What’s The Difference Between TikTok And Instagram Reels? Plus: Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Both

4 min readOct 7, 2022


Social media is a fast-moving machine, an ever-changing medium, and just as you’ve mastered one platform, along comes another one to suss out and decode.

In case you missed the memo, short video content is where it’s at these days, and there are two particular content types tussling for the position: TikTok videos and Instagram Reels.

If you’re a business owner wondering how to get on board this latest content marketing trend, you might be confused about where to concentrate your efforts. Here, we break down the differences and — most importantly — benefits of both.

But first things first, a brief intro to each…


Launched in 2018, TikTok is the new kid on the social media block. It’s since earned a place as the fastest-growing social media platform and become known for platforming bite-sized videos. TikTok has around 1 billion active users and typically draws in a younger audience.

Instagram Reels

Launched in 2010, Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app. The company announced in 2021 that, going forward, the algorithm would favour video content, and Reels are now one of its most popular mediums, though much to their demise as content creators have not been happy about the change to a video-first focus, and Instagram spends its time flipping between video and photo content as their primary focus. The platform has well over 1 billion monthly active users and is resoundingly popular with both millennials and Gen Z.

So, without further ado, how do these two mediums differ?

Video Length

What can you do in 15 seconds? Not a lot really, and it’s clear the bigwigs at TikTok felt similarly. When the app first found a home on our devices, the maximum video length users could upload was 15 seconds though this quickly increased to three minutes. Today, it’s 10 minutes.

That’s a whole lot of scope when it comes to educating or entertaining followers. In contrast, Instagram Reels has a maximum length of 90 seconds as per their June 2022 update announcement — which may or may not be enough depending on the kind of content you want to share.

Tip: Bigger isn’t always best. In fact, research shows our attention spans are shrinking. Think about how long you need to get your point across online and choose your medium accordingly.

The Algorithm

Any social media marketer worth their salt knows that discoverability is where it’s at when it comes to growing an audience online. So how do these mediums compare when it comes to getting your content in front of your potential customers’ eyes?

When you post a Reel on Instagram, not only does it appear on your grid and in a separate ‘Reels’ tab on your profile, it also gets shared to the ‘Explore’ page, where anyone — not just your followers — can find it.

This is why Reels often keep clocking up loads of views long after they’ve been posted.

On TikTok, things are a little more tailored. When you add content on TikTok, it’s shared to the ‘For You’ page: a curated feed that’s personalised to each user’s specific interests.

That’s good news for you because it means you’re attracting users who are already interested in the kind of content you’re sharing.

Tip: For a quick and easy way to get seen by more people, use both platforms. Yep, that’s right, it’s easy to share TikTok videos on Instagram, so repurpose your content for a double-whammy.

Content Creation

Instagram and TikTok have two distinctly different vibes. While Instagram is great for showcasing-carefully curated content that is aesthetically pleasing, TikTok tends to be ‘anti-aesthetic’ and a little more relaxed.

What does that mean for you and your brand? It means using Reels may be a good shout if you want to maintain a consistent brand image, while TikTok can be a good way to ‘humanise’ your brand and give your followers a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes.

Tip: Make the most of editing tools. Both apps allow you to add music from the TikTok or Instagram Reels libraries, add themes, and add filters that make your content quirky and unique. Of course, make sure you’re adding music from the correct library. If you’re a business, you’ll have to stick to their creative commons licenced music library.

So, which is better: TikTok or Instagram Reels? There’s no clear winner, though we’ll admit, in terms of discoverability, TikTok appears to have a slight edge. To get a feel for what really works for you and your business, it’s a good idea to dip your toe in both. Looking for some inspiration? Check out AnyTask.com over on TikTok and Instagram.




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