August 7, 2020

Could Instagram Reels Be the New TikTok?

Written by Rachel Richards

As we all spend more time at home, the creative video-sharing app TikTok has captured the attention of audiences around the world. From hilarious skits with top comedians to enlightening how-to’s with scientists, the popular social media platform has evolved past its Gen-Z stereotype, now boasting over 800 million users worldwide.

A Chinese company, TikTok has also stirred up its fair share of controversy with data breaches, causing a ban in India and another one impending in the United States. With Instagram’s launch of the latest video-sharing tool Reels, this strategic move couldn’t have come at a better time. The Facebook-owned company hopes to capitalize on the TikTok ban and sweep up its passionate user base in the process.

For us at Top Draw, it’s exciting to watch two social media giants duke it out, vy for the best features, and compete for influencer partnerships. But, the big question for your brand is: Should you be on these social media platforms? Are they worth all the buzz? Does the time invested in creating videos translate to real business? And, what’s the difference between TikTok and Instagram Reels, anyway?

Below, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each social media app to help you decide if they’re a right fit for your business.


tiktok pros and cons
Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas, Unsplash



With a tagline like “Real people, real videos”, the vibe on TikTok is decidedly fun and unfiltered, compared to Instagram’s more polished and sophisticated personality. It only takes a few seconds to scroll and find fascinating content like #Entrepreneur, #PetsOfTikTok, and #TikTokRecipe. The short videos are packed with valuable advice, trendy music, and pure entertainment.


With its Discover tab and For You stream, TikTok’s algorithm seems to favour content from strangers rather than followers. This allows brands and creators to get in front of new and fresh audiences. It’s often easier to rack up thousands of views on one TikTok video rather than Instagram, where brands have begun to experience slower growth.


With social media, diversifying your platforms and expanding your reach are always smart ideas. After the short rise and fall of the video-looping app Vine, we know platforms can disappear overnight. TikTok’s Share button allows you to export videos to a variety of social media apps, while its Duet and React features make it easy for users to collaborate and interact.



Because of TikTok’s data breaches, suspected leaks to its Chinese parent company (which it strongly denies), and deprioritization of #BlackLivesMatter content, the app may have met its match in Indian and American markets. Only time will tell how Canada will choose to respond, but our government tends to follow suit with the United States’ foreign policies.


From trimming and cutting to filters and music, many beginners find TikTok’s video-editing features to be a bit overwhelming. The interface can be tough to navigate, and it can be finicky to create the exact effect you want to achieve. On the other hand, more advanced users find the level of customization pretty powerful, resulting in stunning and professional-looking videos.


Brands like Universal Pictures and Guess have paved the way for some strong influencer partnerships and advertising on TikTok. The campaigns often involve interactive hashtag challenges and tend to garner extremely high engagement. However, TikTok for Business is only available to a select few brands on a waitlist basis, so smaller businesses may be out of luck with paid advertising on the platform.

Instagram Reels

instagram reels pros and cons
Photo Credit: Instagram



If you’re already an Instagram user, it’s simple to get started with Reels. Similar to creating a Story, you hold down your profile photo and scroll over to the Reels option. Once you’ve filmed and edited your masterpiece, you can share it to your Story or your Feed, right next to where IGTV videos are stored. This is an appealing option for brands who are already on Instagram but want to get creative with video.


Reels’ video editing is a lot more elegant and simplified than TikTok’s. The effects gallery, music library, and trimming features are all easy to navigate. So, if you’re new to video editing, Instagram Reels may be perfect for you.


Although creators can skyrocket to viral fame on TikTok, Instagram is known for its reliable reach and growth. Users tend to form passionate communities around the influencers and brands they follow, and the algorithm favours this. Organic growth may be hard to achieve, but once your business does realize success, it’s easier to maintain than TikTok.



Among Stories, IGTV, Shopping, and the Feed, Reels is one among many of the features on Instagram. It has been given top real estate on the Explore tab, but it takes a couple clicks to get there. The success of Stories was mainly due to its ingenious placement at the top of the Feed. Compared to TikTok’s sole focus on video creation, Reels’ discoverability may limit its popularity.

Time Limit

While TikTok videos can be up to 60 seconds, Instagram Reels has placed a time limit at 15 seconds. That may damper creativity and the ability to deliver valuable content in such a short amount of time. But, Instagram may expand the time limit after further testing.


Since Reels has just launched, advertising currently is unavailable on this tool. Businesses can’t pay to boost videos or have them featured. Instead, Reels is choosing to first focus on building a community with influencers and creators. Instagram has mentioned that advertising will be a top priority in future versions, but no timeline has been given.

Let’s Get You on Social Media

So, are your creative juices flowing? Are you ready to start creating awesome content? TikTok and Instagram Reels each have their own benefits and drawbacks, but it’s clear that video sharing is the future of social media.

We’re here to help you decide which platform is best for your business and create compelling content that makes an impact. Contact us and we can help your brand grow on social media.

Related Read

How to Make Instagram Reels Like a Pro by MobileMonkey

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