TikTok Ads vs Instagram Ads: Which Are the Best For You?


Social media becoming an integral part of our lives has surely benefited marketers. With billions of users, the engaged audience makes advertising campaigns worthy. Advertising is a goal of every established or developing business.

But among different choices, how do you, as a business owner, know which platform is the best for an advertising campaign?

This blog aims at helping you to choose between two popular social platforms, i.e., Instagram and TikTok, for advertisement.

What are TikTok Ads?

Any content posted by an influencer on the platform or promotion towards a target audience in exchange for payment on TikTok is TikTok ads. There are different types of TikTok ads depending on what is required by the brand.

For example, in-feed ads can be created using TikTok Ads Manager Interface. 

What are Instagram Ads?

Like TikTok ads, Instagram ads are targeted to a specific audience. An ad will be no different from a normal post, but a tag of “Sponsored Post ” differentiates the normal posts from sponsored ones.

Instagram ads can be of different types like Images ads, story ads, video ads, carousel ads, reel ads, etc.

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Experimental Ads on Instagram Vs. TikTok

Creatopy, an advertisement platform, performed an experiment by keeping the variables the same. For example, the same ad was uploaded to both platforms. The variables like the goal, budget, targeting, ad copy, etc., were similar for both platforms. A custom frequency was added as well. The targeting was done on the basis of people who already had expressed an interest in that domain. The experiment had the following results.

The reach for Instagram ads was significantly greater than that of TikTok. The count of clicks from the Instagram reel was 36, whereas, for TikTok, it was 28. (One thing to note here is that TikTok analytics does not differentiate between link clicks and ad clicks.) 

When considering costs, CPC and CPM were both high for both platforms. However, Ads on Instagram reels were relatively cheaper than that on TikTok. There were no conversions because the goal was to increase brand awareness.

The Native Ad Experiment

When the first experiment was performed, the reach of Creatopy’s account on TikTok was limited. In contrast, their Instagram page already had 5.5k followers. It is important to consider this factor, but it did not affect the results in the first experiment.

tiktok platform

A year later, another experiment was performed where the same ads were run on both platforms with the same variables. Things to note about the experiment are that their account on TikTok had grown, and a native video ad for the TikTok For You page was tailored.

In the second experiment, the performance of TikTok was better than that of Instagram in terms of reach and impressions. The ad posted on Instagram had more clicks than the TikTok ad. The TikTok ad received better exposure than Instagram; this could be because of a native ad for TikTok. 

TikTok Ads Vs. Instagram Ads: Outcome

How do we conclude with these experiments? The results obtained from both experiments helped us to understand better about ad marketing. Both platforms, TikTok and Instagram, are good for advertising. One important thing we learned from the second experiment is that the native approach will gain better outputs. 

This is because they seem to blend well with the platform’s content. There are times we are casually scrolling reels, and we do not even realize that it is an ad until we notice the label “Sponsored Post.” Studying the platform you are choosing for displaying your ad is extremely important. 

TikTok Ads: Advantages

A lot of marketers believe that ads on TikTok have better performance for key metrics like installs, sales, etc. This can be used to enhance the performance on other platforms. The audience of TikTok is engaged in the content, so it is more likely that your ad will be completely seen. TikTok being only a video-sharing platform, offers an upper hand over video ads. 

Creative options with TikTok are too many. Instagram also provides users with editing options, but the editing options with TikTok are numerous. Along with TikTok’s wide range of creative options to edit, it also comes with an expansive music library. Additionally, TikTok also has the upper hand when the range of targeting is considered.

tiktok sponsored ads

The robust targeting options provided by TikTok can be used to target location, gender, age, and interests. Even behavior and interaction can be used to target an audience. If cost is one of your restrictions, TikTok ads are the best for you because the influences are comparatively more cost-effective. 

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Instagram Ads: Advantages

Being a Meta product, Instagram makes integration with other meta platforms much more convenient.

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram ads ensure that your potential for reach is better. Instagram has saved its involvement in any of the controversies. This ensures that the chances of Instagram getting banned are minimal.

With over ten years being completed on the platform, Instagram has successfully built a comprehensive suite of features that makes advertising campaigns run smoothly.

instagram ads

Comparison: TikTok Ads vs. Instagram Ads

1. Audience Comparison

Both social media platforms have a high number of engaged users. TikTok, being a relatively new platform, has grown enormously. With approximately 1.6 billion monthly active users, the audience of TikTok is mostly young people, younger millennials, or Gen Z users. 

Whereas Instagram has 1 billion active users per month, with a balanced age group audience. The audience of Instagram, again, is mostly under the age group 18-34 (nearly 61.9%). But active users on Instagram do not necessarily mean they will actively watch ads. So, you can experiment with different ad types other than reels.

2. Cost Comparison

For paid social campaigns, the cost is an integral factor to consider. As we already learned about the experiments performed by Creatopy, let us discuss the cost inclusive in the experiment. CPC was $28.08 (Instagram) and $35.73 (TikTok), whereas CPM was $1.67 (Instagram) and $4.3(TikTok).

It is clear that Instagram helps in attaining reach and clicks more cost-effectively. But when considering the cost factor, the price for advertisement will be determined by a lot of factors like audience, competition, niche, etc.

3. Campaign Features

Both platforms offer exceptional campaign features for paid advertising. Campaign management is easier on both platforms because of their accessible tools and features.

Dashboards used for campaign management are Facebook Ads Manager for Instagram and TikTok Ads Manager for TikTok. Both platforms provide access to easily monitor performance, implement optimizations, and analyze results.

4. ROI

Determining ROI can be tricky because marketing campaigns differ. CTR (Click Through Rate) can be one of the ways to weigh up ROI for advertising campaigns. ROI will depend on your efficiency in advertising.

A lot of factors like audience targeting, optimization, creativity, and bidding methods will rule the ROI of your ads.

5. Engagement

If engagement is the current goal for your brand, TikTok should be your preference. This is because it has relatively higher engagement rates when compared with Instagram reel ads. This is because the design of the platform focuses on gathering likes, comments, and shares.

When we compare other post types on Instagram, reels tend to have higher engagement rates than other post types. So, for Instagram, reels can boost engagement. 

6. Ad Formats

Ads with Instagram come in different ways. For example, you can choose advertising using photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, story ads, collection ads, shopping ads, or reel ads. Among different types of Instagram ads, reels offer the best engagement.

Ads with TikTok can be in any of the following ad formats; In-feed ads, Brand takeover ads, Branded effects, Branded Hashtag challenges, etc., or Top View ads. 

Which Platform Should I Use?

We have discussed all the details of both platforms, but the question remains: Which platform is the Best for You? 

Considering both platforms for advertising, we will say to include both of them in your marketing campaign is the wisest choice. With TikTok, you get access to a younger audience. But TikTok reels offer a competitive edge, so you also might want to use Instagram. Instagram ads, especially reel ads, have efficient results that outperform the results of TikTok campaigns. 

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Wrapping It Up

As we discussed, the incorporation of both platforms will help you in building an efficient advertising campaign. Which platform is more suitable for you will depend on multiple factors like target audience, marketing goals, and marketing strategies.

Whichever platform you use for advertising, it is essential that you conduct thorough research, experiment with the marketing strategies, and carefully analyze your business goals!

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Tanmay Ratnaparkhe

Co-founder @Predis.ai, 2X Entrepreneur, tech enthusiast, and SaaS expert, specializing in Instagram marketing and AI. With a knack for leveraging technology for marketing success, they share valuable insights and strategies to boost your digital presence and productivity.