The US Short-Video Landscape

What Marketers Should Know About TikTok, Instagram Reels, and 4 Other Players in This Fast-Changing Space

About This Report
User-generated short videos are all over the internet, from TikTok to Instagram Reels to Triller, and the marketing opportunities are exploding. Here’s how the main venues compare across usage, paid advertising, organic and influencer marketing, and commerce.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The short-video landscape is exploding. Here’s how the main platforms—which also include Snapchat Spotlight, YouTube Shorts, Triller, and Dubsmash—stack up as venues for organic and influencer marketing, paid advertising, and social commerce.

Why are short entertainment videos an important marketing trend?

Both the user base and the amount of time spent in these venues are growing. As prime places for user-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing initiatives as well, the apps are starting to play a larger role in social commerce.

Which short-video platforms are the most important ones for US marketers to know about?

TikTok is the clear leader. Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are still working on gaining momentum for their relatively new offerings. Standalone apps Triller and Dubsmash (the latter recently acquired by reddit) are two other players carving out niches.

How can businesses use short videos for organic or influencer marketing?

For some marketers, creating their own videos has helped increase organic engagement. Marketers are also using these platforms for social listening to discover trends. Partnering with creators is a significant opportunity on nearly all of the short-video platforms we examined.

What are the ad opportunities in short videos?

Of the properties we studied, only TikTok and Triller carry paid advertising, although the others plan to eventually. TikTok’s ad offerings are more plentiful than Triller’s at this point. One large advantage that Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube will have, once they start offering short-video ads, is that many marketers are already used to their tools and systems and may find it easy to extend their buys.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores six reasons why short, UGC videos are an important trend and profiles the marketing opportunities in several key venues.

KEY STAT: Adult monthly users of TikTok in the US spent an average of 33 minutes per day on the app in 2020. That’s greater than the time spent on either Instagram or Snapchat.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Social Entertainment Is a Bona Fide Trend
  3. Marketer Usage Is Growing
  4. TikTok
  5. Instagram Reels
  1. Snapchat Spotlight
  2. YouTube Shorts
  3. Triller
  4. Dubsmash
  5. Key Takeaways
  1. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Candice Beck
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Senior Manager, Social and Digital
Interviewed January 15, 2021
Bonin Bough
Chief Growth Officer
Interviewed January 21, 2021
Gayitri Budhraja
e.l.f. Cosmetics
Vice President, Brand
Interviewed February 2, 2021
Audra Carson
Post Consumer Brands
Senior Director, Integrated Marketing Communications
Interviewed January 22, 2021
Shamsul Chowdhury
Vice President, Paid Social
Interviewed January 6, 2021
Simon de Beauregard
Pernod Ricard
Global Director
Interviewed January 11, 2021
Michael Dobson
Horizon Media
Vice President, Social Media Strategy and Buying
Interviewed January 11, 2021
Paul Donato
Advertising Research Foundation
Chief Research Officer
Interviewed January 21, 2021
Lindsey Gamble
Innovation Strategist
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Sandie Hawkins
General Manager, US Global Business Solutions
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Matt Higgins
Blue Hour Studios
Vice President, Strategy
Interviewed January 19, 2021
Mary Keane-Dawson
Group CEO
Interviewed January 21, 2021
Kolin Kleveno
Senior Vice President, Addressable Media
Interviewed January 20, 2021
Mike Lu
Interviewed January 29, 2021
Ross McCormack
Havas Media Group
Vice President and Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed January 19, 2021
Sean Naegeli
Co-Founder and Chief Influencer Officer
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Eric Petersen
Weber Shandwick
Senior Vice President, Platform Strategy
Interviewed January 21, 2021
Victor Potrel
TheSoul Publishing
Vice President, Platform Partnerships
Interviewed January 12, 2021
Peter Sellis
Snap Inc.
Senior Director, Product
Interviewed January 22, 2021
Vishal Shah
Vice President, Product
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Vikram Sharma
Interviewed February 2, 2021
Rogier Vijverberg
Founder and Executive Creative Director
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Allie Wassum
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed January 14, 2021
William White
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Maria Wollenburg
Manager, Social Media and Content
Interviewed January 14, 2021

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Read This With Insider Intelligence


Debra Aho Williamson


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
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Zach Goldner
Junior Forecasting Analyst
Chris Keating
Research Director
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Melissa Rosenberg
Senior Researcher
Lauren Ruhlen
Audrey Schomer