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Influencer marketing allows brands to collaborate with popular content creators who have a built-in audience, making it easy to reach new potential customers. In addition to developing a general campaign strategy and finding the right influencers to partner with, it’s important to consider where you want your content to appear.

Instagram and YouTube are both excellent options for influencer campaigns. But they aren’t equally useful. There are certain use cases in which one platform is better than another, and it’s your job to determine which one is best for your needs on a case-by-case basis.

Instagram vs. YouTube for Influencer Campaigns

How should you decide which platform is best for your influencer marketing content? These criteria should all factor into your decision. Ultimately, your goal should be to make a strategically valuable, informed choice that best suits your particular needs.

  • Budget: Instagram posts are generally less involved than YouTube videos, so they tend to be a more budget-friendly option for influencer marketing. This isn’t always true, but it is a general truism that you’ll find reflected across different influencers’ rates. If you’re a small business just starting out, working with an influencer on an Instagram-based campaign may be your best bet. On the other hand, if you have a lot of budget room, it may be tempting to go for a YouTube collaboration because you can afford it. But that isn’t the only criterion you should consider when deciding between the two platforms.
  • Longevity: By their very format nature, the two platforms are designed to treat content differently over time. YouTube can recommend videos from the past, while Instagram’s feed is chronological. That means your impact will likely be a lot greater if you go for YouTube content. This means that you should consider the type of promotion you’re looking for. If you want to promote a limited-edition product, it may be best to stick with Instagram. Again, though, there are other factors to consider.
  • Content type: While it is possible to post videos to either YouTube or Instagram, it’s still important to think about the content format limits on each platform. Instagram doesn’t allow for long videos, and YouTube doesn’t really allow for still images. Which content type would show your products at their best?
  • Desired outcome: What’s your goal in working with an influencer? Do you want to specifically boost your sales, or is it more important to achieve better brand exposure and get more followers on social media? It’s important to know this from the outset, because YouTube is demonstrably better for sales, while Instagram can be more effective for boosting reach and improving long-term social media outcomes. That’s not to say that it’s impossible that Instagram posts might drive sales, particularly if the post is crafted in the right way, or that YouTube content can’t help with social. Overall, though, the effect tends to be noticeably different.
  • Product type: Is your product something that’s shown off best in still images? Jewelry, accessories, housewares and other products that don’t require a lot of demonstration often show up best on Instagram. More complex products, like technology, or things that can be used as part of a tutorial, like makeup or food products, usually look their best on YouTube. Showing the audience a video of exactly how your product can be useful can be more beneficial for some brands than others. Sometimes, all you need is to post a great photo.
  • Demographics: User demographics between Instagram and YouTube do tend to be fairly similar, though YouTube’s user base skews a bit younger. However, there are some content niches that do better in one area than the other. There are some YouTubers who focus on technical or industrial content that likely get more traction on that platform than on Instagram, for example.
  • Reposting: If you want to be able to share an influencer’s content to your own platforms, it’s probably a bit easier to do with Instagram posts than with YouTube videos. Of course, you can take a screenshot or clip a bit of a YouTube video to post on your own socials, or simply embed the video in a blog post on your site, but that takes a bit more effort.

Making the Right Decision

These are just a few of the ways to think about differences between the two platforms. When it comes to choosing which is best for you, think about which works best for your brand overall.

Also, don’t forget that you don’t need to go in one direction or the other. You can do cross-platform campaigns. Different products may perform better on different platforms. You don’t necessarily to go all one or the other with influencer marketing YouTube or Instagram decisions. That’s why it’s often a good idea to look at an influencer’s engagement numbers and other metrics across different platforms, and to build a long-term influencer relationship that allows for more than one post. Maybe an influencer can feature one of your products in a YouTube video, and then post a photo of something else on Instagram as part of your campaign.