TikTok, established in 2016, has become one of the most popular social media apps in the UK. TikTok saw a significant increase in popularity during the Coronavirus lockdowns in the United Kingdom, with a user growth of 44% amongst 15-25 year olds. The app provided many hours of entertainment through short, informal videos that users can scroll through continuously, without running out of content to consume.
Instagram, originally used as an image sharing app, has recently begun pushing more video content. In 2020, they introduced their “Reels” feature, allowing users to create, share and watch short videos by creators outside of who they currently follow, as well as those that they do.. Sound familiar?
Some people assume that Instagram Reels are simply a carbon-copy of TikTok. However, there are many differences between the two to consider when using the platforms for marketing purposes.
Why use TikTok?
- More effective targeting
TikTok videos are more likely to reach those who are genuinely interested in your specific content. The algorithm considers factors such as the videos people first viewed, liked, commented on. The ‘For You’ page pulls up clips relating to a viewer's pre-existing interests.
Reels do have a chance of appearing on Instagram’s explore tab, but there is no set algorithm to ensure a video is featured and who may see it. Therefore, they may be less effective if a brand is reaching out to a niche audience.
- To reach a younger audience
Gen Z are the prominent generation on TikTok, whereas Instagram is more popular with Millennials. Depending on the nature of your business, TikTok may be better suited for younger target audiences.
- More engagement
On average, engagement on TikTok videos is considerably higher than on Instagram Reels. This is likely as a result of the personalised algorithm reaching audiences that are more interested in the content being put out.
- Quick and casual content
If your brand’s messaging is more casual and laid-back, TikTok may be for you. Accounts usually post a high quantity of quick, current, to-the-point clips. On the other hand, Reels are usually more planned and edited, taking more time and thought.
Why use Instagram Reels?
- To reach a wider audience
Reels are more likely to be seen as Instagram remains a much larger platform than TikTok. As of May 2022, 34.6 million people in the UK are active on Instagram, as opposed to around 8.9 million on TikTok. Likewise, if you already have a strong following on Instagram, you can strengthen that with your Reels content.
- Reels can coincide with other content
It could be argued that TikTok is quite restrictive as short-form videos are the only available content. Instagram Reels can work alongside image posts, stories and IGTV, giving a more well-rounded feel to a brand.
- More polished, mature, and aesthetically pleasing content
Reels can benefit companies wanting to convey a more professional image as they are usually more structured and heavily edited. There is a higher expectation for Reels to be well-presented, whereas TikTok has more of an “anything goes” attitude.
Which app suits my business?
The battle of short-form video platforms poses a question to many businesses; which should I be using? In short, there is no right answer as there are pros and cons to both. Of course, many businesses opt to utilise both, however, content should be amended to appeal to the individual audiences taking the list above into account.
Would you like to explore TikTok or Reels to optimise your online presence?