largest user base of Instagram is aged 25-34 years old.

Popular Genre

The most popular genres of content on YouTube Shorts are-

  • Gaming
  • Food and drink
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Music and dance

The most popular genres of content on Instagram Shorts are-

  • Sports and Fitness
  • Pranks
  • Challenges
  • Educational content
  • Entertainment

Engagement Rate

The engagement rate of Instagram increased after the inception of reels. As of last year average engagement rate on Instagram is 0.67%.

YouTube has a slightly better engagement rate of 0.72%.


YouTube has started pushing its shorts platform on TVs as well. This is something that is not possible with Instagram Reels.

With YouTube Premium, you can get an ad-free viewing experience. Whereas there is no such feature available on Instagram.

Creators can post a clip of their long-form video on YouTube and write engaging and catchy content about what they are posting. Which is something that might be easy but takes out all the creativity.

YouTube Shorts vs. Instagram Reels

From the point of view of a user

It is very difficult to say which one is better. Both of them are very different in terms of the user interface, user experience and algorithm. Instagram’s algorithm is better at recommending much fresher and more trendy, content.

Whereas the YouTube algorithm studies your search history extensively and recommends personalised content based on that.

If you like watching personalised content you would prefer YouTube Shorts. But nowadays users prefer watching trendy memes, the latest tech and automobile releases as soon as possible. Instagram’s algorithm pushes new and trendy content on their Reels section.

From the point of view of a creator

Creating YouTube Shorts will help you grow a YouTube channel. It will help you in the long run as you will get a similar kind of exposure as you would have gotten while creating traditional lengthy content.

Since you have an idea of how the YouTube algorithm works, creating content will be much easier for you.

Getting exposure from Instagram is a little bit tough. As the Instagram algorithm pushes newer and fresher content to its users it becomes very difficult for them to keep on being engaged. Create trendy and fresh content to stay relevant on Instagram.


Instagram is the platform of choice for influencer marketing. Its shopping and branded content features enable new visitors to engage with the creator and convert without leaving the app.

Creating content on YouTube Shorts can help grow your own brand. If you can keep your audiences engaged on YouTube it will give you amazing ROI in the long run.

Reference Link

  1. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/youtube-trends/
    2. https://filme.imyfone.com/youtube-video/youtube-shorts-vs-instagram-

    3. https://www.themobileindian.com/news/youtube-shorts-vs-instagram-reels-which-ones-the-better-platform
    4. https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-reels/


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