Instagram vs YouTube: which social media platform is better for running an influencer campaign?

Marketers have long struggled with this question and it is a tough decision to make. After all, Instagram is the platform of choice for most marketers, when it comes to influencer marketing.

According to a recent report, most marketers plan to increase their Instagram influencer marketing spend in 2021.

Image via AspireIQ

This should put an end to the Instagram vs YouTube dilemma, right?

Not exactly!

While Instagram remains the most popular influencer marketing platform due to its versatility, YouTube also has a lot to offer. As such, YouTube videos have a much higher engagement rate than Instagram influencer content.

Image via AspireIQ

The question remains:

Instagram vs YouTube: which one should you choose?

The answer, I’m afraid, is not as simple as you might think and requires a more detailed comparison of the two platforms.

In this post, we will look at both these platforms in-depth and compare Instagram vs YouTube. By the time you’re done reading this, I’m confident you will be in a position to select the right platform for your influencer marketing campaign.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Disclosure: This content may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

Instagram vs. YouTube: Some Key Statistics

Before we get into the qualitative comparison, let’s first compare some numbers for each platform. These are some statistics for influencer marketing on each platform.

Ready to get started?

Here you go.


  • Number of users: over 1 billion people
  • Average engagement rate: 3%
  • Average influencer rate: $10 per post/1000 followers
  • The average number of likes on influential accounts: 1,542


  • Number of users: over 2 billion people
  • Average engagement rate: 18%
  • Average influencer rate: $20 per post/1000 subscribers
  • The average number of views for influencer videos: 24,343

What does this indicate?

Well, at first glance, it seems like YouTube is not only a much larger platform but also has much higher engagement rates.

However, that can be attributed to the fact that the platform only supports video posts, which is known to be the most engaging form of content. And, if videos are not your forte, or if you want to experiment with different content types, then YouTube is out of the question for you.

Overall, at least for video marketing, YouTube seems to be a winner.

Instagram vs. YouTube – How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Campaign

When you are choosing a platform for your campaign, you need to consider the “Rs” of influence. These are:

  • Resonance – The potential engagement an influencer can generate from an audience that’s relevant and valuable to your business. This is measured by likes and comments on an influencer’s post.
  • Relevance – How many of your target customers can be found on this platform. You can check this by analyzing which platforms the influencers in your niche use more.
  • Reach – The number of people/users you can potentially reach using the influencer’s content on the platform. This can be measured by the follower counts of influencers that you plan to work with.

Now, let’s consider each platform on these qualitative parameters and see how they rate.

What Makes YouTube Suitable for Influencer Marketing?

As mentioned above, YouTube can help you reach ~2 billion users.

YouTube videos are great resources for those interested in beauty, fitness, food, travel, and several other areas. These niches continue to gain popularity every day.

YouTube is an amazing platform for high-quality content that’s evergreen, search-friendly, and has a long lifespan. So, a sponsored YouTube video can do wonders for your brand.

Of course, this will cost you more than producing content for mediums such as Snapchat stories or Instagram stories. However, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are transient even though the content creation is much more affordable than YouTube.

What Makes Instagram Suitable for Influencer Marketing?

Sponsored videos on YouTube are great, however, they’re even better on Instagram. Not only can they be consumed quickly but also require you to shell out less money for content creation. Stories on Instagram and live videos are great for consumers who do not have the time to watch long videos.

Over 1 billion users are active on Instagram every month. So, Instagram as a platform is beneficial to influencers as well as brands. A brand can gain more leads and customers if the content is relevant and visually attractive. It also helps in boosting the number of followers and engagement of an influencer.

The launches of Instagram Highlights and IGTV have further increased the attractiveness of Instagram as an influencer marketing platform.

Highlights allow influencers and marketers to retain some of their featured stories permanently. This has made posting video content on Instagram more permanent. The IGTV launch has provided a long-form video content creation option for Instagram, allowing it to compete directly with YouTube.

Instagram is a versatile influencer marketing platform. Influencers now have three different ways of posting video content on Instagram, apart from regular posts.

Instagram vs YouTube: How to Find Influencers on Both Platforms

Those days are past when Facebook and Twitter used to be the most popular influencer marketing platforms. Today, influencers are way more active on YouTube and Instagram. Visual content is extremely engaging and way more effective than other forms of content. So, for best results, leverage influencers on both YouTube and Instagram.

These days, anyone can become an influencer and earn money from it. That makes finding and selecting the right influencers a bit difficult.

So, how do you select the right influencers for your business

Keep reading to find out.

What to Look for When Finding Influencers

Here are some things that you should consider when selecting influencers for your brand.

1. High Quality

Nobody likes to watch a video with unclear audio, unsteady recording, or inadequate lighting. The same goes for photos too. No one likes to see low-quality images. So make sure that your influencers post only high-quality images and videos.

It’s not compulsory that influencers need to be professional photographers or videographers. However, they must be capable of producing content that’s appealing to audiences and of good quality.

ERB channel, with 14.8 million subscribers, posts videos of rap battles among celebs. With every single episode, they ensure the quality of the videos is consistent.

Image Via YouTube

For influencer discovery and campaign management on Instagram, you can leverage tools like Combin. Using this platform, you can find relevant influencers for your business. Additionally, you can check your plan and schedule content. It also enables you to manage multiple accounts simultaneously.

For YouTube, you can check out vidIQ. It has various features for keyword research, competitor research, thumbnail generation, and more. It can be a handy tool to plan your campaigns and boost your reach.

2. Engagement

When identifying influencers, engagement rate is one of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to be kept in mind. The engagement rate is a percentage of the number of followers who engage with your content out of the total followers. Simply put, the better the engagement rate, the more effective your influencer marketing will be.

For example, the total number of followers of TV personality Kelly Ripa is much higher than that of Julien Solomita, an influencer. However, you might be surprised to know that Julien’s engagement rate (22%) is much greater than that of Kelly’s (2.80%).

Image via Instagram

3. Strong Aesthetic Sense

Since Instagram and YouTube are visual platforms, your content needs to be catchy if you want your campaign to be successful. Look for influencers who create appealing content that looks visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Go through their YouTube videos and Instagram feeds to evaluate the quality of their content.

4. Authenticity

Be wary of an influencer whose feed is filled with tons of sponsored content from multiple brands. The reason people listen to an influencer’s opinions is that they are considered more authentic. If an influencer collaborates with several unrelated brands, their authenticity might be questioned.

5. The Niche

Make sure that the influencers you select, belong to your product or industry niche and are relevant to your business. For instance, if you are a fashion brand, you might consider collaborating with fashion icons like Bethany Noel Mota. She is a style expert and a fashion blogger.

Image via Instagram

6. Originality

Non-repetition of content is a good way of engaging audiences. Make sure that your influencers are capable of engaging their followers with their sense of humor or unique style.

Successful YouTuber Jenna Marbles is a classic example of people gaining popularity by using humor. Her videos are fun-filled, authentic, and easily relatable. By posting such fun videos she gained more than millions of subscribers on YouTube.

Image Via YouTube

7. Consistency

Posting content regularly is known to increase engagement on your content and grow followers. For Instagram, posting daily is a good practice. While for YouTube, posting once a week is pretty effective. So, when you are identifying the influencers you want to work with, make a note of their posting frequency.

Instagram vs. YouTube – Which Should You Choose?

Now that we have looked at each platform, in detail, let’s do a quick comparison of the benefits of influencer marketing on each platform to draw a conclusion.

The Pros of YouTube

Here are some of the pros of influencer marketing on YouTube:

  • Good for boosting sales—especially when influencers share product reviews along with the link to purchase in the video description box.
  • Audiences can be engaged effectively and results can be easily measured.
  • Videos have a long lifespan and you can even reap benefits after your campaign is over.
  • Great medium for fashion, entertainment, gaming, beauty, and almost all kinds of brands.

The Pros of Instagram

Here are some of the pros of Instagram influencer marketing:

  • Great for branding and getting more visibility in front of relevant audiences.
  • The cost of influencer content creation is lower than that for YouTube.
  • You can reuse the images after your campaign is over, with permission from your influencer.
  • A great choice for lifestyle, fitness, fashion, beauty, food, and travel brands.
  • More choice in terms of content formats—pictures, posts, long-form videos (IGTV), and short-form videos.
  • More features to enhance the visual appeal of your content via filters, stickers, hashtags, etc.


Q1. Is Instagram better than YouTube?

A. Both Instagram and YouTube are great social media platforms/channels. If you’re focusing on long-form videos, YouTube is the place to go, but if short-form content appeals to your audience, Instagram is the better platform.

Moreover, Instagram supports many content formats like posts, Stories, IGTV videos, live videos, etc.

Q2. What pays more Instagram or YouTube?

A. As an influencer, Instagram is the go-to platform. The market for influencers is well-developed on the platform as compared to the rest and you don’t necessarily have to create videos to earn. Instead, you can make money with photo posts too.

That said, YouTubers can earn almost twice as much with a video as Instagram influencers can. However, YouTube videos require a lot more time and effort.

Q3. Should I post videos on YouTube or Instagram?

A. Both YouTube and Instagram are great places to upload your videos. If you prefer creating short videos, you should opt for Instagram, but for longer ones, choose YouTube.

Q4. Is YouTube the best social media platform in the world?

A. The answer to this depends on your opinion. YouTube is the largest video search engine in the world and a great platform for all those who love to watch videos as it’s a dedicated platform for it. It’s also available on big screens so that gives it an edge over the others.

Q5. Who gets paid more Instagram followers vs YouTube followers?

A. The answer to this depends on a lot of factors like your niche, the number of followers, and reputation. Instagram has the edge for influencer marketing.

Q6. Are YouTube and Instagram connected?

A. No, YouTube and Instagram are different social networks and they’re not connected.

Q7. Should I make a separate Instagram for YouTube?

A. No, there’s no need to do so as YouTube and Instagram accounts are not linked in any manner. You would need to create separate accounts for both platforms.

Q8. Instagram vs YouTube influencers – whom should you choose for your brand?

A. Your choice of influencers should depend upon your influencer marketing goals, products, and audience. If your audience is likely to be more active on one platform, you should go for that one.

Use this post as your guide and make an informed decision.

Q9. Who is the richest YouTuber in the world?

A. Ryan Kaji, a 9-year-old influencer is the richest YouTuber in the world. He reportedly earned over $29.5 million in 2020 through YouTube.

Q10. Who was the first YouTuber?

A. Jawed Karim was the first YouTuber and he uploaded an 18-second video titled “Me at the zoo” on the platform on April 23, 2005.

Ending the Debate of Instagram vs YouTube

To summarize, I’d say a cross-platform strategy would be best for influencer marketing. And, both YouTube and Instagram are great options.

YouTube videos allow you to share more information with your audiences and have a longer lifespan. Instagram content, although cheaper, can be used to share limited information only. However, Instagram can help you reach relevant audiences quickly and effectively.

Most importantly, make sure that these channels can help you achieve the goals you have in mind. Also, make sure that your target audience can be found on the platform you choose to use for your campaign.

Use this post as your guide for choosing the right platform and ending the Instagram vs YouTube battle once and for all.

Instagram vs YouTube—which platform do you engage with the most as a consumer? Please share in the comments below.


  1. A very good article! Thank you

    1. Shane Barker says:

      Thanks a lot, I appreciate that.

  2. Charolette says:

    I loved the information you’ve presented in your blog. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog.

    1. Shane Barker says:

      I’m glad you loved it. Thank you so much, your comment really motivates me to share more of such information

  3. Pretty section of content. I really liked your blog.

    1. Shane Barker says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you loved my blog on influencer marketing cost.

  4. Pretty helpful. Thank you.

    1. Shane Barker says:

      Hey Igwe! Thank you so much! I’m glad you loved it. 🙂

  5. Linda Bagwell says:

    Perfect! Just the information I needed.

    1. Shane Barker says:

      Hi Linda, Great to know my post was helpful for you. Keep visiting for more such information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *