Instagram vs. TikTok: Which is the better social media platform for your business?

In today’s digital world, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. In fact, according to Statista (2020), approximately 3.8 billion internet users are on social media every month. Harnessing the power of social media is therefore a must for many businesses. These platforms allow entrepreneurs to establish their brand, boost brand awareness, expand their reach, drive sales and eventually increase revenue.

Among these social media platforms, Instagram and TikTok are very popular with the latter gaining exponential users over the last year. With over one billion monthly active users worldwide, both are proven to be valuable platforms especially for online marketers. Some businesses, however, may be in a dilemma where to place their marketing efforts. What sets them apart? Which platform will serve more effectively in their social media marketing?

Instagram (IG)

Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing social media platform that was originally launched in October 2010. Through its mobile app, one can connect with friends, engage with brands, and take, edit and publish visual content. During the last decade, it has become the home of influencers and a popular network of choice for businesses to increase their online presence and the visibility of their products and/ or services.


  • More people are using Instagram. In 2020,  Instagram was the second-ranked traditional social network with approximately 1.074 billion users worldwide, and over 500 million users are on the app on a daily basis. Moreover, 81% of people use IG to research products and services.
  • IG offers a vast array of tools for brand discoverability

1. Instagram Shopping. This feature allows businesses to create a customizable digital storefront and enables customers to select and purchase products directly from the app. With their latest app update, IG has now a curated shoppable feeds where users can easily discover various products and services.  IG has also released several other marketing tools and features amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 including IGTV Shopping, Instagram Live Shopping, Facebook Pay, and Gift Card and Food Order Stickers

2. Instagram Stories.  With half a billion people using IG Stories every day, this IG feature is indeed highly relevant for brands. You may make use of IG Stories to post product features, user-generated content and behind-the-scenes insights into your business.  

3. Swipe-up links. Another added feature, particularly for accounts with at least 10,000 followers, is the ability to add a swipe-up links to IG Stories.  This links will direct users from the IG app to your business webpage.

4. Use of hashtags. Your posts will show up in the news feeds of users who may not even follow your account but follow certain hashtags. This only means that thousands of potential customers can be reached just by using the right hashtags.

  •  IG offers several ways to showcase products. You may post artistic and aesthetic shots and videos of your products, user-generated content, fun animations using Boomerang or stop motion and any visual content which didn’t make the cut for your webpage.


  • IG relies heavily on images and well-curated visual content. Unattractive and poor images might cause people to skip your page and consequently ignore your product description or whatever caption that you may have. You may also need tons of graphic design work and photography to be able to post at least once a day and keep your feed active.
  • Not everyone is on Instagram. While there are already a billion active users, your target market might not be on Instagram. Take note that more than 71% of IG users are under the ages of 18 to 35 years old. If your target market  is the older demographics, then your clientele may not yet be on IG.
  • IG  do not support clickable links in captions or comments. You only have the option to leave a clickable website link in your profile’s bio section.
  • Paid advertising is costly and difficult. The average cost per click on Instagram is about $0.50 to $1.00.


Meanwhile, TikTok is relatively new to the marketing arena. It was originally released in the Chinese market in 2016 under the name “Douyin” and became available worldwide in August 2018. Since its inception, it has become one of the fastest growing social medial platforms in the world. Unlike Instagram, TikTok is a video-only platform where users are able to create videos up to 60 seconds long.


  • TikTok has been a trend worldwide especially during the pandemic. It is therefore highly beneficial for businesses to be a part of something that is currently being used and interacted by  almost a billion of users. For those who are looking for new marketing channels, TikTok might be one of the perfect platforms with huge following today.
  • This social platform gives you the chance to thrive off of informal content and be more unique in featuring your products and services. This means that you can think outside of the advertising box and create something that will help your brand to go viral. With TikTok, it’s all about fun and creativity to stand out from your competitors.
  • It has a fast growing user base which makes it a perfect platform to reach new audiences. Currently, TikTok is available in 155 countries and 75 languages.


  • Its premium advertising options are more expensive compared to Facebook and Instagram. This would entail a large digital marketing budget.
  • TikTok is highly popular among Gen Z, specifically 16 to 24-year-olds. If your customer base is over 30, it might not work for your business.
  • It calls for a niche content which may not be in-line with your brand.
  • It takes more time to develop seconds-long content that will stand out amongst competitors. While it promotes a different kind of ingenuity, this popular app somehow limits creativity in terms of content options. For one, TikTok does not allow posts consisting of texts and pictures.
  • It is quite difficult to generate leads or website traffic from TikTok as it does not hyperlink posts to websites.


Over the years, social media networks have proven to be an effective marketing tool for businesses to increase their online presence and reach. Each platform has unique features that businesses can take advantage of, as well as some drawbacks that they must be wary of.

Determining which platform is better suited for your business will now depend on several factors such as existing customer base, demographics of target clientele and type of content that you are planning to produce. Nevertheless, exploiting the several facets of Instagram and TikTok and leveraging both for your content marketing strategy will definitely be a smart move to achieve your business goals.

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