Instagram vs. YouTube: Which Platform is Best for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Shane Barker
Mar 2, 2018 · 7 min read

Read the full post on Shane Barker’s Influencer Marketing blog.

Can you guess how much the influencer marketing industry on Instagram is worth today? More than $1 billion. With more than 800 million active monthly users, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, right?

However, do you also know the number of YouTube viewers today? In 2017, the number crossed 1.47 billion and is estimated to reach 1.86 billion by 2021. So, when it comes to choosing a platform for your influencer marketing, which one should you go with? Instagram vs YouTube — tough decision, right?

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. So let’s get started, shall we?

Instagram vs. YouTube: Some Key Statistics


  • The 50 most followed Instagram influencers have a combined follower count of 2.5 billion.
  • With an estimated 14.5 million sponsored posts, influencer marketing on Instagram is a $1 billionindustry.
  • It’s estimated that tens of millions of people make money off of Instagram. Top Instagrammers can make up to tens of thousands of dollars per post and $500,000/year.
  • 48.4% of respondents in a survey comprising 20000+ consumers use Instagram to engage with influencer content.


  • 7 out of 10 YouTube subscribers relate better to their favorite YouTube content creator than to traditional television or movie stars, and 40% of millennials believe their favorite YouTuber understands them better than their friends.
  • Videos created by the top 25 YouTube stars were viewed 3x more, commented on 12x more, and resulted in 2x as many actions than videos from traditional celebrities.
  • A YouTuber with one to three million subscribers averages $125,000 per post.
  • 24.6% of the respondents in a survey said that they prefer using YouTube to engage with sponsored content.

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 brand.
  • Relevance — How many of your target customers can be found on this platform.
  • Reach — The number of people you can potentially reach using the influencer’s content on the platform.

What Makes YouTube Suitable for Influencer Marketing?

YouTube is the second most visited webpage in the world and has over 1.5 billion monthly active users. YouTube videos are great resources for those interested beauty, fitness, food, travel, and what not. These niches continue to gain popularity every day.

Video marketing accounts for nearly three-quarters of internet traffic today. YouTube is an amazing platform for high-quality content that’s evergreen, search-friendly, and have a long life span. So, a sponsored YouTube video can do wonders for your brand. Every day, more than 500 million hours of videos are being watched on YouTube.

Of course, this will cost you more than producing content for mediums such as Snapchat stories or Instagram stories. 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 requires you to shell out less money for content. Stories on Instagram and live videos are great for consumers who do not have the time to watch long videos.

Currently, influencer marketing is worth 1 billion dollars on Instagram. It is estimated that by 2019, this market will cross 2 billion dollars.

Over 800 million 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.

How to Find Influencers on Both Platforms

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

What to Look for When Finding Influencers

1. Engagement

When identifying influencers, engagement rate is one of the most important metrics 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 followers of TV personality Kelly Ripa, is 60% greater than that of Grace Helbig, an influencer. However, you might be surprised to know that Grace’s engagement rate is 721% greater than that of Kelly’s.

Image via Instagram

2. 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 attractive and aesthetic. Go through their YouTube videos and Instagram feeds to evaluate the quality of their content.

3. Authenticity

Overly edited or photoshopped content can repel audiences. So, make sure your influencers are not doing that. A bit of editing is essential, however, genuine content is always more effective in engaging audiences.

4. The Niche

Make sure that the influencers you select, belong to niches that align with your brand. 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

5. 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 an 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 17 million followers on YouTube.

Image Via YouTube

6. 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.

7. High Quality

Nobody likes to watch a video with disturbed audio, unstable video, 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 video.

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.

Epic Rap Battle of History channel with nearly 14 million subscribers, posts videos of rap battles among celebs. With every single episode they ensure the quality of the videos are consistent.

Image Via YouTube

Instagram vs. YouTube — Which Should You Choose?

The Pros of YouTube

  • Good for boosting sales — especially when influencers share product reviews along with the link to purchase in the video description.
  • Audiences can be engaged effectively and results can be easily measured.
  • Videos have a long life span 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

  • Great for branding and getting more visibility in front of relevant audiences.
  • Cost of content creation is lower than that of YouTube videos but have much smaller lifespan.
  • 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.

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 life span. 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 platforms can help you achieve the goals you have in mind. And your relevant audience can be found on whichever platform you choose to use for your campaign.

For Instagram vs YouTube, which is the platform you engage with the most as a consumer? I’d love to know from you so feel free to share in the comments below.

Read the full post on Shane Barker’s Influencer Marketing blog.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 302,074+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +479K people. Follow to join our community.

Shane Barker

Written by

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. #InfluencerMarketing Writer for INC.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +479K people. Follow to join our community.