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TikTok vs. Instagram – Which One Is Better for Your Brand?

Published August 10, 2023

In the world of online marketing, social media is the most popular way to spread the word about your business and gain new customers. However, to find actual success in your online ventures, you have to pick the right platform to advertise yourself or your company.

If you’re thinking about joining TikTok or Instagram, we are here to help. Follow along to find out how these platforms differ and which one is better for your brand.

TikTok vs. Instagram: Main Differences

Taking into account factors such as audience, content types, and the branded content the apps allow, here’s what you should know about TikTok and Instagram.


The first question you should ask yourself before joining a social media platform is: who is your main audience? The reasoning is simple: different demographics prefer different platforms.

A quick peek at user statistics shows us the contrast between the two apps. For example, almost everyone who uses TikTok is 35 or younger. Gen Z leads the user race, with Millennials and Gen X trailing behind by quite a large margin. Finally, Baby Boomers come in last, which is unsurprising given the app’s novelty.

On the other hand, Millennials are the ones who use Instagram the most, with Gen Z-ers coming in second. In addition, a lot more Gen X-ers and Boomers use this app than they do TikTok.

Aside from age, it is also important to consider the geographical location of TikTok and Instagram users. In the case of both apps, the user base is quite varied, as hundreds of millions of people all across the world use them. Countries such as the US, Brazil, and Indonesia lead the way, meaning that the two platforms are quite similar in this regard.

As for user responsiveness to marketing, the two platforms differ a bit. Namely, TikTok users are slightly more responsive, so they are more likely to buy merch like books, video games, makeup, and other miscellaneous items they see ads or recommendations for.

Instagram users are not as easily persuaded by influencer partnerships. Instead, they respond better to traditional advertising, especially to sponsored posts that promote special offers or giveaways. In addition, Instagram users are more likely to purchase more expensive items, including jewelry or furniture.

What Does It Mean for Your Brand?

By analyzing these stats, you can make a promo plan based on who your target audience is. If you want to appeal to youngsters, TikTok might yield better results. The same is true if you sell merch that appeals to their tastes more.

And if your target audience are those older than 35, Instagram might be a safer bet. Moreover, this app will be a better choice if your brand offers high-end products that might not be accessible to a younger audience.

Types of Content

TikTok and Instagram also have certain differences in the type of content they allow you to post.

For starters, Instagram offers you a larger variety of content types. They range from photos, short videos, and stories to reels, live streams, and IGTV videos. Therefore, you can easily advertise your brand and reach your audience using different mediums.

On the other hand, the content types that TikTok offers are much narrower. Namely, it only allows you to upload videos ranging from a few seconds to up to 10 minutes and to host live streams. 

Moreover, these two platforms also allow for different content formats. For one, Instagram posts — especially stories and feed pics/videos — tend to be more edited and polished. Brands and influencers usually post content following a particular style and format, as maintaining their image and aesthetic is pivotal.

However, TikTok content isn’t edited to the same extent. Rather, the videos feel and look a lot more lowkey and relaxed. The aim is to impress viewers through story times, Q&As, and similar videos. Although this approach is a bit more authentic, it does make it more difficult to gauge a brand’s overall aesthetic through the videos.

What Does It Mean for Your Brand?

If you think about the differences listed above, it becomes easy to guess how each app can help your brand.

For example, TikTok is definitely the way to go for influencer partnerships and more natural, casual advertising. Conversely, Instagram is a better option for carefully-designed aesthetic ads, as they can blend seamlessly into people’s feeds.

Since both apps have their advantages, combining their strengths might be the best choice of all. By doing so, you can create different ad formats and types, and appeal to different users.

Branded Content (Ads)

Last but not least, it is essential to talk about the types of paid ads that Instagram and TikTok allow.

In the case of Instagram, brands can post ads both as photos and videos. These sponsored posts can appear on people’s stories, reels, IGTV, or feed. Thus, there are virtually no limits.

As for TikTok, the platform allows for ads in the form of 1-minute videos. These videos look pretty much the same as organic content, so they are easy to integrate into people’s For You Pages.

Now, according to stats, Instagram ads tend to have a slightly larger reach, especially those posted as stories or reels. However, the ads on TikTok are significantly cheaper, which makes them a go-to choice for many.

What Does It Mean for Your Brand?

Once again, it is all up to your overall goals and needs. If you are on a tight budget, TikTok might be a safer choice that won’t drain your funds. But if you are all about impressions and reach, then it might be wiser to invest in Instagram ads instead.

And the Verdict Is…

As it usually goes with these types of questions, the answer we can give you won’t be quite definitive. As evidenced by the table below, both Instagram and TikTok have their obvious advantages and differences. Thus, it isn’t possible to say that one is unquestionably a better choice than the other.

In the end, it all comes down to your personal brand. Think of your audience, profit goals, budget, and the type of ads you want to share. Taking those factors into account, it should be easy to determine which platform is a better fit.

And, lastly, don’t forget — you can never go wrong with using the apps simultaneously. So, if both look equally appealing, go for it!

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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