Instagram Vs TikTok:
Who Is Winning the Battle?

With social media becoming the bread-and-butter for many households, and more so, a primary source for content consumption and entertainment, it is about time we address the elephant in the room – the battle between the social media bigwigs Instagram and TikTok.

Cometh an officiated social media olympiad, the enthralling battle between the players will be the centre stone of most talks. Such is the prevalence of a marketing agency London that this is at the forefront.

Before getting into the details of the social media marketing challenges for both these companies, understanding the basic functionalities of these applications is paramount.

Introducing Instagram and TikTok

Launched in October 2010, Instagram is a social media app with over 1 billion active users per month. It is mobile-friendly and is known for its video and photo sharing features. The interactive pursuit of Instagram allows followers and viewers to engage with influencers and content creators through likes, shares and comments.

Recently, Instagram has shifted its focus on video-driven content owing to the advent of influencer marketing. Currently, users have at their disposal the video-sharing features of IGTV, Stories and Reels.

Tiktok, initially known as, was founded in 2014. It is a video streaming and sharing application. It started with users pandering to the viewers with lip-sync music videos. In 2017, Bytedance acquired the app and rebranded it as TikTok in 2019.

The rebranding came as a bang and breakthrough move when it offered users an avenue for making short and crisp 60-second videos – dance, skits, comedic virtues and others. More so, social commentary and viral challenges are a staple among the short-form content pieces.

The Differences between Instagram and Tiktok

Interactivity and Dynamics

Instagram and Tiktok are used by different people and serve distinct purposes. The former focuses on showcasing everyday life through a barrage of pictures. More so, brands and influencers use them for curating promotional content for their products and services. Hence, Instagram adds a personal touch to its users. It is a play on the emotional psyche, if you may call it that. On the other end of the gamut sits TikTok, which is all about the latest trends. It allows the same video to be made in several ways by different people. “Same story, different side” is a shorthand for the modus operandi of TikTok.

User Demographics

Most users and creators on TikTok are between the ages of 16 and 24. Gen Z is the lifeblood behind the video-sharing application. This youth-oriented platform rolls out captivating content where users refurbish dance moves, play crazy pranks or share unique talents. The users are open about sharing their work and fast to jump on the bandwagon of trending tales. Since the age group is also among the most active and profound users of TikTok, it inevitably has a larger share of the digital pie; the others are continuously eyeing for a larger share, hence the battle.

Instagram is gradually moving to become an ‘older’ platform. As a result, the users predominantly are of the working-age category.

Music and Video Editing Features

Tiktok has a designated sound library that comprises an extensive array of music. However, Instagram reels are not open for business account holders. Business profiles intending to include music in the reels are to record their audio through royalty-free music or pre-producing their reels off the application. Tiktok has many more templates, filters and effects than Instagram. More so, the video effects within the Instagram library are limited. Additionally, Tiktok has the Duet, Stitch, and Reaction features. And these are not available within the Instagram content universe.

Current Scenario

Amid the start of the global lockdown, the world was affected by one more profound incident. The US government proposed to ban Tiktok – an internet staple – in the American market. Many other countries followed suit. In light of this, Instagram foresaw an opportunity to fill a vacuum created by the tussle between TikTok and the US government. Instagram, in August 2020, launched its Instagram Reels feature. The feature provides Instagrammers with an avenue for self-expression through short-form content.

As of now, the Instagram Reels feature serves as a mere replacement for TikTok. The future lays uncertain for both these applications. However, given the traction garnered through the Instagram Reels feature, there is hope that the application will come up with brighter and innovative uses and functionalities.

The Micro-Content Universe of Tomorrow

Both Instagram and TikTok are micro-content platforms. The traction gained through these applications indicates a future that is bright and beautiful for micro-content pieces. With influencer marketing on the upswing, there are tremendous opportunities for everyone – brands, businesses, platform users, customers and influencers.

Consequently, the advent of Instagram and social media influencers makes for an excellent gateway for unique communities for fans and followers to explore and join. Also, it is tough to conclude which one is better, and both these applications are at it with their fans and followers.

Despite the battle of these companies, micro-content is here for the long haul. Furthermore, it is likely to become the staple of tomorrow and go-to advertising and marketing strategy. However, a pertinent question that is to be asked is about the effect on long-form content platforms such as YouTube, a video-sharing platform.

What Matters is This

Social media today is a norm and has grown to become the bread-and-butter for many people, especially influencers and content creators. More so, a primary source for entertainment. The social media universe has reached yet another breakpoint with the warring giants Instagram and TikTok. Both these platforms are different in their functionality, user demographics, interactivity and features. However, both are micro-content platforms, and both are tough competitors. It is puzzling to say which is better. One thing is that micro-content will define the future of the digital space. More so, its impact on long-form video-sharing platforms such as YouTube is to be assessed.