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Difference Between TikTok and Instagram

Undoubtedly, TikTok has had a great run and its impact on the social media community is nothing less than a gamechanger. It’s not every day you see a Chinese video-sharing app taking reigns as one of the leading social media platforms in the world. But now, Instagram has its own new way of creating and sharing short video clips within the app itself – it’s called Instagram Reels. It seems Instagram is adding something new every now and then to keep up with TikTok. As these video sharing apps keep getting more and more similar, you may be wondering what actually sets them apart. Let’s take a look.

What is TikTok?

 TikTok is a popular Chinese video-sharing app owned by Beijing-based tech company, ByteDance. Launched in China in 2016 and pushed out globally in 2017 as TikTok, it is now one of the faster growing social media platforms in the world. TikTok allows its users to create short music and lip sync videos of up to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of up to 60 seconds. It has a ‘Duet’ function which allows two different users to collaborate on the same video; this concept has become immensely popular amongst the Gen Z users and the app itself has seen a dramatic growth since its launch, much of it coming from the Chinese and Indian market. Almost everything happens first on TikTok – all the newest trends, memes and viral challenges happen here.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a popular photo and video sharing platform owned and managed by social media giant, Facebook. It is a people’s favorite app that experienced a tremendous growth in the year 2020 following the global pandemic and controversies surrounding the famous video sharing platform, TikTok. Instagram offers Reels – a brand new way to build and engage community on Instagram using the same TikTok-like concept of sharing short videos. This new video feature allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and other creative options. And the best part – Reels is not a standalone app; it’s built into the core functionality of Instagram. Similar to TikTok videos that appear on the For You page, Reels appear on the Instagram Explore page.

Difference between TikTok and Instagram


– TikTok is a standalone video-sharing app launched in China in 2016 under the name of Duoyin and was pushed out globally in 2017 as TikTok. One of the faster growing social media platforms in the world, TikTok allows its users to create short music and lip sync videos of up to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of up to 60 seconds. Instagram Reels, on the other hand, is a brand new way to build and engage community on Instagram and unlike TikTok, it’s not a standalone app; in fact, it’s built into the core functionality of the Instagram app itself.


 – Similar to IGTV and Stories, Instagram provides an existing user base a familiar experience with Reels. It’s very similar to TikTok, but Instagram focuses on the network layer and on explicit signals by users. TikTok, on the other hand, relies on its advanced AI capabilities to serve the interests of its users without needing explicit signals by users to determine their interests. It also uses AI to aid creator create and share better content.

Video Editing Features 

– Similar to TikTok videos that appear on the ‘For You’ page, Instagram Reels are shown on the Instagram ‘Explore’ page. While both allow you to create and discover entertaining, short-from videos, TikTok has a much diverse selection of music and lots of effects, stickers, filters and sound effects. In fact, TikTok has more built-in video editing tools than what Instagram offers with Reels. The video effects on Reels are limited and users can only use them prior to creating a clip.

Paid Advertising

 – While advertising is an important part of both, Instagram has been around for much longer than TikTok, so it has a kind of stronghold in the paid advertising space. Every day countless brands rush to catch the first save of Reels getting millions of the views on their videos. Reels are a great way to boost your sales or distribution efforts with Instagram. TikTok, however, does offer paid advertising options such as In-Feed Ads, Brand Takeovers, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects.

TikTok vs. Instagram: Comparison Chart


Although, Instagram Reels comes as a direct response to the immense popularity of TikTok, there are still vast differences between the two video sharing apps. It’s true that TikTok’s dramatic impact on the social media community is nothing less than a gamechanger and in a very less time, it has become a social media sensation around the world, but Instagram has the competitive advantage of being owned by one of the biggest names in the social media landscape. And, Instagram hasn’t had the privilege of being plagued by the biggest controversies and political barriers as TikTok had. 

Which is better TikTok or Instagram?

Instagram still has a larger audience than TikTok since it has been around for quite some time now and with the growing number of users, Instagram also presents itself as an ideal platform to sell your business. While Instagram truly has a competitive edge over TikTok in terms of user base, TikTok has been quick to become one of the hottest social media sensations in a short time.

How is TikTok different from Instagram?

For one, TikTok is a standalone app that allows its users to create short music and lip sync videos of up to 15 seconds, using a host of features such as Duet, Stitch and Reaction. Instagram has a host of in-built video sharing features such as Reels, IGTV and Stories. Also, the number of video effects and editing features on Instagram are very limited, compared to what TikTok offers.

Will TikTok beat Instagram?

TikTok emerged as a prominent social media network in a short span of time because of the prevalence of trends, such as dance challenges, lip syncing videos, and other personalized short videos. But TikTok had a major setback following allegations, controversies and privacy violations by the US government which branded the famous video sharing app as a potential national security risk. So, it’s highly unlikely TikTok will ever beat Instagram.

Why is TikTok the best social media?

TikTok is a video-only platform that thrives off trending hashtags and challenges, and it relies on advanced AI capabilities to serve the most relevant content without needing any explicit signals by the users to determine their interests. The target audience for TikTok is mostly teenagers and those with the early twenties, and the idea that TikTok features short, eye-catching videos, makes it one of the best social media platforms out there.

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1 Comment

  1. Instagram could have morre audience than tit tok,duet to the video lenth that differs to each other.

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References :

[0]Ryan, Damian. Understanding Digital Marketing: A Complete Guide to Engaging Customers and Implementing Successful Digital Campaigns. London, United Kingdom: Kogan Page Publishers, 2020. Print

[1]Mussi, Valentina. The Unofficial TikTok Cookbook: 75 Internet-Breaking Recipes for Snacks, Drinks, Treats, and More!. New York, United States: Simon and Schuster, 2021. Print

[2]Choudary, Sangeet Paul. Platform Scale: For A Post-Pandemic World. New Delhi, India: Penguin Random House India, 2021. Print

[3]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/es/photos/tiktok-tik-tok-app-smartphone-5390055/

[4]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/3692/32570819444_ba7cd3a365_b.jpg

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