As brands grow, turning to new channels like messengers, e-mails, push notifications, and social media teasers to reach your target audience is vital in today’s digital landscape. When turning to visual content sources it is important to know where you should go and what platform should you use. Two of the most relevant platforms are Instagram and YouTube.
In 2018, 1.9 billion logged-in users watched videos on YouTube monthly, whereas Instagram only hit 1 billion in June. Early 2018 Pew Research findings suggest that 95% of Instagram users watch YouTube.
However, even a 50% match in audiences does not mean that the two platforms require the same approach. These channels are defined by many variables, such as the speed of production and average engagement time, but depending on your business’ objectives and target audience, one of the platforms may be more preferable.
Identify your objectives
What do you want to achieve by accessing a greater audience? If it is boosting brand recognition that you seek, both channels will work. Publishing reviews of new products and contests can generate extra activity on any platform.
However, if you want to increase sales via cost-per-action channel, Instagram is somewhat a lost cause since the affiliate links disappear together with stories. On YouTube, links may stay in the description for years, generating sales even when it is no longer needed. As for YouTube’s weaknesses, the platform is inefficient when it comes to rapid notifications. Because content isn’t produced over a day, you won’t be able to tell your audience about promotional activities that have already started. Objectives and priorities must define your strategy, not the other way around.
Speed vs. quality
The visual impact of an influencer campaign can have a profound impact on sales, for example, studies show that after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online and users have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later. The younger generation that yearns to become YouTube celebrities will eventually find that making quality videos is hard and is even harder when it comes to producing high-end content at short notice. A fifteen-minute video might take hours of footage and another day of cutting and sound editing so by the time it is ready, the video may lose any relevance.
Instagram on the other hand, is quicker, especially since Stories were introduced. With half a billion stories a day, this ad instrument enjoys a massive amount of traffic.
Encounter vs. engagement
Audiences behave differently on every social media platform and whereas users spend roughly 40 minutes a day on Youtube, Instagrammers use the channel twice as less. That is why YouTube is preferable when we are talking about extensive content, like full-scale reviews of goods and services, or integration into such videos on influencers’ side. As for Instagram, you barely have enough time for a brief encounter with your future customers. After that, you can always use Youtube for video retargeting.
Traffic vs. recommended
Where do you want your customers to land after the first contact — is it your website? If you are looking for an additional traffic source, you had better choose YouTube. Getting your videos to the ‘suggested’ section will give you a tangible boost in terms of impressions and deliver potential customers to your store.
Driving traffic to your website via Instagram is harder. Even if you put links into stories, users may still feel reluctant to check out the brand. This is where a more subtle approach comes in — recommendations from influencers. On Instagram, mentioning a specific product is much more likely to look native and be appreciated than imposing direct advertisement. Also, the converted users may eventually follow your Instagram account.
Entertainment vs. lifestyle
As a domain of complex content, YouTube provides more room for creativity, more entertaining and taking more concentration. If you decide to produce such content yourself, it poses a challenge to finding a unique format to stand out among other creators.
With Instagram, standing out is easier, though you still need a lot of catchy content. Instagram is about lifestyle — what people do and how they spend their money. Posts have to be quickly digestible as you have a couple of seconds before a user switches their attention to the next story.
Use both platforms
In essence, there is no such thing as Instagram versus YouTube. It is more, Instagram plus YouTube since each tool has its specific uses and each platform can be united to multiply the effect.
However, if you are a small brand with a low marketing budget, the easiest solution would be to start with Instagram. A quick and easy response from your audience is key for smaller businesses that choose to focus on the visuals and YouTube can always come in later. In the long run, Instagram will probably win. But how long will this long run be?
Do you use both Instagram and YouTube for your influencer marketing campaigns? Or do you prefer one or the other? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.