TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Reels Ads: Which Is Winning in 2023?

TikTok may be the world’s fastest-growing video-sharing app, but Instagram remains a social media powerhouse. This has sparked debate among marketers. Which is better: TikTok ads vs. Instagram Reels ads? When The Gram’s upper management became aware of TikTok’s growing popularity, they decided to put their own spin on the short-form video format with Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels, like YouTube shorts, are 15 to 90-second videos set to music or other audio that Instagram users can make and share within the app.

Creators can share them alongside Instagram’s traditional photo content. Users can, however, easily swipe through a feed of Instagram Reels, much like they would on TikTok. Logically, Instagram’s big brains have enabled brands to run ads within Instagram Reels. This necessitates a comparison of the two ad formats – TikTok ads vs. Instagram Reels ads. So, let’s take a closer look at the main differences between Instagram Reels ads and TikTok ads. This will help you figure out which one is best for your marketing goals.

What Is the Difference Between Instagram Reels and TikTok Ads?

Although Instagram Reels ads and TikTok ads are very similar in many ways, there are a few differences. It could mean the difference between achieving your marketing goals and failing. Here are the key differences between the two ad formats.

TikTok Ads

TikTok ads are short videos that appear in the middle of a user’s organic content. TikTok’s creative tools are used to create engaging, creative content for In-Feed ads, which can be up to 60 seconds long. Top View and Brand Takeover ads appear first when users open the app, providing an excellent opportunity for brand awareness. Brands can use existing video assets or make new ones for TikTok Ads.

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Instagram Reels Ads

Instagram Reels ads can run for up to 90 seconds and appear in users’ feeds. They can be created with Instagram’s creative tools or with pre-existing video assets. Users can skip them if they aren’t interested. They blend in with other Instagram content, making them a very unobtrusive form of advertising. This all sounds very similar, and on the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between Instagram Reels ads and TikTok ads. However, this does not imply that advertising will have the same effect on each platform. Understanding and using the subtle differences between these platforms is the key to success with both.

Which is the better option for marketers?

When it comes to Instagram Reels vs. TikTok ads, there is no simple answer. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the best option for your brand will depend entirely on your marketing goals. Let’s compare and contrast some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the two platforms.

Advantages of TikTok Ads

1. TikTok Ads outperform in most key metrics (installs, sales, registrations, etc.)

TikTok provides marketers with an opportunity to improve their Facebook/Instagram performance.

2. The TikTok community is far more engaged.

TikTok users are highly engaged, and they are accustomed to seeing short, snackable content in their feeds. This increases the likelihood that they will watch an ad all the way through, giving you a higher chance of getting your message across. TikTok, unlike Instagram, is purely a video-sharing platform, so video ads fit right in. Instagram began as a photo-sharing app that also allowed video content, and it is still known primarily for its photos.

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3. TikTok includes more creative tools and effects.

One of TikTok’s most appealing features is its creative tools. Although Instagram offers editing tools, TikTok offers a much broader range of creative options. This includes augmented reality effects, filters, and Green Screen. TikTok creators have always praised the platform’s creative freedom, which brands can leverage when advertising.

4. TikTok’s distinct user demographics make it an ideal platform for targeting Gen Z.

TikTok is extremely popular among Gen Z. It is one of the primary reasons why brands are drawn to the platform. Instagram is also popular with this age group, though not as much as Facebook. TikTok provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to reach this engaged demographic, which has a global spending power of more than $100 billion. One of this group’s distinctive features is that they are fully aware of when they are being sold to. As a result, it’s critical for brands to make sure their ads blend in with the content this audience enjoys. TikTok, as the digital home of Gen Z, is one of the best platforms for doing so.

Advantages of Instagram Reels Ads

1. Instagram is a mature platform with many features.

Instagram was founded more than a decade ago, which is an eternity in Internet years. As a result, it is one of the more mature social media platforms that is still widely used today. Instagram has had time to develop a comprehensive set of features that allow marketers to run campaigns easily.

2. Instagram is a relatively uncontroversial platform.

Instagram has managed to avoid major scandals that have affected other social media platforms by playing it safe over the years. As a result, the app is widely available in most of the world. There is no reason to believe it will be banned in any Western country. As a result, Instagram is a good option for running ad campaigns in a stable environment.

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3. Instagram has a high level of brand awareness.

The app is owned by meta, which indicates that it comes with the added benefits of great brand awareness. The platform is also integrated with other Meta products, such as What’s App, allowing for easy cross-promotion. Because Instagram is already a trusted name among users, this type of brand awareness is beneficial when running ad campaigns.

4. Instagram has a large user base.

Instagram is used by over 2 billion people worldwide at least once a month. This makes it one of the most popular social media platforms today. When running ad campaigns, such a large user base provides a lot of potential reach. Instagram is also rapidly expanding and shows no signs of slowing down. It actually accounts for more than half of Meta’s total revenue, implying that it has surpassed Facebook in popularity. However, there is one caveat: Instagram has a bot problem. A portion of its “active” user base may not even be human. According to some estimates, this percentage is more than 9%, implying that nearly one out of every 10 IG accounts is fake. This is something to consider when running Instagram ad campaigns. You may be reaching fewer people than you believe.


In the end, it all comes down to what you want to accomplish with your marketing campaign. Yet, we clearly see that TikTok is the greatest performance path for most companies in 2023 and beyond. TikTok is at the forefront of social media. The platform’s unique format is ideal for promoting products and brands in an engaging and disruptive manner. You can create campaigns that are unique and get people talking. So, if you’re feeling brave, TikTok away!

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Sarah M

Sarah M


Sarah is the founder, owner, editor, and writer at Social Media Notes. She also does SEO, SMM, and is the SEO consultant for various companies. We hope that reading the blog posts on Social Media Notes would bring you more knowledge, and insight. Welcome to Social Media Notes!

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