March 6, 2024
3 Mins to Read

TikTok vs. Instagram Reels: Can the same content be successful on both platforms?

TikTok vs. Instagram Reels: Can the same content be successful on both platforms?

The rise of digital video has been unstoppable in recent years. In fact, it’s projected that adults will spend 184 minutes per day watching digital videos by 2026. 

While consumers love short-form video content, it's often time-consuming and complicated to create. You've probably heard from your peers that a Reel is just a TikTok, which is really just a YouTube short. So, why are we wasting time creating all of this custom content? Can't we just repurpose this content across platforms?

Unfortunately, no (sorry to burst your bubble). Just because these videos look the same, doesn't mean they perform the same. Plus, different platforms have different needs. 

Let's take a closer look at why social media content creation for Reels on Instagram differs from TikTok, YouTube, and the like.

Problems with using the same video content across platforms

Here are a few things to be aware of if you're repurposing your social media video content across platforms.

1. Platforms are competing with one another

First off, social media platforms are in competition with one another and they want to keep their audiences engaged. This means that when you post the exact same content on multiple social media platforms, the platforms recognize this and may suppress the performance of your posts unless you stagger upload times effectively. Yikes.

2. Audiences are not the same across platforms

Additionally, social media platforms have very different age demographics. For example, TikTok tends to skew younger towards a Gen Z demographic. Instagram, on the other hand, finds the majority of its user base in the 25-34-year-old age range.

gen z tiktok-1

Content that works for one audience may not work for another. Have you ever asked an elder millennial what "no cap" means? Or asked a Gen Zer to recite the lyrics to an 80s glam-rock song (we'd obviously suggest Space Oddity)? Yeah, good luck with that.

3. Virality is not the same across platforms

Ultimately, every content creator wants to go viral. But, not every platform views viral content in the same way. For example:

  • The most watched video on TikTok is Bella Poarch bobbing her head to the song "M to the B" by Millie B. This is literally a blurry video of a girl bobbing her head to a beat, with over 60 million likes.
  • The most watched Instagram Reel is Khaby Lame checking on his clothes iron as it heats up. It's simple, but it's well-cut, edited, and thought-out.

TikTok’s content is more authentic, raw, and unpolished and relies heavily on shock and awe. While Instagram’s content is elevated, often highly produced even when shot on a phone.

Even if your video goes viral on one platform, don't expect the same success on another social media platform. Though cross-posting an already viral video does help users find that particular content on the platform they are active on.

4. Instagram and TikTok offer different sales funnels

Finally, let’s look at where both platforms and formats sit within the sales funnel. Video can be used for any stage (Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Adoption, Advocacy) depending on the message, of course. However, it is important to note that not every message is right for both social media platforms.

  • Instagram Reels can be successful in all stages of the sales funnel. While content needs to be well-produced, it is worth the effort! IG Reels can be a powerful tool for driving consumer engagement (and, therefore, conversions)!

  • TikTok has potential across the funnel, but its main strength is driving awareness and consideration. While some brands have tapped into its conversion capabilities, this is still in the early stages of development.

When (and how) can you use the same content across platforms

We don't want to totally rain on your parade. Content marketing is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, so it's understandable to want to use the same social media content across platforms. The answer is 'yes,' but with a few caveats.

Video elements such as music and visual effects should be tailored for each social platform. Instagram Reels and TikTok videos both often use their own specific fonts and motion graphics that users expect to see. 

Some social platforms also have different guidelines for content length, quality of sound, and video resolution so you need to make sure that your content meets the necessary requirements for each platform.

Similarly, how you film and edit social media content should be tailored to the respective platforms. While video formats are the same on both TikTok and Instagram (1080×1920 [9:16]) you won't be able to move this content to YouTube without it looking messy.

As well, keep in mind the difference between a content asset and footage. Footage can be repurposed for all social media platforms, but you don’t want to upload the same content asset to every platform. The trick is to know your message, and where you want to upload the video, before you film it. Then, make edits to meet individual platform (and audience) needs.

filming video on phone

If you’re unsure what social media content creation works best for your business, the experts at Major Tom are here to help. We’ve seen first-hand how social media content creation can increase brand awareness and help you reach your desired audience – regardless of their platform or preferences.

Don’t believe us? Let the results speak for themselves. Check out how we earned 1 million organic social impressions for Giants of Africa. Or, how we helped Milk Makeup achieve a 158% year-over-year increase in transactions on Facebook, Instagram, and Stories.

Kate Zinggl, Manager, Social in Creative & Strategy

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