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Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Which should you be using?

Instagram reels vs tiktok


The fight for short-form video dominance. Short-format videos have taken the world by storm, as seen with Meta Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok videos. Instagram Reels and TikTok are the most popular of the giants to compete with each other. 

The Madcraft team has provided insights on both platforms to help you better understand which platform suits your business better.

TikTok, an entertainment platform, is the world’s third-largest social platform, behind Meta’s Facebook and Instagram. TikTok’s exponential growth saw it become the most downloaded app worldwide, surpassing 3.5 billion downloads worldwide on Google Play and Apple App Store. 

Instagram Reels by Meta were introduced to contend with TikTok. As of 2022, Meta has acknowledged that Reels is the “fastest-growing content format” on their platforms and is currently injecting investment of up to $1 billion into the Reels. 

Both platforms provide excellent opportunities for marketing to customers. But which one is right for you and your business? Read on to see what our social media experts at Madcraft believe to be the best format for your business and goals. 

Instagram ads on mobile phone screen

Instagram Reels Ads

Instagram ads have been and continue to be highly effective for brands to build and maintain brand awareness and also generate sales. The introduction of the Reel creative format has allowed advertisers to get involved in the growing popularity trend of short video content on well-developed pages. A key benefit of using Instagram ad placement is that the ad interface is run through the Meta Business suite. This provides a huge opportunity for marketers who may already have experience with running Facebook Ads, making it easier to shift over and adapt to the Instagram Ad format. 

Instagram Reel Ads have evidently generated a higher revenue than its competitor, TikTok. In fact, Instagram Reels ads outperformed the TikTok ads in all aspects, including reach, costs per click and conversions. This may be due to Instagram’s counterpart Facebook and the ad setup options you have as an advertiser to target audiences, interests, and demographics. 

The ongoing investment into Reels by Meta also presents the opportunity for a better return in ad spend (ROAS) for your business. Ad revenue that is generated from Reels will be split between content creators at 55% and 45% with Meta. This is likely to attract a mass of content creators to the Meta platforms – which your business can take advantage of – as the more content creators available, the more original content being produced and a better return on investment. 

If you’re a high-end, luxury or service-led business then the creative production for Instagram Reels and ads may suit the brand tone better. The platform is known for its polished and ‘aesthetic’ content, so it can be more expensive to produce higher-quality ads than TikTok user-generated content ads.  For this reason, Instagram ads do require more work to create. Unlike TikTok, where trends are based on sounds, the Instagram music library is more restricted due to strict copyright regulations. Bear this in mind when producing content for your brand to ensure your ads don’t get restricted or turned off. 

Be warned that if you have a fantastic performing video on TikTok that you want to bring over to Instagram that you will need to post it natively to the app. This means that by cross-posting or repurposing your TikTok content on Reels, Meta algorithms detect and downgrade content with a TikTok watermark when uploaded to their Reels. To avoid this, you will have to restructure your content for Instagram ad Reels, essentially ensuring that it is original content which can require more work and time.

Tiktok ads on laptop

TikTok Ads

Taking advantage of setting up a TikTok account and posting videos will help your brand reach new potential customers on the app. 

Although TikTok started with a majority younger audience of 18-24 years old, the demographics have expanded to a wide range of ages in the last year.  

While Instagram Ads have a higher conversion rate, another experiment showed that TikTok did a better job of delivering content to a broader audience. On TikTok anything could go viral – the platform doesn’t only show you content from the people you follow, it also shows you similar content from all over the globe. This gives your business a great opportunity for brand awareness to reach a larger base of potential customers.

TikTok videos are more authentic and less polished content which means creating content on the platform is inexpensive – all you need is a smartphone. TikTok ads are heavily based on user-generated content where content creators are more personal, trying to connect with a community rather than push a sale. A key difference between Instagram and TikTok is that your content creator doesn’t need to be famous or have a large following. Thanks to the algorithm and the for you page TikTok users are used to seeing normal people talking about everything. One of the largest and longest-running trends on the app is #tiktokmademebuyit where users show the products they bought off the recommendation or an ad seen on TikTok and give an honest review. 

As TikTok is an entertainment platform, marketers must be more creative when producing Ad content. When creating TikTok content, marketers need to consider the industry they’re in, the product or service they are trying to promote, and how creative you’re going to get – TikTok has a wide range of effects that can make your video content creation within a few minutes.

Our top tips for producing TikTok content:

  1. Think of the story first
  2. Why are you unique
  3. What problem are you solving?

TikTok has a more accessible library than Instagram – meaning your brand can incorporate viral trending sounds or songs into your content. This can benefit your business as adding trending sounds to your video content can help gain a mass of views. While the music library is larger on TikTok copyright restrictions apply to business accounts – where some music is unavailable for commercial use.

Instagram or TikTok - which platform is better for your business?

When deciding which platform to use consider the following:

  • What product or service are you selling 
  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What goal are you trying to achieve (sales, traffic, brand awareness)? 

At Madcraft, we have specialists in Meta (Facebook and Instagram) ads as well as TikTok Ads, so you can achieve your business goals on both major platforms catering to different groups of your audience while also linking your video campaigns to business goals.

Key points

  • Instagram Reels ads outperformed the TikTok ads in all aspects including reach, costs per click, and conversions.
  • Repurposing your TikTok content on Reels that already has a TikTok watermark will result in Meta downgrading that content. This is a move Meta has rolled out to reduce the amount of TikTok on its platforms. 
  • TikTok does better to deliver content to a broader audience than Reels – you have a greater chance of gaining traction on TikTok.

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