YouTube vs Instagram Reels Stories: Which TikTok Clone is Better

TikTok's popularity as a short video platform and surprising success in a short time hasn't gone unnoticed. Facebook-owned Instagram is already moving forward with the launch of Instagram Reels. Google picks up speed in the short video content space with YouTube Shorts. It's easy to get confused between Instagram Reels and YouTube Stories for posting or enjoying content. We help you understand the differences between the two services.

Thankfully, Google and Facebook don't offer a separate app for creating and browsing videos. Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are tightly integrated into their respective parent app, making the whole experience seamless. YouTube Shorts vs Instagram Reels: Which TikTok Clone Is Better?

  • How to download Instagram Reels on Android and iPhone


Both Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are best served on mobile devices. As of this writing, Instagram Reels is available worldwide, while YouTube Shorts is limited to India and the United States.

User Interface

As I said earlier, both Instagram Reels and YouTube Stories live in the main app. As for Reels, swipe right from the Instagram home and you'll see the Reels option right next to the default Story menu. We love how the main functions are on the bottom left (you can change the position on the right side using the Settings menu) They are easy to reach even on huge phones.

On YouTube Shorts, the main options like Add Music, Speed, and Timer are at the top. You will need to stretch your thumbs every time you want to create a short video.

Add music

Instagram has the upper hand on YouTube Shorts in this department. On Reels, when you try to add audio, Instagram will open the Music menu with a number of categories like Trending, For You, Original Audio, and Pop. You can tap the small music icon next to any song and see the reels that other users have used with the selected song.

You can also use audio from other Reels. If you find a song or sound clip you like, you can tap the music and select “Use Audio”. Now the Reels menu is set to use your chosen song and you can't edit the audio.

YouTube Story's music menu is bleak compared to Reels. However, you can use audio from other short films.

Fun elements

Let's talk about users' favorite imaginative ways to customize the video recording experience on Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. This is where an average implementation differs from a weighted one.

The reels allow you to change the recording speed. You can use a timer and alignment option to achieve perfect video timing. Effects are the heart of the Instagram experience. Based on the mood, you can add Funny Face, Party Lights, Green Screen and choose from dozens of other effects for perfect Instagram Reels.

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 have added a few more features to stand out.

Add text and stickers

Stickers play a vital role in the overall Instagram Reels experience. The company has years of experience with Instagram Stories and brings that same strength here too. Instagram offers dozens of fun stickers. You can also add your current location as a sticker. YouTube Stories don't have that option, which is a shame.

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

Sharing permissions

This is where YouTube gets right back into the game with higher sharing permissions.

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

Instagram offers various options for sharing its short videos. You can share them as a Story (if so, the videos will be deleted after 24 hours), share them on the feed or just keep it in your account and access it from the Explore menu.

YouTube also offers an adult filter, something that Instagram Reels lacks. At any time, you can change the permission of the shorts from the YouTube Library menu.

What does the future have to offer?

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

YouTube Shorts is still in beta and is only available in certain countries such as India and the United States. It is already becoming popular with 3,5 billion views per day during the first tests done in India. One can only imagine the potential when Shorts will be available worldwide in the future.

  • 10 tricks to use YouTube Shorts like a pro


Instagram nailed the execution of short videos. YouTube Shorts has a rough start with a couple of missing features. However, the real battle takes place behind the scenes as these short video features aim to win Tiktok's ever-growing popularity. With YouTube's advanced algorithms, we won't be surprised if Shorts will become users' favorite in the future.

Further Reading:

  • How to download Instagram Reels on Android and iPhone
  • How to add music to an Instagram post or story?
  • How to share stories of others on Instagram
  • How to connect Instagram to TikTok
  • How to add photos to TikTok

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