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A guide to vertical video ads on TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Snap Spotlight

With the rise of TikTok and all its copycats, there are plenty of ad opportunities to keep up with. Here’s a quick guide to what’s available on each platform.

1. TikTok

The playing field: TikTok is the vertical video platform to beat, boasting 102.3 million US users this year, averaging 54 minutes per day on the platform, according to our forecast. Some 37% will make a purchase within the platform this year.

In-Feed Ads: Like a normal TikTok video, but sponsored, In-Feed Ads are the quintessential TikTok ad.

  • There are many ways to create In-Feed Ads, including building a campaign specifically to be an ad, crowdsourcing content from creators via Branded Mission, and turning organic content—either from a brand account or from creators with permission—into promoted ads via Spark Ads.
  • Collection Ads are also available in-feed, which allow users to explore products within a gallery.

TopView: These ads are the first content users see when opening the app.

Branded Effect: These are custom effects, such as AR filters, that are sponsored by a brand.

2. Instagram Reels

The playing field: Instagram will have 135.2 million US users this year, averaging 33 minutes per day on the platform, according to our forecast. Of those users, 35.3% will buy from the platform this year, but it’s unclear how many are using Reels.

Boosted Reels: This format is exactly what it sounds like—organic Reels that have been promoted to be sponsored, in-feed posts.

Ads Manager campaigns: Marketers can also push ads via Meta’s Ads Manager, making sure the content is placed within Instagram Reels.

3. YouTube Shorts

The playing field: Google said on a recent earnings call that more than 2 billion logged-in monthly users worldwide watch Shorts. It’s unclear how many of those users are actively engaged, but we forecast that 236.1 million people in the US will watch YouTube this year, averaging 49 minutes per day on the platform.

Video reach campaigns: This format already exists within the Google ecosystem, but the company only recently incorporated Shorts into Video reach campaigns. If you’re already using Video reach campaigns on YouTube, you can now include in-feed Shorts ads to the mix.

Video action campaigns: Similar to Video reach campaigns, this conversion-driving format has also been incorporated into Shorts.

App campaigns: These ads, focused on promoting app downloads, are also available in Shorts. TikTok offers a similar ad type, but it’s not yet available in the US.

4. Snap Spotlight

The playing field: Spotlight had 350 million monthly active users worldwide as of April, according to the company. We forecast Snapchat will have 91.7 million US users this year, averaging 30 minutes per day on the platform. It’s unclear how many of those users watch Spotlight.

New ads: Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced at NewFronts that it would open up Spotlight ads. These have been in testing for over a year, and are created via Snapchat Ads Manager.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.