Home » Short Video Marketing—Reels vs Shorts

Short Video Marketing—Reels vs Shorts

Instagram reels, YouTube shorts and TikToks have redefined the way video content is consumed. The platforms, which show users bite-sized content, deliver more than just personal entertainment—they also equip marketers with a powerful tool for driving brand engagement.

According to HubSpot’s survey on marketing trends, short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media strategy. So, what are the key things marketers should know about short video marketing and which platform should they focus on? Let’s find out.

Short Video Basics

Even though there is no standard length for short videos, anything that’s a few minutes long usually qualifies. Today, however, short-form often refers to fast, TikTok-styled content that is conveyed to be consumed easily and quickly. The concept is that users have to spend only a few moments with the content, so it should be engaging from beginning to end.

Trends also impact how marketers might design and share short video content but trends are ephemeral—they change every 3-5 days—so devising the most engaging and pertinent content requires staying up to date. Popular trends usually revolve around editing effects, TikTok dances, viral audio clips and transitions, so marketers have to be regularly involved on these platforms to comprehend what’s most popular and how that might work for their brand strategy.

The Marketing Advantage

Short videos are unmistakably popular, but why does it make strategic sense to incorporate them into marketing efforts? 

There are several reasons. 

First, it’s easy to connect with the target audience. Short video content is often summarised as relatable and authentic. And if marketers can share those feelings through short-form content, consumers are more likely to view the brand as genuine. It also grabs attention and it’s extremely shareable. More than that, however, it compels marketers to abridge their messages into a more concise time frame, making the content more manageable for consumers to digest.

Instagram Reels vs YouTube Shorts

YouTube and Instagram are both known to be as video-sharing and social media giants. Though there are several similarities between the two platforms, there are some points that must be considered before a brand can dive into them.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of YouTube Shorts vs Instagram Reels further below.

Organic Reach and Traffic

YouTube shorts work with trending hashtags that help the content to remain on the trending list as well as niche hashtags that help the creator target a specific audience. The traffic and reach of a YouTube channel are more prone to get more views as it will be displayed on the channel’s shorts frequently. 

In comparison, Instagram reels eventually hit over-saturation with videos relying on content type and personal preference, therefore, there can be less organic traffic.

Interaction and Engagement

While shorts are yet to catch up to reels when it comes to the general craze, reels are still preferable when it comes to engagement and interaction even if they are stuck up with the generation of organic traffic. On Instagram, people can share their reels in stories and receive more engagement, which can also lead to organic reach. If a content creator is excellent with stories, sessions, posts and other interactive forms, they can definitely get more interaction. Shorts barely has any space to get the YouTuber interacting with individual subscribers.

Fun vs Formal

Reels are mostly known for duets, trending content on popular music, lip sync videos and other similar fun content. On the other hand, shorts are more inclined toward professionally-made short videos that are preferable for monetising and advertisements. 

Reels versus shorts are best summarised by their content type and creators. While reels are more of an influencer and user talent showcase, shorts are a bit more mindfully made that contain serious content designed to support the platform’s growth.


Reels are recorded between 15-30 seconds whereas shorts are for 60 seconds. This demonstrates that YouTube creators have more time and scope to retain viewer attention compared to Instagram influencers. 

As mentioned above, YouTube is more professional, therefore, the audience growth is slower but with time and reasonable promotion, shorts can help improve views. This will eventually boost the traffic, thereby, qualifying the content for monetisation. 

Reels might not obtain any new views or reach but get a sudden increase in audience views, which could lead to some fame overnight.


Instagram reels vs YouTube shorts is a tug-off between the two most popular social media platforms. The former is short-lived, casual entertainment-focused, which can cause a meteoric rise in fame. Meanwhile, the latter is long-term, demands patience but is far more professional and profitable. At the end of the day, choosing the correct channel depends on the marketing strategy—so, choose wisely.

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