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TikTok Vs Instagram: Which is Best for Social Media Advertising?

From blue-chip giants to SMEs, social media has meteoric advertising potential for brands and businesses of all sizes. The latest data from Statista reveals global social media advertising spends will hit almost US$270 billion in 2023. Of all the platforms available to advertisers, TikTok and Instagram are two of the most enticing.

What’s all the fuss about? Read on as we put TikTok and Instagram head-to-head and break down the pros, cons and key differences between the two.

1. Format

Originally, Instagram launched as a photo sharing platform while TikTok focussed on short-form videos. However, the launch of Instagram Reels in 2020 put the two on similar ground. Let’s take a closer look at what we’re currently dealing with.

Instagram: photos, stories and reels

Following the launch of Stories and Reels, Instagram now markets itself as a “photo and video sharing social networking service”. As well as sharing photos on your account, you can use Reels to share 15-second videos with both private followers and the wider Instagram community. There’s also Stories, a format that can include short videos and boomerangs, as well as photos.

TikTok: short-form videos

Instagram started as a photo sharing platform, then added Stories in response to the Snapchat trend and Reels when TikTok blew up. In comparison, TikTok has stuck to what it does best – short-form videos.

2. Age and demographic

Target age group is a big factor to consider when putting TikTok and Instagram up against each other.

TikTok: young, fun and trending

From viral dances to goofy challenges, there’s no denying TikTok is the “cool kid” of social media. It has a reputation as a Gen Z stronghold and serves up bite-sized videos designed to keep people scrolling for hours. If your target audience falls into the younger demographic, you probably need to be on TikTok.

Instagram: age inclusive

TikTok gained popularity with the younger generation, which saw Instagram lose a bit of its sparkle. On the upside, all of a sudden Instagram was no longer associated exclusively with teens and twentysomethings. The platform has gained a much broader following in terms of age. This has opened exciting new doors for advertisers looking to connect with customers.

3. Text and ad copy

The next big difference we’ll cover is text and ad copy. This is something that really sets TikTok and Instagram apart.

Instagram: potential for rich ad copy

Instagram allows users to complement both photos and Reels with catchy headlines, engaging text and colourful emojis.

TikTok: all about video

In comparison, TikTok keeps things video focussed. Users are fully immersed in the full screen videos, which means any essential information must be incorporated into the video. This includes calls to action.

4. Style

Another huge difference between TikTok and Instagram is the style of content posted.

Instagram: polished, branded content

Instagram started as a picture-perfect platform, and it hasn’t lost sight of its roots. Users continue to respond to curated content with a high production level. They don’t blink an eye at branded content or sponsored posts – it’s all part of the experience.

TikTok: organic, genuine and user-generated

At the other end of the spectrum is TikTok. In many ways, the platform’s popularity is fuelled by the fact that it’s the polar opposite of Instagram, at least when it comes to production. TikTok audiences tend to prefer organic and down-to-earth content generated by users, not brands. That’s not to say you can’t use TikTok to advertise. You just have to be strategic about what you create.

5. Editing

Instagram: third party editing

Instagram videos are generally produced using third-party programs like Premiere and Adobe Photoshop. This helps create a polished finished product but can be time consuming.

TikTok: in-platform editing

Many advertisers prefer TikTok as it offers a wide range of in-platform editing tools. This includes filters, transitions, music, text and more.

TikTok Vs Instagram: how to get it right

Now you know more about the key differences between TikTok and Instagram, let’s talk about how to get it right when it comes to social media advertising.

Know your audience

A good rule is to really get to know your target audience. Understanding what social media platforms your target audience uses and how is one of the best ways to maximise your digital advertising spend.

Cross posting

We’ve talked a lot about the similarities between TikTok and Instagram. So, does this mean you can cross post content on the two platforms. Absolutely. We’re seeing loads of influencers reposting content from their TikTok accounts to Instagram. It’s a quick and easy way to reach a wider audience and get the most out of your short-form video content.

Understand the importance of Pixel

Like Instagram, TikTok has recently launched a Pixel feature that advertisers can embed in their website. TikTok Pixel allows advertisers to share data with TikTok, which is then used to create strategic marketing campaigns.

Putting the “social” into social media advertising

There’s no denying social media is an immensely powerful tool for advertisers. However, to really maximise your social media advertising strategy, you need to go back to basics. Ultimately, people use social media to share their lives, connect with others and build online communities. The best social media advertising campaigns tap into the “social” aspect of platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

The final word on TikTok vs Instagram

We’ve covered a LOT of ground in this article. So, what’s the answer to the TikTok vs Instagram debate? The reality is that social media advertising isn’t black and white. Every brand is unique which is why it’s so important to take a bespoke approach to every client. What works for one brand may not necessarily resonate with another.

At Hoopla Marketing, creating custom social media marketing campaigns is what we do best. We dive deep into the DNA of your business use this insight to develop hard-hitting social media advertising campaigns. We’ll get to the roots of your business and help you decide whether it’s TikTok, Instagram or a bit of both.

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