TikTok Vs. Reels and Why Marketers Shouldn’t Overlook Them

Just as the world we live in is constantly changing, so is the social media landscape. Apps, tools and ways of reaching our audiences are continually evolving. So when Instagram launched a new video format called Reels recently, marketers quickly took to their phones to check it out. 

Both are social media platforms – two of the biggest in the world. TikTok is a short-form video-sharing social network. Instagram started as a photo-sharing social media platform, more recently added “story” videos and now “Reels.” 

Although the Reels feature is new to Instagram, creating short video content is not new at all. Even before TikTok, apps such as Snapchat and Vine have offered users similar video creation options for years. In fact, many are saying Reels is quite literally the same thing as TikTok

No matter the differences and similarities between Reels and TikTok, marketers can agree that the two should not be overlooked. And here’s why.

They have different but equally impressive audiences

If you’re wondering whether Reels or TikTok is right for your brand, the answer is complicated. It could be one or the other, or it could be both or neither. TikTok and Instagram Reels have different and very unique audiences, so it’s important to recognize the difference. 

According to a leaked advertising pitch deck from October 2019, 69% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24. That may not seem like your target audience now, but before you discount Gen Z, keep in mind that their demographic will hold a significant amount of buying power in the future. And even though Instagram’s audience trends a little older, with 32% of users falling between ages 25 and 34, both age groups are extremely sought after by most businesses and brands. Whether your brand’s audience is Gen Z, millennials or a little bit of both, it’s exciting to know that apps like these offer a built-in audience that matches the needs of different brands’ target customers. And if your brand skews older than the average TikTok or Instagram user, Facebook might be a better fit. 

They don’t take a long time to produce

The organic, on-the-fly feel of quick, user-generated video content created through TikTok and Reels make the message feel more authentic to your audience and, in turn, more likable. Typically, video content can be time-consuming and expensive to produce. By taking advantage of apps like TikTok and now Instagram Reels, marketers can produce short, relevant content at a moment’s notice. 

They allow you to tap into influencer marketing

The power of influencers in digital marketing continues to grow. According to recent research, the influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022. And TikTok and Instagram are leading the way when it comes to influencer marketing. With the average customer growing more and more skeptical of brands, influencer marketing becomes crucial to brands looking to get their products into the hands of new customers. 

Their advertising capabilities are growing

Despite what some believe, TikTok’s advertising options are vast and include display ads as well as sponsored post challenges. Brands can purchase advertising through a self-serve ad buying option and designate daily budgets, targeting and other controls similar to Facebook advertising. And for Instagram Reels, advertising options have not been released as of yet. But as their community grows, likely will their advertising offerings

Side note, due to an executive order signed this month banning US transactions with TikTok beginning September 15th, some advertisers are forming contingency plans and looking to other apps to rely on instead. With the future of TikTok still up in the air, we have yet to see how brands adjust their marketing spend to continue reaching their target market. The ban is something to keep in mind when considering whether or not to invest in TikTok advertising. 

They are just the tip of the iceberg

Like every new digital marketing trend, there is a learning curve. No doubt about it, TikTok and Reels have a language and presence all their own. However, overlooking them would be a mistake because they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to democratized content. Creating relevant content for reaching your target audience means investing in learning how to use the tools that will help you reach them.

So which platform is right for your business? When evaluating whether or not your brand should have a presence on TikTok or Instagram Reels, or even both, it’s important to address your goals and your target audience. But our best advice? Meet your audience where they are and don’t be afraid to explore video-based content. Like we said, this is just the tip of the iceberg!