Without delving too deeply into the still unclear fate of TikTok, whether the platform is going to be banned in the United States or spun off into a seperate company; the short form video platform faces competition. In August 2020, Instagram launched its own mobile phone short video solution Reels, while YouTube is currently beta testing its own TikTok competitor Shorts in India. Other short form video competitors include Triller, Byte, and Dubsmash.
For marketers, trying to navigate the rapidly changing short form video ecosystem can feel daunting, so with that in mind we put together this quick overview of everything you need to know about short form mobile videos on social media. Download the full cheat sheet here.
What Marketers Need To Know About Instagram Reels
Launched in August 2020, Instagram Reels was released in the same week President Trump was threatening to ban TikTok in the United States, and while the timing to release a TikTok clone was perfect, the reviews generally weren’t positive. For instance, one New York Times writer labeled Reels “the worst feature I’ve ever used”, citing how complicated it is to find within the Instagram app, how there were too many restrictions around music, inferior editing functions, and the lack of duets. Instagram has since improved the editing functionality as well as extended video length from 15 seconds to 30 seconds, but at this point Reels is most valuable to brands as a channel to repost their TikTok videos.
For example, a video promoting DC FanDome featuring Margot Robbie got 57.6K Likes on TikTok while when the same video was shared on Instagram Reels, complete with a TikTok watermark in places, it generated 251K Likes.
Regardless if Reels specifically works as an application, reposting content to Instagram is always going to be an effective way to increase engagement.
What Marketers Need To Know About TikTok
For tactical advice on posting on TikTok, ListenFirst has previously shared a best practices guide for brands, but the big picture point for marketers to keep in mind is that TikTok has 100 million active users in the United States each month. For brands worried that TikTok might get banned in the U.S. or radically change under new ownership, TikTok has too big of an audience to ignore.
If you’re interested in reaching the audience of short form video and worried about what comes next, your best bet is expanding the amount of social platforms you’re leveraging, as opposed to abandoning TikTok.
Hollister Co. is a great example of this strategy. They have been working with Charli D’Amelio, a 16-year-old dancer and social media influencer who has 88.8 million followers on TikTok, on a jeans campaign. A sponsored TikTok video showing D’Amelio sharing her #MoreHappyDenimDance generated 59.8 million views and generated numerous response videos. Meanwhile Hollister Co. experimented with posting an Instagram Reel featuring D’Amelio promoting their Tiny Jeans campaign that received 757K views. While the campaign didn’t extend to Triller, it certainly could have, as D’Amelio has 3.4 followers on Triller.
TikTok may be the biggest player around short form video, but there’s enough volume around other platforms that TikTok-based campaigns can be expanded to other short form video apps.
What Marketers Need To Know About YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts is expected to arrive in America some time in the near future. Similar to Instagram Reels, it’s essentially a new feature to shoot and edit short videos directly from a preexisting mobile app, with YouTube capping the video run time at 15 seconds. It’s too soon to know to what extent Shorts will take off, but it does have a couple of key advantages over other TikTok clones. Being able to sample popular songs for audio clips is a huge part of how users create short form video and YouTube already has licensing agreements in place with major record companies, meaning there should be a large library of songs to use in Shorts videos.
YouTube also has the advantage of being YouTube, meaning creators are already making original content there, and getting influencers to create 15-second content on YouTube should be an easier ask than asking them to create content for a brand new mobile app.
What Marketers Need To Know About Triller
If TikTok was actually going to get banned in America, Triller is the short form video app that would be in the best position today to replace it. Created in 2015, it actually predates TikTok; Triller has 27 million active daily users and actually overtook TikTok in terms of App Store downloads in August around fears TikTok will disappear. Triller has two major categories of content, “Music” and “Social”, but Music is really its bread and butter. The app, which has signed deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music, allows users to create music videos through their unique auto-editing algorithm, matching self-filmed cell phone video with snippets of popular songs, usually in the rap genre.
That formula has become a significant marketing tool for the music industry, for instance a snippet of Money Mouf by Tyga, Saweetie, and YG has received 15.6 million views on Triller with Unbelievable by Tiger Schroff getting 7.2 millions views. Regardless of what happens with TikTok, Triller has emerged as a powerful marketing tool for the music industry.
What Marketers Need To Know About Byte
Created by Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman, Byte is essentially Vine 2.0; bringing back the 6-second long looping video format (which they’re currently experimenting with extending to 8 seconds). Launched in January 2020, pretty much everything is in flux with the app; for instance some features are on iOS but not Android; you can’t create sounds from popular music yet, and there’s no full screen video yet. Byte needs to be a little bit more built out for marketers to be able to evaluate it.
What Marketers Need To Know About Dubsmash
Created way back in 2014, initially peaking in popularity in 2015 and seeing a resurgence in 2020; Dubsmash allows users to lip sync over audio clips including sections of songs, movies, and famous quotes. Focusing more on building community, inclusion of people underrepresented on social media and improving retention rate; Dubsmash is having the most success around dance challenge videos and comedy videos. For example, the hashtag #DubSmashChallenge has received 4.7 million views on Dubsmash, while the hashtag #Comedy received 9 million views.
However, the largest reason Dubsmash’s profile is being raised is fears of TikTok disappearing. Sensor Tower reported that during the last week of June, Dubsmash worldwide weekly downloads increased by 235% to 511,000 compared to the previous week.
Want more social media insights around video platforms? Request a demo with ListenFirst today!