TikTok vs Instagram: What Marketers Should Know in 2024

tiktok vs instagram

Over the last year, around 424 million people caved in and became social media consumers. This means there are an average of 1 million+ new users every day, or ~14 new users every second. Australian active social media users alone reached up to 20.5 million.

However, when it comes to promoting a brand or business, there’s always that TikTok vs Instagram dilemma.

Want to find out which one’s a better fit for you? Read on!

TikTok vs Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know

In this part of the article, we will compare some of the main features of the apps and their user consumption.

Music Options and Video Editing Features

Let’s see how Instagram videos (Reels) compare with TikTok videos in editing, duration, and audio.

  • Video Editing

TikTok trends change all the time, depending on which sound or filter has become viral recently. Reels only include the filters from Instagram stories and don’t have as many effects as TikTok. Reels have the benefit of allowing you to choose a thumbnail for a video from your gallery, whereas TikTok limits you to choose a frame from the video.

Most TikTok videos can be saved on your phone, which is upsetting to some creators because their content can be stolen easily. However, each video has a watermark and credits the user when the video ends, which protects the content to some extent. Reels, however, don’t have the download option, so the content is more protected.

  • Video Duration

TikTok videos can last up to 60 seconds. It may not seem like a lot, but it has space for improvising and making a mini-series. Reels initially launched in August 2020 with a 15-second duration restriction, which was increased to 30 seconds a month later. 

However, with most of Reels’ videos coming from TikTok, and the apps being codependent in that area, Instagram decided to make Reels 60 seconds long. These videos are a big deal because they can improve search results by more than 150%.

  • Audio

TikTok’s sound selection isn’t restricted to music only. Users actively make new sounds, which occasionally become part of a trend. This has helped give some independent musicians early recognition and boost their careers.

Reels offers a wide sound selection, but the majority of the audio on it comes from TikTok. This may be effective, but it still leaves Reels and its audience dependent on TikTok for creating videos that will perform well in the algorithm. TikTok is more music-oriented, whereas Instagram has stricter copyright restrictions.

The bottom line here is, TikTok is more about entertainment and bonding through jokes and mutual interests, whilst Reels is simply Instagram’s attempt to keep up with TikTok.

TikTok vs Instagram: The Algorithm

So, how does the algorithm work? Think of it as a two-way street. One for the audience (feed) and another for content creators. The goal of these apps is: the longer you scroll, the better for them.

If you want to hack the algorithm on these two platforms, there’s a catch:

  • Instagram – make sure you post regularly, build an audience and interact with them on a daily basis.
  • TikTok – make sure you research recent trends and think of a video idea that’s fun and trendy.

The For You page on TikTok is similar to Instagram’s Discover page. However, TikTok’s algorithm is more refined and engaging because it’s far more tailored to the user’s preferences. The Discover page on Instagram is not that personalised, while the appearance of TikTok’s “For You” encourages users to scroll more.

You can probably guess that Instagram takes the cake here. It is more experienced with paid advertising than TikTok because it has been around for much longer. 

According to the latest data from Meta’s advertising resources, Instagram’s ad reach has increased by 21% last year. More than a quarter billion users joined Instagram in 2021, bringing the platform’s worldwide ad reach to ~1.5 billion users at the beginning of 2022.

According to the most recent data from Bytedance’s advertising resources, TikTok’s ad outreach expanded by 60 million people, bringing total ad reach to over 885 million at the start of 2022.

Number of Users 2021/20221.1 billion1 billion
Average Time Spent on the Apps30 minutes52 minutes
Total Downloads 3.8 billion times3 billion
Percentage of Marketers Who Use These Platforms33%4%
Average Age of the App’s Users70% are younger than 34 41% are 16-24

Note: This statistic excludes users under 18, who make up a large portion of the platform’s consumers.

Strategy Checklist

Over here, we’ll see some Instagram and TikTok checklist points and some popular brands that use these two platforms for brand marketing.

Instagram Strategies

When talking about creating Instagram content, it’s important to remember it must be of good quality and aesthetically appealing. You can post whatever you want to promote your business, but your content must be consistent, which means using all app features and posting at least once a day.

When it comes to brands, if we look at National Geographic, Starbucks, or Nike, they have one thing in common: sharing people’s experiences. The same goes for many celebrities; for example, Tom Holland uses his Instagram profile to post movie snippets and BTS shots. By including such content on their feed, brands and celebrities take a more personal approach to advertising, which is extremely attractive to users.

Here are some important Instagram checklist points to remember:

  • Concentrate on growing your audience.
  • The content should be personal, relevant, and of high quality.
  • Make sure that you post 80% authentic content and 20% promotional content.
  • Make use of all of Instagram’s posting options (video, IG Live, etc.).

An important thing to remember about Instagram is that engagement is everything – you must be dedicated to your profile.

TikTok Strategies

As previously stated, TikTok’s target demographic is younger. They don’t use the app to look at ads, but rather to interact with interesting content. Challenges with hashtags, guides, and different viral music trends are the most popular content on the app.

When it comes to branding and promoting, TikTok has a different approach. Brands tend to hop on the most popular trends and put their own twist on them. For example, GymShark, Chipotle, and Domino’s have found success using TikTok with that approach successfully, and each of them sells different products.

Here are some main TikTok checklist points that are important to remember:

  • Take advantage of popular funny trends.
  • Be original instead of basic with the videos you post.
  • Think of content that can be easily followed by other creators and therefore has the potential to become viral.
  • Make hashtag movements in which people may participate.

TikTok is all about having fun, so the easy-going/dance/meme approach is a definite win for promoting anything.

Put Yourself Out There!

The bottom line is, besides Instagram leading with advertising, both of these social media giants have the potential to show off your product in the best light. You can decide to jump on the latest TikTok trend (and boost the chances of your business/product becoming viral), or manage an Instagram page on a daily basis – it’s up to you!


1. Will TikTok beat Instagram?

Instagram has the upper hand thus far. Both platforms will coexist for the next several years, but as new generations appear and begin to pick their preferred platform, TikTok might take the lead. To overcome Instagram’s current dominance, TikTok would have to expand at least twice as quickly as Instagram.

In the TikTok vs Instagram table above, we can clearly see that Instagram still takes the lead in app downloads. Instagram has been around longer than TikTok and is more popular amongst social media consumers.

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