The Differences Between Tiktok and Instagram Reels

content creation video Apr 11, 2022


We live in what just may be the golden age of social media. The internet is so accessible, and there are tons of platforms and channels to express yourself and reach out to other people. Almost everyone uses social media, and finding an audience is now easier than ever.


You can successfully use social media to get more blog traffic, promote a product, and even just make new connections. If you want to stay on-trend, you'll want to know the key features and differences between some of the most popular social networking functions right now.


Let's talk about TikTok and Instagram Reels and what exactly makes them different from each other.


What Are Instagram Reels?


Instagram Reels are a way to turn your Instagram Stories-style content into a more formal video. This allows you to capture the best of your content and post them for others to enjoy more long-term.


Reels can be saved by users if they want to. The more users save your Instagram Reels, the more Instagram will put up your content on people's feeds. A reel can be up to sixty seconds long and can be set up with filters, audio, music, edits, and effects.


You can share your reel as a story to promote it, or you can share it directly to your newsfeed or Explore tab. Users can also discover new reels on the Reels tab on each user's profile.


What Is TikTok?


TikTok is a video-sharing platform similar to YouTube, but it primarily operates on short-form content. Though initially only allowing fifteen-second uploads, the platform now hosts videos up to three minutes long.


TikTok was actually formerly known as, a musically themed sharing site. The name was changed to TikTok in late 2018. Since its rebrand, the site has seen massive popularity for a host of different types of content, from lip-syncing, dance challenges, and skits to how-tos and short vlogs.


The Real Difference Between Reels and TikTok


Instagram Reels and TikTok are both forms of short-form content, though they're very different in their design and purpose. TikTok is more of a video-focused platform and has a bit more of an entertainment-based purpose.


You can also notice stark differences in how content, sharing, and interactions are made on each platform.


1 - Content Per Platform


There's a lot of overlap in the types of content that are possible on each platform. Both platforms allow for 15-second videos and lip-sync content, though TikTok is more focused on that, and it is easier to find that content.


Reels, however, are more focused on more polished content and features beautiful filters and edits that are more in line with a platform like Instagram Stories.


2 - Paid Ads


While Reels is currently only a feature for native Instagram and Instagram Stories content, TikTok has started allowing ads to play before content that users are watching.


In terms of in-video ads, influencers have long used both platforms to share their sponsorships and endorsements.


3 - Filters and Editing Tools


The tools and filters available to users are different from each platform. It's a matter of preference since you'd be hard-pressed not to find the basic tools you need and trending filters.


4 - Character Limits


On Instagram, you can post up to 2,200 characters in a caption, whereas TikTok only has a 140-character limit on text. It only shows which type of angle each platform is trying to prioritize.


Which One is Better?


TikTok can arguably be credited for being the blueprint for all the short-form social media features we are seeing today. Its sole bread and butter is the addictive quick video content and trend sharing that its users have become known for, so it has the intuitive features to enable that.


As its format blew up, other social networking sites quickly followed suit. Ironically, this prompted TikTok to go the other direction and pursue longer video limits.


This isn't to say that Instagram Reels completely lags behind, either (even as it has been accused of being a copycat.) It has a lot of potential with features and can mostly boast how users can inherently tie it into their other content on Instagram. This makes for a diverse platform for different media and content types.




Comparisons aside, Instagram Reels and TikTok both have a lot to offer and are good tools to use to market your stuff and share content. It's all in what you use them for and how you execute your plans.


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