Disparity in User Attention and Ad Spending Between TikTok vs Instagram

A recent report by Insider Intelligence sheds light on the shifting landscape of user attention and ad spending between TikTok and Instagram among US adults. The statistics show a significant rise in time spent on TikTok compared to Instagram, which has consequences for the advertising industry.

In 2023, US individuals aged 18 and up are predicted to devote around 4.43 billion daily minutes to TikTok, surpassing Instagram's 3.91 billion daily minutes. This disparity is especially noticeable given TikTok's lower user base than Instagram. TikTok has an estimated 82.3 million monthly adult users in the United States, trailing Instagram's 118.4 million. Although TikTok claims 150 million monthly active users across all age groups in the United States, Meta Platforms, the platform's owner, claims over 2 billion monthly users globally.

While TikTok's user attention prevails, Instagram maintains its lead in advertising spend. The projected ad revenue per adult user per hour spent on the apps is expected to be six times higher for Instagram than for TikTok in 2023. This can be attributed to Instagram's broader scope and association with Meta and its suite of apps, which advertisers prefer.

TikTok is positioned to close the ad spending gap as it continues to acquire users and improve engagement. The app's substantial daily time spent among US adults, which increased by nearly 547% between 2019 and 2023, demonstrates its growing importance. However, Instagram's feature called "reels," which was created to fight TikTok's attractiveness, may help Instagram maintain its lead.

TikTok surpassed Instagram in daily minutes in 2022, and the estimate is that TikTok will beat Facebook in this aspect by 2025. Despite TikTok's progress, industry experts say it is still not on a level with Meta's extensive services.

The report highlights YouTube's undeniable dominance in terms of the daily time users spend on the app, surpassing both TikTok and Instagram. This showcases YouTube's unrivalled ability to capture and captivate users for extended periods. The undeniable success of YouTube can be attributed to its impressive watch time, which is further boosted by the utilization of longer videos.

This serves as a testament to its dominant position in the online video streaming industry. However, it is worth noting that TikTok users spend more time per day on the platform than YouTube users on their respective platforms. This highlights the remarkable impact and influence TikTok has achieved in a relatively short time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically influenced our online behaviour, leading to a significant increase in the time we spend on social media platforms. This surge can be attributed to the necessity of staying connected and informed during these challenging times. Although Facebook may see a slight decline in daily time spent, other platforms such as Snapchat, X (formerly Twitter), and Reddit are expected to experience significant growth in this aspect. This indicates that users gravitate towards these platforms and spend more time engaging with their content.

In conclusion, the report underscores the dynamic shifts in user behaviour, emphasizing the competition for user attention and advertising dollars between TikTok and Instagram. Instagram's entrenched position, in part due to its affiliation with Meta, presents a challenge for TikTok, but TikTok's continued growth and innovation indicate a promising trajectory in the advertising landscape.

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