Instagram’s influencer market is estimated to be worth over $1.7 billion dollars. More than half a million sponsored posts have been posted on Instagram in 2020 so far. While 89% of marketers say Instagram is the most important channel for influencer marketing, newcomer TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular platforms in the world in less than two years and a rising platform for influencers.
The Coronavirus stay-at-home order seems to have only escalated TikTok’s new user growth. TikTok became the most downloaded non-game app worldwide during March 2020 with more than 115.2 million installs. For comparison, in 2019, Instagram only averaged 111.5M downloads per quarter.
Top brands like Chipotle, Mucinex, Walmart, and GymShark have all marketed to Gen Z users on TikTok using Sponsored Hashtag Challenge campaigns. As brands continue to become comfortable using TikTok as an influencer marketing channel, it is important to understand the key platform specifics that separate TikTok from Instagram.
We analyzed App store and Google Play data for marketers to better understand the two competing social apps based on downloads/installs, platform demographics, and specific features. See our finds presented below in the following infographic – TikTok vs. Instagram:
Instagram still has a larger audience than TikTok and has been downloaded more than 1.8B times globally. In November of 2019 Sensor Tower announced TikTok had reached the 1.5B download milestone. While Instagram leads over TikTok in overall downloads, the infographic shows TikTok’s new user growth rate is substantially higher than Instagram’s. This contrast in new user growth is largely due to the fact that TikTok is still a newcomer in the market while Instagram is maturing as an established social media app.
Instagram will turn 10 years-old in 2020 while TikTok remains the new kid on the block in a successful growth phase. While 2019 accounted for 28% of Instagram’s all-time downloads, TikTok was able to add 738 million new users in 2019, growing the app by 49% of its existing users in one year alone.
TikTok’s new user growth continues to top charts and in February 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app globally with nearly 113 million installs. This represents a near 96.5% increase compared to the app’s February 2019 installs.
As seen above in the “TikTok vs. Instagram Downloads” chart, the coronavirus seems to have had a much larger effect on TikTok downloads than Instagram downloads. While TikTok’s user growth topped charts in March, the quarantine also brought an influx of TikTok content to Instagram. This shift in content sparked many Instagram influencers to build TikTok accounts in search of more ways to entertain themselves and their followers.
Instagram is considered to be the leading app in influencer marketing. In our 2019 survey, 89% of marketers found Instagram to be the most strategically important social channel for influencer marketing. With an estimated $20 billion valuation, Instagram is a monolith in revenue and has so far earned over 113x more revenue than TikTok. Its $20 billion valuation is due in part to influencer marketing on the app, a market that we estimate to be around $1.7 billion.
While both apps are comparable in age demographics, geographically they differ. Out of Instagram’s 1.8 billion users, the United States leads with the highest representation at 12%. In contrast, India and Brazil remain the top two countries accounting for most of TikTok’s downloads, the US in the third-place with over 3%.
The two apps also have a varying degree of gender distribution. TikTok gender demographics show a male to female representation of 55.6% and 44.4%, respectively. TikTok’s slight male user preference contrasts with Instagram’s higher presence of female users, 65% female to 35% male.
TikTok’s ease of use has helped it become the foremost short-form video social media app in the world. TikTok’s simple premise focuses on lip-syncing, dancing, pranking, or other comedic acts.
In Instagram’s 10 year growth, it has transformed from a photo-focused format to Stories and IGTV and has become the leading app for brand social engagement. While TikTok and Instagram are similar in their app fundamentals, they have many features that distinguish them from each other.
TikTok currently does not have a long-form video feature, it’s video capabilities have a maximum of 15 seconds and the ability to loop for 60 seconds. Instagram’s long-form video feature, IGTV allows video length of up to one hour. IGTV is also in the works to monetize with creators.
While both apps have in-app purchase capabilities, TikTok has a virtual currency where users can award various virtual gifts to creators, not unlike many gaming sites such as Twitch. Since 2018, American users have spent over $23.1 million on TikTok’s virtual coin currency.
TikTok and Instagram both have similar e-commerce shopping capabilities, while Instagram has had more time to fine-tune its features and position itself as an e-commerce platform. Instagram has it’s in-app shopping feature “Checkout”, as well as its widely used “Instagram Shopping” add-on which allows companies to tag products and direct users to a product link on their website.
TikTok has a feature similar to Instagram’s “Checkout” where users can complete the purchase in-app through a retail partner. TikTok’s Sponsored Hashtag Challenge Plus allows companies to link products from their website through a sponsored hashtag campaign.
These results indicate that in addition to gaining more users than Instagram, TikTok is also earning the attention of top power users. This trend is likely to continue and will affect the $1.7 billion dollar Instagram influencer market and influencer marketing as a whole.
As users and influencers alike emerge on TikTok, marketers should determine the proper channel(s) ( Instagram, TikTok, or both) to best suit their marketing needs.