YouTube Story vs Instagram Reels: Which TikTok Clone Is Better

TikTok’s popularity as the short-video platform and astonishing success in a short period didn’t go unnoticed. Facebook-owned Instagram is already gunning ahead with the launch of Instagram Reels. Google also takes a nosedive into the short-video content space with the new YouTube Shorts. It’s easy to get confused between Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts for posting or consuming content. We help you figure out the differences between the two services.

Instagram reels vs youtube shorts

Thankfully, Google and Facebook aren’t offering a separate app to create and browse videos. Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are tightly integrated into the respective parent app, making the whole experience smooth.


Both the Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are best-served on mobile devices. As a time of writing, Instagram Reels is available worldwide, while YouTube Shorts is limited to India and the US.

User Interface

As I mentioned earlier, both the Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts live in the main app. As for Reels, swipe right from the Instagram home, and you will see the Reels option right beside the default Story menu. We appreciate how the major functions are on the bottom left side (you can change the position to the right side using the Settings menu) They are easy to reach on huge phones as well.

Instagram reels placement

On YouTube Shorts, the major options such as Add Music, Speed, and Timer are at the top. You will have to stretch your thumbs every time you want to create the Shorts video.

Add Music

Instagram trumps YouTube in this department. On Reels, when you try to add audio, Instagram will open the Music menu with a bunch of categories such as Trending, For you, Original Audio, and Pop. You can tap on the little music icon beside any song and see Reels that other users have used with the selected song.

Instagram music

You can also use audio from other Reels. If you find a song or audio clip you like, you can tap the music and select ‘Use Audio’. Now the Reels menu is set to use the song you chose, and you can’t change the audio.

YouTube Story’s music menu is bleak compared to Reels. However, you can use audio from other Shorts.

Youtube music

Fun Elements

Let’s talk about the crowd-favorite fancy ways to customize the video recording experience on Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Here is where an average implementation differs from a thoughtful one.

Reels allow you to mess with the recording speed. You can use a timer and align option to get the perfect timing of the video. Effects are the heart of the Instagram experience. Based on the mood, you can add Silly face, Party Lights, Green Screen, and pick one from the dozens of other effects for a perfect Instagram Reels.

Instagram filters
Instagram timer

Compared to Instagram, YouTube only offers the ability to adjust the speed of the video and a built-in timer. We know it’s an early stage, but YouTube clearly has more experience and could’ve added a few more features to stand out.

Youtube shorts timer

Text and Stickers

Stickers play a huge role in the overall Instagram Reels experience. The company has years of experience with Instagram Stories, and it carries the same strength here as well. Instagram offers dozens of fun stickers. You can also add your current location as a sticker. YouTube Shorts lack such an option which is a bummer if you ask us.

Instagram reels stickers

YouTube offers different text styles and customizes them with different colors, alignments, sizes, and more.

Youtube text

Sharing Permissions

Here is where YouTube jumps right back into the game with superior sharing permissions.

YouTube offers various permissions for Shorts sharing. Before finalizing the video for the viewers, you can choose from Public, Unlisted, or Private permission. Most will opt for Public permission, but the Unlisted and Private permissions are also useful at certain times.

Youtube permission
Youtube adult filter

Instagram offers various options to share Reels. You can either share it as Story (In that case, the Reels will get deleted after 24 hours), share to feed, or simply keep it in your account and access it from the Explore menu.

YouTube also offers an adult filter, something that’s missing from Instagram Reels. At any point, you can change the Shorts permission from the YouTube Library menu.

Instagram sharing

Future Prospects

With Reels, Instagram added yet another way to create media to share with followers. Since its introduction in August 2020, Instagram is witnessing growth in the number of downloads and active users.

Instagram Reels has gotten NBA franchises 22% higher engagement than the average engagements they’ve had from standard Instagram posts or Instagram Stories.

YouTube Shorts is still in beta, and it’s only available in certain regions such as India and the US. It’s already getting popular with 3.5 billion views per day during its early test run in India. One can only imagine the potential when Shorts gets worldwide availability in the future.

Create Fun Short Videos

Instagram has nailed the execution of short videos. YouTube Shorts is off to a rough start with a couple of missing features. However, the real battle happens behind the scenes as these short-video format features aim to take on Tiktok’s ever-growing popularity. With YouTube’s advanced algorithms, we won’t be surprised if Shorts become the crowd favorite in the future.

Next up: Looking to master Instagram Reels? Read the post below to learn about the top fifteen Instagram Reels tips and tricks.

Last updated on 13 July, 2021

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