A few years ago, no one compared the Instagram and TikTok influencer platforms. But today, these social media platforms have almost become competitors. The TikTok audience is gradually maturing – the segment of users aged 25-30 is growing – the same as on Instagram. Also, Instagram gets more and more preferences for short videos and encourages users to post them there instead of TikTok.
Which of these social networks should marketers choose to start an advertising campaign? What is similar and what are the differences between Instagram and TikTok? And finally, where to invest money? Let's figure it out!
Instagram or TikTok for influencer marketing: step-by-step comparison
TikTok is a video platform where users can upload videos up to 60 seconds long. In the Chinese market, TikTok is known as Douyin and was launched in September 2016 by its owner ByteDance. In 2018, ByteDance merged with Musical.ly and that’s how TikTok was born.
Instagram started as a photo-sharing app but has since expanded to include videos, stories, live streams, and more. Instagram, currently owned by Facebook, was launched in October 2010. Instagram has over 50 billion photos shared to this day.
- Instagram currently has more monthly active users than TikTok:
- Instagram has 2+ billion monthly active users;
- TikTok has 1+ billion monthly active users.
Many people think that TikTok is an app for the younger generation and are surprised to learn that both young and old enjoy using it.
In the US, almost half of TikTok users are between 18 and 34 years, and it’s the largest demographic group of the platform. However, TikTok still has a fairly large segment of users over 40. If your business is targeting this age group, accessing them through TikTok may be less competitive.
Where do most TikTok users live? There are about 30 million monthly active users from the US. It’s surprising not to see India anywhere on the top list, but with TikTok it’s simple: the app is banned in India.
In terms of gender, there are more women than men on TikTok (56.2% versus 43.8%):
Finally, 30% of TikTok users report having a family income of over $100,000. A large user base with high disposable income attracts many advertisers.
Instagram is known for being the app of choice for millennials, but is it? Right – millennials are slightly outperforming other generations on Instagram.
You will find fewer younger users on Instagram than on TikTok. But is it good? Based on recent spending data, perhaps not.
Generation Z spends more compared to millennials and has more transactions on average. Generation Z, although younger, is a powerful and profitable segment.
What about where Instagram users live? Americans sure are one of the largest user bases on Instagram, but the majority of the users are outside the US. People of different nationalities can be reached through Instagram.
Like on TikTok, there are more women on Instagram than men, but not by much (51% versus 49%):
In terms of the income distribution, 42% of Instagram users earn more than $75,000 a year.
- In general, TikTok users are slightly younger than Instagram users.
- Both Instagram and TikTok are divided almost equally between men and women.
- Both TikTok and Instagram have large segments of well-earning users.
- TikTok is most popular in the US, while Instagram has the most users from India (the US comes second).
Here are some of the TikTok key features:
- Short videos (maximum 60 seconds);
- Sound library;
- Opportunity to reply to comments via video on TikTok;
- In-app video editing;
- Social exchange;
- Live stream;
- Effect library;
- Filter library;
- Clickable link in bio;
- Paid advertising;
- In-app purchases;
- Content schedule.
Many of TikTok's features are focused on the community and creators. The opportunity to reply to comments and provide in-app purchases are incredibly useful features for brands that want to promote their goods among the influencer’s followers.
Building a community with the target audience can increase your ROI; 70% of people who feel connected to a brand spend twice as much as those who don't.
TikTok influencer marketing presupposes promotion through short videos. And the platform has incredible in-app editing options. The influencers often don’t need external software or special skills - they can edit their videos right in the TikTok app making them more and more appealing to the audience.
Finally, TikTok is a content graph, which means quality content takes precedence over social media following. The creators sometimes don't have to focus on the game algorithm. If they want to get more likes, all they have to do is create great content (and it can potentially make them famous on TikTok in the process).
Instagram also offers a ton of useful features for businesses such as:
- Posts (photos and videos);
- IGTV for long videos;
- Instagram Live;
- In-app purchase;
- Clickable link in bio;
- Clickable link in Instagram Stories (for creators with over 10,000 followers);
- Paid advertising;
- Limited in-app editing;
- Sound library.
With a variety of options to choose from within the scope of an Instagram influencer marketing campaign, this platform seems very attractive to marketers. If you prefer photography over the video, Instagram offers numerous features that influencers can use to promote your brand. There are also plenty of Instagram apps to help them edit, plan, and schedule the content compared to TikTok which has not so many dedicated apps yet.
Instagram also offers more options for external links, but only if a creator has at least 10,000 followers; Influencers with a smaller number of followers can only include external links in their bio.
Compared to TikTok, Instagram is more of a social graph with a focus on followers. That is why going viral on Instagram is much more difficult compared to TikTok - it is necessary to get access to a large number of Instagram followers to make your content popular. However, if you select an influencer with a lot of fans compared to whom your competitors cooperate, you can be sure that they won't be able to overtake you anytime soon.
- Instagram offers more robust shopping and promotion features than TikTok;
- TikTok integrated with Shopify and working on Teespring integration;
- TikTok is a content graph – the platform rewards good content;
- Instagram is a social graph: the platform rewards large accounts or those who spend a ton of time “chatting” on the app.
How to find Instagram influencers and creators on TikTok for your ad campaigns?
Although TikTok and Instagram have a lot in common, the right influencers are the most important for an advertising campaign. To select the right influencer on the right platform, start by discovering what kind of audience an influencer has. This is especially important if you are promoting a complex product. Far fewer people will buy a smart coffee grinder from a celebrity influencer than from an expert creator.
To find out the audience, you need to look at detailed statistics. Instagram has Insights, an analytics tool that provides detailed information about followers and their behaviour. Request access to Instagram Insights from a creator you would like to cooperate with. In it, you will see gender, age, geography, and audience growth over a certain period.
However, there are special AI-driven tools for studying the audience of influencers’ accounts. For example, the BuzzGuru discovery and analytics platform. It provides you with access to millions of influencers’ accounts and detailed statistics for each of them:
Our tool helps you to make a fake follower check:
study the followers’ growth statistics:
discover the audience demographics:
and even get the influencer’s ER and compare it to the average Instagram engagement rate for similar accounts:
How to choose the proper format?
The more complex the product, the more time it will take to explain it to the audience. At BuzzGuru, we believe it's important to tell on a content level, not only on an emotional level, why your product is good. This means that the social media platform you select should be sharpened to a suitable format.
However, the target audience of a creator should also be ready for complex products. If the audience is not ready to perceive the message, then the timing of the video or the beauty of a story will not help. Also, you will not be able to send a message if the wrong site is selected.
For promoting simple products and enabling the desire to buy them, it is necessary to create appealing visual content: here, both Instagram and TikTok will work well.
- Short videos will not be good for reviewing technical innovations or educational programs. But they can show the amazing result of some cosmetic procedures or breathtaking views taken during a vacation. Such videos on TikTok don’t take a long time, so if they are watched by a warm, targeted audience, you can add your advertising there. For example, to promote a travel agency through the videos from vacations of a TikTok creator.
- Stories are suitable for any product. This is a native format, and the level of trust in them is higher than in the posts in the feed. In the past, everyone wanted ads in publications because they last longer and can be returned after a while.
Now, marketers prefer stories – it is possible to sign a contract for several months or a year with influencers asking them to publish stories with your brand mentions regularly within the specified period. The information field is changing at such a speed that even if there is a surge of interest, it will quickly fade away and you will not get loyal users.
- Posts are also ideal for native advertising when an influencer describes a personal experience or experiences and writes brand mentions into this story. Another format suitable for posts is testimonials. In this case, the influencer directly talks about his experience of interacting with the brand and its product. A direct recommendation from a creator to buy a product is also appropriate here, and if you provide a promo code for a discount, it can work as an additional push to buy.
It is important to combine different platforms and forms of presentation - video, text, and context, all together. With a good product, betting on one channel means lowering the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.
To sum up
So who will win our Instagram vs TikTok battle?
Actually, there is no clear answer, and it depends entirely on your business! We like both platforms, as although they are similar in many ways, the content and the audience there are different. Starting an influencer marketing campaign cooperating with both Instagram and TikTok influencers will bring more success than focusing on just one platform.
In case you have no idea where to find TikTok influencers and how to select the right Instagram creator, our discovery and analytics platform will help. Providing you with access to tons of statistics on both Instagram and TikTok creators, it will become your tool to select the right performer with the right audience.