Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Which Platform Is Better for Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Which Platform Is Better for Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

TikTok has been booming since the lockdown in 2020, and its appeal lies in the virality of its content. You could be watching a Korean girl group dancing from the comfort of your home in Argentina or getting cleaning tips for your house in California from some guy in Australia. This social network allows content to blow up way faster than other platforms.

In the aftermath of TikTok’s global success, Meta needed to catch up in the viral content race. After being unable to acquire the app, they launched Reels on Instagram and soon adopted the same content linked to Facebook. 

But which platform is better–Tiktok or Instagram reels? Are they the same? To answer these questions, let's get to know them a little bit more and compare them.

Reels and How IG Users Received Them

When Reels were first introduced, Instagram's algorithm started showing fewer pictures on the Explore page, prioritizing the new short video format and forcing businesses to dive into this new leg of content creation. This caused controversy because people were annoyed that they could not see photos as they had before, especially that of their loved ones.

In 2022, Tati Bruening created a petition called "Make Instagram Instagram Again" to complain to Instagram, saying people wanted to see pictures, not videos, since the app was created for photo-sharing initially. Over 300,000 people signed it.

Instagram addressed these complaints at the beginning of this year, releasing new updates for the app's algorithm. The latest update for 2023 promised to give equal exposure to videos and still photos, recognizing they went a bit too far with the focus they gave to Reels during the past year.

After six months of this algorithm adjustment, static and motion content are displayed in an egalitarian way. Instead of forcing reels into people's faces, the app analyses how often each user interacts with photos or videos. Then, it decides how much to show each individual.

Source: Shutterstock

TikTok Algorithm: How does viral work?

If you're on this platform, you might have seen people commenting, "TikTok just got too personal." It's not just a feeling. The app's algorithm is designed to understand your content preferences, state of mind, and mood.

TikTok's For You Page (FYP) reflects users' preferences and ranks videos based on interactions, video information, preferred language(s), location and device type. It even adjusts content to what people would rather avoid.

TikTok also divides content into groups or subcultures. You've probably also heard: "I ended up on the wrong side of TikTok," "I made it to gymnastics TikTok," "I want to go to the LGBT/Kpop/Makeup side of TikTok," and so on. It isn't just a user concept; it's how the app segments people within their interests. You might belong to one or more subgroups and have yet to notice!

Although this advanced preference system might sound like the best idea for a smoother and more satisfactory user experience on the app, it has also raised flags in America regarding cybersecurity and data privacy. TikTok collects information such as phone hardware (CPU type, hardware IDs, screen dimensions, memory usage), all apps (installed and deleted), network IP, Wifi access point name, device software status, location and residential proxies, highlighting concerns about the potential impact on user privacy.

Source: Shutterstock

TikTok vs. Instagram Reels: Differences and Similarities

Let us discuss some of the key differences and similarities between TikTok and Instagram reels. Take a look at the information provided below:

User Preferences Features

  • People can mark TikToks as "favourites" or "not interested" and save videos into their personal collections.
  • Instagram allows users to share reels to their stories, save them and create shared collections with friends.


  • TikToks can last up to 10 minutes.
  • The maximum duration for Reels is 3 minutes.
  • While Instagram's Reels are trying to compete with TikTok, TikTok is now launching longer formats and live streaming, similar to YouTube or Twitch.

Editing Features

  • When creating Reels directly from Instagram, you can draw, edit speed, and add transitions, filters, stickers, audio, subtitles and even AR effects.
  • TikTok offers the advantage of exclusively having the top trending filters on its platform, plus GIPHY in Green Screen, visual enhancement, and effects for voice recording and original audio, along with the traditional video trimming, syncing, effects, filters, captions and voiceover.
  • Audios on TikTok are more user-generated and feature trending music.
  • Due to their copyright policies, Instagram has more control over using existing music to create Reels.

Source: Shutterstock

Content Type

  • Reels are often used to create more aesthetic-looking or film-like videos. More lifestyle and romanticized videos are designed and seen on Instagram since the app has always had that vibe of aspiring for beauty.
  • You'll find more artistic, experimental, fun, and "authentic" content on TikTok. People hop on the latest updates related to the topics of their interest on a green screen, use trending audio while creating impressive makeup looks, show their audience what a day in their life is like, tell horror stories, get ready (or unready) and many other things that resemble a more day-to-day life.

Analytics For Creators

  • Reels analytics include views, interactions, reach, likes, comments and saves.
  • TikTok provides profile overview analytics (amount of plays on videos during a period and profile visits), follower insights and detailed content insights such as views, number of shares, time spent watching each video, traffic source and type.

Audience Age Range

  • According to Statista, TikTok users are between 18 and 24 years old. If your business targets young audiences, you should advertise your products on social media. You need to build a following base and grow with video formats such as try-on hauls or product reviews; this is the best place to start.
  • On the other hand, Instagram has a broader audience. While most users are between 18 and 24, with 30.8%, people from 24 to 34 years old are very close to the top, with 30.3% of the platform's audience, indicating that this platform is more versatile for target audiences and is suitable for products or services meant for more expansive age range groups.

Source: Shutterstock

So…which one should you pick?

Both of these social networks are great for digital marketing and social media strategies. The decision on which one to choose should be based on your brand's characteristics, target audience, and the type of content you want to produce. Hopefully, with the information you now have of both, you should be able to tell which one suits your business best!

If you can’t decide, you could also go for both. They are very different, contrary to the common belief that one is a copycat of the other. But if you choose both, don't make the common mistake of recycling TikToks and posting them as Reels or vice versa. Doing this could cause your content to be less discoverable, even for your existing follower base. Plus, users will not see any value in following you on both accounts if you post the same content.

Reels and TikToks work differently in their own unique. Take advantage of their features to grow your brand, business and online community! 


Optimize your digital marketing strategy with Techwyse Internet Marketing! We are backed by a fully trained and certified team that is ready to meet and exceed your needs. We offer a comprehensive range of services for small and medium-sized businesses, including strategy and consultation, SEO, Paid Media, social media management and more. To get started, call (416)-410-7090 or contact us here.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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