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TikTok vs. Reels vs. Shorts – who is the TOP DOG of short form video?!

Updated: Jun 10

We all know video is king across social media platforms. Incredibly, the amount spent on video marketing reached $92 billion last year and there's no sign of it slowing down with BILLIONS of videos being watched and created every minute of the day.

The way we consume video has dramatically changed over the years, as viewers want instant gratification causing people to scroll endlessly through their feeds, viewing hundreds of posts and videos in one sitting. Put your hands up... we're all guilty of this! Add to it the clever algorithms these platforms possess it's no wonder the average daily time spent on social media has hit the TWO AND A HALF HOUR mark on global average.

One question looms large though... which platform can really claim the title of KING OF VIDEO?!

This blog is going to examine the three behemoths of video content on the social media platforms; Tik Tok, Meta and YouTube, and in particular the power of short form video across Tik Toks, Reels and Shorts.

Right, let's dive right in!


TikTok set the trend for engaging short video content way back in 2016. There's no doubt about it. TikTok has been one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in existence, reaching one billion users the fastest of all other social networks.

With over 1.5 billion monthly active users, Tik Tok is the fifth most popular social media platform in the world! Tik Tok attracts a younger audience, more than 60% of all users are 29 years or younger and nearly 7 in 10 teenagers in the US use Tik Tok. A whopping TWO THIRDS of all 18-19 year olds in the US are on the App.

This becomes an important statistic for brands wanting to advertise on Tik Tok or for people creating content for a specific audience. If your product or service is designed for the younger demographic, Tik Tok is the logical platform to use. Not to mention of all TikTok users, 90% log in to the app every day. That's one MASSIVE guaranteed audience, ready to discover your content, every day!

Their clever algorithm is designed to keep you on the app, as it considers videos you’ve interacted with in the past, accounts and hashtags you follow, your location and language preferences, and even the type of content you create. It's one smart cookie, and no wonder it's as successful as it is!


Reels was Mark Zuckerberg's instant reply to Tik Tok and you have to say it's been a masterstroke! Over 200 billion Reels are Played Across Instagram and Facebook Every Day. That is double the number of a year ago, showing that the Reels popularity isn't slowing down anytime soon! With over 3 billion monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook and 2 billion MAUs on Instagram, Meta has an incredibly large captive audience that are just waiting to watch content!

We start to see some differences between Reels and Tik Toks when looking at the demographics. In contrast to Tik Tok, the majority of users on Instagram and Facebook are slightly older than on TikTok, with the app mostly used by people aged 25-34. 

Further differences can be seen when looking into the functionality of each platform.

First of all, Tik Tok has a 'private video' option whereas all videos posted on Facebook Reels or Instagram Reels are public. It also has duet and stitch features which allow content creators and users to interact with each other’s videos on a whole new level, whilst Tik Tok allow 10-minute videos and Facebook and Instagram Reels allow 60 second and 90 second videos respectively. 

You could say the increased capabilities of Tik Tok make it the more favourable platform, but if you're looking to target a slightly older audience that likes short, snappy videos, then Facebook or Instagram Reels are a great option!

Maybe most importantly though is the difference in watch rates. TikTok averages a watch rate of 9.06%, while Reels achieve an even more impressive average of 13.08%.


YouTube continues to hold the crown as the dominant original video social media platform. It is currently the second most used platform, with 2.5 billion monthly active users. 30,000 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube each hour and YouTube viewers watch over 1 billion hours of videos on its platform every single day. You might want to read those mind-boggling stats one more time...!

It's no wonder since launching YouTube Shorts in 2020, the format has seen incredible growth. With a dedicated place in the YouTube App, Google's answer to short form content has had a meteoric rise. Shorts receive over 70 billion daily views, according to CEO Neal Mohan, which is an incredible figure, but one that still lags behind both Tik Tok and Reels.

When you look under the hood, there are a number of signs that may explain why content creators and advertisers across the globe may favour other platforms for now...

Firstly, Shorts usually have lower views for the same video than Reels or TikTok. A study found that the average reach, interactions and views were lower across Shorts than on Tik Tok and Reels. Secondly, Shorts still do not allow you to provide links on their videos for customers to go to the product site... a rather major drawback if you're looking to convert viewers of your content into customers. Thirdly, more than 70% of YouTube Shorts are longer than 15 seconds, providing quite the contrast to the style of video consumed on Tik Tok and Reels.


Of course, that isn't to say that Shorts differing functionalities or characteristics are necessarily a bad thing, as Shorts may still carve its own way through the Short Form Video landscape. 


We think it's fairly pretty clear that the stats don’t lie - short video content is on the rise!

What is less clear, is which platform comes out as our winner for King of Video?! Tik Toks, Reels and Shorts all possess huge monthly users, brilliant functionalities and addictive features that keep us all coming back for more!

We think, however, that one just shades it to take the crown...

Take a bow, Mark Zuckerberg! Reels certainly weren't first to the short form video party (following in Tik Tok) but they certainly have mastered the art of creating an addictive and engaging app that really delivers. Reels have a greater watch rate and higher average reach to ensure the highest virality potential.

Despite all this, we think there is no harm in utilising multiple platforms for your content to trial what works for you. After all, you've spent time perfecting your content, so now it's time to find out which works best for you!

We'll leave you with a few take home points for when you're next using short form video content...


  • If you're publishing a TikTok to Reels, it's important to first remove the watermark as Instagram has stated that publishing Reels with the TikTok watermark will likely lower your views. You can use a site like to remove yours. 

  • When a sound or song is "trending" on Reels, it typically means it's growing in popularity — indicated by a tiny arrow next to the audio's name.

  • Storytelling and music are key in TikTok. TikTok videos are less polished and more casual.

  • A surprising 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. This stresses the importance of visually appealing content that can convey a message even in the absence of audio. 

  • Remember to get straight to the point when posting videos, you don't have long to keep viewers' attention!

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