Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Which Is Best for Brand Marketing?

Short-form video content is one of the most popular and effective social media content formats in 2023. According to HubSpot, 90% of global marketers plan to increase or maintain their investment in short-form videos this year. But which platform should you choose for your short-form video marketing strategy: Instagram Reels or TikTok?

In this blog, we will compare the features, functions, and target demographics of Instagram Reels and TikTok. We will also share some best practices and tips on how to create engaging and successful short-form videos for your brand.

What Are Instagram Reels and TikTok?

Instagram Reels and TikTok are both video-sharing platforms that allow users to create and watch short-form videos, usually set to music or sound effects. Users can also add filters, stickers, text, and other effects to their videos.

Instagram Reels is a feature within the Instagram app that was launched in August 2020. It allows users to create and share 15- to 60-second videos that can appear on their feed, stories, or the explore page. Instagram Reels also offers users the creative space to publish refined content and reach a wider audience.

TikTok is a standalone app that was launched in 2016. It allows users to create and share 15- to 60-second videos that can appear on their profile, the for you page, or the following page. TikTok is known for its viral trends, challenges, and memes, as well as its diverse and creative community.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok Features

Both Instagram Reels and TikTok have similar features, such as:

  • A music and sound library that users can access and use for their videos
  • An editing interface that lets users trim, crop, speed up, slow down, and reverse their videos
  • A discovery page that shows users recommended videos based on their interests and preferences
  • A duet and remix option that lets users collaborate and interact with other users’ videos
  • A comment, like, and share option that lets users engage with other users’ videos

However, there are also some differences between the two platforms, such as:

  • Instagram Reels has a reels tab on the user’s profile, where they can see all their reels in a grid view. TikTok does not have a separate tab for videos, but users can filter their profile by videos, likes, or live streams.
  • Instagram Reels has a save draft option that lets users save their unfinished videos and edit them later. TikTok does not have a save draft option, but users can save their videos to their device or post them as private.
  • Instagram Reels has a branded content tag that lets users disclose when they are collaborating with a brand or sponsor. TikTok does not have a branded content tag, but users can mention the brand or sponsor in their caption or video.
  • Instagram Reels has a shopping feature that lets users tag products from their shop or catalog in their videos. Users can also browse and buy products from other users’ videos. TikTok does not have a shopping feature, but users can link their website or other platforms in their bio or video.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok Content

While Instagram Reels and TikTok have similar features, the content between these two platforms differs. Here are some of the main differences in the content style, tone, and audience of Instagram Reels and TikTok:

  • Instagram Reels has a more mature, serene, and aesthetic vibe. Users often use reels to showcase their skills, talents, products, or services in a polished and professional way. Reels are also more likely to feature educational, inspirational, or motivational content.
  • TikTok tends to be more loud, casual, and humorous. Users often use TikTok to express their personality, opinions, emotions, or humor in a spontaneous and authentic way. TikTok is also more likely to feature entertaining, trendy, or viral content.
  • Instagram Reels has a more diverse and global audience, with users from different age groups, backgrounds, and interests. According to Statista, Instagram has over 1.4 billion monthly active users as of January 2023, with 32% of them being between 25 and 34 years old.
  • TikTok has a more young and niche audience, with users who are mostly from Generation Z. According to Statista, TikTok has over 1.1 billion monthly active users as of January 2023, with 42% of them being between 16 and 24 years old.

Which Platform Works Best for Your Brand?

The answer to this question depends on your brand’s goals, target audience, and content strategy. Here are some factors to consider when choosing between Instagram Reels and TikTok for your short-form video marketing:

  • If you already have a strong and loyal following on Instagram, you may want to use Instagram Reels to leverage your existing audience and reach new ones. You can also use Instagram Reels to integrate your short-form video content with your other Instagram content, such as posts, stories, IGTV, and live.
  • If you want to tap into a new and younger market, you may want to use TikTok to connect with the Gen Z audience and join the viral trends and challenges. You can also use TikTok to showcase your brand’s personality, values, and culture in a fun and creative way.
  • If you want to create more polished and professional content, you may want to use Instagram Reels to highlight your brand’s expertise, quality, and value proposition. You can also use Instagram Reels to educate, inspire, or motivate your audience with useful tips, insights, or stories.
  • If you want to create more spontaneous and authentic content, you may want to use TikTok to engage your audience with humor, emotion, or opinion. You can also use TikTok to entertain, surprise, or delight your audience with catchy songs, dances, or memes.

Short-Form Video Content Best Practices

Whichever platform you choose, here are some best practices and tips on how to make short-form videos that stand out and resonate with your audience:

  • Use vertical content. Most short-form video platforms are optimized for vertical viewing on mobile devices. Vertical formats allow videos to take up the full width of a phone screen, creating a more immersive and engaging experience for the viewer.
  • Use catchy music or sound. Music or sound is an essential element of short-form video content, as it can set the mood, tone, and message of your video. Choose music or sound that matches your brand’s identity, your video’s purpose, and your audience’s preference. You can also use popular or trending songs or sounds to increase your video’s discoverability and relevance.
  • Use a hook. A hook is the first few seconds of your video that grabs your viewer’s attention and makes them want to watch more. A hook can be a question, a statement, a teaser, a challenge, or anything that sparks curiosity, interest, or emotion. Make sure your hook is clear, concise, and compelling.
  • Use a CTA. A CTA is a call to action that tells your viewer what you want them to do after watching your video. A CTA can be a request, an invitation, a suggestion, or a recommendation. For example, you can ask your viewer to like, comment, share, follow, visit your website, or buy your product. Make sure your CTA is relevant, specific, and easy to follow.
  • Use video SEO. Video SEO is the process of optimizing your video for search engines and platforms. Video SEO can help your video rank higher, reach more people, and drive more traffic. Some video SEO tips include using keywords, hashtags, captions, descriptions, and tags that are relevant to your video’s topic, content, and audience.


Short-form video content is a powerful and effective way to market your brand in 2023. Whether you choose Instagram Reels or TikTok, or both, you can use short-form video content to showcase your brand’s story, personality, and value in a creative and engaging way. By following the best practices and tips we shared in this blog, you can create short-form videos that stand out and resonate with your audience.

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a target audience. It aims to build trust, authority, and drive profitable customer actions.

Content marketing is vital because it allows businesses to provide valuable information, solve problems, and build a connection with their audience. It can boost brand awareness, generate leads, and increase customer loyalty.

Content can take various forms, including blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks, social media posts, webinars, and more. The choice of content depends on your target audience and marketing goals.

Identifying your target audience involves creating buyer personas, which are detailed profiles of your ideal customers. Research their demographics, interests, pain points, and preferences to tailor your content to their needs.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial in content marketing because it helps your content rank higher in search engine results, making it more discoverable. Optimizing for relevant keywords, quality backlinks, and user experience is key.

The frequency of content creation varies depending on your resources and goals. Consistency is more important than frequency. Focus on providing high-quality content regularly rather than rushing to produce content daily.

The buyer’s journey consists of three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. Content marketing can address each stage by offering educational content (awareness), product comparisons (consideration), and purchasing guides (decision).

You can measure content marketing success by tracking metrics such as website traffic, engagement (likes, shares, comments), conversion rates, lead generation, and ROI. Use analytics tools to monitor your progress.

Evergreen content is content that remains relevant and valuable over an extended period. It’s important because it continues to attract organic traffic, providing a long-term return on your content marketing investment.

Repurposing involves adapting existing content into different formats. For example, you can turn a blog post into a podcast or create infographics from research reports. This maximizes the reach and utility of your content.

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