It’s been nearly a month since Instagram rolled out their TikTok clone, “Reels”, on August 5, 2020. Since then many users and marketers have debated the features, functionality, similarities and differences between Instagram Reels vs TikTok.
While these similarities and differences are both notable and relevant, the success or demise of these two social media platforms ultimately rests in the adoption and sustained use of its creators and influencers.
Mediakix surveyed and interviewed 16 top and upcoming TikTok influencers across several trending categories including food, travel, pets, home renovation/DIY and more. Here’s what they have to say about Instagram Reels vs TikTok:
When it comes to Instagram Reels vs TikTok, we surveyed influencers on the following topics:
For some of the questions, responses spanned the gamut whereas in other cases, answers from all influencers were clearly in alignment. We share each influencer’s full responses below after the following charts.
We surveyed top influencers shortly after the launch of Reels to gauge reception and adoption. Out of our survey questions, this specific response was the closest. Typically, influencers or power users are early adopters to new platforms — as evinced by this particular response, exactly half had not posted to Reels.
While all influencers had evaluated Reels, many influencers (either from their own personal tests or seeing results from other influencers) opted not to post to Reels because 1) they wanted to keep TikTok-style content separate from Instagram and/or 2) Instagram Reels performance did not match TikTok’s.
Akin to the first survey question, this question assesses whether or not influencers plan on using Reels at any point in the near or distant future. Again, the responses were pretty stark with over 40% of influencers surveyed clearly not planning on using Reels at all.
For the 56% majority who did plan on using Reels, many planned on using Reels in a capacity different from how they were presently using TikTok.
When Reels debuted, some people likened it to the roll out of Instagram Stories and how it majorly affected Snapchat’s growth. During that time, we also surveyed top influencers on their usage of Snapchat vs Instagram Stories.
In contrast to Instagram Stories vs Snapchat (where top Snapchatters immediately flocked to and began posting more on Instagram Stories), influencers are bullish on TikTok’s future and use — over 60% agreed that TikTok is here to stay and/or grow.
Influencers are a main driver and factor to the success of social media platforms, and many surveyed pointed to TikTok’s algorithm and thriving community and the lack thereof on Instagram and other TikTok rivals (e.g. Triller, Byte, etc.).
As influencers contribute much of a social media platform’s most shareable and viewed content, their adoption and continued posting causes a two-way effect: 1) providing social media users with entertaining and useful content and 2) building up an influencer’s follower base on a particular platform.
When it comes to posting and balancing content on Instagram Reels vs TikTok, our last survey result remains consistent with the rest of the responses — Reels will either be secondary to TikTok and/or a repository for recycling TikTok content.
Instagram Reels does offer influencers a new way of building their fans and followers however, only 25% of influencers surveyed desired to use Reels in this way.
TikTok Category: Entertainment/Special Effects
No one really knows the future of TikTok or any platform for that matter.
My job as a creator and filmmaker isn’t to focus all my energy on the platforms I’m creating on or whether TikTok, Instagram or any social media will be shutting down, but rather what I am creating.
It’s important to be on the top platforms, whatever they might be, but if creators are focusing too much on the platforms they will miss the point.
What is the future of TikTok? I have no idea but I do hope for the best for them because it was starting to get interesting having more real competitors in the social media space.
My team and I will always jump on new features and test them out and see how they work for what we create. While I think Reels could get some traction, if TikTok is banned there will be a big opportunity for a new app to grab all that attention.
I’m much more excited about the culture and community on TikTok. I have my doubts that Reels will be able to capture the full essence of what TikTok is because it’s more than just an algorithm and 15-second videos.
That being said, Reels is a great opportunity for creators to jump in and have a higher likelihood of being featured within the Instagram app which still has a strong and unique community as well. I have friends who have begun posting on Reels this week and are starting to see some of that same overnight TikTok growth.
TikTok Category: Dance
Nothing is going to happen to TikTok — TikTok will continue thriving for sure.
I’ve been testing Reels but so far it’s been a fail. It’s not done anything helpful to me, and I don’t see it as being something I use a lot at all.
TikTok Category: Pets
I would still upload my TikToks into my Instagram Stories because it is way easier, and won’t use Instagram Reels until TikTok is gone.
TikTok is still very easy to use, while we still have to get used to Reels.
TikTok Category: Recipes/Cooking
TikTok’s future is a very “proof is in the pudding” story line. Their future is big and bright, and I’m happy to be involved in that.
I am looking into experimenting with Instagram Reels.
At the end of the day, I am a loyal TikTok Fanboy forever, but I also produce content on every social platform possible…no app or platform is safe from me!
TikTok Category: Pets/Travel
The future is bright for TikTok. I don’t see them banning it.
It will be bought by either Microsoft or Walmart or some American company and it will keep growing and competing with Instagram in general and not just Instagram Reels.
I usually post on TikTok first and then I’ll repost or do a very similar post on Reels, so not much of a change.
They both seem to be doing very well naturally! Engagement has been high for both but I’d say it’s higher right now for TikTok because it’s been around for a while and I’ve amassed an audience who looks forward to my new videos.
Reels are so new that they will take time to grow.
They are both my main focus, but for Instagram, I’m more focused on traditional posts and videos.
I don’t plan on shifting more towards Reels. I’ll probably do Reels and TikTok the exact same amount for my cat Simon’s account.
TikTok Category: Entertainment/Comedy
I feel like TikTok is still going to be very relevant and booming.
I will put different content on each platform — both platforms have very different audiences so I will cater to them as such! It’s important to keep the content flowing.
TikTok Category: Recipes/Cooking
I think the future of TikTok is bright. They have such strong momentum right now and I believe their creator fund will continue to encourage popular creators to produce great content.
Instagram Reels will be a nice alternative for content creators who don’t have a large following on TikTok or don’t enjoy using TikTok, and will allow them to share more exciting and engaging short bits of content.
I have a large following on both Instagram (1M) and TikTok (1.5M) so I plan to continue to produce unique content for both platforms.
I create content for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok so I’m pretty comfortable editing my content in different ways for different platforms — it’s all about getting to know your audience on each platform and sharing content in a format they enjoy best.
TikTok Category: Comedy
The future is with TikTok.
It’s not wearing a three-piece suit like Instagram but truly great things happen on TikTok. It’s less refined, less presentational, more relaxed and collaborative.
There are fun, vibrant, creative communities within TikTok — singers add harmonies in duet chains and people create new transition effects with limited features — it’s the only app that creates trends and allows hundreds of millions of people to believe they are all part of one big inside joke.
There’s a culture.
The community is why TikTok will thrive, and it will be incredibly hard for Instagram to recreate it as a feature within its already feature-dense app.
TikTok Category: Home Reno/DIY
I personally feel connected to TikTok and the community I have built on the platform more than I do with Reels.
One of the issues I have run into with Reels, is that my content is often long, transformation-style videos that require more than 15 seconds (unlike TikTok — which allows 60 second videos — Reels only allows 15 seconds). This makes it hard for me to use my videos on both platforms.
I would be more likely to push my audience to my YouTube channel for more in-depth videos, rather than Reels.
As I’m still curious about what Reels has to offer, I will slowly start incorporating it. But I imagine I will be creating mostly on TikTok for the foreseeable future (and post more curated interior photos on Instagram).
TikTok Category: Travel
Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Instagram Reels than on TikTok. I’m doing this for a few reasons:
First, there’s the potential TikTok ban hanging over our heads, which seems unlikely at this point, but a possibility nevertheless.
Second, I felt that leading up to the rollout of Instagram Reels, the Instagram community was underserved in short-form video content.
Instagram Stories were engaging and all, but what was missing were short videos paired with music in-feed.
Like many other travel creators, I was focusing more on TikTok in the months leading up to Instagram Reels. So when Reels launched in early August, I wanted to be an early adopter and share my favorite short-form travel videos on there.
Finally — and this came as a bit of a surprise — as I was uploading travel content on Reels, I quickly learned that the organic reach is actually higher than it is on TikTok for travel influencers.
Of course, there’s still an “explosive” element to TikTok that isn’t quite there yet on Instagram, but that is generally going to the top 1% content deemed worthy by a Gen Z audience.
Reels, on the other hand, appears to be pushing the top 10% content in the travel niche, making it less about virality, and more about giving a larger swath of creators a slice of the pie.
This bodes better for those of us who enjoy sharing cinematic content, which isn’t always spontaneous enough for TikTok (or Gen Z), but tends to perform better on the more varied audience of Instagram.
I love both platforms, and will continue to share travel tips and inspiration on each. But right now, with the uncertainty about TikTok, and the unexpectedly high organic reach on Instagram Reels, I will be focusing a little more time on Reels.
TikTok Category: Travel
From my perspective, I think Reels will add another avenue of sharing short-form video to the Instagram platform, but it won’t replace the native video content creation tools that TikTok offers users.
Uploading pre-edited videos to Reels is one thing, but using the app to create the content is another and TikTok is already established as an intuitive and familiar video creation app.
Instagram already has IGTV, Instagram Stories, as well as the option to post videos in-feed. I think they’re already offering the user too many options in terms of video forms to utilize — whereas TikTok is simple, you know what you’re opening the app for.
So while I think Reels has potential, and TikTok may phase out over time, I just don’t foresee Reels becoming as strong of a short -form video platform as TikTok is right now.
OUR FOREVER HOME FLIP
TikTok Category: Home Reno/ DIY
I personally think that TikTok and Instagram Reels will target different audiences but from what I’ve seen, there seems to be an impacted shift of interaction on TikTok since Instagram Reels was released.
I personally have not posted any Instagram Reels yet because I wanted to focus on growing my TikTok following, but the more I see the amount of interaction we’re receiving on Instagram the more tempting it is to start posting Instagram Reels.
We plan on starting to post Instagram Reels in the near future (within the coming weeks).
To balance the content (so we are continuously providing new content to our followers), we plan on showing different aspects of our projects on each social media platform with the hopes of engaging multiple audiences.
For instance, on Instagram we’re trying to move more towards tutorials and finished projects in one video or post whereas on TikTok we make multiple part videos and update daily along the way!
TikTok Category: Recipes/Cooking
It’s exciting to see the introduction of a short-form video on Instagram.
I am looking forward to connecting with and building a larger audience within Instagram and Instagram Reels.
Previously, it was a bit challenging to be discovered outside of your existing followers on Instagram, so Reels is a game-changer!
OM & THE CITY
TikTok Category: Life Hacks/Wellness
I personally love TikTok, and I don’t think it can really compare to Reels at this point.
TikTok is such a creative outlet for me — I love how anyone’s content could be discovered. I’ve learned so much on there, and I will continue to make videos for it.
We’ll see how Reels evolves, but for now, I see it more as a place to repurpose short videos I’ve already created, so that I can share it with those who may not have an account on TikTok.
YOLANDA IN THE CITY
TikTok Category: Fashion
As of right now, I heard that TikTok will be banned in the U.S. due to Trump’s executive order unless it is purchased by Microsoft. I’m trying to focus on putting out as much content before then and to have followers on TikTok follow me on other platforms.
If TikTok is banned, I will definitely be shifting more towards Reels.
People enjoy the short 15-second videos and I enjoy making them, they are quick and straight to the point and I think my Instagram audience would enjoy seeing more hands-on styling videos rather than just outfit pictures and daily updates.
I’m planning on uploading the videos I make on TikTok on Reels.
Only a few of my Instagram followers follow me on TikTok so to most of my Instagram following they would be seeing new content.
If TikTok is banned, then I will keep my TikTok uploading schedule the same but on Reels
TikTok Category: Fitness
Regarding the future of TikTok, of course it’s impossible to truly predict, and there are a lot of moving parts given Instagram Reels and the possible TikTok ban — however, my prediction is that TikTok isn’t going anywhere and will continue to grow.
Facebook is a pro at copying other platforms (take Instagram Stories for example — huge success story), but they don’t always kill the competition.
I don’t know if Reels will be a success — I think it’s possible that it will be similar to IGTV, where it is a moderate success but doesn’t take down TikTok (just like IGTV hasn’t hurt YouTube).
The big distinguishing feature right now between TikTok and IG Reels to me is that TikTok is built for creators to grow and it’s easy for users to discover new content and creators.
Instagram Reels, while it looks and behaves in many ways like TikTok, doesn’t seem to be where TikTok is as far as discovery and their algorithm.
Reels doesn’t have a “following” and a “for you” section like TikTok does — a distinguishing part of the platform — and it’s also not front and center in the app as of now.
I’m planning to play with Reels but at this point I have no intention of slowing down on TikTok.