Mar 24, 2023

3 Companies Who Have Copied TikTok's Short Video Feed... And How It's Going

Sophia Carlisle

TikTok took the world by storm when it had a few videos go viral in late 2019 and early 2020. And the app’s popularity just kept growing. Today, the app sees over 1 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) users who tune in to watch short-form video content. TikTok has completely changed the way that social media works and many companies altered their own platforms to try and compete with the newest social media star.

TikTok’s unsurprising popularity is due to its exclusive focus on short-form videos. This type of content is highly addictive and effective. Creators with short-form video content often see an increased audience, and that’s largely due to the structure of these videos. Shorter attention spans, limited time, and a thirst for content make short-form content an absolute necessity in today’s social media world. 

And TikTok isn’t the only platform to realize that. 

Many other social media platforms have also adopted short-form video content to their apps. Namely, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. These platforms started out with a clear lack of short-form videos, however, the explosive popularity of TikTok has led to each app creating its own sections for short video content on the app. Instagram has Reels, Youtube has Shorts, and Pinterest has Idea Pins. But are they effective? 

The rise of short-form video content and the need for competition 

One of the benefits of short-form videos is that they are accessible. In the age of the influencer where perfect photos and an enviable lifestyle mean everything, TikTok sends a breath of fresh air to the social media market with its homemade videos. Some think that TikTok’s approach to content creation — where users can casually stand in front of a camera to show viewers the not-so-pretty elements of their lives — might be what is edging the platform ahead of social media mega-giants like Instagram. 

The relatability that TikTok’s short videos can afford might mean more to users who are sick of the photoshop that is often found on platforms like Instagram. Of course, this point doesn’t take into account the rampant filter use on TikTok, but the general argument stands: short-form content is more accessible and attracts more users. 

The success of short-form content might also be due to a demand for faster content in a fast-paced world. Not everyone has the time or the energy to watch longer videos when they have a need for entertainment. TikTok found a way to meet that need while showing users as much content as they could possibly digest in a sitting — which, with short-form content, is a lot. 

But that’s the success of TikTok. Let’s take a look at how other social media platforms have fared with the introduction of short video content.


A person taking a picture of someone else
Short-form content has taken over the internet lately. Its popularity originated on TikTok in late 2019 and has since bounced around to a variety of platforms such as Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. 

Instagram Reels 

Instagram Reels first launched in 2020 and saw almost immediate success. Reels is essentially the same idea as TikTok videos. Users can upload videos up to 90 seconds long that will loop continuously. 

Reels came not too long after Instagram stories (a direct copy of Snapchat stories) but has attracted a much wider audience to the platform. This is likely because stories can only be seen if users click on the creator’s profile whereas a content creator’s Reel can show up on any user’s explore page. 

Reels has seen the largest user base increase in India and Brazil, however, users in the United States flock to the platform as well. The short-video format also performs better when compared to other types of content on the app. Reels videos get much higher likes than regular Instagram videos and stories do, which can help creators boost their engagement. 

Instagram is projected to have over 2 billion monthly active users in 2023 thanks in part to the popularity of Reels, which all of these projected users will engage with at some point. 

So, it’s safe to say that short-form videos have been a major success for the platform. 

Youtube Shorts

The introduction of Youtube Shorts created another layer to the already wildly popular video platform. When Shorts debuted in 2021, the platform seemed to have a TikTok takedown in mind. However, the growth that Youtube has seen from the new addition to its platform is complicated. 

Some creators have become frustrated by the fact that Shorts are not as easy to deal with as TikTok. Videos in Youtube Shorts have also shown a controversial light onto Youtube for promoting videos some find harmful. While TikTok is quite tailored to a user’s specific preferences, Youtube Shorts seems to lag behind in pinpointing what its users want to see. As such, some are dissuaded from using the platform for short-video content for the potentially disturbing content they might see.

But while the dislike of Youtube Shorts has been strong amongst creators and viewers alike in the internet space, Shorts has still experienced immense popularity. Google reported that over Shorts receive over 50 billion daily views. Despite the controversy, the addition to Youtube’s platform seems to be doing pretty well. 

Pinterest introduced its Idea Pins in 2021. Idea Pins are an interesting combination of stories (popular on Snapchat and Instagram) and short-form video content. Idea Pins may show the next iteration of short-form content as it continues to evolve to suit user and creator needs. 

Pinterest Idea Pins

Pinterest is a social media platform that doesn’t get quite as much attention as its other counterparts. The platform launched in 2010 and was primarily a space for creatives to post and save images they found aesthetically pleasing. While largely similar to its initial purpose, the business has evolved to become an enormous ecommerce platform. 

The company makes much of its revenue from promoted pins, where users can purchase a product directly from the app based on an image they see and like. This strategy has worked well in the past, however, a decline in growth spelled a new direction for the company. 

Pinterest launched Idea Pins, which are a hybrid combination of Snapchat stories and Youtube videos. The company said that users were greatly enjoying Idea Pins, with early data reporting that Idea Pins had much more engagement than regular Pinterest posts. 

At the end of 2022, Pinterest reported an increase in users and revenue, which the company says is in part due to the popularity of Idea Pins on the platform. 

It looks like Pinterest is keeping up with the big social media player when it comes to maximizing short-form video content for growth and user increases. 

Whether you love it or hate it, short-form video content is here to stay — at least for now. The popularity of shorter videos that came to life on TikTok has spread to other mainstream social media platforms and helped increase their growth substantially as well. 

Short-form video content offers creators the chance to connect with their audience in a different and often more personal way. This type of content creation isn’t the only effective media marketing strategy, but it’s strength can’t be denied. If you haven’t begun incorporating short-form video content into your brand’s marketing strategy, you should definitely do so. Short-form videos seem to only get bigger and better.