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Instagram Reels Vs TikTok: The Battle of the Video Apps


Reels vs Tiktok the new battle for social media space in video creation. Since the success of TikTok has spread from Gen Z to a variety of age groups, Instagram has launched Reels in an attempt to take back the audience it lost to its adversary, which is still steadily rising in popularity.

Now that Reels has been growing steadily since it was launched. Has it had the time to polish out its interface and tools - to match TikTok or even outshine it? Has it achieved that yet or is it just a copycat? What are the major differences and which is best to use in what situations?

Both Instagram and TikTok do have their differences, which platform you choose depend on your audience, brand, and marketing goals.

Here are the main six differences to consider:

1) Video length

TikTok, users can record videos up to 60 seconds, and on Instagram Reels, users can record videos up to 30 seconds. That may seem not a big issue, however even though it’s only a 30-second difference, users were quick to point it out.

2) Audio options

One of the big differences between the platforms is the music feature. Currently, on Instagram Reels, many business profiles are unable to access Instagram’s music feature. Also, TikTok’s sound library is much more advanced and creative. Users regularly create new sounds that can become part of new trends. Gen Z is often attracted to "jump on" to these viral trends as quickly as possible in order to grow their reach, impressions and become one of the success stories via viral TikTok audio.

3) Video editing

TikTok’s video effects like filters and other tools are very advanced. Reels only has the filters used on Instagram Stories and it lucks the effects features compared to TikTok. One of TikTok’s best features for many is the touch-up button, which doses softening effect on your face.

The Reels equivalent is not quite as good but does offer filters that include touch-up features. The downside to this is that filters and effects are not separated on Reels - they come under the same umbrella, which means that you can only choose one and therefore have less versatility in the final look of your video.

4) Algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is very customized to your interests, whereas the Instagram Reels Explore Page is regular analytics offered by the app.

According to TikTok: “The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors — starting from interests you express as a new user and adjusting for things you indicate you’re not interested in, too”. These factors include things like:

  1. User interactions: such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.

  2. Video information: this might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.

  3. Device and account settings: like your language preference, 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, meaning that each page will be completely unique to a user and their level of interest.

As for the Instagram Reels algorithm, it’s not as clear-cut as TikTok’s just yet.

TikTok’s appeal to Gen Z and Millenials is how easy it is to blow up and instantly become a monetized influencer. TikTok also offers more in-depth insights into your audience, while Reels does not offer anything extra to Instagram’s ordinary analytics.

5) Paid Advertising

While TikTok ads aren’t as popular for small businesses as they are on other platforms, they do offer paid advertising options.

Instagram recently introduced new branded content tags for Instagram Reels as a way for Instagram to ensure creators clearly disclose when they’re creating branded content, increase transparency, and make it easier for creators and brands to create, share, and amplify branded content.

While Instagram is shifting to the e-commerce space, TikTok isn’t too far behind! TikTok recently announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with Shopify, aimed to make it easier for Shopify’s over 1 million merchants to reach TikTok’s younger audience and drive sales.

6) Demographics and Content

The demographic on TikTok seems to skew younger than Instagram Reels. Brands, businesses, and influencers are more selective on Reels and share more on-brand and aesthetically pleasing content.

That’s not necessarily the case on TikTok — users aren’t as concerned about their feed looking a certain way.

If you’re looking to reach a millennial audience and share videos that align with your Instagram aesthetic, you can try out Instagram Reels.

And, if you’re looking to take part in viral trends and reach a younger Gen Z audience, you may see more success on TikTok.


TikTok is without a doubt the superior platform for short video content. Reels is a clear attempt from Instagram to win back its audience, but definitely a useful aspect of the platform that is worth getting the most out of.

An engaging moving image is the future of entertainment, and at this point, TikTok is the place to explore it. But if you are looking for new ways to expand your Instagram account, then Reels is a great way to add some depth to your brand presentation in short video form. Don’t forget that if you are new to TikTok, you can point your already established Instagram following to your account by reposting the watermarked version of your videos on Reels.

If you need more information on How to Run a Business on TikTok or IG Reel at FOLLOW we can help your brand increase exposure and reach the right audience.

We are Digitally Driven and Creatively Led!

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FOLLOW agency Dubai, U.A.E.

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