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TikTok vs Instagram: Which Platform Is the Best for Your Business

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated April, 10, 2023

Choosing whether to use TikTok or Instagram to promote your business can be a difficult decision. 

Both platforms provide short-form content and offer plenty of opportunities to showcase your brand or product. However, there are essential differences between the two, particularly in the type of content posted. 

Read on as we take a closer look at each of the platforms’ features, flaws and similarities and answer the all-important question: TikTok vs Instagram: which platform is the best for your business?

Key Stats on TikTok and Instagram 

Before we get started, let’s take a look at some stats on both platforms

970.2 million users 1.45 billion users
+9.6% quarterly growth in April 2022-1.8% quarterly growth in April 2022
Reaches 19.4% of total internet users globallyReaches 29% of total internet users globally

TikTok: The Video-Sharing Platform That Took Over the World in 2020

TikTok, introduced in September 2016, is a mega-popular video-sharing app that lets users create, watch and share videos filmed on mobiles. Set to music and various sound effects, TikTok videos are short, entertaining and incredibly addictive. 

The app’s popularity skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic—by December 2020, it had 6 billion downloads, over 745,000 of which came from the UK, statistics on TikTok and its usage in Britain reveal. 

Today, TikTok has 970.2 million 18+ active users worldwide and the number keeps growing. 

Instagram: The Gold Standard of Social Media

A social media unlike any of its predecessors, Instagram allowed users to tell a story using just video and images. This visual twist made the platform a huge success with brands and influencers who have used the app to connect with their followers on a more personal level.

Instagram, the second most popular social media site in the UK (and fourth globally) currently has 18 million UK users, from 1.4 billion worldwide.

Tik Tok and Instagram Similarities

Before we consider their differences, let’s see what features TikTok and Instagram have in common.  

1. Easy to go viral

Since both platforms have over a billion users, content can go viral in a very short amount of time. 

While TikTok makes it incredibly easy to get organic followers due to the novelty of the platform, Instagram has more formats where you can post content including Reels, IGTV, Stories and Explore. The end result, though, is the same—your brand gets visibility. 

2. Tailored to post short-form content

Even though TikTok focuses solely on videos, and IG incorporates static content as well, both platforms provide users with short, easily-digestible content

Note: Instagram recently extended the length of Instagram Reels (the platform’s version of Tik Tok videos) to 60 seconds, the same length as TikTok clips. Previously, they were 30 seconds long. 

3. Track analytics

You can track performance on both platforms, including the number of views, shares and audience demographics. 

4. eCommerce options 

Both platforms integrate with Shopify and other ecommerce platforms to enable in-app shopping, a highly valuable feature considering that 73% of Brits prefer to shop on mobile as do 49% of customers worldwide. 

How are TikTok and Instagram Different?

How do the platforms differ and what does that mean for your business?

1. Instagram vs TikTok: Content Style 

The main purpose of TikTok is to provide entertainment so the platform is more about raw, spontaneous content. TikTok users are not that concerned with how the clips look as long as  they are engaging and entertaining. 

Instagram, on the other hand, is more polished and professional and more focused on production value and the aesthetic aspect. Instagram influencers and users spend a long time perfecting their content to ensure it is visually pleasing as well as engaging. 

The takeaway: TikTok might be a better fit for a product demonstration thanks to its focus on improvised content, while Instagram is more about brand representation and visual content.

2. TikTok vs Instagram: User Demographics

While both platforms are incredibly popular, they tend to attract different types of users. 

TikTok’s target audience tends to be younger and female. According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2022 Report, the majority of TikTok users are aged between 18 and 24 (25% of female users are aged 18-24 as are 17.9% of males). 

Even though Instagram still appeals to younger demographics, the platform’s audience skews towards slightly older male users with 16.4% of male users aged 25 to 34 and 15.1% of female users in the same age group. 

In terms of gender, 49.3% of Instagram users are female, whereas the same is true for 57% of Tik Tok’s audience

There is a difference in location as well. While most TikTok users hail from the USA (136.5 million), the US is the second biggest market for Instagram, preceded by India with 230.25 million users as of January 2022.

In the UK, Instagram reaches more people than TikTok, i.e. 48% of the total number of internet users in the country, whereas TikTok’s ad reach is 34.9% as of April 2022. 

The takeaway: Brands that want to cater to younger audiences might be better off using TikTok. Instagram could be a more suitable option for businesses that are targeting younger millennials outside the US market. 

3. TikTok vs Instagram: User Behaviour & Engagement

When it comes to time spent on the platform, TikTok and Instagram are fairly close—52 and 53 minutes a day, respectively. The difference lies in the average daily sessions, though. 

Instagram users in the UK spent an average of 4 minutes 41 seconds per session a day, while the average daily session worldwide is 3.1 minutes

TikTok audiences, however, dedicate 10.85 minutes per daily session. What’s more, in the UK, TikTok Android users spend around 27.3 hours a month on the mobile app, more than any other country in the world and much higher than the global average of 19.6 hours a month.

What about engagement rates?

TikTok is currently the most engaging social media platform, with an engagement rate of 5.96%, well above Instagram’s 0.83%. 

How do users engage with each platform? 

92% of users share, follow or comment after watching a video on the platformTwo out of three respondents say IG has helped them interact with brands
25% of users say they have purchased or researched a product after watching a Tik Tok clip70% of online shoppers discover new products on Instagram 
67% of TikTok users say they were inspired to shop by the app, even though they had no plans to90% of Instagram users follow a business
74% of users state the app has made them curious about a brand or product50% of users are more interested in a brand after they see ads on IG

The takeaway: These TikTok vs instagram 2022 stats paint a clear picture. TikTok users not only spend more time on the platform a day, but also engage more with its content.

4. Instagram vs Tik Tok: Content Delivery 

Another big difference between TikTok and Instagram is the way content is delivered to the user. 

TikTok’s algorithm curates content for the user on the ‘For You’ page based on their interests and likes. Conversely, on Instagram the user curates content, i.e. your main feed is made up of the people and hashtags you follow. 

This makes TikTok a great platform for reaching out to new customers, both for existing and new businesses. It also makes it easier to grow on TikTok since the algorithm pushes new content to the top of people’s feeds.

On the other hand, Instagram has several content formats that could attract new clients to your brand. For instance, if your Reel doesn’t go viral, another type of post might, opening up your profile to thousands of potential customers in the process. Something that you might even consider is reposting content that aligns with your original posts, so that you can increase your exposure even more.

The takeaway: If you already have an established Instagram presence, the platform can help your customers engage with your brand across several content formats. On the other hand, if you are just starting out TikTok is the perfect place to post new content and grow your customer base. 

5. Instagram vs TikTok: Video Editing Options 

TikTok has far more video editing features than Instagram Reels, allowing users to rearrange clips, do voice overs as well as include a variety of filters, templates and effects. The result is that you get more versatility with a TikTok video than you get with Instagram Reels (at least right now). 

Music is another important factor. 

TikTok has an entire music library that anyone can use to make more engaging videos, whereas Instagram limits you to your own sounds or royalty-free music. There are ways to work around this, but the bottom line is that incorporating music in your video clips is much easier with TikTok. 

The takeaway: TikTok definitely offers more in this category—there are no limits to your creativity making it much easier and faster to produce highly-entertaining videos that can quickly gain traction.  

6. TikTok vs Instagram Paid Ads 

The marketing strategy implemented on the two platforms differs as well. Traditional advertisements, such as sponsored Instagram posts, are not very popular with TikTok users, who want  influencers to come up with unique and innovative content and less promotional branding. In other words, promoting your brand onTikTok needs to be subtle.

That said, TikTok does offer paid advertising, such as in-feed ads as well as Branded Hashtags Challenges and Brand Takeovers. The difference is TikTok users see less ads, making this a less competitive space as well as more appealing to users who don’t want their feed constantly interrupted by ads. 

Instagram, however,  is part of Facebook—a company that has social media marketing perfected down to a T.  In addition to dynamic and versatile paid ads that make it easy to create branded content for static posts, IG has also introduced branded content tags for Reels. 

The takeaway: It comes down to cost. CPC and CPM are high on both platforms, but TikTok is costlier with CPC at $35.72 and CPM at $4.38, compared to $28.08 and $1.67, respectively. 

Tik Tok vs Instagram: What is the Verdict?

Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. It ultimately depends on your business and what you are trying to achieve with your social media marketing campaign. 

If you want to reach younger audiences and promote products that can go viral in no time, TikTok is the way to go. 

By comparison, Instagram is a great option to build a visual brand identity and connect with customers through several content formats. The years of experience in marketing also bodes well for the platform, as does the fact that it is powered by one of the most sophisticated advertising companies in the world.  

How to Use TikTok for Business

Here are a few ideas and strategies you could implement to get the most out of your TikTok marketing campaign.

  • Since you are limited to just 80 characters you need to keep your bio short and sweet. Here are some TikTok bio ideas that could help you along the way. 
  • TikTok users love genuine, lighthearted videos and authentic content. Avoid scripted videos and try to show the human side of your business—a behind-the-scenes clip, like this one promoting Top Gun: Maverick would tick all these boxes. 
  • To ensure that your posts get maximum visibility, upload content at the right time. To reach users in the UK, the best time to post on TikTok is Tuesdays at 2 pm or Thursdays at 5 am
  • Use trending hashtags, videos and challenges. 
  • TikTok excels when it comes to filters and effects, so use as many video and sound editing options as you can to make your content stand out. 
  • Take advantage of all the posting options, such as enabling duet/stitch so that users can integrate your videos into their own—a great way to get more organic visibility.
  • Create your own TikTok challenge. J-Lo did it to promote her track and got 2.4 billion views. If this option is not in your budget you can take part in a challenge and still get exposure.
  • Collaborate with influencers. TikTok stats show that a partnership with creators can increase view-through rates by 193%. 

How to Use Instagram for Business

Although the same principles apply, there are some unique strategies that can help you advertise on IG. 

  • Optimise your profile, so that it includes a clear profile picture, engaging bio, branding hashtag and URL. People need to know what to expect from your feed as soon as they see your profile. 
  • Since Instagram is all about the visual appeal of your brand, you must take great photos and high-quality videos.
  • Instagram is not just a photo-sharing app anymore, so take advantage of all the content formats it offers. 
  • Post relevant and personal content. If big brands like Starbucks and Nike can make their posts all about personalised experiences, so can you. 
  • Work with influencers to promote your business. Start off with your own customer base as you might already have users who can serve as your brand ambassadors—the more genuine your connection, the better for your business. 
  • Create your own branded hashtag, like TopShop does. This is a great way to get more user-generated content and have people promote your brand organically. 

TikTok vs Instagram: Which Platform Is the Best for Your Business?

Ultimately, the best platform for your business will depend on your specific goals and objectives.

The important thing is to post engaging and relatable content as often as possible. This is the only way to ensure that your content gets exposure regardless of the platform you end up using. 

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.