TikTok vs Instagram: What’s the Final Verdict?

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Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: Jul 25, 2023

TikTok 101

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It seems that the social media wars are now between TikTok vs Instagram. Instagram used to be the place to be for big-time and wannabe influencers. These days, everybody wants to be the next TikTok star. 

Among all social media platforms, these creator-focused spaces are going head-to-head in terms of audiences, features, and marketing opportunities. Which one is better? 

TikTok and Instagram logos.

Difference Between TikTok and Instagram: What Makes Each One Unique?

The main difference between TikTok and Instagram is their content. When somebody mentions TikTok, you think of lip-syncing videos, dance challenges, and raw and fun content. On the other hand, Instagram evokes images of filtered aesthetics and perfectly captured images. In the TikTok vs. Instagram contest, which one has better content offerings?

TikTok vs. Instagram: TikTok Content Types and Styles at a Glance

If you look at TikTok vs. Instagram, you’ll immediately notice the glaring difference in the type of content people share. On TikTok, you’ll often get raw, candid, authentic content.  

TikTok ushered in the reinvention of social media. Those “social media vs. reality” memes perfectly encapsulate how people use social platforms to show off their “perfect” lives. 

This is especially true on Instagram, where flawlessness is the standard. When creating content for TikTok, you don’t have to try too hard to please anybody. You just have to be you and do you. 

When you visit a TikTok profile, you can immediately get a sense of a person’s true character. Even with the many filters and editing options available, users prefer to shoot a quick video and share it immediately. Even with the practiced and edited dances and lip-syncs, you’ll see people just having fun. Most creators are not trying to fake it until they make it. 

In terms of content focus, the subject matter is often front and center in TikTok videos. Visual aesthetics and mood setting are not as important. What someone is doing or talking about is the video’s main feature. 

When it comes to content formats, TikTok allows the sharing of both videos and photos and hosting LIVE streams. You can create your videos or take a picture straight from the app. You can upload videos that are up to 10 minutes long.

If you’re filming straight from the app, you can choose from 15 seconds, 60 seconds, or 3 minutes. If you’re uploading photos, you can share up to 35 images in a single post.  

TikTok vs. Instagram: Instagram Content Types and Styles at a Glance

TikTok vs. Instagram, in terms of content, will instantly give you distinct vibes. Scrolling through Instagram typically feels like perusing a glossy magazine. 

Instagram started the “Instagram aesthetic” trend and launched the influencer economy. As a highly visual platform, the images and videos take up most of the space on the feed. And users share heavily edited content. 

They strive to achieve a certain look and feel with filters, effects, and various image enhancements. Instagram content is for wowing audiences and delivering Instagrammable picture-perfect moments. 

Instagram profiles highlight a person’s creative expression and preferences. You’ll easily see these from curated profile pages that create their desired aesthetic. This polished aesthetic may be a color scheme, a mood, or an artistic style. 

When creating content for IG, users equally highlight the subject matter and the setting to achieve a visual theme. What a user presents is as important as how they present it through a mise en scène. On Instagram, even organic content typically has the look and feel of an ad. 

Instagram offers more content formats than TikTok. You can share photos, Reels (which they patterned after TikTok), Live streaming, and long-form videos on IGTV (similar to YouTube). 

A group of people using their phones.

Instagram vs TikTok for Business

Instagram vs. TikTok for Business also warrants a closer look. How is Instagram Business different from TikTok Business?

TikTok vs. Instagram: What Can You Expect From TikTok Business?

Let’s look at TikTok vs. Instagram in terms of their Business type of account. A TikTok Business Account is one of two types of TikTok Accounts — the second is the Personal Account. A TikTok Business Account is suitable for any business that wants to engage its customers through organic TikTok content. It’s also a good choice for businesses looking for commercial-focused tools to help with their TikTok marketing strategy. 

What can you expect when you set up a TikTok Business Account?

  • Access to the Web Business Suite via desktop computer. This serves as the central location for all your Business Account features. You’ll find your Analytics, Workspace (your advertising tool), and Activity & Support. 
  • Ability to display an email address on your TikTok profile. 
  • Access to the Commercial Music Library has over one million songs and sounds pre-cleared for commercial use. Take note that Business Accounts don’t have access to the General Music Library. The songs in this library are only for personal use. 
  • Access to the in-app Business Creative Hub. Within the hub, you’ll find tips in the Business Content Guide and trending content via the Video Showcase. 

TikTok’s limited content formats (videos and photos) make it easier for businesses to track their Analytics. TikTok Business is ideal if you’re looking to grow your business using organic content, influencer collaborations, and native-looking ads. 

TikTok vs Instagram: What Can You Expect From Instagram Business?

There is a notable TikTok vs. Instagram difference when it comes to Business Accounts. Instagram Business is one of two types of Instagram Professional accounts — the other one being the Creator Account. Business accounts on Instagram offer tools to help businesses grow and reach their customers on the platform. 

What can you expect when you set up an Instagram Business Account? 

  • Professional Dashboard. This is where you can track your performance and access professional tools and educational information. 
  • Linked permissions. This feature allows you to link your Instagram Pro account to a Facebook page and manage roles and permissions. 
  • A Contact button on your profile. You can include a phone number, an email address, and directions to help customers contact and find you easily. 
  • A Category label displayed on your profile. You have the option to display or hide your category label. 
  • Instagram Insights. These will give you detailed information on your follower base and your posts. 
  • Secondary inbox. Primary and General inbox tabs will help you organize your messages and control your notifications. 
  • Ranked requests. You can sort your requests according to received date or top accounts. 

Business accounts on Instagram have more content formats to work with. Having more options is great, but it can also complicate managing ads and tracking insights. But if you want to create polished and well-executed ads, Instagram won’t disappoint. 

A yellow sign that says, “Come in, we’re open.”

Instagram Reels vs TikTok 

A casual look at Instagram Reels vs. TikTok may give you the impression that they’re precisely the same. But Instagram Reels is yet to capture the same engagement rates that TikTok receives from its audiences. 

The latest report from Rival IQ reveals that “TikTok is out-engaging other channels.” How does Instagram Reels measure up against TikTok? Here are its main features to put TikTok vs. Instagram within another context. 

  • You can record Reels in a series of clips or as a single continuous video. You may also upload videos from your camera roll. 
  • Reels can be up to 90 seconds long if you create your video straight from the app. When you post a video with a maximum running time of 15 minutes, Instagram automatically shares this as Reels. 
  • You can use a song in your Reels from the Instagram music library. If you use your original audio and have a public account, other people can use your audio in their Reels. 
  • Instagram Reels also offers native editing tools. You can apply AR Effects to your video. Use the timer and countdown for hands-free recording. Use the Align tool to line up objects from various clips. Speed up or slow down any part of the video or audio.
  • Create a Reels remix by recording your video next to another. 
  • Use Reels templates for a quicker creation process. Borrow another reel’s structure, pre-load the clips and audio, and upload pictures or video clips to the pre-edited reel. 
  • If you have a public account, you can share your reel on Explore, where it will have a dedicated space. You can also share your video on your feed. Your privacy settings will apply to your Reels if you have a private account. 

A man shooting a video using a professional video camera.

TikTok vs Instagram Users

Users determine the true verdict of the TikTok vs. Instagram battle. Both platforms have a strong presence across the globe. TikTok has 1.06 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2023. In comparison, Instagram has at least 1.628 billion. 

At the same time, statistics also reveal that TikTok was downloaded 200 million times more than Instagram in 2021. The exact numbers were 745 million installs for TikTok vs. 545 million for Instagram

TikTok and Instagram also show key differences in terms of their target audience. Let’s look at the latest TikTok vs. Instagram users statistics for both.

TikTok vs. Instagram: Instagram User Base in Numbers

According to Statista, the leading countries based on Instagram audience size as of January 2023 are as follows:

  1. India, with 229.55 million
  2. United States, with 143.35 million
  3. Brazil, with 113.5 million
  4. Indonesia, with 89.15 million 
  5. Turkey, with 48.65 million 
  6. Japan, with 45.7 million
  7. Mexico, with 36.7 million
  8. United Kingdom, with 28.75 million
  9. Germany, with 27.45 million 
  10. Italy, with 26.2 million

A separate Statista report shows that:

  • Females between 18 and 34 make up 27.8 percent of global Instagram users. 
  • Nearly 17 percent of global active Instagram users were men between 18 and 24 years old. 
  • Over 50 percent of the global Instagram population is 34 years or younger. 
  • Overall, 48.4 percent of global Instagram users are female, and 51.7 percent are male. 

TikTok vs Instagram: TikTok User Base in Numbers

Statista’s report on countries with the most TikTok users as of April 2023 gives us another TikTok vs. Instagram perspective. 

  1. United States, with 116.49 million (some reports cite 130+ and 150 million users in the US)
  2. Indonesia, with 112.97 million
  3. Brazil, with 84.13 million 
  4. Mexico, with 62.44 million
  5. Russia, with 51.24 million
  6. Vietnam, with 50.58 million
  7. Philippines, with 41.43 million
  8. Thailand, with 41.06 million
  9. Turkey, with 31.03 million
  10. Saudi Arabia, with 28.37 million 

Another Statista report reveals that:

  • 21 percent of TikTok’s global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years
  • Male users of the same age made up approximately 17.5 percent of the platform’s audience 
  • Seventeen percent of female and 15.5 percent of male users are between 25 and 34 years old.
  • Another source says that 57% of all TikTok users are female, and 43% are male. 

A sign displaying a man and a woman.

Which Is Better, TikTok or Instagram?

How do you choose which platform is better for you? TikTok vs. Instagram may look like a pretty tight match. Instagram has more than ten years on TikTok. But TikTok has proven to be an aggressive competitor considering its unparalleled growth within its first five years. 

The success of TikTok’s format is so unprecedented that it compelled Instagram to offer the same feature. TikTok’s popularity is mostly based on the fact that it is different from other social platforms. And over the years, the effectiveness of TikTok’s algorithm became immensely evident. This only added to TikTok’s explosive growth, especially given that social media users were getting frustrated with their feeds. 

Instagram’s staying power is largely thanks to its longer existence compared to that of TikTok. The platform has had two decades to build a large enough user base to sustain it for many more years. Its ability to adapt to emerging trends and adopt new technologies continues to breathe new life into the 20-year-old platform. But despite its efforts, Instagram still fails to capture the same level of engagement that TikTok enjoys.  

What’s the root of this failure? TikTok’s ability to satisfy user interests is something that Instagram has been unable to match. Instagram continues to cater to its crème de la crème — regarding everybody else as “secondary citizens.” 

TikTok, on the other hand, is more of an “equal-opportunity” matchmaker. It fosters community building by matching accounts and followers based on shared interests. 

If you’re looking to build a community for your brand, TikTok is the clear winner in the TikTok vs Instagram contest. And to further enhance your audience-targeting and community-building efforts, team up with High Social. High Social’s advanced, proprietary AI technology ensures the delivery of your content to genuinely interested audiences. Start growing your TikTok today!

TikTok 101