TikTok has rapidly become one of the most popular apps, especially in 2020. But they are facing a lot of competition. In this blog post we are going to run through the differences between TikTok and Instagram Reels. Spoiler: they are very similar.

What is TikTok?

TikTok started its life as Musical.ly, an app where users could record themselves lip-syncing to their favourite songs. The videos had to be between 15 seconds and 1 minute long, following the trend of the then-popular Vine. Musical.ly accumulated over 200 million users before it was merged with TikTok in August 2018.

TikTok rapidly took off and became the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store with over 33 million downloads! There are over 800 million active users worldwide, of which 41% are aged between 16 and 24. This app is infamous, especially with the younger demographic.

But what’s it all about? In the TikTok app you can create videos between 1 and 60 seconds long and they can be about anything you like. Cute dogs, viral dances or personal stories – you name it, there’s a TikTok on it.

What does it mean for businesses?

Despite the controversy and legal warnings it has faced, it doesn’t look like TikTok’s popularity will falter any time soon. And that could be a good thing for advertisers.

TikTok has it’s own advertising platform for businesses where you can create a range of different ads to bring your brand to the world of TikTok. The available ad formats include Brand Takeover, In-Feed Ads and Hashtag Challenges. The ads are billed on a CPM basis, but you are required to spend a minimum of $500 in order to launch a new campaign.

Advertising on TikTok is a great way to reach a huge audience considering the volume of users, especially if your target demographic is between 16 and 24.

TikTok can also be used to promote your business organically by gaining a following through non-paid videos. Consider setting up a profile and creating your first video to showcase your brand.

Who is their competitor?

But, this is where it gets interesting, many other apps are jumping on the TikTok bandwagon in an attempt to compete with the colossal app. Most recently, Instagram has released their competing feature titled ‘Instagram Reels’. Similarly to TikTok, you can create videos using filters, editing, music and more up to 15 seconds in length. Instagram Reels now feature heavily on the Explore page and have become popular with many Instagram users.

Instagram Reels were released very closely to Donald Trump’s filed lawsuit to have TikTok banned in America. Clever move, Instagram.

What does that mean for my business?

When it comes to advertising with Instagram Reels this could be the tipping point between itself and TikTok. Instagram Reels currently has no opportunities for advertisers and Instagram have said they are “working on building a community first”. However, we’re betting that somewhen down the line an advertising feature will be announced.

With such similarities across the apps, users must now choose. Do they want to stick with TikTok where the majority of creators will stay? Or do they want to move to Instagram where they get videos ad free? Personally, we don’t think that TikTok will give up without a fight and will likely remain the most popular app for the next few years. However, the threat of the USA ban could put everything at risk.