Short-form video content has exploded in popularity, particularly since the launch of TikTok in 2016 with massive growth in the number of active users. It’s a powerful way to promote your business and reach potential customers.
Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels have made it easier for small businesses and creators to shoot, edit and post videos straight from your mobile device.
But what’s the difference between TikTok and Instagram Reels? Let’s take a look at what you can do on each platform and how you can leverage video marketing to promote your business and increase your profile views.
Plus, we’ve added some post ideas, marketing strategies and business tips to get you inspired!
TikTok vs Instagram Reels – What’s the difference?
Unlike competitors such as YouTube, videos posted on TikTok and Instagram Reels have a short maximum duration and can be captured, edited and posted only from a mobile device.
TikTok began as a platform for discovering new music and memes, but it is now one of the most popular destinations for videos on all sorts of topics from cooking to working out to shopping and adventure. With 855 million monthly active users, TikTok is attracting big brands and celebrities who want to capitalize on their rapid growth like Samsung and Kylie Jenner. Not quite up to speed with the TikTok basics? Check out this article for your Ultimate Guide to TikTok.
Instagram has been around for far longer and so understandably has more monthly active users than TikTok with 1 billion. They are also the original home for influencer marketing where creators have grown their audiences, and used partnerships to promote brands and products. With the launch of Instagram Reels in 2020, creators have a new format to edit and share short videos to their Instagram profile. Reels can be up to 30 seconds long and have many familiar editing features to Instagram Stories. These videos live in a Reels gallery on your profile so they can be viewed by your audience at any time.
In comparison, TikTok videos are up to 60 seconds long and almost always feature a song or a unique original sound like a voiceover. You can shoot and edit videos in the app or you could use one of Clipchamp's TikTok video templates to get you started.
While both platforms have features that overlap, from uploading, editing and sharing short videos, here are some of the basic differences between TikTok and Instagram Reels:
Up to 60 seconds long when filmed inside the app.
If you upload the video, it can be longer.
Upload either from your mobile or shoot in the app. This guide will show you the best video length for every platform.
Up to 30 seconds in length.
You can upload videos from your camera roll and film inside the app.
If you have a video that you want to upload to Instagram use this guide on How to convert videos for Instagram.
Trim, delete and reposition segments of your video in the timeline.
Add visual effects and adjust the speed of any video. This includes transitions, split screens, stickers, filters and text.
Add an additional voice over to your video by recording it in the app.
Clipchamp has a bunch of free TikTok Templates you can try to get started.
Trim and delete segments of your video.
Draw, add text, GIFs and stickers to your video.
If you are filming inside the app you can add Effects using popular Instagram filters. You can set a countdown timer and speed up or slow down your video by changing the speed.
You can use the Align feature to overlay your previous video with the camera view to improve transitions between scenes.
Sounds are usually 15, 30 or 60 seconds long. You can find a large selection of popular songs, sound effects and original sounds from other users.
You can adjust the volume of the original audio and the added music.
Choose what part of the song you want to add to your video. Select from the Instagram music library including popular songs.
Once you share your video it can appear in three places.
You can automatically share your video to Whatsapp, Instagram Feed or Story and Facebook Feed.
If you don’t want to share the video publicly, you can choose Friends only or Private.
Instagram Reels can appear in four places.
Maximum 150 characters. You can add hashtags, emojis and tag friends.
There is no character limit on Instagram Reels and you can add hashtags, emojis and tag other users.
Other – watermarks
When you save a TikTok video, it will have TikTok branding on the corners of the video. Not suitable to be posted on other platforms.
You can save your Reel to your camera roll without a watermark.
You can save drafts for later but you cannot edit the footage again. You can add filters, effects and music.
You can find drafts on your profile.
You can edit and add more footage to your drafts. Find them in the Reels gallery on your profile.
Users can like, comment and share to friends via private message.
Users can like, comment, share to their own story and send to friends via direct message.
Quickly see the view count on your video on your profile. See your likes and comments when clicking on each video.
Use TikTok Pro to access in-depth analytics on content and audience.
See your video view count the Reels gallery. Watch your video to see comments and likes.
TikTok is popular with creators as it is a fun, informal way to post content and engage with their audience. Users can post multiple times a day without worrying about overexposure for their audience as Instagram feed scrollers may experience.
Instagram Reels is a great place for brands to post complimentary content for their existing feed and themes. Let’s explore how you can leverage each platform for your business.
TikTok Tips for small businesses
Think of TikTok as your ‘unofficial brand’. It’s a great way to experiment with content and test out new product ideas. If your video gets featured on the ‘For You’ page, you can reach new audiences and boost your brand awareness.
While TikTok is in its rapid growth phase, one of the best parts is you can scroll past a video from a big brand like Nike with 1.3 million followers, to next watch a video from your local small business. TikTok presents user videos in an infinitely long scrolling feed and so the content is fast, skippable, and stacked with variety.
TikTok users do follow specific accounts and users that they like, but the majority of content is delivered to them in the For You tab, based on their interests like previously liked videos, location and hashtags. This means that your content has to appeal to your audience specifically in order to be presented to them but they are forgiving of the quality of production as they consume videos in bulk.
Here’s a breakdown of who is using TikTok. Although 10-29 year olds have the highest share of users, 30-39 is one of the fastest-growing age groups! This is helpful in deciding if TikTok is right to target your audience.
When deciding what type of content to post on TikTok, you have to consider what your audience is interested in as well as what is the most popular types of content on TikTok – this can help you get discovered by new audiences. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, these are some of the most popular categories on TikTok.
Entertainment, Dance, Pranks, Fitness/sports, Home reno/DIY, Beauty/skincare, Fashion, Recipes/cooking, Life hacks/advice, Pets, Outdoors
Consider if your product or service could fit into one of these categories and how you could create content based on that.
Could your beauty product be used in a skincare routine video? Could your sneaker brand be used in a dance challenge?
Easy TikTok Post Ideas
Here are some post ideas to get you started on TikTok.
1 - Production/Packing Orders
Australian brand Behind the Glow 2, uses their TikTok to post videos about the journey to create their business, packing orders and lifestyle content like cooking and beauty tips. In this video, Behind the Glow 2 shows users how they pack their orders. Not only is this a great BHS style video, it shows users the love and care they put into each of their orders and shows the product is locally made and packed.
This type of content is particularly good for beauty, cosmetics, jewellery, and clothing. But you could get creative for any type of product.
2 - Hashtag Challenges
Hashtag challenges are some of the most popular types of posts. This is where a brand or a creator will post a video encouraging other users to copy them or compete in a competition using their hashtag!
In a TikTok from Nike, they used the hashtag #TheReplay to challenge users to post their soccer skills. The video got 1.4 million views but more interestingly, the hashtag had over 13.7 billion views with thousands of videos of users uploading their response to the challenge. This is a great way to foster brand loyalty, directly engage with customers and get users to do the heavy lifting by creating content for you!
We’re kicking #TheReplay your way. Post and tag your skills.♬ Swish - Charles Stephens III, Stephan Sechi
When posting your video, make sure to use hashtags in the caption like #SmallBusiness and you could be featured in one of TikTok’s collections. Use hashtags relevant to your product, industry and type of content to increase the chances of appearing on the For You page for users.
Instagram Reels Tips for small businesses
Instagram users follow brands and influencers for their overall visual profile rather than focusing on the quality of their individual posts. Great visual profiles have consistent content, whether that’s colors or themes. Now with Instagram Reels, it’s another tool for complimentary content to your brand message and your visual feed. It’s a way to further connect with your audience and reach new customers through the Reels page.
According to Instagram for Business, 90% of users follow a business on Instagram. So you can bet that your customers are on Instagram and are looking for you or similar businesses!
Some ways to increase your brand awareness on Instagram is to use hashtags, link to or repost content from brands and products that align with your business and to post offers, competitions and deals to reach new customers and encourage them to try your product.
Social Media Today recommends that your hashtags follow the rules STRICT which is specific, targeted, relevant, innovative, conscious and thoughtful. So when writing your captions, focus on adding words that follow this structure and target your specific customers, not broad audiences. This increases your chances of appearing in the right customers' feeds and explore pages.
Reposting your content, whether that’s Reels, Images or IGTV onto your story can reach more users than organic feed posts and encourage them to discover more content on your profile. Instagram reports that 500+ million accounts use Instagram Stories every day and many brands report higher engagement and views on these posts than in the feed. You can use analytics to review your stats and help make decisions on where to post your content. This will be a particularly useful tactic to promote your new Reels if this is a new type of content for your customers.
Instagram stories are more likely to be viewed with sound on which means you can share your videos and audio based on content on here, and your customers may actually listen.
Reels - Effective New Marketing Strategy?
Influencer Marketing Hub said it well when they said “Unfortunately, brands don’t have a face, but people do. So, providing insight into your company culture and showing the real and diverse faces of your brand can provide users the ideal space to connect with you.” This is why behind the scenes content is a great way to get started on Reels. Whether it’s packing orders, showcasing some of your employees, an insight into the company work culture or even an office tour, people love to see what goes on behind closed doors or your website. When it comes to the quality of your content and production, Instagram users expect a high standard. Check out these Instagram Video Ad templates to ensure your videos are #instaworthy.
Easy Instagram Post Ideas
1 - Behind the Scenes
Instagram Reels is a great place to post a behind the scenes video and give users a perspective they wouldn't normally get to see. Netflix uses Reels to show actors getting ready for filming like this Reel of Anya Taylor-Joy from The Queen’s Gambit. We get to see the real actor behind the character, users can see them in their natural appearance before they are glammed up and they get to know them a bit better through quirky questions unrelated to work.
You shoot a view asking your staff questions as they get ready for work or as they work on a project.
2 - How to Use Products/Services
If you have a new product or a service that is unique, a great way to encourage users to try your product or build your brand trust is to show people how to use it! This works great for cosmetics, furniture and homewares any really fast-moving consumer goods products.
In this Reel for Kylie Skin, they use the face of the brand, Kylie Jenner, to show how to use one of their face masks. Not only is this informative content but it also shows users how the product looks and feels in action.
Another way to show your product being used is to leverage user-generated content. Just Creative says this is a great way to build brand trust and save money. By repurposing product reviews and testimonial videos, you can help showcase your products being used by real people which is authentic and entertaining.
Tracking engagement on TikTok vs Instagram Reels
It is important to measure the ROI of your content on TikTok and Instagram Reels, particularly if it is a new format for your business and you are experimenting with unique content. Use the inbuilt analytics tools to measure the success of their content to inform decisions on future content, customers to target, and budgets.
When it comes to measuring the ROI on TikTok vs Instagram Reels, TikTok provides far more insights when you have a TikTok Pro account.
TikTok Pro Analytics
To sign up for a free TikTok Pro account head to Settings and tap Manage Account > Switch to Pro Account > choose Creator or Business. Now you can access the Analytics tab in settings. There are three tabs here: Overview, Content, and Followers.
Overview shows your total idea views and followers over 7 or 28 days.
Content shows you trending videos and individual post stats.
Followers tab dives into the demographics of your followers.
For each video you post, it’s worth looking into the Content tab to measure the performance of your content. You can see individual post stats like the number of likes received, comments shares, and playtime.
- Total video views is exactly what it says. You’ll quickly know how times your view has been viewed. The fastest way to gauge the popularity of your content. (But there are other ways to measure the quality of the content…)
- Average watch time is a good indication if your content maintains the attention of your audience. The higher the watch time, the more engaged your audience is. Tip: boost your average watch time by using the “reveal” method by holding your audience in suspense before revealing a product, transformation, result, etc.
- Audience territories shows the top locations of the viewers for your video which can inform where you audience and potential customers are. Do you need to offer worldwide shipping or target ads to a certain location? In the Followers tab, you can also discover the top genders and territories of your account overall.
Another stat worth checking out is hashtag views, which are the number of times a post has been watched with a given hashtag. This can be helpful in spotting trending hashtags and give you content ideas! Find this in the Discover tab and you can search for a specific hashtag or view the top hashtags.
Instagram Reels Analytics
One of the limitations of Instagram Reels is their lack of insights. You can view the total video view count, the number of likes and comments...and that’s about it.
- Total video views can be seen on the thumbnail of your Reel gallery.
- Likes and comments can be seen in the bottom right corner of the video when you are watching it.
When it comes to measuring analytics, TikTok takes the cake.
You’ll get better insights into your content performance and understand who is viewing your content and where they are. This can inform decisions on the type of content you make in the future and where to target potential customers.
Influencer Marketing on TikTok vs Instagram Reels – Which is better?
With TikTok creators gaining more momentum and followers as TikTok takes off, there are more opportunities to collaborate with these influencers to promote your brand. The biggest TikTok influencer Charlie D’amelio has 102.5 million followers. In contrast, the most followed person on Instagram is Cristiano Ronaldo with 244 million followers.
So Instagram does lead to having some of the biggest celebrities with the most followers, BUT TikTok has many smaller creators and influencers who are willing to work with brands to build their profiles.
Medium describes TikTok as “a greater avenue for creating brand awareness and community involvement...influencers naturally become part of this by participating in hashtag challenges or promoting new launches,” which are some of the ways we see creators engage with brands like Addison Rae and American Eagle. In this video, she used a hashtag challenge in collaboration with American Eagle jeans for mass awareness for their brand with 25.1 million views.
Some positives of influencer marketing on TikTok is that you can reach new audiences through the followers and momentum of influencers, you can drive and track sales using specific offer codes and deals to each creator, you can experiment with content that won’t stay permanently on your own profile and finally, influencers will help create the content for you. This is particularly useful when influencers come up with fun and unique ways to promote your product to keep their audience engaged.
The limitation of influencer marketing is that it is difficult in measuring ROI, particularly when your TikTok video lives on another user's page. You'll have to rely on them to give you analytics and insights. You also risk the influencer providing honest but negative feedback on your product if the content has not been agreed upon beforehand. Finally, you have to be mindful of budgets when planning influencer marketing and determine how much product you are willing to give up for this strategy as popular influencers can charge above $1000 per video.
Some considerations for TikTok Influencer Collaborations
To get started, brands can use the TikTok Creator Marketplace platform to find creators within audiences that match your goals. You can also search for hashtags related to your product or your users like #makeup #beautyroutine or #driving #cars and find users who use these hashtags and align with your brand values.
You can reach out to them directly or use influencer marketing agencies like Tribe to help you connect with influencers. Iconosquare discusses the importance of having clear goals from the outset when building influencer campaigns. Do you want the influencer to give an honest review of your product and encourage trials? Or do you want to increase brand awareness by getting your brand in front of their audience? Once you have your goals in mind you can discuss content strategies with them and determine how to measure ROI.
Measuring ROI on TikTok vs Instagram Reels
When measuring the ROI of TikTok vs Instagram Reels, you should consider the time and effort required for each platform and the performance in relation to your goals.
With inbuilt editing features in both platforms and the ability to upload content from your camera roll, the effort required is almost identical. If you spend most of your time on Instagram, it could be easier to adjust to the editing features in Reels as they are similar to the standard Instagram story tools. You could create and post a video on Instagram Reels and then save it to your camera roll (without audio) and repost onto TikTok. This is an easy way to reduce the workload but make sure the videos suit the theme of each of your profiles.
Doing it the other way around is not advised as your video will have heavy TikTok branding and users do not appreciate cross-shared content that is branded from a different app.
If your goal is brand awareness, look for analytics on follower growth, total video viewers, and audience territories.
If your goal is increasing online orders, Instagram can provide insights on the number of website clicks you receive but you cannot track link clicks in TikTok.
One way to test which platform is producing more orders is to provide a unique offer code. For example, posting a video or ad with TIKTOK15 for 15% off and a different code on Instagram like INSTAGRAM15, can help you determine if more orders are coming through a certain platform and where to focus your efforts.
The Bottom Line
You might discover through analytics that you have a higher number of female audiences on one platform, then you can leverage that in your content and promotions. Knowing your female customers spend higher on average, you should target this platform for your time and money. It’s hard to say which platform this will be without experimenting with your content and ensuring you know what your goals are! TikTok provides more analytics but Instagram can provide link clicks.
For now, TikTok has the best editing features, more music and sounds to play around with, deeper analytics and a fast growing audience. Your business could reach new users and have a chance to experiment with new content on TikTok. TikTok users are forgiving, but make a splash with your first videos by using some of our free TikTok Templates.
However, with a more familiar editing interface and close proximity to your official brand content, Instagram Reels can be a great place to post content that compliments your existing feed and you could reach new audiences in the Reels feed.
Whatever platform you choose, remember the best camera is the one you have on you. So don’t be afraid to get out there and shoot some content, whether that’s behind the scenes, some friendly staff face or a new product. You can even import your videos straight from your phone with Clipchamp Phone Import. Happy creating!