Instagram Reels vs TikTok

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Which should you use?

Since everyone was stuck at home during the pandemic, the popularity of the social media platform TikTok has increased dramatically. In an attempt to keep up with evolving user preferences and trends, Instagram released the Reels feature of its platform, which is a short-form video tool which works in a similar way to TikTok. Because of the similarities, there is a growing rivalry between TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Depending on your business you may wish to market your brand in different ways, so we’re going to run you through the main differences between the two platforms to help you decide which is best for your business.

With the launch of Instagram’s Reels feature, the whole platform has shifted its focus from image-based to short-form content. The chief executive officer of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has recently made a public statement that Instagram is no longer a platform for image-sharing but instead, it is now a platform based on video-sharing.

What are the similarities between Reels and TikTok?

Instagram Reels and TikTok are the two leading short-form video platforms, both equipped with recording and editing tools. There are options to add music, voiceovers and sound effects, with the music being a key feature on both platforms, helping both rise to fame and create viral content.

Both apps feature a video stream, with a continuous stream of videos to scroll through and enjoy. This is similar to Facebook and Instagram’s setups, allowing the user to keep scrolling through a feed of content to look for new content and engage in a few simple taps.

Finally, both apps have a built-in shopping component which allows users to include links to online shops for consumers to purchase items featured in their videos. Reels make use of Instagram’s built-in shopping features, while TikTok has partnered with Shopify to bring this feature to life.

What are the differences between TikTok and Reels?

Before making comparisons between the two platforms, take some time to think about your company and its marketing goals, as there are some important differences between the two. Understanding your goals can help you to make the best decision for your business.

The first thing to consider is the audience you are trying to reach. Each platform has a slightly different demographic, so this question alone can greatly influence your decisions. For example, TikTok has a much younger demographic, with almost half of users estimated to be under the age of 30, and nearly a quarter of users under the age of 20. If you are trying to reach a purely young demographic, TikTok may be the platform for you.

If, on the other hand, you are looking toward a more diverse market, Reels may be a better choice. Almost half of all Reels users are between 25 and 44, with only a really small percentage of users under the age of 20. If your demographic is a more mature audience with more money to spend, Reels is a great option. However, if you are looking for organic brand development and an audience more centred on Gen Z, consider opting for TikTok.

Both platforms are great for video capture and editing, however, TikTok has a larger catalogue of effects and filters than Instagram. Instagram’s effects tend to lean more towards aesthetically pleasing and cleaner video footage, and although it has the capabilities to expand its options for filters, the available ones are more catered to the kind of content typically found on each platform. TikTok includes lots of effects aimed toward creative and funny content and also provides users with tools such as stitching, duets and reactions that give space for users to interact in a more varied way than just liking or commenting.

When talking about the music across the two platforms, it is important to point out straight away that the majority of the audio featured on Reels comes directly from TikTok videos. TikTok has a vast library of music as well as an option for users to make their own sounds, which can quickly start new trends as Gen Z latch onto new and emerging trends as fast as they can to increase viewers. The ability to create your own audio sounds has also been a great platform for independent and emerging musicians to earn recognition and build an audience.


On the whole, TikTok seems to be the most advanced and fast-paced platform for short-form content right now, but Instagram Reels can still be a great place to reach a slightly more mature audience and add more to your existing Instagram account.

It is also important to say that in order to reach the widest audience possible, make use of both platforms! Curating your content to work across a variety of different platforms can be wonderful for engaging your audience and reaching more traffic.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how to grow your brand, come along to our Elevate Summit this June!

Related Posts

Get the latest affiliate news to your inbox

Join 1000’s of digital marketers who want to keep up to date with Affiliate Marketing trends across all verticals. Sign up to our weekly Newsletter and stay updated with all our industry news, insights and interviews.

Partner Directory