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Imagine for a moment that people stopped scrolling whenever they saw your ads

That would be just amazing, right?

…we can almost bet you pictured it happening

Well, video content can make that happen for you.

There are several ways to create such compelling content, but then comes the question: 

How long should the video be and where should it be uploaded? 

Two popular platforms marketers love are Instagram Reels and TikTok.

While they have some similarities, they are different platforms. 

The main difference between TikTok videos and Instagram Reels is that they attract diverse audiences and serve different purposes.

In this guide, you will find a complete comparison between them.

To be more specific, we will explain:

  • What both platforms are
  • How they differ
  • Why you should create content for IG Reels and TikTok

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of 27 July 2022.

Table of Contents

What Are Instagram Reels?

What Is TikTok?

Comparison Point #1: Algorithm

Comparison Point #2: Demographics

Comparison Point #3: Advertising

Comparison Point #4: Video Editing Capabilities

Comparison Point #5: Video Specs

Comparison Point #6: Music and Sound Options

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are vertical videos where Instagram users can express themselves or showcase their brands. 

According to Instagram, they can be used to educate and market your brand in a creative way

screenshot of multiple Instagram Reels

It allows users to create videos of up to 60 seconds using songs from their music library.

 It’s Instagram’s way of getting people to jump on trends in their online community.

Are Reels different Instagram Stories?

Yes, they are. 

One main difference between Reels and Stories, among many others, is duration

Instagram stories let you share a different moment of your day or information you want people to know about for 24 hours only. 

Reels, on the other hand, have to do with content creation and can still be viewed under your reels tab. 

Reels content stays on your profile grid, but Stories eventually disappear. 

You can either upload a video to be posted as reel content or create one in-app if you’ve got an Instagram account. 

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-sharing platform that allows users to create and share short-form video content with their audience

It used to be known as Musical.ly and only supported the creation of 15-second lip-syncing videos. 

It’s different now though as users can create videos that last up to 60 seconds that are shown on the For You Page (FYP).

screenshot of multiple TikTok videos

More recently, videos of up to 10 minutes can be uploaded to TikTok.

There are several features that can be found on this platform such as: 

  • Video editing: TikTok allows users to create and edit videos on the app. In other words, they can record, duet, react, check playback speed, choose a song to match the video, choose a background, select a filter, and more.
  • Video uploading: Users can either create videos on another app or upload them to their community on TikTok. 
  • Social sharing: You can save videos you enjoyed and share them on other social media platforms. 
  • Get Notified: See who visited your profile and liked or commented on your video.

TikTok has over 1 billion active users and has all sorts of popular videos including skits and memes, hashtag challenges, unboxing videos, explainer videos, product showcases, and more.

People get shown video content based on their interests and likes.

Comparison Point #1: Algorithm

What makes both tools different even though they are similar?

There are several reasons and the first one we look at is the algorithm of both platforms

The algorithm in this context refers to the way decisions are made on what users should see next.

Instagram Algorithm 

Reels on Instagram are shown on the Reels Tab or Explore page—just to the right of your home page.

screenshot of Instagram's Reel Tab

So, how does Instagram determine which Reel should be on a user’s Explore page?

We’ve been able to figure out factors that contribute to when and how Reels appear. 

  • Relationship: You can also call it user interaction. Whichever you prefer, Instagram serves up Reel content from people you’ve interacted with in the past. Perhaps by commenting or tagging. 

This doesn’t mean there won’t be content from other users.

  • Interest: They also keep track of what users like and bring up similar posts. The algorithm analyses the audio, frames, and pixels of these videos. 

In other words, if you constantly watch short American Got Talent clips, you will see more videos like that.  

  • Follower count: Popularity is another factor that the algorithm considers. 

The reason is simple: people with a large following are thought to have quality content so Instagram rewards them with more reach.  

TikTok Algorithm

TikTok uses an AI-powered algorithm that recommends content based on users’ ever-changing preferences

What does “ever-changing” mean?

It means you not only get to see the content you love watching. 

As your interest or preference changes you start seeing more videos related to them.  

The algorithm predicts what videos users might like by: 

  • Tracking users’ interactions: This means how users behave on TikTok. The algorithm considers likes, shares, accounts followed, comments posted, content created, favorite videos, and more.  
  • Scanning video information: Data such as hashtags, sounds, and captions play a part in helping TikTok understand what content to bring to users’ feeds. 

It’s more like it learns what the content is about from that information. 

  • Checking device and account settings: The type of device you use, where you’re located, preferred language, and category selection help in determining what is on the For You page. 

This analysis results in a personalized “For You” page for each user. 

Comparison Point #2: Demographics

Demographics is a fancy way of saying the audience

It refers to characteristics of a population which include their location, age, purchasing power, gender, and more. 

While it might seem that both platforms have millions of people using them, Instagram and TikTok appeal to different audiences. 

Instagram Demographics

Specific demographics for Instagram Reels are currently unavailable so we will look at Instagram as a social media platform. 

There are about 1 billion active Instagram users in the world. 

Of that amount, 17.1% of them are males and 14.6% are females, between the ages of 25-34.

That means 31% of Instagram’s global audience falls between that age bracket. 

Also, two-thirds of their audience is about 35 years old and below. 

In other words, Instagram’s main audience is millennials.

That’s not to say Gen Zs aren’t active on this social media channel.

Statistics show that over 30% of IG users are aged 18-24.

How about TikTok?

TikTok Demographics

TikTok, on the other hand, attracts Generation Z and younger millennials

It’s where the youngsters wanna be. 🤭

In September 2021, TikTok reported 1 billion active users globally which was a massive increase from only 689 million in the previous year.

Here’s where it gets interesting: 53% of that number are aged between 18-24 years. 

In addition, TikTok’s user base is quite devoted as statistics show that the average user in April 2021 spent over 10 hours per week on the platform.  

At the same time, this doesn’t imply older millennials don’t have fun on TikTok. 

Let’s move on to the comparison point.

Comparison Point #3: Advertising

Marketers reading this would have been looking forward to this section. 

Which social media platform brings in more return on ad spend (ROAS), traffic, leads, or sales? 

It’s only right that you wanna know which interface would be profitable to your brand

Instagram Reels

Advertising on Instagram Reels provides a more traditional, shoppable feel—just like ads in IG stories. 

Ads on IG Reels feature: 

  • Full screen and vertical format 
  • Appearances between Reels 
  • Up to 30 seconds and can loop
  • Audience engagement
  • Appearances on places with access to Reels content

Furthermore, users can shop directly from the ad and since it’s naturally placed, it feels like a normal post. 

Brands can also leverage influencer marketing to promote their content or product with influencers adding tags to their posts. 

The kind of content that works for Instagram Reels has to be refined and of high quality

You may also need to know how much content creators cost as an option to consider.

Speaking of costs, the average cost per click ranges between $0.04 and $0.07 and up to $2.50 to $3.50 for costs per thousand impressions. 

TikTok

TikTok lays more emphasis on user-generated content for your campaigns. 

Brands get to include TikTok ads and sponsored content in their campaigns. TikTok advertisements are usually customized to each user’s preference

In other words, they get to see ads based on what they’ve shown interest in before.

TikTok offers brands different types of ads including: 

  • In-feed ads
  • Brand takeovers
  • TopView
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges
  • Branded effects

Advertising on TikTok doesn’t always seem like it because adverts are usually genuine and authentic. 

It’s easy for people to relate and connect with them.

Running ads would cost you around $0.03 per click and $0.05 for app downloads.

Comparison Point #4: Video Editing Capabilities

Another way both platforms differ is in terms of editing ability

Users can record and upload videos directly on both platforms, but which of them does a better editing job?

Let’s see!

Instagram Reels

First, remember that Reels is only a feature on Instagram and as such, will have limited functionality.

Users are allowed to create short videos in-app. They get to: 

  • Use copyrighted music in Instagram’s music library
  • Add effects such as emotions and speed-up motion
  • Choose a video layout
  • Set timer and speed
  • Choose your preferred thumbnail for the video

screnshot of Instagram Reels layout

Instagram Reels lacks some necessary features you might need when editing videos. 

TikTok

TikTok is a stand-alone app where people can create and share videos. As such, it has more editing tools. 

screenshot of TikTok's video layout

Users can create videos using Camera, Story, or Templates on the app.

On Camera and Story, they can:

  • Add sounds from the music library
  • Set timer or speed
  • Select a filter
  • Enhance their face 
  • Choose the duration of the video
  • Create a video to reply to someone’s post

With Templates, users get to add photos and add suitable music to them.  

All the features are powered by artificial intelligence, which simplifies video creation.  

Comparison Point #5: Video Specs

Most times, people are more concerned with the quality of their video content and while that’s crucial, the dimensions of the content also matter. 

Why?

It can influence how your profile looks and has an important role to play in grabbing people’s attention. 

Instagram Reels

Videos on IG Reels are made to be seen vertically, full-screen, and most importantly, on mobile. 

So, content made for Reels needs to be within the 9:16 aspect ratio along with a 1080 x 1920 pixels size.

screenshot of influencer's Instagram Reel

If possible, videos can be shot on mobile so that spec is maintained. 

Other important details include:

  • Video length is 0 to 60 seconds with a maximum file size of 4 GB.
  • The file type can either be in .mp4 or .mov format.
  • Recommended number of characters is 72.

TikTok

TikTok is a little flexible when it comes to how videos should look. In other words, you can decide to go for vertical videos (which works best) or horizontal videos. 

The required aspect ratio is 9:16 and the dimension is also 1080 x 1920 pixels size.

screenshot of befor and after tiktok post

TikTok’s maximum video size is 287.6MB and 500 MB for TikTok video ads.

Other specifications include:

  • File format (normal video): .mp4 or .mov
  • File format (adl video): .avi or .gif
  • Video length: Three minutes 

Comparison Point #6: Music and Sound Options

Our comparisons would be incomplete if music was missing. 

Sound is an important part of your social media marketing campaign, especially on TikTok.

88% of TikTok users said sound is essential to the experience. 

Let’s compare!

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels have a good variety of audio options, but they have stricter copyright laws as many of them are based on artists sharing their work.

Business accounts are prohibited from using copyrighted music.

More specifically, you can create a Reel with: 

  • Your original audio 
  • Original audio by another creator  
  • Music from the sound library

However, if you want to use original audio from a feed video, you'll need to remix it.

TikTok

Users have more music options on TikTok aside from the charts.

Regular users come up with new sounds that sometimes go viral. Other users then jump on these trends to grow their online community.

In other words, audio or music on TikTok has a crucial role to play in growing a personal or even business account.

So, which platform should you use?

We’ll answer that in the next section.

TikTok vs. IG Reels: 5 Reasons Why You Should Create Both Types of Content

TikTok videos and IG Reels have many things in common, but they are two different types of social media content.

If you want to boost your marketing efforts and improve your brand awareness, we highly suggest you leverage them both in your strategy.

Not convinced yet? 

Let’s show you five reasons to create diverse video content for TikTok and Instagram.

Reason #1: Reach a wider audience

Some of your prospective customers use Instagram—others use TikTok. 

If you create content for only one of these platforms, you will reach only a portion of your target audience.

To increase reach and engagement, you should consider creating both types of content: TikTok videos and Instagram Reels

It will allow you to improve your brand’s visibility—particularly to a younger audience.  

Reason #2: Express your creative side

TikTok and Instagram offer different editing features and require you to record videos of different lengths. 

It means that if you have a great content idea, you will need to find multiple ways to bring it to life to make it work on these two platforms. 

Simply put, it’s your chance to express your creativity and present your brand in the most favorable light.

Reason #3: Create diverse content

Whether you target teenagers, plant lovers, yogis, or fashionistas, you need to create diverse content to keep the engagement rate high. 

You need to use TikTok videos and IG reels to entertain and educate your followers and encourage interactions.  

For instance, if your prospective customers are college students, you can mix fun TikTok videos with cool sound effects and educational tips to create informative content to help them pass the exam.

Reason #4: Make your videos go viral

The two video platforms leverage different algorithms to identify trending content, and you can use it to your advantage.

Do you have a brilliant video idea? Create both a TikTok video and IG Reel. The chances are your piece of content will go viral on one of these two platforms.

Reason #5: Collaborate with more creators and influencers

Depending on the eCommerce niche you work in, it might be challenging for you to find an influencer to collaborate with.

Let’s say you sell a unique product—food for a specific dog breed, Alaskan Malamute. 

That’s a limited target audience. 

In this case, if you want to advertise your product on social media, you need to find an influencer who has a dog of this breed.

If you limit your search to only one platform—TikTok OR Instagram—you will likely fail to find a suitable influencer. 

What should be your next step?

Well, you can consider a collaboration with TikTokers and Instagramers to maximize your marketing efforts.

Let’s tie things up here!

Now Over to You

It’s a wrap!

As you can see, there’s no point in joining this ongoing Instagram Reels vs TikTok battle.

Instead, you can leverage both platforms to increase your brand’s awareness and grow your online community. 

Sounds like a good plan, right?

Now, just in case you need more resources like this to help you make better decisions, head over to our website for useful content. 

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