Instagram's newest video feature, Instagram Reels, is strikingly similar to TikTok. Users can share and record videos with music.
The similarities beg the question – is there a difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok?
The answer is yes! From demography and editing tools to Why do some business accounts not have access to music on Instagram?We break down the top 7 differences.
The difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok:
- Video length
- Music options for business accounts
- Video editing tools and features
- Paid advertising and e-commerce
- Demographics and content
Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: The Battle of the Video Apps
With the increasing popularity of Tick tock, Featured on Instagram Instagram roles – A new way for users to record music videos that are 15-30 seconds long.
This video function is a new area for Instagram users, but not new in the area of social media!
Given similar exploration pages, video editing interfaces, and the overall concept, it makes sense why users compare roles to TikTok.
Both Instagram and TikTok have their differences – which platform you choose depends on your audience, brand, and marketing goals.
If you have a Gen Z audience, TikTok might be the place. If you're looking to improve your Instagram strategy and grow your following, Instagram Reels is a great place to start.
Looking for more information on Instagram Reels and TikTok? Check out our full guides:
What is the difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok? Let's get started right away.
# 1: video length
TikTok allows users to record videos up to 60 seconds, and Instagram Reels allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds.
Even though it's only a 30 second difference, users were quick to point it out.
Depending on the content you're posting, the maximum of 30 seconds on Instagram Reels can feel short. While longer content may work better with TikTok's timestamp, you can still be creative on roles.
See clean and conscious beauty brand @cocokind take full advantage of Reels' 30-second timestamp by offering skin care tips and delving deep into popular skin care myths.
Since Instagram Reels is still in its early stages, we assume they will introduce a longer video option in the future.
See how this 12 brands use Instagram reels creatively (and are already going viral!).
# 2: music options for business accounts
One of the main differences between the platforms is the music function. Currently, many company profiles on Instagram Reels cannot access Instagram's music feature.
So if you have a business account and want to share a role with music, you'll need to create your own audio or movie and edit it outside of Instagram.
Instagram has not yet commented on business accounts that will soon have access to the music feature.
So if you want to use music for your videos, TikTok might be the standout choice.
On TikTok, users have access to TikTok's entire library of sounds – a big deal on the platform where sound matters.
Take for example the trend of creating TikTok videos with original sound that can then be used by other TikTok users.
The trend is fun, engaging, and a way to potentially go viral!
While Instagram users can use other people's audio to create videos, they're not as widespread as they are on TikTok.
Another difference? When you save a TikTok to your camera roll, whether it's your own or someone else's, the video is saved with the music and watermark.
However, if you save a role on your camera roll on Instagram (you can't save other people's roles, only your own), the video will not be saved with music or a watermark.
Get exclusive early access to visual planning and scheduling for TikTok on the web and mobile.
# 3: video editing tools and features
The editing interfaces of Reels and TikTok look similar, but they differ significantly from each other.
Filters are very popular at TikTok – users can choose from a range of effects, templates, and filters.
The video effects are more limited on Instagram. Users can only select effects from Instagram Effects Library before filming each video clip.
Some other fun editing tools on TikTok are the speech effects and voiceover tools. While Instagram users can record a voice over on Instagram roles, they cannot add special effects to the audio.
Another key difference between the platform's video tools is TikTok's duet, reaction, and stitch functions.
These features provide a fun way for brands and companies to creatively interact with users in their community (and expand their reach even further!).
There is currently nothing quite like the Duet or Stitch feature on Instagram Reels – users can only record their own footage or upload content from their camera roll.
# 4: algorithm
TikTok's algorithm was a question mark for a while, until TikTok finally got us to the Secret. The TikTok For You (FYP) page is very much tailored to your interests, while the Instagram Reels Explore page is a content melting pot.
According to TikTok: "The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors – based on interests you are expressing as a new user and adjusting to things you say you are also not interested in."
These factors include things like:
- User interactions: like the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
- Video Information: This can include details like subtitles, sounds, and hashtags.
- Device and account settings: such as your language setting, country setting and device type.
And it doesn't stop there.
Each of these factors is individually weighted by TikTok's “For You” recommendation system. This means that each page is completely unique to a user and their interest.
The Instagram Reels algorithm is not yet as clear-cut as TikTok's.
It's unclear whether the content served to you on the Instagram Reels Explore page is based on the location, interest you follow, or the content you interact with.
Instagram Reels also has a "Featured" video function.
According to Instagram "If your role is included in Explore, you will receive a notification. The featured roles are a selection of public roles chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content that we hope will they entertain and inspire you. "
There is no further information on why or how Instagram selects the featured content. However, if your role is featured, there is a very high chance your video (and profile) will go viral!
Just like with TikTok, it's important to post regularly on Instagram reels. The more you post, the more likely your content will show up on the Explore page.
And what's different about going viral on Instagram roles than it is on TikTok? While it is a great opportunity to go viral on TikTok, Instagram Reels is already linked to your Instagram account.
If you use Instagram for your business or brand, you likely have an Instagram store, story highlights, feed full of content, and more. When your Instagram role goes viral, you open your profile to thousands of potential customers.
And while there are ways to get more Instagram followers from TikTok, using Instagram roles is a great way to do it without leaving the app.
# 5: Paid Advertising and Ecommerce
While TikTok ads They are not as popular with small businesses as they are on other platforms, but they offer paid advertising opportunities.
TikTok currently offers In-Feed Ads, Brand Takeovers, TopView, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects.
As of now, brands and companies won't be able to run paid ads on Instagram Reels, but they can work with developers and influencers to create branded content.
Instagram was recently featured new branded content tags for Instagram roles as a way for Instagram to ensure creators clearly state when to create branded content, increase transparency, and make it easier for creators and brands to create, share and expand branded content.
While Instagram is moving into the e-commerce space, TikTok is not far behind! TikTok recently announced a unique partnership with Shopify designed to make it easier for Shopify's 1 million+ merchants to reach TikTok's younger audience and grow sales.
Merchants who gain access to the program can link their TikTok for Business account to their Shopify account and sell products on TikTok through shoppable video ads in the feed.
The best part? Everything is managed through the Shopify dashboard, including ad creation, targeting (gender, age, user behavior, and video category), optimization, and tracking.
This is a big break if you are a brand or a company that sells products. Learn more about the TikTok x Shopify partnership here.
# 6: Demographics and Content
It's important to note that while both platforms offer the same type of content, TikTok's demographic seems to be the same Skew younger than Instagram Reels.
And while both platforms allow you to be as creative as you want, TikTok is more of a "anti-aesthetic".
Brands, companies and influencers are more selective on roles and share brand-internal and aesthetically pleasing content.
This isn't necessarily the case with TikTok – users aren't that concerned about their feed looking any particular way.
If you want to reach a millennial audience and share videos that suit your Instagram aesthetic, then you can try Instagram roles.
And if you want to participate in viral trends and reach a younger Gen Z audience, you may see more success at TikTok.
Another option is to ask your audience where they spend their time – Instagram Reels or TikTok? You can do this by using Instagram Stories stickers.
# 7: analytics
If you have a TikTok Pro account, you have access to all of them TikTok's analysis.
With TikTok's integrated audience and content analysis, you can target the right audiences and really understand what they're interested in.
And even better? You can actually see when (and if) your video was trending and where the specific traffic sources came from.
TikTok also shows you sounds that your followers have heard. This can help you decide which sound to use next.
There is currently no evidence for Instagram roles. Currently, users can only view the number of views, likes, and comments.
And that's it! The 7 main differences between Instagram Reels and TikTok.
If you're still not sure which one to use, we recommend trying both! It doesn't hurt to test your content on both platforms and see which one does better.
Share the same video on each platform at the same time and see what happens.
With TikTok Planning and Planning Until Later You can visually plan your TikTok content in advance – along with all of your other social content! Get Early Access Today!
Jessica is a creative problem solver and content writer. Jessica is from Winnipeg, a city in the middle of Canada. She currently lives and works in Paris, France. Follow us on @jessicaworb.