Social Media Features: TikTok vs. Instagram Reels

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

It’s no surprise that social media platforms are constantly at war with each other. They try to beat their competitors by releasing unique and interesting features. To have the ‘next big thing’ is ultimately their goal.

Thus, let’s introduce an interesting comparison: TikTok and Instagram’s Reels feature.

How TikTok Works

This platform allows users to only post videos. They can be between 30 seconds to the recently-released 3-minute mark. Additionally, TikTok has many editing, music, filter, and audio options for their users to make content that’s entertaining to watch. Every niche is covered on this platform so there’s something for everyone.

How Instagram Reels Works

On the back of TikTok’s success, Instagram released its Reels feature. It lets users upload or record videos that can be up to 1 minute long. Of course, this is an added function of the Instagram app. Just like TikTok, users have filters, music, and other editing tools available. They also quickly gained in popularity. Incorporating Reels alongside features users love, Instagram’s overall usage increased as well.

Pitting Them Against Each Other

How do they stack up against each other? Let’s take a look:

  • Content

TikTok and Reels are similar in how long they can last—both can handle 1-minute videos. On the other hand, TikTok’s videos go up to 3 minutes. Its latest update also includes a scrolling function that lets users skip sections of a video.

In terms of content, Reels is more categorized based on niches and tags. They are in addition to a user’s content, and therefore show up in feeds of similar accounts. Alternatively, TikTok is less sectioned due to its For You page that encourages users to watch videos of content they might not normally watch.

  • Editing

TikTok’s sole focus on videos gives it room to add more editing tools. Reels is simply a feature on Instagram, a platform that’s primarily image-based and contains a lot of other functions as well. Thus, Instagram has a smaller library of editing tools than TikTok.

  • Audio

Similar to editing tools, TikTok implements a focus on adding music to videos. Previously being named and specifically used for music-based content helps. Instagram does have a broad selection of audio, but copyright restrictions are tighter for it.

  • Advertising

Becoming an advertisement-reliant platform, TikTok has promoted collaborations and advertisements with popular influencers. Options such as brand takeovers, in-feed ads, hashtag challenges, and branded effects are ways to advertise. Instagram itself has contained advertising for years, though ads through Reels is a fairly new function.

The Result

Although both TikTok and Reels functions in a similar way, TikTok has more options due to its history as a music video type of platform under its previous name, Reels is essentially a basic version of its competitor. This can be good for people who aren’t tech-savvy or don’t like a complex structure for creating content. As an addition to Instagram’s current functions and features, Reels is good. Although, in comparison to TikTok, it falls short.