Reels Vs. TikTok: Who is the Winner for Businesses?

I’m obsessed with Instagram. Aside from my email, it’s the first thing I check before getting out of bed in the morning. In my eyes, Facebook is for work, Instagram is for fun. As an older Millennial, I use Snapchat as well, but that’s the extent of my social media game outside the office. But then there’s TikTok. This new-fangled short-form video app has skyrocketed to over two billion downloads. Prior to writing this blog, I had not downloaded this behemoth, but for the sake of research and continuing education, I gave it a whirl. I also decided to look into Instagram’s newest feature (which is rather similar) called Reels. Here’s what I found:

At first glance, they are exactly the same thing. Like exactly. But once you dig into them, you see the differences. 

Reels vs TikTok Time Frames

With Reels, you have only 15 second for your video while you can have up to 60 seconds with TikTok. When it comes to marketing for a business, this time difference is HUGE. You’re talking about the difference between an elevator pitch and a commercial. With the shortened time, your content has to be on fire to stand out.

Reels vs TikTok Platform

Reels is integrated into Instagram, while TikTok is a standalone app. This could be a turn off for businesses because it means they have to learn a whole new platform instead of just learning a new feature of an existing tool. This being said, Reels is located in a terrible location; you have to go into Explore to find it. It seems this new feature needs a button or tab of its own if they want more success with it.

Features of Reels vs TikTok

One feature people obsess over on TikTok that is absent from Reels is the dual screen feature that can be used for reaction videos and collaborations. There are whole subsections of TikTok dedicated to this feature, and it allows for a loose sense of community as users are able to interact with each other beyond likes, comments, and follows. 

Another feature missing from Reels is the ability to watch videos without logging into an account. If you want to see content from a popular TikTok user, you don’t need an account, and with the recent aversion to this platform due to security concerns, this is a plus. You also don’t have the ability to post “Friends Only” content on Reels where only people you have chosen can view your content; it is out there for anyone who follows you or searches your handle.

Diverse Market

Instagram has a pretty diverse market at the moment with 72 percent of users aged 13-17, 67 percent aged 18-29 and 47 percent aged 30-49. TikTok is rooted in 16-24 year olds, making up roughly 42 percent of the app’s users

There are also more users on Instagram who reside in the United States, making it easier to justify the spend for U.S.- based brands. While just eight percent of TikTok users live in the United States, 12 percent of the 1.8 billion Instagram users do. Using these platforms as e-commerce marketing tools can be incredibly helpful, but it’s important to know who is actually looking at your material.

The Verdict

Both are great, fun tools that can suck up hours of your life. Are you looking to use them as organic marketing tools for your business? Think of what you want out of it. If you already use Instagram, give Reels a try. If you want something new, TikTok may be for you. If you want more time to say what you have to say, TikTok is your winner, but if you want to show up in people’s feeds along with target ads and influencers, Reels will be for you. Try them out, see what feels right. 


If you’re in over your head and need help figuring out what will give you the best ROI, give the marketing team over at Rooted Web a call. We’re here for you!

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Sam Bergmann

Sam Bergmann is a digital content writer with five years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.