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TikTok vs Instagram Reel: Which One to Go For in 2023

by OneCommerce
TikTok vs Instagram Reel- Onecommerce

Short-form video content is now a marketing trend with the highest Return on Investment of any social media marketing strategy, according to HubSpot’s 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey. Adopting this trend in your marketing campaign will give you a tool to boost your brand awareness or reach potential customers. 

TikTok has been thriving to be the leading force in this area but it is now faced with competition from Instagram with the launch of Reels. The battle of TikTok vs Instagram Reel has only begun but they seem to be on par with each other.

Some companies already have their preferred choice. But in case you still don’t know which one is the best solution for your business, you should take a look at their distinct characteristics and how they stand out from each other. 

Keep scrolling and you will find the answer that you are looking for!

TikTok vs Instagram Reel: What are the differences?

1. Audience

TikTok  Reel
Younger audience aged from 18 to 25 (~53%), according to Statista Most Instagram users are between 25 and 34 years old, accounting for 31.4% (Statista, 2022)

If your target customers are from Generation Z, you should go with TikTok because the platform presents a big opportunity for your products to be in sight of dynamic and young customers. However, when mature customers are your focus, it is undoubted that Instagram Reel is a better choice.

There is a variation between TikTok vs Instagram Reel's users based on gender. Source: DataReportal

There is a variation between TikTok vs Instagram Reel’s users based on gender. Source: DataReportal

Speaking of audiences’ gender, TikTok seems to be female users’ favorite as they make up 57% of the platform’s audiences. By contrast, male users are dominating Instagram Reel with 53.9% of them actively using it.

There are only slight differences between the number of female and male users on both platforms. Yet, working out the most popular option for each gender-based group can facilitate your management of customers.

2. Video Length

TikTok  Reel

Only 60 seconds when you film it using the app but up to 3 minutes when uploading your own video.

A new update in 2022 allows for videos up to 10 minutes long. 

Up to 30 seconds in length

When you want to convey a long message in your video ads or you cannot encapsulate everything in a short time, TikTok can be the solution and help you tell the whole story to people. But if you only need to tease your customers, 30 seconds of Reel may be enough.

3. In-app Features (Editing and Music)

TikTok  Reel 
A wide variety of effects, filters, sounds, and voiceovers. In addition, users can duet and stitch other creators’ videos or customize your videos. A limited library of filters and sound effects mostly inherited from Instagram
The entire music library is accessible to everyone, plus the ability to adjust the volume of the sounds.  You can access a library of royalty-free music or use your own uploaded audio.

These in-app features are essential for your business to polish your advertisements or even create trends and go viral. Both platforms offer filters, editing tools, and music options but Reel seems more limited than TikTok in terms of these features. 

Nevertheless, the features from Reel are praised for their quality and professionalism, which is suitable when you plan for a masterful advertisement. 

On the contrary, TikTok provides you with a place for your sense of humor to grow where entertainment is the driving factor. Funny content using its comedic effect will allow you to engage tons of its audiences as the platform is meant to cater to a young group. 


What the hell? #mercuri_88 #littlebrother #fyp #comedy #funny #fypシ #trending #viral #pov #tiktok #xyzbca #food

♬ original sound – Ryan Hudson

4. Sharing

TikTok  Reel
  • Your video can appear in three places: the “For You” tab including videos selected by the platform’s algorithm, the “Following” tab for users following you, and on your TikTok profile
  • You can share your video on Whatsapp, Instagram Feed, Story, and Facebook Feed.
  • Your Reel can appear in four places: the Reel tab which is selected by Instagram, Your Story, Your Feed for users who follow you, and the Reels gallery on your profile. 
  • Your video can be automatically shared on Facebook

Sharing on both platforms is effortless and done quickly. However, there is a problem with watermarks when you try to share a video using TikTok. You will see a watermark on the corner of your video. That is irritating because it feels like your video is affiliated with the platform when actually it is not. 

Nevertheless, Reel does not place any watermark on your video, which gives it a bit of a competitive advantage in the race between TikTok vs Instagram Reel.

TikTok puts a watermark on your video while there is none on your Reel

TikTok puts a watermark on your video while there is none on your Reel

5. Analytics

TikTok  Reel
With a TikTok Pro account, you can access the Analytics tab in settings, which provides insights on your video’s performance, including views, shares, likes, comments, and audience demographics. You can obtain the metrics such as Plays, Reach, Likes, Comments, Saves and the number of website clicks you receive which is unavailable on TikTok. 

To be specific, TikTok analytics are split into three main sections: Overview, Content, and Followers. 

  • The Overview tab gathers basic data such as follower growth, video views, profile views, likes, comments, and shares within the last 7, 28, or 60 days, or you can customize a date.
  • Under the Content tab, you will find extended data and analytics for each video you’ve posted, including average watch time, watched a full video (percentage of viewers who watched the entire video), and traffic source type (where viewers found your videos). 
  • The Followers tab details insights about your viewers, including the location of your audiences, their genders, their most active times of the day or week on the app, etc.

The metrics in Reels Insights Analytics are organized into two categories: Discovery (Accounts Reached and Plays) and Interactions (Likes, Comments, Shares, and Saves). 

In addition, you can see the best-performing Reels posted within the previous week or month in the “Top Reels” section. This insight can help you understand and identify which content is most attractive to your audience and has the potential to strategically develop.

TikTok vs Instagram Reel provide data analytics that can help boost your business performance.

TikTok vs Instagram Reel provide data analytics that can help boost your business performance.

Insights into your content performance are vital because they help you understand your audience, discover trends, and find inspiration to come up with better content. 

Although Reels does provide the same metrics as TikTok, it lacks detailed insights because it is a new addition to the Analytics system on Instagram. Hopefully, there will be an update soon. 

At this point, TikTok is more superior at providing more in-depth analytics than Instagram Reel.

6. Algorithm

TikTok  Reel
  • The algorithm system recommends videos to users based on a combination of factors such as the Engagement of a video, Hashtags, and Keywords, Subject matter, User activity, etc.
  • You can find the suggested videos on the “For You” page
  • The Instagram algorithm determines which Reels to serve users based on Their activity, Their history of interacting with the person who posted the Reel, the Content of the Reels, and Information about the Reels’ creators.
  • On Instagram’s “Explore” page, there’s a “Reels” search tab where recommended videos are shown

The algorithm detects content that is of high interest based on the signals that users give and suggests more similar content for them. Understanding how the recommendation system works can bring a greater opportunity for your business to put your content in front of more eyeballs. 

Overall, TikTok vs Instagram Reel’s algorithm systems is not much different. Their systems are both designed for a personalized experience for each user. 

ashtags can be useful in conquering TikTok vs Instagram Reel's algorithm

Hashtags can be useful in conquering TikTok vs Instagram Reel’s algorithm

Using hashtags is a simple way to “hack” these algorithms. You can post a video encouraging users to copy them or take part in a competition using your hashtag.

Your hashtag must be specific, relevant to your product, and thoughtful in order to be ranked high in the recommendation system. 

Gymshark utilizes the hashtag #Gymshark66 to engage more audiences

Gymshark utilizes the hashtag #Gymshark66 to engage more audiences

For example, fitness apparel and accessories brand Gymshark’s 66 Days: Change your life challenge campaign on TikTok, using the hashtag #Gymshark66 has accumulated more than 247 million views and an engagement rate of 11.11%, which was a huge success for the brand.

TikTok vs Instagram Reel? – The Answer! 

After diving into both options, you may be able to develop a better picture of them in your head. TikTok has plentiful editing features, a longer list of music and sounds, deeper analytics, and a youthful audience. While Instagram Reel provides more professional features and a wider group of audience. 

However, it’s hard to say which platform fits your business better without reflecting on your goals. You will need to answer some questions: “Who is your target audience?’’, “What types of content do you want to create?’’, “Do you have the skills and resources to attract users on the platform you want?’’ 

Both options can work well for your marketing strategies. Indeed, no platform is a cut above the other in this case but one is more suitable than the other. And that largely depends on your understanding of your business. 

No one knows your business better than you, so go back to what you plan, sleep on it and make your own decision. 

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