Instagram Reels – you must have at least heard of, or better yet, are familiar with this feature by now.
Since its launch in 2020, it has been used by many marketers and companies to promote their brands and services.
On the other hand, TikTok existed before Reels, and the platform continues to excel in every aspect to ensure it can stay in the game as one of the best content marketing tools.
Each platform tries its best to outdo each other, offering smooth experiences for users and most importantly, staying relevant as a marketing tool for brands and companies.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about Reels vs TikTok. Is TikTok advertising better than Instagram ads? Or are Reels Instagram just a better duplicate of TikTok for your content marketing needs?
It’s a tough choice, we know – and that’s why you should continue reading to see which direction makes more sense for your business.
Instagram Reels vs TikTok – Know The Ins And Outs Of Each Platform
Long story short, Instagram Reels was launched after TikTok received its mainstream popularity.
Similar to Instagram’s introduction of Stories to beat Snapchat, Reels is Instagram’s initiative to compete with TikTok’s elements in providing fresh video content.
Short film creators often look for more efficient ways to deliver content.
It’s because they want the message to be understood and engaging. But, unfortunately, it’s challenging to provide the right message with a clip that only runs for under a minute.
So how long exactly can videos play out on Instagram Reels and TikTok videos?
Reels and TikTok provide users with the tools to create and share short videos from 15 to 60 seconds long. Users can browse through videos by scrolling up and down, which makes them relatively easy to access.
In addition, marketers, bloggers, and content creators have various tools to edit their clips and, most importantly, add filters and music feature from the audio library to help improve their video presentations.
Both Reels and TikTok boast an engagement rate that outperforms both Twitter and Instagram post. TikTok’s engagement rate is at 7.7 percent, whereas Instagram’s overall engagement rate is at 3.8 percent, and Twitter’s engagement rate is only at 0.7 percent. 
With TikTok users so engaged with the app, it makes the platform one of the most successful tools to target young audiences with entertaining and catchy content. By dissimilarity, Reels offers more editing tools so that film creators can be more creative.
On the whole, Reels and TikTok have many things in common when it comes to formatting. However, there are still significant differences that you should know about.
In What Ways Are TikTok and Instagram Reels Different? 9 Differences Between Instagram Reels and TikTok
There are some marketers that need more explanation on what is TikTok and how does it work, and the differences between both TikTok and Instagram reels.
We explain in greater detail below what sets these two popular social media platforms apart.
1. Video Length
Video creators often look for more ways to deliver content efficiently. It’s because they want the message to be understood and engaging. It’s difficult to deliver a message with a video that only runs for 10 seconds long.
So how long can reels be on Instagram and what is the video length duration for TikTok videos?
One of the significant distinctions between Reels Instagram and TikTok in comparison is the length of the video:
- TikTok allows its users to create a short video TikTok content for up to 60 seconds while
- Instagram Reels length only allows users to record up to 30 seconds maximum.
This influences the flow of the video, and that’s why you can see that most Reels videos are compact and focused as it has less recording time compared to TikTok.
Not to be mistaken with Instagram Stories, the difference between reels and Instagram stories is that the videos you share on your Instagram Stories won’t be available after 24 hours, while Reels will stay on your published post.
But this all changed back in July, with Reels extending the length to one full minute and giving more room for creators to get creative. As Reels constantly tries to beat TikTok, they listen to their many users concerns.
This recent change shows that they prioritize user feedback and are willing to make adjustments to their platform as necessary.
2. Audio Options
For copyright reasons, Instagram only allows business Instagram account users to access Reel’s library of royalty-free music.
This can be a setback as it limits your options. The whole point of creating a short form video content is to engage with your audience, and by adding music, you’re making the video more interesting.
For a social media platform that depends significantly on audio to maximize trends and entertainment, Reels falls short in this area.
But on a good note, Reels does allow you to upload content and music plus enables other users to use it if you set it to public.
Contrary to TikTok, its music library is accessible by every user of the platform. Gen Z who mostly use TikTok can enjoy trendy and catchy music on their videos and that makes one of the reasons for the video to go viral. 
For now, TikTok offers a better experience for own audio options, and we can only hope for Reels to catch up real soon!
3. Video Editing Tools and Features
In comparison, TikTok offers numerous effects and filters while Instagram has limited editing tools and filters that are already available for Instagram Stories.
The numerous filters and effects on TikTok are what highlight the platform’s unique and entertaining content. Meanwhile, the limited filters on Reels allow you to focus on your content but with lesser options for editing.
Furthermore, TikTok has reaction, duet, and stitch features that enable brands and companies to interact with each other in more meaningful ways than just comments or likes that are available on Instagram.
TikTok’s analytics dashboard insights tell you everything you need to know about your TikTok content performance and engagement. And it’s divided into three different sections: content, follower and overview.
The analytics tool is considered comprehensive as you can retrieve data of: total time watched, percentage views by region, and the percentage of views of how users found your content.
In addition, you can also view other content that your followers viewed in the past week to learn more about the type of content that interests them.
On the other hand, Instagram Reels’ analytics tool provides insights on likes, shares, and comments on your content performance if you have a business Instagram account. You can learn more about how to use Instagram facts and statistics when you open your Insights Overview.
5. E-commerce & Paid Advertising
TikTok ads may not be as mainstream as Instagram ads, but the platform does offer paid advertising for businesses and brands.
Currently, TikTok offers In-Feed Ads, TopView, Branded Hashtags Challenges, and Brand Takeovers as part of its advertising options. According to Bloomberg, TikTok has such a vast user base, and its ads have been so effective that the platform plans to increase up to $2 million for its one-day takeover ads.
On the flip side, Instagram Reel has just begun its paid advertising recently.
The TikTok advertisements are full-screen, play at 30-seconds long – and loop. It also appears in between other clips. In addition, the ads will be shown as “Sponsored” together with the advertiser’s name.
With Instagram adapting e-commerce into its platform, TikTok is on the course of catching up.
This is evident in TikTok’s recent announcement of its partnership with Shopify. This partnership allows its user to have easy access to Shopify’s vendors and ensures the user stays on the app while shopping.
The Instagram Reels Explore algorithm calculates how your video interacts with your user – known as a score of interest.
This determines the order of when and how often your post appears on your user’s Instagram Reels Explore feed. To get more people to engage and interact, i.e., like, share and comment on your video, you need to publish new content that is engaging and interesting consistently.
Meanwhile, TikTok’s algorithm is based on the activity and interests of individual users, which shows that no two “For You” feeds are going to be the same because of different factors and variations.
The content on the feed has been recommended and curated specifically for your TikTok account. The elements are based on:
- User Interactions – what type of content that your audience is most likely to engage with, like, share, and comment
- Video or Content Information – the captions and hashtags, the music you used for your video, stickers, length
- Device and Account Settings – country, language used, and type of devices
TikTok’s algorithm processes all these data and analyses them based on the user’s interest and interaction.
Despite the distinction in the algorithm used, creating your video on both platforms and receiving more engagements is the main goal that should be the focus of your business.
7. Demographic and Content
Both Instagram and TikTok’s demographics are slightly different.
Instagram users tend to be somewhat older in comparison to TikTok users.
According to Statistica, the most significant user percentage on Instagram is between the ages of 25 to 34 years old, and the second-highest age population is 22.8 percent, composed of users from 18 to 24 years of age. Half of the audience on the platform are female users.
While TikTok user data shows that it has a slightly younger consumer base compared with Instagram.
Its user base is widely made up of Gen Z and younger users aged 18 to 25 years old. Of course, there are other age groups of users on TikTok, but the millennials monopolize the platform. The majority of TikTok users are female, with 60 percent between 16 to 24 years old, and 26 percent are between 25 to 44 years old.
So if your target audience is the younger generation or Gen X, you might want to focus your digital marketing strategy more on Instagram Reel. However, if your target audience is from the Gen Z population, then TikTok is your best option.
Not until this year, Instagram Reels did not allow creators to monetize their content. That said, TikTok Creators Fund lets users who participate in the fund generate income based on the total views of their content.
Instagram Reels is said to be testing on the “bonuses” feature, which allows film creators to earn money through their Reels. 
How and when the video feature will be utilized fully are still unknown. There have been reports and screenshots from several influencers about the feature on how they can start earning from Reels, but it’s still in the testing phase.
9. Character Limit in The Captions
The Instagram caption limit is 2,200 characters while TikTok only allows up to 100 characters.
In addition, users can read the entire caption on Reels if they click the read more option so it won’t cover the clip, whereas TikTok captions appear with the caption as the whole, covering part of the video.
If you need to write a story about your brand, it seems that Instagram Reels is the perfect platform.
You can use emojis and describe your brands without having to worry about the character limit. Moreover, your clip won’t be covered with captions that could be annoying to certain viewers.
With more space to write captions, you can explain more about the video and engage your audience. There are Instagram caption ideas you can look for to ensure your content is engaging and interesting.
As TikTok only provides 100 characters, you have to make sure the short clip’s message is clear, so your audience understands what you’re trying to relay. But since we know who uses TikTok – namely Gen Z, they are more engaged in video content than a long description.
So as long as you understand your audiences, you can use both platforms for content marketing video alongside other social media platforms to your advantage.
Instagram Reels VS TikTok, Which One Is The Winner?
Instagram reels and TikTok offer various tools and benefits for you to capitalize on your business. When deciding between TikTok vs Instagram Reels, it’s vital to analyze your target audience and the type of content that you want to create.
TikTok ads are personalized to feeds, and as engaging video with catchy music is the future of advertising, at this rate, TikTok is the platform worth exploring. Not to mention that it also provides analytical data to its users, allowing creators to learn what type of content their audiences prefer.
If you can’t decide between social media platforms to choose for your brand contact us at One Search Pro for social media marketing services.
We are a social media marketing agency and digital marketing Malaysia with more than ten years of experience in digital marketing. We understand the importance of social media marketing in Malaysia and how to boost your business’s online presence.
Most importantly, consultation is free! Contact us now!