Instagram vs. YouTube for Video Marketing?

YouTube vs. Instagram for your Video Marketing Campaign

Everyone who truly understands marketing realized quite some time ago that marketing via social media platforms was an absolute must. But now, with the increase of social media’s capabilities, and the ever increasing demand to capture an audience’s attention through visual engagement, we have to accept that successful web marketing must advance yet another step further into the realm of web video marketing.

Anymore, most of the social media platforms now have a video sharing option, even if they did not from the start. The two we are most interested in examining here today is YouTube and Instagram. So Youtube Video versus Instagram Video which is better? Read on to find out.


YouTube is most certainly the giant among video sharing social media platforms. Launched in 2005, it is also the oldest. The platform was designed purely for uploading and sharing videos, and is still the most popular for that reason. As of last year, approximately 300 hours of videos were uploaded to YouTube every single minute.

Because it was designed purely as a video sharing website, it still does not have much in way of text or link up abilities to other social media platforms, though the videos hosted on YouTube can be embedded into other websites and shared on other sites very easily.

Instagram Videos

Instagram, originally a picture sharing app started in 2010, has video sharing capabilities that are even younger as they were not added to the app until 2013. Originally enabling users to share videos of only 15 seconds, it increased its limits to 60-second videos in 2016, and new this year, they have added a multi-video function that allows users to share a 10-minute video.

Since it was bought out by Facebook, Instagram boasts a large reach due to its connectedness to that platform, and the ability to use hashtags with video posts makes them incredibly searchable and grants them quite a bit of exposure.

YouTube Video versus Instagram Video: Which is Better?

Really, the answer to this question will vary depending on what type of video content your brand has to offer and what will be most useful for you.

  • Shared features: both YouTube and Instagram share some of the same desirable features. Both have auto-play ability and have looping options. Videos through either are embeddable on other websites, though Instagram requires that you embed the entire post; so if the video was posted with text, that whole thing is what is embeddable. Both apps also offer a metrics dashboard, though Instagram offers that only to advertisers.
  • Unique features: though the two platforms have some similarities, they have more differences. While the videos you post on YouTube have no time limit, Instagram does limit individual videos to 60 seconds in length, though their new multi-video function enables video posts up to 10 minutes long.

    Possibly because of the video length differences, for a view to count as such on YouTube, the viewer must stay on the video for at least 30 seconds. For a view to count on an Instagram video, however, a viewer only need to stay on the video for 3 seconds.

    YouTube, while it does not auto-loop it does have audio volume on from the start. Users can also incorporate important key phrases into the captions of their videos so that their videos are more likely to be found.

    Conversely, while Instagram does have an auto-loop arranged, its audio is muted. And instead of just having to use key phrases and words, users can apply hashtags to their videos, which is more effective in connecting them to other platforms and gaining exposure.

So Which is Best? Pros & Cons

So, with the details and features in mind, it becomes apparent that YouTube may work better for some, Instagram better for others, but here is our honest assessment:

YouTube: While YouTube is the biggest and most popular, that fact also works against it. Putting a video on YouTube means more competition for views than you will face on any of the other platforms. There is so much “noise,” with 300 hours of video being uploaded a minute, that your video is likely to get lost in the chatter.

Also, something else to consider about YouTube, if you plan to use it – it was designed to be a video sharing site originally for entertainment more than anything else. Thus, it does not suit traditional advertising/commercial videos well. Stick with videos that are demonstrations of the product/service that you are marketing, instead of a traditional ad.

Finally, YouTube is not as user-friendly when it comes to helping you out with the video itself. You will need to make sure you get the most crisp, clear, and professional video you can to upload because there are no tools for editing and stabilizing the video once it’s up.

Instagram Video: Instagram is definitely less commonly the source to turn to for videos even with it’s robust collection of features. However, its video usage is indeed growing, as are Instagram users. Its connection to Facebook increases the chances that a video shared on Instagram will spread further as well. Also, because of the hashtag feature, it is easy for users to find relevant videos and thus a bit easier to make your video rise to the top like some of the biggest Brands and their Videos.

From a marketing standpoint, Instagram is also a bit friendlier of a platform to traditional video marketing approaches. Another great perk is that the videos are editable through the app, and if footage came out shaky, it has a stabilizing tool to fix it.