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Data Shows Whether Instagram Reels or TikTok Is The Superior Platform In Terms Of Advertising

A comparative study delves into TikTok and Instagram Reels advertisements, detailing which platform is better for markers when it comes ad spend.

Both TikTok and Instagram are booming social media platforms, with each having their own specific niches that help endear them to the general netizen populace. Instagram’s recent success with its Reels format only further drives competition with TikTok. Both platforms also share the rather lucrative advantage of being immensely popular with the current youth, as opposed to Facebook and Twitter which seem more and more relics of older generations as the days go by. The youth also have more active time that they spend online, which makes them a major metric when it comes to driving up brands ad reach and revenue. The youth are also often referred to as very reliable consumers, which while being a very, very questionable corporate term, is not completely inaccurate. Kids are spenders, and advertisers need audiences to cater to. However, with both Instagram and TikTok being such good choices for advertisers, the question arises: which platform is better overall as far as investing brands' ad spend in goes? Well, we might have an answer on our hands.

A team at the ad design software firm Creatopy took to both platforms with the intention of understanding which platform generates the best interest in an ad. Their methodology was rather simple: each platform was introduced to the same 15 second advertisement, with both running from September 14th to October 5th, 2021. Both videos were assigned approximately the same daily budget and target metrics. Then, all that was left to record were the relevant metrics. Creatopy measured each ad’s reach, impressions, cost/1000 individuals, clicks, CTR, CPM, and CPC. The results were heavily in Instagram Reels’ favor.

The total reach the ad enjoyed on Reels amounted to 389,298, which is much more than TikTok’s 199,477 in the same amount of time. TikTok also cost almost twice as much per user at USD $5.03, with Reels only costing USD $2.60. However, other factors also stand out in TikTok’s favor. It must be stated that despite the much higher reach that Reels enjoyed, it reached a total of 36 clicks. Without context, that seems like a meaningless metric, but when put next to the 28 that TikTok got with a markedly smaller reach, it spells out that users on TikTok are much more willing to engage with ad content that Reels users are. The click-through rate for both platforms was the exact same at 0.01%, and both platforms are ultimately rather pricey with a CPC of USD $35.72 for TikTok and USD $28.08 for Reels. Overall, however, it must be said that Instagram offers much of the benefits that TikTok does, and it does so at much more affordable rates.

Future experiments could even try modulating the advertisements in order to gauge exactly what sort of content gauges the best response from each platform’s respective audiences. As for this study, a lot of useful information can be gleamed from this. Smaller businesses would perhaps be better off promoting their business on Reels alone, as it is the more economical option of the two. While larger businesses could definitely allot a higher budget and thus make more effective use of TikTok’s more engaging audience, ultimately Reels might have won the war of the ad spend. At least until a new report displays some new and interesting developments for both platforms.


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