Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Which One Do I Prefer And Why?

This article talks about the differences between Instagram reels and TikTok and which is the right short video content platform for influencers

Over the years, technological advancements have created many sources of distractions for people. The attention span of users has decreased from 12 seconds to a mere 8 seconds in the last 20 years with content overload on the Internet. Once you switch on your smartphone, the notifications from news, messaging, youtube, and other social media apps can lure you to the screen.

The preference for short video formats has spread like wildfire and pressured creators like me to craft our thoughts within a few minutes before users switch their screens. The creators who use these videos effectively have garnered a massive fan base and gained higher traction on their main content.

Before I tell you my preference, let us delve deeper into these apps’ history and current use statistics.

What is TikTok?


Owned by a Chinese company ByteDance, the TikTok app was available worldwide in 2018. It became a global mass phenomenon during the pandemic when people were confined to their homes. The number of active TikTok users crossed 1 billion by the end of 2021.

What are Instagram Reels?

Facebook launched the reels section on Instagram in 2020 and has kept upgrading it to handle the TikTok mayhem. The reels option was added to the explore option of the app to make it more accessible for Instagram users.

Instagram Reels

Now that we are past the basics, let’s understand what the differences between TikTok and Instagram Reels are:

Category TikTok Instagram Reels
Video Length The TikTok video length average has changed from 15 seconds to 3 minutes and now finally 10 minutes The time limit for Instagram reels has changed from 15 seconds to 30 seconds and now 90 seconds
Filters Tiktok has many filters for looks, speed, voice changes, and other edits Instagram Reel filters are limited
Music Collection Much more liberal selection with the option to create your sounds Limited music options
Video Downloads You can download TikToks with watermarks You can only download your own reels but no other Instagram reels even with a watermark
Insights and Analytics Tiktok analyses are comprehensive Instagram analytics for reels do not show a complete picture
Copyright Restrictions Liberal Strict
Availability Restricted in some countries Widespread as comes within Instagram

What do I prefer: TikTok or Instagram Reels?

Let me discuss what I find best in each app:

Video Length

I personally prefer TikTok when it comes to video durations. As a creator, it is not easy for me to fit every piece of content in under 90 seconds which is the time limit for Instagram reels. While Instagram Reels are a good option for traditional videos like vacation ideas, TikTok’s video length limit gives me the liberty to experiment more with my content.


What do you think I would prefer? Obviously, the one that offers more filters. While it is not compulsory to edit your videos, multiple options help you incorporate various transitions, use funny voices, change looks, and attract the audience’s attention. TikTok filters and effects have sensationalized platform usage, especially by millennials and Gen Z.


Music Collection

Have you heard Conkarah’s Banana, Maggi Lindemann’s Pretty Girl, Lizzo’s About Damn Time, or Harry Styles’ As It Was? There is a high probability that you have. But you might be surprised to know that these songs became musical sensations because of TikTok. Adding music to my videos and text-to-speech with auto-generated captions on TikTok improves its overall vibes and is also enjoyed by specially-abled users.

Using music on Instagram reels is tough. While they are getting quick upgrades to compete with TikTok, they are serious regarding copyright issues and allow a limited library to use in videos.

Regarding downloading options, reels offer higher security compared to TikTok. But those whose goal is to create a virality effect with their posts, like me, prefer to use the latter. This is because TikTok music video downloads enable it to reach a wider audience.


Comprehensive analytics and insights are the backbones of a creator’s account. These insights have helped me immensely to alter my content based on the audience’s engagement rate. You even get an idea of the posting time where your videos will do well using the analysis. I get a more comprehensive picture of my video engagement through TikTok user analytics than on Instagram.


While Reel-specific analysis has been newly added to the app and includes various Instagram reel engagement metrics, analytics in TikTok have features such as geolocation, playtime, watch time, and much more. Metrics like these help me understand my audience and the location where my videos are gathering high traction.


Sponsors and Brands are targeting short video format to improve their sales position and brand value in the market but are confused between choosing Instagram or TikTok for business. Implementing strategic hashtags and engaging with the community can significantly boost Tiktok video performance, appealing directly to the target demographic. Marketers are leaving no stone unturning, from influencers promoting their product in a small ad film to using an official creative team for using quirky ideas to create virality. Moreover, a creator-based ad helps the brand leverage its existing fan base to promote its product.


Brands, especially debutantes, prefer TikTok over Reels. Why is TikTok’s marketing strategy a good tool? As a creator, I have been a part of many sponsored ads on both platforms and can give you an honest opinion.

There are many benefits of marketing on TikTok, but mainly imagine a completely new cryptocurrency trading platform just entering a market dominated by a rare few. Do you think a 90-second reel will be memorable enough to etch an imprint in people’s minds? While established names in the industry are marketing with Reels and Instagram Videos to create shoppable ads, homegrown brands with limited operations find TikTok marketing effective.

Final View

While you might have noticed, I usually prefer TikTok for my content. But we must remember that Reels has just entered the market dominated by a single player, and within 2 years, it has become the most used feature of Instagram. Instagram plans to switch to reel-based videos completely and slowly remove the IGTVs witnessing a drop in viewership after 2020.

Both platforms are bringing in new updates to offer higher consumer convenience and push the other out of this race. Rather than relying on a single platform, as a creator, it would be best if you leveraged both benefits because one update by either can change the whole game. Though TikTok is a good platform for local brands, the industry biggies use Instagram as a marketing tool.

Create an effective social media marketing strategy and blow up your social media game using short video form posts.

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Published on October 3, 2022 by Beatrice Stefanescu; modified on March 28, 2024. Filed under: , , .

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