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Marketing on TikTok Versus Instagram

Anthony | March 14, 2021


Over the last 10 years, Instagram has become the most popular network for brands to market their products.

Generation Z insists on brand authenticity, more grounded, relatable influencers, which means brands have had to start getting creative when it comes to marketing to the younger demographic through digital channels.

This is where TikTok comes in. TikTok was first launched in China by start-up, ByteDance, under the name Douyin.

ByteDance then bought out the popular, American lip-syncing platform,, and merged the apps together to make the TikTok platform we know today.

In a very short period of time, TikTok has gained a staggering 1 billion users and continues to grow at an exponential rate. Top brands like Chipotle have already seen much success on the platform, with seemingly minimal effort.

Why is it such a great opportunity for brands?


70% of TikTok users are aged between 16-24, the app is perfect for brands wanting to engage directly with young consumers.

Beyond this, the addictive algorithm is very beneficial for digital marketers. TikTok’ers spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the platform whereas the average time Instagram users spend scrolling their feeds is 28 minutes a day.

User-generated content

On TikTok, anyone can be an influencer. Their algorithm gives every content creator the potential to go viral, whether they have 50 followers or 500,000 followers. This makes it one of the most accessible platforms for influencer marketing.

These short, addictive videos engage an audience, and creators encourage fans to recreate their video with the brands’ hashtag attached, sending the trend viral.

Viral challenges

TikTok’ers are perceived as more relatable and authentic compared to the perfect ‘lifestyle’ influencers and celebs of Instagram. And seeing ‘real people’ using the products creates a great level of trust between brands and consumers.

By teaming up with savvy TikTok’ers, companies are able to gain a lot of exposure on a small budget. Hashtag challenges’ have become the most popular method for brands that work with the creators to gain a stronger following.

Instagram vs TikTok

Instagram is still holding onto its place above TikTok in the ‘world’s most used social media platforms’ ranking.

Overall, Instagram is a much more demographically balanced platform with a near 50/50 split between genders and 49.5% of users aged 25-44, brands can easily find the right influencers to promote their products.

It’s a great platform to drive consumers to a brand page and then on to your e-commerce store.

Whereas there are no plans for TikTok to follow in Instagram’s footsteps.


If you’re a marketer you should not underrate TikTok.  If you truly understand the platform and its users, it can be a fantastic, low-cost way to promote your products and future-proof your brand.

It is, therefore, an exciting opportunity for brands, content creators and influencers with an eye to the long-term needs of marketing.

Instagram, on the other hand, has been establishing its role in digital marketing, and building its reputation within the industry for more than a decade and so is still the platform to beat for short-term marketing.

With its vast demographics across age groups, it still offers huge potential for brands to get right into the palm of your target audiences’ hands.


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About the Author


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