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The Great Debate: TikTok v.s. Instagram Reels

person holding black android smartphone

We all know that video is here to stay. The foundation of social media content has not changed, however. Internet users have always desired quick, easy-to-consume content. Whether in video format or a static Instagram/Facebook post – you better make it quick and easy to understand.

So – this begs the question – TikTok or Instagram Reels for your business? Or both? Let’s take a look at the key differences:

Instagram Reels

  • Platform within the Instagram ecosystem
  • Video length max 60 seconds
  • Reels shared to stories will disappear after 24 hours


  • Standalone video sharing platform
  • Video length max 3 minutes
  • Videos stay on the platform

The Algorithms

Instagram only recently announced that they are shifting their focus to video and that they are “no longer a photo-sharing app.” However, we know how their algorithm functions, and it is (not surprisingly) very similar to TikTok’s algorithm. Instagram Reels show videos to users based on whether the user: watches a Reel the entire way through, interacts with it, creates a Reel of their own using the audio clip, or the user has previously interacted with the content creator. Read that last one again. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it againengage with your followers

Similar to the IG Reels’ algorithm, TikTok’s algorithm (the ‘For You’ page) relies heavily on user interactions. They prioritize content based on: if you follow the creator, creators you have hidden, videos you interact with, videos marked as ‘not interested,’ videos watched the entire way through, and your personal TikTok content. Some other information that TikTok uses to serve up videos include details like captions, hashtags, audio clips, effects, and trending topics. 

The Reach

Instagram was created 11 years ago, while TikTok only debuted in 2016. This alone allows brands with an established following and social strategy on Instagram to reach a wider audience. All the while, these same brands may struggle to start from scratch on TikTok’s platform. It’s also important to note that TikTok is a popular platform amongst influencers and celebrities; real people are creating real content. In contrast, Instagram has always been a platform for brands to showcase carefully curated content to win over their customers. 

Key Takeaway 

There is no debate on whether or not you should be using video in your social media marketing strategy in 2021. Now – TikTok or Instagram Reels? At Little Moon, we say go for both, but we understand that video content can be intimidating. It may be wiser to start with the platform that you are most comfortable using. Is your brand already established on Instagram? It looks like IG Reels may be a great place to start. Do you know the ins and outs of TikTok? Then get on with the latest trends. Have no idea where to start? Let’s chat.

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