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TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business?

TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business?

If you ever have thought recently that you are looking to switch between Instagram and TikTok, then you may follow many people's minds doing the switch from Instagram to TikTok but not the other way around. In this article, we are going to discover if this is the right path to advertise your business in 2024 or a delusion. We break down the pros and cons of both platforms and why would you choose one or the other, which you can decide based on our tips.

How TikTok Works: Pros and Cons

TikTok is a much newer app than Instagram, and during the pandemic period, we have seen TikTok completely steam ahead with the userbase growth purely because people are spending a lot more time online and also spending a lot more time on their phones.

TikTok’s algorithm also features a content graph, which means that let’s say you only have 20 followers on this platform, if one of your videos does really well in terms of viewer engagement, then you have a big chance to go viral on the platform. This essentially means that TikTok is showing your videos to a much larger user base despite you only having 20 followers. And that means, that a lot of times your content can go viral very quickly on this platform if used in the right way.

Production Value and Audience Reach

TikTok videos are fairly low in production value, which means that anyone with a smartphone can really just use the app to create videos within minutes to half an hour, depending on how much you want to polish or edit them. However, that also means that the competition is higher with regards to showing your videos on the platform. Therefore, you should be looking at things like trending sounds, and using the right tags on your videos to make sure you are reaching the right audiences. TikTok provides a list of extensive tools to make your video even more engaging than it can be.

Audience Demography on TikTok

TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business? — Photo №1

TikTok users on the platform are much younger in demographic. Mainly in the 24-year-old or younger age group in the Gen-Z group. According to a study by TikTok themselves they’ve indicated that over 25% of users in the Gen-Z group have expressed an interest in either researching or buying a product after they’ve seen a TikTok Ad or a video. That means that for businesses looking to increase brand awareness and also drive revenue within that generation, it makes sense to spend some time creating a business profile and content on this platform.

What are TikTok Business Ads?

As for the ads specifically, there is TikTok Business Manager – a platform provided by TikTok that allows businesses to manage their advertising campaigns and analytics on the TikTok platform. This TikTok ads manager provides tools for creating and managing ads, targeting specific audiences, tracking campaign performance, and accessing insights and analytics to optimize marketing strategies. Through TikTok Business Manager, businesses can effectively reach their target audiences and advertise TikTok products or services on the TikTok app.

What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram has a lot more robust features and capabilities and also content formats than TikTok. For example, you can share things like Instagram in-feed posts, which include carousels, photos, and videos. You can also be sharing Reels which are essentially very similar to TikTok – the vertical videos that you are seeing while scrolling down Reels feed. You can also go live on Instagram and interact with your audience, talking about a specific topic or a special event. You can also promote your content with Instagram Stories, the content type that disappears within 24 hours and is meant to show “behind-the-scenes”, which may greatly improve the value of your main content types. This combination gives your audience a 360-degree view of who you are as a brand.

Online and Demography

TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business? — Photo №2

In terms of overall audiences, Instagram has 2 million active monthly users vs 1 million for TikTok. This means that you get a higher reach on Instagram overall. The demographic on Instagram skews towards a little bit older side of Gen-Z: 24 and slightly older age group. Besides, Instagram is more popular with millennials and even older groups compared to TikTok.

So if you target a slightly older generation, Instagram is a much better place to be.

Ad Creation Instagram

According to Instagram, over 50% of users have expressed an interest or researching a product after they’ve seen Instagram Reels Ads on the platform. Additionally, if you have an online store, Instagram offers a shoppable feed that people can click on on your posts to shop for that item. Or, alternatively, even in-app checkout processes make the entire buying process a lot more easier and seamless, which turns out a higher conversion rate over time on your product sales. Analytics on Instagram also provide valuable insights into see in-depth data behind your content and how well you advertise Instagram Reels.

Experiment: TikTok Ads Vs.Instagram Reels

TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business? — Photo №3

In the inaugural case study pitting TikTok against Instagram Reels, ads were aired simultaneously on both platforms from September 14 to October 5, 2021. Each featured a 15-second product showcase and ad text, targeting 25 to 44-year-old Americans interested in education, technology, or apps. Despite boasting 5.5k Instagram followers, the TikTok page was nascent.

Initially favoring TikTok, the team anticipated Instagram's lag due to mixed user sentiments. Surprisingly, Instagram Reels eclipsed TikTok in reach, clicks, and impressions. With identical budgets and frequency limits, Reels doubled TikTok's reach and tripled its impressions, at $2.60 and $5.03 respectively per 1,000 views. The age demographic possibly played a role. Despite failing to convert, both ads garnered the most impressions from California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

Despite TikTok's allure, investing in Instagram Reels content creation remains prudent.

Second Iteration of TikTok vs Instagram

In the second TikTok versus Instagram Reels trial, a tailored strategy involved creating a native video ad specifically for TikTok's For You Page. The TikTok account, older by a year, aimed to match the established Instagram page. Identical 19-second video ads ran on both platforms from January 18 to February 7, 2022, targeting 25 to 44-year-old Americans, with matching budgets, text, and a frequency cap of 1 impression every 2 days. The goal? Elevating TikTok's performance over Instagram Reels.

Results showed a more balanced outcome than before. TikTok outperformed Instagram Reels in reach and impressions, with a lower cost per 1,000 views. However, Instagram Reels excelled in clicks, though both garnered more clicks overall compared to the initial trial. The target demographic's impact was minimal, indicating significant TikTok exposure despite its younger audience. Top states yielding impressions remained consistent across platforms: California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Ohio.

Using a native ad underscored the importance of tailored content for platform success, with variable performance highlighting the need for differentiation between Instagram Reels and TikTok. Additionally, native ads can reduce costs, offering hope for budget-conscious marketers. Ultimately, determining a clear winner proved challenging, showcasing the platform-dependent nature of advertising success.

TikTok Ads Vs. Instagram Reels: Outcome

TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels: Which Platform is Best to Advertise Your Business? — Photo №4

Now, that we have talked about both platforms which one is right for you? There is no straight answer to recommend one over another because it depends on many factors, starting from your content creation routine and advertisement plans, and going to the audience demography you want to reach.

Instagram offers more creative freedom when it comes to a content format that you can use with its combination of Reels, Stories, and Feed Posts, which can drive more interest and intimate connection between your brand and your audience. Besides, it covers more age groups than TikTok.

On the other hand, TikTok is better if you are going to reach younger audiences and don’t want to spend much time on production.

Each platform has its uniqueness and you are to choose which one benefits you more or less.



IT entrepreneur and co-founder of VJump. His passion is travel photography, within which, he has already visited 75 countries. Photos taken during his travels are actively posted on his social networks. For example, his Instagram account has more than 1 million followers.
In addition, his documentary short film Terra del Fuego was awarded more than 30 international awards and certificates at film festivals worldwide.

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