Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Marketing Overview Jill Quash
A moose cooling off with someone’s sprinklers. An ice bucket challenge. The latest trending dance moves. Or my personal favorite: cats versus an invisible wall. Watching videos online has become an everyday norm. A quick glance at our device turns into a two-hour expedition down an infamous rabbit hole.
From gen z to millennials to even baby boomers, video content simply has a dynamic way of drawing us in. These bad guys lure many of us into a time warp and time flies by. No doubt. However, these social media beasts can be essential allies for any business.
For instance, we already know their powerful influence in the social media space. Plus, let’s face it. When people share over one million minutes of video per second, businesses and marketers take notice.
Marketing via social media videos isn’t anything new, especially with influencer marketing. Nevertheless, with the rise in micro-short videos, we now have more to consider with our content strategies.
1. Reels vs TikTok: Basic Overview
Let’s take a quick overview glance at these two video powerhouses and their functionality.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short-form video app where you can make videos up to three minutes long. Also, the videos replay on a loop. According to one Forbes article, the app allows brands to inspire their fans in authentic, entertaining ways.
Co-founder of the Shorty Awards Gregory Galant comments, “It offers a fun twist that lends itself to new trends, memes, and challenges and with a steady stream of new songs constantly being released.”
According to Business Insider, TikTok regularly outperforms US-based apps that have attracted younger audiences, including Instagram. With over 2.3 billion downloads and over 100 million American active users, it is an app to pay attention to.
What is Reels?
Reels was a new feature in 2020 for the social media platform Instagram. The type of content it has is comparable – and almost identical – to TikTok.
Like with Instagram Stories, users can upload from their camera roll or create Reels videos live within the interface. Instagram users can make a 60-second or less video and add it to their profile.
Several video options and editing tools include:
- Visual effects
- Audio effects
- Augmented reality effects
- Music from Instagram’s library (limited selection for business accounts)
- Uploaded sounds
You can find more tutorials about how the app basically works here.
2. Reels vs TikTok: Demographics
With both platforms, take into consideration the demographic of your target audience. Recent research on the demographic of TikTok users shows the platform isn’t just for young people. In fact, a similar percentage of active users exists across several groups from age 20-49, with 10- to 19-year-olds being the highest at 25%.
Then with the demographic of Instagram’s user base, here are the top three groups:
- 25 to 34-year-olds are the highest at 31.5%
- 18 to 24-year-olds are at 22.9%
- 35 to 44-year-olds are at 18.6%
3. Reels vs TikTok: Video Length
Another important aspect is video length, which some content creators can find challenging.
As seen in the graphic, the max length of Reels and TikTok videos can be 60 seconds to three minutes. However, keep in mind that people’s attention span is very limited. So the shorter the better, especially when considering the algorithm on each platform.
But what exactly is short?
What is short-form video content?
Video lengths can vary from an hour long to mere seconds. But what do we consider short? And what can we produce in such a limited time frame? We’ll touch on this in a minute.
First, what is a short video? According to Google, short means less than 10 minutes. However, many created Reels and TikTok videos normally range from five to 30 seconds.
Let’s be real: five seconds to a minute isn’t a lot of time. Having such a short window to deliver a message can intimidate anyone.
If you’re shaking in your boots – or flip-flops – from intimidation, don’t be.
Get your creative juices flowing by watching these TikTok campaigns by big brands such as Walmart and Calvin Klein. Then you can get some ideas of a few simple ways to engage your target audience.
Now let’s look at several powerful reasons you should use short videos like in TikTok and Reels.
Why use (really) short videos?
Here are several powerful reasons to consider adding short video to your content marketing plan:
- Fast to do. Hold up your phone and boom you’re done. Yes, it’s that simple.
- Great for SEO. A video done well can generate many links and promote your brand organically.
- Great for non-verbal communication. Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal, 55% of which is body language.
- Perfect for brand awareness. Years ago DollarShaveClub.com made a one-minute and 30-second video that went viral shortly after. You can do it too.
- Better metrics. Rawshorts published a very informative post called 20 video marketing stats for 2020. It had statistics from brands like Instagram, LinkedIn, Forbes and Cisco.
In particular, three areas had high percentages concerning user interactions:
- Completion rate. LinkedIn video ads with a 30-sec length saw a 200% increase in completions.
- Retention rate. Customers retain 95% of messages they watch in video and only 10% of messages they read.
- Engagement rate. Videos under two minutes get the most engagement. According to one study, consumers who saw a product in a Facebook story video were 62% more interested after seeing the promotion.
Based on these findings, numbers don’t lie. Video marketing – especially with only a few seconds of video – is very effective.
3. Reels vs TikTok: Analytics
The M in marketing wouldn’t be complete without also representing metrics. Every marketer knows analytics are an important part of measuring performance. This includes gauging both Instagram and TikTok content.
Currently, comparing TikTok Analytics to Reels Insights is like comparing a paper boat to a yacht.
First off, both TikTok creator and business accounts have access to analytics. In addition, the analytics window has three tabs.
Engagement. Each stat below also shows the growth rate
- Video views
- Profile views
Followers. Your total follower count, including new followers gained.
Content. The number of videos you posted in the last seven days.
This shows videos posted in the last seven days as well as any trending videos.
Here are your total followers, any new ones gained, and the growth rate of your following. Then at 100 followers, you can get additional audience insight.
You can view analytics for individual Reels videos by selecting the video and tapping View Insights.
In the Reels Insights, you’ll find the following:
- Accounts reached. This metric is an estimate. Also, reach isn’t the same as impressions. These are Instagram accounts that have seen your reel at least once.
- Plays. This is the number of times your video plays after it makes an impression, and it doesn’t count replays.
People can engage with your content by doing:
No insights exist yet for reels appearing in Explore. However, if Instagram chooses your reel to be featured, you’ll receive a notification and the reel will get a label.
4. Reels vs TikTok: Paid Ads
You can use TikToks and Reels as paid ads to enhance your marketing efforts.
On TikTok, business accounts can create ads. The Ads Manager will show your ad to your target audience, and you can measure the performance.
On Instagram you can feature and promote your brand and sell products. Plus, in recent news, you can now create Reels ads. Like Instagram Story ads, they are vertical and appear in between individual reels. Additionally, they are found in your feed and Explore like any regular reel.
To sum up, stats confirm that video is an essential piece for any content marketing strategy. This includes the use of short-form videos, a growing heavyweight in gaining the attention of the masses.
Many influencers and businesses use one or both platform features. You can do the same.
Some initial steps to adding TikToks and Reels can be:
- Try one or both for at least a year.
- Strategically plan content but don’t be afraid to try ideas completely out of the box.
- Keep track of campaigns and monthly stats.
- Be consistent no matter what.