A war has been raging between TikTok and Instagram Reels for some time now. As 2020 progressed, TikTok’s popularity exploded, and by September of that year, the app had amassed 1 billion monthly active users. Due to the public’s growing adoration of TikTok, Instagram released Instagram Reels in August, followed by Instagram Reels advertisements in 2021.
Instagram has surpassed 1 billion MAU in 2018, and it has 500 million DAU, so it’s reasonable to say that the platform is taking notes from TikTok. Around the beginning of 2022, this became even more evident. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri revealed the platform’s plans for 2022 in a blog post, including a greater emphasis on video and the consolidation of “all their video forms under Reels.”
Instagram may have taken notes from TikTok, but have they been implemented? Is Instagram capable of generating more revenue from advertisements than TikTok? How competitive are Instagram Reels ads versus TikTok ads? To find out, Creatopy ran two separate studies.
What makes TikTok such a hit?
The success of TikTok can be attributed to the fact that it effectively capitalised on two trends: short-form video content and smartphone usage.
When it comes to short videos, TikTok is where it’s at. With TikTok’s remarkable algorithm, you can watch two or three videos specifically selected for you in only one minute, providing a short bite of amusement that will leave you wanting more.
Even better, producing one of these little videos is a breeze. Anyone can build a TikTok and maybe go popular thanks to the app’s user-friendly editing interface and extensive soundtrack library.
Because of the accessibility and brevity of its videos, TikTok has become a hotbed for the creation and dissemination of viral trends. A viral song might inspire anyone to create a dance challenge or video.
How do TikTok commercials function?
In-feed video ads are the most common type of commercial on the platform; these appear on your FYP alongside your regular TikTok content and are identified as “sponsored” with a call-to-action button that takes you to the advertiser’s product website.
TopView commercials, which play before any user-generated content when people launch the app, can also be uploaded to TikTok. TikTok Ads Management is where you’ll select your campaign’s goals, allocate funds, and fine-tune your audience segmentation.
Explain Instagram Reels
In order to showcase one’s talents on Instagram, users can create and post what is called a “Reel,” a full-screen vertical video. It can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as 30 seconds. Users have the option of liking, sharing, and commenting on the clip.
If you see an Instagram Reels ad, you can tell it is sponsored because of the label and because the call to action (CTA) takes you to the product’s landing page.
A Pilot Study: The Product Ad
In the first case study comparing TikTok and Instagram Reels, the advertisements appeared on both services between September 14 and October 5. The product video and copy in both commercials were exactly 15 seconds long. The commercials were geared towards American adults aged 25 to 44 who were interested in learning, technology, or mobile applications. With 5.5k followers on Instagram but only a few days under their belt on TikTok, they were clearly doing something right. Despite the unquestionable success of TikTok and the many advantages of developing a TikTok-centric marketing plan, it is still beneficial to invest time and energy into producing videos for Instagram Reels.
Experiment Two: The Native Commercial
For the follow-up experiment pitting TikTok against Instagram Reels, the team opted to employ a native video ad that would look and function better on TikTok’s For You Page. We also assumed that the TikTok account would have a better chance of competing with the more well-established Instagram page because it was around a year older. The same 19-second video commercial, aimed at 25-44-year-olds in the United States, ran on both platforms from January 18, 2022, until February 7, 2022. The advertising budgets and text for each were identical. A custom frequency cap of once every two days was also in place. The point of this study? TikTok will perform better than Instagram Reels if the video advertisement is tailored to the platform.
There is no definite victor between the two examples. Contrary to the initial experiment’s murky findings, this one had clearer outcomes. There are a number of variables that can affect the effectiveness of a certain ad format on a given platform.
Yet, there are a few instructive takeaways for us in the advertising and marketing industries:
Tiktol and Instagram Stories Reels are both worthwhile advertising platforms. Both platforms have the potential to yield impressive results, so it would be wise to launch advertising campaigns on both if at all possible.
Using methods more familiar to the target audience is recommended. While product ads certainly have their uses, native formats can prove more effective in some contexts. You may not even realise you’re watching an advertisement until you see the Sponsored or Promoted label because of how well they mix in with the platform’s content.
Limit the length of the video commercials. Around 9-15 seconds ought to do the trick. People’s attention spans are short since it’s so easy to keep scrolling through material on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.