March 6, 2024
Min Read

TikTok Versus Instagram: Choosing the Best Platform

Uncover the differences between TikTok versus Instagram. Here’s our analysis of each platform to help you decide which to use for what content.

Screenshots from Instagram and TikTok with both logos and a “vs.” in between

Instagram and TikTok have dozens of similar features — short-form videos, live streams, and a personalized algorithm, just to name a few. 

If you’re trying to decide where to post, these similarities can make it hard to choose. However, you don’t have to stick to only one or the other. When it comes to TikTok versus Instagram, they each have unique strengths that make them good for different purposes and content types. 

Here’s a complete guide to the pros and cons of TikTok and the pros and cons of Instagram so you can make the best decision for you.

What’s the Difference Between TikTok and Instagram?

The main difference between TikTok and Instagram is how they share content — most people use TikTok for short-form videos, and Instagram offers a wider range of formats. 

Here are a few more differences:

  • Feed layout — TikTok features a full-screen, immersive vertical feed where users can scroll through a continuous stream of videos by swiping up or down. Instagram’s main feed displays a mix of photos and videos, and Instagram Reels offer a full-screen experience like TikTok.
  • Content discovery — The For You Page (FYP) on TikTok shows users content based on their interests, and that means they often see videos from people they don’t follow. Instagram's main feed mostly shows posts from accounts users already follow, and content discovery is based on the Explore page or Reels feed. 
  • Content types — While TikTok does let you post photos and Stories, it’s primarily a video-based platform. Instagram is more versatile, and although Reels are becoming more popular, there’s a stronger balance of photo and video content.
  • Algorithm — Both platforms have detailed algorithms that suggest content based on what you watch and what you scroll away from. However, some say TikTok is better at creating a feed that suits your specific interests.

Edit your videos 10X faster with AI

Edit your videos 10X faster with AI

Get started
Download the App

TikTok Versus Instagram Users

While it might seem like TikTok caters to younger audiences, these two platforms actually have similar user bases. 

Most TikTok users fall into the 18–24 age range, followed by 25–34 — and that research doesn’t even include users under 18. On the other hand, Instagram users are nearly the same, with most aged 18–24, then 25–34. Instagram’s research also includes the 13–17 age range, of which there’s a small percentage. 

The main difference between these two platforms is that TikTok’s 18–24 group is slightly larger than the 25–34, while they’re pretty much even with Instagram. If you’re making a comparison, you could say that Instagram has an older user base — but not by much.

Person holding a phone with Instagram and TikTok logos at either side

Style and Formats of Content

Whether you’re a creator or just want to share content with friends, TikTok and Instagram have many ways to post. While TikTok started with short-form videos, and Instagram started with images, they’ve each expanded to include Lives, Stories, and both photo and video content. 

However, they still have their differences. Here’s how TikTok and Instagram compare in content styles and formats: 

1. Reels Versus TikTok

Instagram Reels and TikTok videos are the most similar features on each platform. They both let users create, share, and discover short-form videos from 15 seconds to a few minutes long

Here are a few key characteristics:

  • Visibility — Reels and TikToks have nearly identical visibility features. Instagram Reels appear both in your followers’ feeds and on the Reels feed, where non-followers can easily discover them. On TikTok, there are two tabs: the FYP and the “Following” feed, which show recommended videos and videos from people you follow, respectively. 
  • Editing tools Instagram and TikTok both have in-app editing tools for video creation. Reels offers essential editing tools like trim, cut, and text, along with filters and effects. TikTok provides slightly more advanced editing options, including transitions and special effects, though it still doesn’t have everything you need for more intricate videos.

Using a third-party app is the best way to edit short videos and streamline content creation. Try Captions, an AI-powered editing app that — on top of trimming and splicing — lets you add custom captions. You’ll set your content apart and boost your visibility on both platforms.

2. TikTok Stories Versus Instagram Stories

In 2016, Instagram launched Stories, which are vertical posts that vanish after 24 hours. They appear around your profile picture and at the top of your followers’ home pages. They’re the best way to post real-time highlights and behind-the-scenes content without as much pressure as permanent feed posts. 

TikTok saw Instagram Stories’ popularity and created its own Stories feature in 2022. It’s not quite as popular as Instagram’s, but it serves the same purpose, allowing creators to connect with their audience in a more personal and spontaneous way. TikTok Stories appear both around your profile picture and on the FYP.

The main difference is that TikTok Stories allow public comments, shared views, and interactions, while Instagram Stories keep engagement details private to the creator. TikTok's transparent approach fosters a more interactive community, but it does add more pressure because anyone can see the comments and likes.

3. TikTok Live Versus Instagram Live

TikTok Live and Instagram Live serve the same purpose: to bring your followers real-time content. However, they do have a few differences when it comes to their functions and restrictions.

TikTok Live offers a straightforward live streaming experience with features like chat and virtual gifts. It’s great for connecting with audiences informally, but there are a few requirements. Though it depends on your location, you have to be 18 years or older and have at least 1,000 followers.

Instagram Live provides more features, including collaborations, fundraisers, and the option to save videos. This versatility makes it a better option if you’re doing a lot of Lives because it promotes audience engagement and offers a smoother experience for both you and your viewers. On top of that, any user can go live — there are no minimum requirements.

Screenshot of Caption’s editing tools

Which App Is Better for Influencer Marketing and Selling?

The choice between TikTok and Instagram for influencer marketing and selling depends on your goals. If you want to reach a slightly younger audience, TikTok might be the top choice. However, both platforms have features that make marketing and selling easy for creators of all sizes. 

TikTok for Marketing and Selling

TikTok’s video-based platform and high levels of engagement make it a great place to promote products. You can go viral — and reach more people — more easily here than on Instagram, especially if you follow TikTok trends. When you align your content with what’s popular, TikTok is more likely to show your content to a broader audience, which is ideal for marketing.

TikTok’s audience skews slightly younger — think Gen Z teenagers and young adults. If your target audience aligns with this demographic, selling on TikTok could be more effective than on Instagram. 

TikTok also has a Shop feature that lets users buy items directly from the app. They can find and buy products in four places: in-feed videos, live streams, profile showcases, and the shopping tab on users’ homepages. This means there are more opportunities for people to purchase something.

Instagram for Marketing and Selling

Instagram is a highly competitive platform when it comes to e-commerce. It’s existed for longer, so it has more selling opportunities in place, like shoppable Instagram ads, in-post product tags, and Reels product tags. 

Instagram also has a Creator Marketplace that lets influencers and brands connect, so if you’re a creator looking for sponsorships, it might be easier to do on Instagram. You can also use in-feed posts, Stories, and Reels for sponsored content instead of just TikTok videos.

The main drawback is that there’s quite a lot of e-commerce activity on Instagram, which means it’s hard to stand out as an influencer. To market a product successfully, you have to pay extra attention to making quality content that entertains, informs, or educates the audience. Instead of feeling like you’re just trying to market something, viewers can connect with your content.

Create Studio-Grade Content With Captions

Both TikTok and Instagram have their strengths. TikTok is great for going viral or reaching a slightly younger audience, and Instagram is all about sharing authentic content in different forms.

Their main similarity? Your content should look good if you want your audience to enjoy and connect with it. With Captions, you can script, record, and edit your short-form videos in one go and upload them to both platforms easily. You’ll create and upload better looking content easily with the power of Captions AI.

Get started
Download the App
March 6, 2024
Min Read
Stay in the loop
Subscribe to our newsletter and get all the news from Captions. No spam, we promise.
Professional videos made easy

Start Creating

Download the App
Trusted by 3M people,
how about you?
Trusted by 3M people worldwide
Get the Captions app
QR Code to download the app