TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts — what the difference is

2 min read
9 February 2023

TikTok is the ancestor of short viral videos. All players are trying to “reinvent” the format. Now each of the social networks actively promotes video content. As a video trendsetter, YouTube does not want to lose this title

YouTube Shorts are minute-long videos intended to entertain the audience and increase engagement. It is already a good reason to use them. According to the WSJ, Shorts reached a 1.5 billion monthly audience.

YouTube Shorts is a built-in YouTube functionality for creating short videos up to a minute long. Creators can add licensed music and subtitles inside the platform.

If we analyze the profiles of bloggers and brands, the views of the main videos of the channel and Shorts differ. Recent videos on the channel often have fewer views than Shorts in the same account. The audience of Shorts is really active, thanks to the algorithms. Therefore, in YouTube Shorts, bloggers experiment with options: they try to shoot exclusive videos for this particular format and simultaneously duplicate their existing content.

What the main differences between the three popular platforms are

Since TikTok sets trends, everything changes quickly. A new challenge appears, and people create thousands of videos in a minute. It is worth tracking TikTok trends and adapting them to other platforms.

Reels and YouTube Shorts are two options for budget—free channel promotion since the platforms support creators and video formats.

Video Length Description length Particularities Popular formats
TikTok up to 3 minutes up to 150 characters narrowly thematic hashtags are good, but users, most often, do not search by hashtags
  • videos with animals;
  • slow motion;
  • social videos;
  • “before” / “after”;
  • changing clothes
Reels 1 minute up to 2100 characters when publishing, it is worth considering the most popular hashtags — they work to promote Reels
  • tutorials;
  • helpful content from experts;
  • behind the scenes in any sphere;
  • memes;
  • lip sing
YouTube Shorts 1 minute up to 100 characters it is worth being careful with copyrights — violation in Shorts automatically leads the video blocking in the main account
  • unpacking;
  • brand or industry news;
  • informative facts;
  • funny cuts from the announced videos on the channel;
  • memes;
  • reviews

Popular formats change very quickly. Try them all on the three platforms to find those that get a bright response from your specific audience.