TikTok vs Instagram! Which advertising format is better for you?

In recent years, TikTok has captivated a young audience with its short videos and innovative appeal. In advertising, it offers challenges, creative filters, and celebrity collaborations, growing rapidly since 2019 to become a formidable competitor to Instagram, leading in downloads for three consecutive years. Instagram, with over a decade of history and a vast user base, supports images, videos, Stories, and various ad formats. For those new to advertising and unsure which platform to choose, this comparison of TikTok and Instagram may be helpful.


Similarities Between TikTok and Instagram

  • Content is King

Both TikTok and Instagram center around user-generated content, with users uploading photos, videos, and other creative forms to interact with others on the platform.


  • Emphasis on Social Interaction

Both platforms offer likes, comments, and shares, allowing users to connect and expand their social circles.


  • Influencer Marketing

Both are popular venues for brands and influencers to promote and collaborate.


Differences Between TikTok and Instagram

  • Content Characteristics

TikTok focuses on creating and sharing 15 to 60-second creative short videos. Instagram leans towards static images and short videos (Reels), showcasing snippets of daily life.


  • Audience Demographics

TikTok has a larger proportion of younger users compared to Instagram.

On TikTok, 71% of the ad audience over 18 is between 18 to 34 years old. On Instagram, the same age group makes up 67%.


  • Content Recommendation Algorithms

Both platforms personalize content based on user interests and interactions. However, TikTok aims to empower emerging creators and rapidly produce viral content, while Instagram's recommendations are less prominent, with traffic distribution favoring a more stable accumulation.


  • Marketing Features

TikTok often promotes products with low unit prices, low consumption thresholds, unique selling points, or significant features, which are more likely to catch users' attention. TikTok ads are cost-effective, with abundant traffic and high user receptivity to in-video ads.

Instagram is better for brand building and reputation maintenance, offering a more stable environment for long-term investment. Instagram users have stronger purchasing power and higher platform loyalty.


TikTok's Ad Formats

Native Ads

The most basic ad type on TikTok, primarily consisting of user-posted videos.


Top-View Ads

Full-screen static or dynamic ads that play for about 3 to 5 seconds when the TikTok app is opened, similar to non-skippable ads on YouTube. Users cannot like or comment (except clicking your CTA).

Brand Challenges

A type of ad campaign that involves inviting users to participate in brand-related challenges. Brands often initiate these challenges to encourage users to create videos that align with the challenge theme. An advanced version allows users to interact with brands during the shopping process, directly on the TikTok platform.

Brand Takeovers

Top-View ads appear at the top of the TikTok "For You" page, allowing businesses to showcase their products with up to 60-second full-screen videos. These ads are less intrusive than open-screen ads, playing in the user's feed after opening TikTok for three seconds.

Branded Effects

These ads allow brands to create exclusive effects, filters, and AR elements that users can incorporate into their short videos, enhancing creativity and interaction with the brand. Ideal for combining with brand challenges.

Collection Ads

Collection ads feature a product showcase box below the ad, where interested users can click to be directed to a purchase page or more detailed product information.

In-Feed Ads

Appearing in the "For You" page, these ads recommend videos similar to user-generated content, interspersed every 10-20 videos. Best kept around 15 seconds, as longer ads are often not watched in full.


Instagram's Ad Formats

Feed Ads

Seamlessly integrated into the user's Instagram feed, appearing among posts from friends. They offer a seamless ad experience, usually in the form of static images or dynamic videos, with high exposure opportunities.

Reels Ads

With the introduction of Instagram Reels, this short video ad format offers a fresh platform for brands. Reels ads can display content ranging from 3-30 seconds, similar to TikTok ads.


Stories Ads

Known as Instagram story ads, this creative and popular format can generate immense traffic. Supporting static photos or dynamic videos, they can include interactive elements like polls, Q&A, or direct external links (available to some users).

Carousel Ads

Allowing brands to showcase multiple images or videos in a single post, users swipe through the content, ideal for displaying a product series and providing more space to showcase brand diversity.

Save Ads

Instagram save ads let users add ads to their Instagram collections by clicking the "save" button within the ad. This is useful for users who need time to consider, increasing the likelihood of long-term interaction and helping to convert potential customers.


Common Questions

How to measure the ROI of TikTok and Instagram ads?

Measure ad ROI by tracking and analyzing conversion rates, click-through rates, engagement, and direct sales caused by ads. Instagram offers built-in analytics to track ad performance and user interaction. TikTok also provides ad analytics, though its tools may not be as mature as Instagram's.

For both platforms, it's advisable to set clear KPIs and use third-party analytics for deeper data insights.


What are the cost differences between TikTok and Instagram ads?

Ad costs depend on target audience size, ad type, and competition. Generally, TikTok's CPC (Cost Per Click) may be lower than Instagram's due to being a newer ad market. As TikTok's user base grows, its ad costs might also increase.


How to use SaleSmartly to enhance customer interaction and conversion on TikTok and Instagram?

SaleSmartly is an all-channel chat aggregation software that integrates social media accounts into SaleSmartly, allowing brands to respond to messages from different channels on a unified backend. It enhances response efficiency and provides a consistent customer experience.

For instance, after attracting followers with ads on TikTok and Instagram, SaleSmartly helps quickly respond to these potential customers' inquiries, increasing user engagement and conversion rates. Plus, SaleSmartly offers tagging and analytics features, enabling brands to better track customer interactions and optimize future ad strategies.

Share this Article
Last modified: 2024-05-09Powered by