TikTok vs YouTube Shorts vs Instagram/Facebook Reels: Which platform is best?

TikTok vs YouTube Shorts vs Instagram/Facebook Reels: Which platform is best?
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There are so many ways to share videos on social media these days. So it can be hard for creators to figure out which one is best, the differences between them all, and where each platform shines. This is especially true when it comes to the difference between YouTube Shorts vs TikTok vs Instagram Reels. And who could blame creators for wondering about the differences when there are so many?

In the past, social media apps used to have different types of content people posted. YouTube used to be known for long-form videos, Instagram was a static picture app, and TikTok was a short-form video content platform. Oh what simple times those were! Now, these three platforms are more interconnected than ever before.

While you can do everything you set your mind to, you can’t do it all at the same time. For this reason, you might want to compare each of the platforms. And then choose the one that suits your needs the best before you decide where you want to market your business.

So, let’s look at all three social media platforms and compare them to each other to help you make your decision easier.


lady holding flowers

Common features of Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts

Before we look at the differences between YouTube Shorts vs TikTok vs Instagram Reels, let’s discuss some of the common features that platforms have. Believe it or not, there are quite a few:

  • Technical video parameters: All three platforms have the same aspect ratio of 9:16, the resolution is 1920×1080 px, and the video file format is either MOV or MP4.
  • Algorithm: While each platform has its own algorithm, each of these algorithms shares the same principle. Each one detects what type of videos users like and pushes out more videos like that on their explore pages.
  • Vertical videos: All three platforms prefer vertical videos that take up full screen and offer a full-screen immersive experience for users.
  • Editing: All three platforms have a built-in video editor that allows content creators to quickly film, or upload clips, add sound from music and sound library, and edit them using a library of filters before posting.
  • Common features: All three platforms have common features that allow users and content creators to interact such as comments, likes, shares, subtitles, hashtags, account tagging, and following other users.
person filming with ring light

YouTube Shorts vs TikTok: Pros and cons

To start, let’s first compare YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok. First, let’s take a look at the audience split for each platform. TikTok has a younger audience, with the majority of users being between the ages of 19 and 25. While YouTube’s audience is a bit older, with the majority of users being between the ages of 26 and 32.

Another difference in the demographics of these two platforms is that there are more male users on YouTube. TikTok on the other hand has more female users. So, if your target audience is primarily male, you might be better off using YouTube Shorts than TikTok.

One advantage that YouTube Shorts have over TikTok is the monetization options. Yes, TikTok has many different ways to allow TiKTok creators to make money with TikTok. The app has the Creator Fund and allows for virtual gifts during TikTok Lives. But YouTube makes earning money much more lucrative.

YouTube Shorts are a great way for creators to attract new audiences to their channels where they can monetize their videos with ads, and YouTube sponsorships. Plus, in 2023 YouTube introduced a Shorts Fund that allows creators to earn money from the views of the ads that appear in between Shorts.

One area where YouTube Shorts are lagging behind TikTok is shopping links. YouTube Shorts don’t allow creators to add shopping links directly to their videos, which can limit a lot of promotion potential.

And lastly, YouTube Shorts only allow 60-second videos while TikTok allows up to 10 minutes. Longer videos on TikTok allow for more opportunities to grab people’s attention and connect with your audience.

person filming Instagram live

Instagram/Facebook Reels vs TikTok: Pros and cons

Now, let’s look into Instagram/Facebook Reels versus TikTok. Instagram Reels have been compared to TikTok. And many creators on the apps recycle video content from one platform to another. But there is a slight difference between the two platforms, its users, and what type of content does better.

So, first off, let’s compare the audiences. TikTok has a younger audience, mainly Gen Z, with the majority of the users falling between the ages of 19 and 25. Instagram and Facebook both have the majority of their users between the ages of 26 and 32. But Instagram also has a large group of users between the ages of 19 and 25. Placing it not far behind TikTok.

Now, when it comes to gender, Facebook has more male users. While TikTok has more female users and Instagram has an even split between male and female users. This goes to show that Instagram works best for brands that have both females and males as their target audiences. And it makes TikTok the most versatile platform out of the three.

If we compare features between these three platforms, then TikTok has a huge advantage. First of all, it has a private video option whereas all videos posted on Facebook Reels or Instagram Reels are public.

TikTok also has duet and stitch features which allow content creators and users to interact with each other’s videos on a whole new level. Instagram and Facebook Reels lack some of these technical capabilities. This can be a drawback for creators really looking to engage with their audience and other creators.

Another thing to consider is the video length. Facebook Reels allow 60-second videos, Instagram Reels 90-second videos and TikTok allows up to 10-minute long videos. If your audience likes short, snappy videos, then Facebook or Instagram Reels are a great option. But if you want more options when it comes to video length, then TikTok is the winner.

Something else to consider is the in-app experience of each app. TikTok is wonderful for everything related to video. The only-video option allows creators to only focus on one type of content which is great if you love creating videos.

Both Facebook and Instagram offer quite a bit when it comes to the type of content you can post. With Instagram, you have your Reels tab where your video content lives. And then you also have your feed, where videos or pictures can be. Plus, there are Instagram Stories.

The same goes for Facebook. You can create video content for Facebook Reals or Facebook Stories, or you can create static content for your feed. You have plenty of options and while the video is the preferred option by many users, there are still plenty of people who enjoy static posts.

YouTube Shorts vs Instagram/Facebook Reels: Pros and cons

And lastly, let’s compare YouTube Shorts and Instagram/Facebook Reels. You already know that YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook have audiences between the ages of 26 and 32. But Instagram also has a large audience ages 19 to 25, which makes it a better choice for brands with younger audiences.

When it comes to gender, both YouTube and Facebook have more male users, while Instagram has an equal split between male and female users. So, if your target audience is mostly male, YouTube Shorts or Facebook Reels might just be better for you.

Lastly, when it comes to monetization and earning money as a content creator, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels are better than Facebook Reels. Instagram allows you to add shopping links directly to the videos, and YouTube Shorts allow its creators to earn money from ads in various different ways.

tiktok creativity program

FAQs concerning TikTok vs YT Shorts vs Instagram/Facebook Reels

Now, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have when comparing YouTube Shorts vs TikTok vs Instagram Reels.

Which is better: Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts?

The answer to this question depends on what you need as a content creator and business owner. Instagram and YouTube both have a young audience, but YouTube has more male users, and Instagram has an equal distribution of male and female users. So the best one for you might not be the best one for someone else.

Another thing to consider is that Instagram Reels allow content creators to add shopping links directly to their videos. And YouTube Shorts don’t allow for the same. So, your product promotion might be limited on YouTube Shorts compared with Instagram Reels.

What is better: YouTube Shorts or TikTok?

There is no definitive answer as to which platform is better, it all comes down to your marketing strategy and your target audience. TikTok content is perfect for a younger audience of Gen Z, while YouTube has both, Gen Z and Millenials. There is also the difference between user genders, with more male users being on YouTube, while TikTok has more female users.

Another thing to consider is why you’re using these platforms in the first place. If you already have a YouTube channel, then finding a new audience with YouTube Shorts might work for you. All platforms prefer users to stay on the platform rather than entice people to leave the platform by clicking a link in the bio.

Are Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels the same?

Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels are not quite the same thing. While Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company Meta, these two social media platforms are separate. These two platforms have different audiences with different interests.

There are also differences on the technical side. You can cross-post your Instagram Reels as Facebook Reels. But you can’t do it the other way around. Instagram Reels are longer, at 90 seconds, and Facebook Reels are shorter at 60 seconds.

Should I post on Tiktok or YouTube?

The answer to this question is that it depends on your business needs and what your target audience prefers. If you would prefer long-form video content, then YouTube will be a better platform for your business. And if you see that short-form video content is what you do best, then TikTok is the way to go.

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