What's best for video marketing - YouTube or Instagram?

authorShannon Correia dateAugust 22, 2020

Video is the most engaging form of content, so it’s no wonder that marketers the world over are using it as a prime medium to showcase their content. When considering which platform works best for your video, you may consider the two heavyweights - YouTube and Instagram for starters.  Wondering which one suits your business best? Here’s how to make the distinction…

There are benefits and specific advantages to both platforms. They are great for displaying visual clips and have earned their spots at the top of social media lists for video content. In terms of monthly active users, YouTube has 2 billion, while Instagram has 1 billion.

video marketing

What’s your video marketing strategy?

There are some key considerations to note when determining which platform will work better for you. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your audience? This will help you to determine what their viewing habits are and their preferred platform. This will inform you as to where you should be present and importantly, to ensure that you are relevant to them.
  • What is your business all about? Not only must your content be tailored to your audience, but it needs to fit in with your brand as well. Needs are changing so there is no simple answer to this or specific platform to pick, you just need to ensure that your choice fits your brand naturally and that you can deliver content that is valuable and of a high quality consistently.
  • What is your content plan centered on? Your content needs to be intentional, which will inform the format and platform you should be using. For starters, is video the best medium to deliver this content? If so, will a short clip suffice or do you need to create long-form content?
  • Do you value reach or sales more? Each platform has the ability to deliver both of these objectives, while YouTube is preferred when it comes to driving sales. This will depend on where along the sales funnel you are targeting people.


YouTube is the second largest search engine, favoured for its functionality and features. This platform is all about video content. You can reach niches, monetize your content and optimise it for organic growth. Having a YouTube channel can situate your brand in a position of authority. It is also a great PR tool, as media personnel can easily embed content and learn about your business updates that they’d like to share. Finally, YouTube videos are a great way to showcase your product.

The platform also has a Story feature available to channels with over 10,000 subscribers, with ephemeral content that lasts for 7 days for maximum views. The length of your videos is also flexible, so you are not restricted to short clips which can be useful when presenting content like demos or explaining complex concepts.

YouTube is all about sharing content, with the major drawcard being that you can showcase content from the past so that it appears at the top of your channel, unlike Instagram which works in chronological order.


Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, where videos can be featured alongside imagery. You can share promotional video teasers that link to longer videos (of up to 10 minutes) on IGTV. Instagram is all about sharing through storytelling that is concise and promotional.

You can share Story content, which lasts for 24 hours and is highly effective and creative.  Another benefit of this app for businesses is the recent launch of Instagram Shopping, which will allow customers to purchase products directly from the app. This, along with its effective advertising makes it a great platform for businesses to use.

Instagram is known for its polished content and engaging in ways that have a personal touch. If you’re just starting out with video content, this is an ideal platform to use as you can leverage the follower base you have likely already accumulated.

How to deliver the best video marketing

As we can see based on the information above, there are benefits to both YouTube and Instagram. Both can be helpful in generating awareness, traffic, leads and sales. When incorporating video content, it is natural to want to go for the best platform, though we implore you not to rely just on one. Since video takes time from its conception stage to the finished product, your viewers are likely to be using both YouTube and Instagram. So, the ideal is for you to edit your content and adapt it so that you’re maximising your benefit on both platforms.

Remember, YouTube and Instagram offer a ‘live’ video broadcasting option, which is a great way to share real time content from events, behind the scenes and scheduled Q&A sessions, for instance.

This is, of course, unless it really doesn’t make sense to incorporate the one or your budget is limited - then pick one and run with it until such a time when you can expand your presence.An extension of this tip is not to be boxed in by industry stereotypes. For instance, one might think YouTube is more for fitness, gaming and tech industries, while Instagram suits travel, lifestyle and fashion industries more. There is opportunity across the platforms for various industries and crossovers work well, albeit that they are packaged differently. The same is true when it comes to influencer marketing, as both platforms have the opportunity to increase your reach with influencers.

When you’re at the stage where you’ve got videos on both platforms, it is important for you to conduct A/B Testing. Experiment until you find what works best for you, in terms of the content, the format, the editing and even the platform. Once you find what works best for you, run with it. To be successful on these platforms, ensure that you are authentic, relevant, collaborative, engaging and regular.

As video continues to dominate as the leading content medium, it is essential to include it in your marketing strategy. Two of the best platforms for you to share your videos on are YouTube and Instagram. With the considerations mentioned above in mind, you’ll be sure to find what works best for you in order to reach and engage with your audience.

Nexa can help you with videography and social media marketing.

Book a meeting with us to get started.