Beginner Guide

Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Which is the best short-form video platform?

Trying to decide between Instagram Reels vs TikTok?

You’re not alone — brands are moving to bite-sized video content right now.

Food for thought: A staggering 89% of marketers plan to increase (or maintain) their investment in short-form video in 2022.

This is because short videos are the perfect way to increase brand awareness and educate customers without losing their attention.

But the content on Reels and Tiktok is completely different from everything you need on social media. If you don’t quite “get it”, we can help!

In this guide, we’ll break down these two major short-form social platforms, including the similarities, differences, and best practices for both.

What is TikTok anyway?

With over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is growing rapidly The hub of short-form videos on social media.

Trademark of Tiktok? Loud Looping Videos that you share with your friends.

The platform is infamous for off-the-cuff video content that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unlike other social networks where videos can be carefully edited, unpolished and organic content performs best on TikTok.

Here is a quick rundown of the types of videos that are popular on TikTok:

  • hashtag challenges
  • skits and memes
  • Product Showcase, Reviews & Recommendations
  • How-To’s & Tutorials
  • explanatory video

Whatever be the reputation of Tiktok But Like business, the platform is rightly attracting interest from brands. Product-focused posts and recommendations dominate the platform.

This indicates a huge window of opportunity for marketers and advertisers. Actually, 84% of marketers are increasing their spending on Tiktok.

Good News? All of the above content types are completely fair game for brands. TikTok’s emphasis on community and sharing empowers brands to build relationships with customers as well as showcase products in action.

For example, brands like Your Skincare have built an organic and advertising presence on TikTok that focuses around skincare tips, product showcases, and explanatory videos that break down beauty product content.

your tiktok feed
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With fast editing, voice-overs and in-app music, these videos seamlessly blend entertainment value with education. It not only empowers brands to showcase what they are selling but also shines their brand voice.

your tiktok post
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If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the platform, check out our quick guide to TikTok.

What are Instagram Reels?

Released in 2020, Reels represents Instagram’s response to TikTok re: short-form videos.

This is how the “Reels vs TikTok” narrative comes from. Reel shares many similar features and functions of TikTok, which is why the two platforms are often considered interchangeable when it comes to video content.

Recent Instagram statistics show that reels are among the most popular features of the platform. With stories, carousels and even longer-playing videos, reels releases allow brands on Instagram to cover all their bases in terms of visual content.

While TikTok relies heavily on trends, videos on reels tend to resemble more “traditional” video content that is simply styled to fit the vertical format.

In the early days of reels, many brands used to cross-post content directly from TikTok. This changed rapidly when Instagram announced that their algorithm would remove TikTok watermarked content. Not only has this reduced direct cross-posting, but it has encouraged brands to re-think what they should be doing with massive reels.

Popular among ecommerce brands, reels are commonly used for:

  • Show products in action
  • Highlight collaborators and influencers
  • Promote announcements (eg product launches and drops)

See the Stitch Fix Reels tab for reference. Note the combination of seemingly “organic” content compared to more traditional videos with stylized text and backgrounds.

The videos themselves aren’t all that different from what you can see on TikTok in terms of visuals and music (though they’re arguably a bit more polished).

Think of Reels as an extension of your existing Instagram presence, where your brand can be discovered through native search of Instagram or through the Reels tab on any profile beyond your feed.

This is where TikTok differs as their content is discovered primarily through your “For You” page (FYP).

To learn more, check out our analysis of how Instagram reels work.

Instagram Reel vs TikTok: Features and Features Comparison

The Reels vs TikTok battle seems like a similar matchup, as both the platforms encourage short-form video content.

He said, they are far from that.

Let us dig deeper into the similarities and differences shared by both the networks.

Reels Vs TikTok: How Are They Alike

There’s no denying the similarities between the platforms. After all, the reels were a direct result of the growing popularity of TikTok.

And so you’ll often see similar pieces of content overlap with subtle differences in terms of creatives, captions, and hashtags across branded accounts. Find below the ingredients of hair care brand Arctic Fox Hair Colour:

tiktok and instagram reel together comparison
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In addition to what we have already discussed, here is a quick rundown of what Reel and TikTok have in common:

  • Both platforms are centered around short-form videos. Again, both Reel and TikTok are prime places for fun, off-the-cuff videos. There is arguably no better place for brands to witness their creativity. Product shoutouts and recommendations are fair game, provided everything you post is full of entertainment value.
  • Access to a sound library. Both platforms allow users to seamlessly attach sound effects, music, and audio snippets to any content. What’s more, from memes and original audio to radio and beyond, access to sound libraries is what encourages brands to make their videos “loud.”
  • Filters and visual effects. Aesthetics matter to brands on social media. The visual effects and filters make your video “pop” and allow you to put your trademark on anything you post.
  • Advertisement. Surprise, surprise: Short-form video is becoming increasingly popular for commercials. Although TikTok ads are still relatively young, they are becoming a staple of influencer marketing campaigns as creators show off their latest purchases.
  • Opportunities to negotiate accounts. Through Reels’ “Colab” option and TikTok’s “Duet”, accounts can interact side-by-side and create entirely new content simultaneously.

Reel Vs TikTok: How They Are Different

We’ll say it again: TikTok and Reel are not the same! Here are the main differences that marketers should know:

  • Video length. Both Tiktok and Reels have actually increased the duration of their videos since their launch. TikTok started with uploads of 15, 30 and 60 seconds but now allows videos up to 10 minutes. Instagram Reels also offers three video lengths of 15, 30 and 60-seconds. Even with these expanded options, the data says creating smaller format videos is ideal for both platforms.
  • Music and sound options. TikTok users have a wider selection of audio content whereas Instagram business accounts are not allowed to use copyrighted music. That said, recent updates to Reels will include new text-to-speech and voice effects features.
  • the audience. While both the platforms are popular among younger audiences, the social media demographics indicate how popular TikTok is with Gen Z and teenagers.
  • Availability. If you’re already on Instagram, you already have access to the reels (which are available for access in 50 countries). On the other hand, TikTok has been banned in some regions due to censorship laws and has faced some scrutiny due to privacy concerns.
  • Analytics. TikTok Analytics tracks both overall profile and individual video performance. This includes big pictures like total playing time, average viewing time, and geographic location. While Instagram users similarly had to rely on general Instagram analytics, the platform rolled out reel-specific data to gain specific insights. This includes metrics such as plays, interactions, reach, “likes”, comments and saved.
  • Advertising opportunities. Both the platforms are rolling out new advertising features and rightly so. That said, TikTok places a lot of emphasis on creator-based ads and campaigns versus Instagram’s more traditional, purchasable ads via reels.

Can’t choose between Reels vs TikTok? Why not both?

The rapid growth of TikTok and the popularity of the reels both indicate the importance of short-form videos moving forward.

While competition is fierce in industries such as fashion and beauty, there are plenty of opportunities when it comes to short-form branded videos.

Whether you stick to one platform or go with both, you need to consider how to link your social video campaigns to real business goals.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read our guide to creating a social media marketing strategy that does exactly this.

Post Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Which is the best short-form video platform? Sprout appeared on Social for the first time.

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