Not so long ago, TikTok was perceived as “a video creation app that allows users to create and share videos up to 15 seconds long.” It was even debatable whether you should use it for your business since there was a chance the app would be banned from the United States. 

Less than two years ago, the platform had 800 million monthly active users, getting ahead of major platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and even Snapchat. 

However last September, TikTok announced that it had gained more than one billion monthly active users, which meant a massive opportunity in advertising, especially if we consider its rival, Instagram, whose popularity never ceases to grow. Hence, in June 2021, we were introduced to Instagram Reels ads. Reels ads appear in the Reels tabs, on your Instagram feed. 

At Creatopy, we decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to test the rivalry between these two competing platforms. Thus, we wanted to see how they perform regarding brand awareness and reach. We created an experiment using the same variables on both platforms in order for it to be relevant. 

The variables on TikTok and Instagram Reels were the following:

  • The same video focusing on advertising a product
  • The same daily budget
  • The same duration
  • The same landing page
  • The same age range
  • Custom frequency cap
  • The same ad copy
  • Identical CTA button 
  • The same location (United States)

Even though we couldn’t help but internally debate the winner, the results were surprising and entirely one-sided, so we decided to create a follow-up of our experiment. Because we received a lot of feedback from other experts in the area, we wanted to implement their pieces of advice and see how these two platforms perform with the same setup but, with different content.

Does the Type of Content Matter?

You have to think of your audience every time you plan to run an ad campaign on a specific platform. Your audience may value different types of content, which we learned the hard way—by types of content here we refer to product video vs. native video, which is more suitable for TikTok. Our second experiment contained the same variables, but a completely different approach when it comes to the video content. The second part of this case study focuses on a more human, so-called TikTok-ish video (see an example here). We will reveal the results and both our promoted videos soon, and our hypothesis may become valid this time.

What Will We Be Measuring With These Experiments?

The metrics we are interested in following these experiments are:

  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Cost/1,000 people reached
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • CPC
  • CPM

When we consider reach and impressions, we need to be aware of the age range we selected for both platforms since it may differ. We targeted the 25-44 age group, and we’re well aware that TikTok generally has a younger user base, even compared to Instagram. So these metrics may be influenced by these factors and the cost/1,000 people reached. 

The clicks and CTR were not our main metrics to follow, as we’re talking about a video ad. We were also interested in raising awareness, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at those metrics as well.

So, Who Takes It All, TikTok Ads or Instagram Reels Ads?

During my session at Hero Conf. London you will gain data about:

  • What we learned from these experiments
  • How a product video performed on these platforms compared to a native one
  • What the costs were for various metrics on these platforms
  • How to use these advertising platforms according to your marketing plans

If you’re interested in more details backed up by data, do not hesitate to participate in Hero Conf London, where we will reveal a detailed breakdown of everything mentioned above.