instagram reels vs. tiktok ads

Instagram Reels Ads vs. TikTok Ads: Which Perform Best?

What performs better – Instagram Reels Ads or TikTok Ads.

Which gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of revenue versus expenses?

To find it out, Csilla Borsos from Creatopy decided to pour $2,000 in an experiment, to see which performed better between the two platforms.

Some background of the test:

– Brand: Creatopy, a SaaS company that helps businesses automate and scale their ad production.

– The ad: Same copy and video both for Instagram and TikTok.

– Targeting: Same targeting for both platforms. Location: United States. Age: 25-44 years old.

– Budget: $1,000 per platform spread over a timeframe of 20 days.

 Objective: Reach for both platforms.

Reels vs. TikTok Ads: The hypothesis

Since the reach on TikTok is crazy, the PPC team expected TikTok Ads to smash Reels Ads.

But it wasn’t so. Here are the results:


  • TikTok: 228k
  • Instagram: 604k


  • TikTok: $4.38
  • Instagram: $1.67


  • TikTok: $35
  • Instagram: $28

Instagram Reels Ads is the clear winner.

And it’s probably due to the different demographics

TikTok is known for hosting younger age groups. This audience may mature and get older as time goes on (like Facebook), but it’s still unknown.

Accordingly, the demographic targeting (25-44) could have inflated the results because Instagram Reels Ads had a larger pool of users in this group.

This could have also impacted the strength of the offer, which probably appeals to an older age group.

Last but not least, the ad looks too much like an ad, not like organic TikTok content.

So, this might be another reason why it didn’t perform so well on TikTok.

Teens now use TikTok more than Instagram

Apparently, infinitely scrolling videos are really addictive.

Forrester, a research company you may have heard of, has conducted a social media survey among US Gen Z youth aged 12 to 17 to find out what social media platforms teens use the most.

The findings

TikTok saw a 13% year-over-year increase in weekly usage (from 50% to 63%) among this age group.

Instagram weekly usage has actually decreased by 4% year on year, from 61% in 2020 to 57% in 2021.

Snapchat usage, on the other hand, remained unchanged at 54%.

Related: Instagram Statistics

TikTok isn’t the most popular app among teens

According to Forrester’s survey, YouTube continues to reign supreme among teens aged 12 to 17, with 72 percent using the platform at least once weekly.

If you’ve been wondering why so many kids want to become YouTubers (or Vtubers), here’s your answer.

Why teens prefer TikTok to Instagram

Three reasons, according to the survey, TikTok is more fun/funny, has more short-form variety, and it promotes positive self-expression (think: dancing).

Instagram is trying to improve in #1 and #2, but we are not sure if they will ever catch up with TikTok in positive self-expression.

Why you should care

When it comes to younger demographics, the “next best social media app” is always changing.

These are the most recent figures, with YouTube topping the list, followed by TikTok and Instagram.

As for Facebook…what was that again?

TikTok’s location targeting restrictions

While TikTok seems to be the next big thing in advertising, (or maybe the current big thing?) it does have some strict limitations when it comes to location targeting.

Basically, the location of your ad account will limit you on which countries you can target.

The main location restrictions are:

  • If you live in Europe, you can’t target US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • If you live in Canada, you can target the United States and Canada. But not European countries, Australia or New Zealand.
  • If you live in the United States, you can’t target European countries, Australia or New Zealand. But you can target Canada.

It gets worse if you live outside Europe, USA, or Canada, where you can only target your own country sometimes.

There’s a solution though:

These limitations only refer to self-served ad accounts. One workaround is getting a managed account.

Or you can try to create an account using a VPN and local phone number, but that means you also need a local physical address… and TikTok ad accounts often require manual approval which is not ideal for such accounts.

So if these restrictions limit you, contact the TikTok advertiser support and see if you qualify for a managed account. It would be a more reliable solution.

Instagram and TikTok are becoming more alike

For example, Instagram now allows users to reply to comments with Reels videos.

TikTok already has this feature

TikTok announced this same feature back in 2020. Since then, replies-to-comment videos have gained serious traction on the platform. Now Instagram hopes the same will happen on their turf.

What this means for you

Short videos usually start with a topic.

Short videos in response to a comment continue a topic and, when done correctly, can be far more engaging.

Here are some ideas

Is there a common objection to buying your product or product category?

You could take such a comment and make a short video addressing that objection in a funny and engaging way.

There are many ways to use videos as comments. The sky’s the limit.

Bottom line

Well, you know what we’re about to say…

Test it on your own, and don’t make assumptions until you have enough data available in your hands.

Like a lot of things, there are a lot of variables in marketing so always test to be sure you really have a good grasp over what the best decision is.

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