With 2 in 3 consumers preferring short-form videos as the most engaging type of social media content, it’s no surprise that marketers are looking for the best platforms to leverage this opportunity. Depending on the app, the length of a short-form video can range from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and some platforms allow for as little as 15 seconds up to as much as 10 minutes.


Two prominent platforms in the short-form video space are TikTok and Instagram Reels, being favorites of creators, brands, and entrepreneurs alike. You can get stuck trying to determine which is best for your marketing goals as you experiment with short-form videos.

In this post, we’ll pit both social media platforms in a TikTok vs. Instagram boxing match to discuss their features, including video editing, analytics, and audience reach, so you can decide which one comes on top.

Like any other match, let’s introduce our contestants.


In the first corner, we have Tiktok. Owned by Beijing-based tech company, ByteDance, TikTok is a video-centric social media platform. The application was launched in 2017, first as the international version of a Chinese platform known as Douyin. After acquiring Musical.ly, an app that allowed users to create and edit lip-syncing videos, ByteDance merged the app with TikTok. This merger skyrocketed TikTok’s popularity globally, reaching 740 million new users in 2021.

Instagram Reels

In the opposite corner, providing similar short-form video content creation capabilities, we have Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels is a feature of Meta’s aesthetically-focused social media application, Instagram, launched in the summer of 2020.

In 2022, Instagram was the fourth most viewed social media platform in The United States, after Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

TikTok vs. Instagram Reels

Before you focus on one channel or start experimenting with both, understanding how they differ from each other will help you make the best decision. For this match, we’ll look at two significant factors: Content creation and Advertising & Engagement.

Now, let our contestants enter the ring to face each other.

Content Creation

Instagram Reels packs a solid punch with built-in editing tools like the draw tool, speed controller, transitions, and AR effects. Creators can also collaborate with the Collab feature to create Reels that target their audiences. Instagram Reels also allows users to create and use audio content, although it has copyright restrictions, and its audio library is restricted.

Hold on, TikTok is coming back with a strong counterpunch! For collaboration, TikTok creators use the Stitch or Duet features to remix videos, allowing both collaborators to feature in one video without bothering about location. Creators can also respond to another TikTok video by stitching the original to their response video.

TikTok adds a 1-2 jab-cross combo with its extensive library and new sound creation features for audio content options. These features allow creators to be more experimental and jump on trends quickly.

The final decider for this round is the video length. While Reels attacks with a maximum duration of 90 seconds, TikTok finishes with an uppercut of 10 minutes, which allows creators to make more comprehensive explainer videos and discuss topics in depth.

Advertising and Engagement

TikTok has the upper hand with specific features that allow creators to showcase their creativity with little restriction, but how about audience reach?

WordStream ran an experiment comparing Instagram Reels Ads and TikTok Ads. The experiment’s goal was to test the reach of both platforms. For the best comparison results, they ensured that several factors were similar, including ad budget, age, location, copy, and CTA. Compared to TikTok, Instagram Reels had nearly 2x reach, 3x impressions, and lesser costs for clicks and people reached.

TikTok has a strong community of creators that enjoy experimenting and pushing what’s possible with short-form video content. Users can easily participate in viral challenges, trends, and dances, making it a robust platform. However, Reels is backed up by Instagram’s massive user base, giving it an impressive reach that enables it to knock out TikTok in this round. Instagram’s built-in analytics can also help creators get insights from their content, including engagement, and understand its performance.

Choosing Your Short-Form Video Channel

While we conclude this boxing match, it’s worth remembering that you don’t necessarily have to choose one contender over the other. Instagram Reels and TikTok bring their unique strengths to the table, and it’s up to you to decide which one comes out on top.