Do Reels Carry out Higher Than TikToks?

TikTok vs. Reels is among the nice rivalries of our time, very like Coke vs. Pepsi or BetaMax vs. VHS, or pants vs. culottes.

Chances are you’ll be contemplating investing in Instagram Reels or Tiktok and questioning if you want to do each or simply give attention to one. However it’s so onerous to select a facet when nobody can appear to agree on which one is healthier for engagement charges.

Some within the social media advertising and marketing world imagine that TikTok movies get extra motion as a result of the TikTok algorithm is “higher;” others declare that Reels get extra consideration, as a result of the format is being pushed onerous by Instagram to everybody on a regular basis.

On the one hand, TikTok’s For You web page (#fyp) may be very custom-made to customers’ pursuits. On the opposite, the Instagram Reels Discover Web page is a melting pot of content material. Are you higher off reaching a particular, focused viewers… or getting your wonderful vid in entrance of probably the most eyeballs doable?

We determined to search out out which format will get probably the most engagement by doing what we do finest right here within the Hootsuite Social Media Lab: placing it to the check.

On this experiment, I posted the very same content material to Reels and to TikTok, and measured its efficiency over the course of the week.

Right here’s what occurred.

Speculation: Reels carry out higher than TikToks

There are some delicate variations between Instagram Reels and TikTok, however each apps primarily serve the identical goal: they permit customers to shortly create, edit and share short-form video content material. Each Reels and TikTok provide customers a wide range of enjoyable filters and results, and the power so as to add in music and sound results.

However whereas each provide the identical primary performance, we need to discover out if one cultivates extra engagement than the opposite… as a result of nobody actually appears to know.

Even Hootsuite’s in-house consultants are torn! Eileen Kwok, Social Advertising Coordinator right here at Hootsuite, voted for Reels because the extra highly effective platform: “The competitors on TikTok is excessive proper now,” she factors out.

Brayden Cohen, Social Advertising Specialist, noticed the state of affairs as somewhat extra nuanced. “If a model has little to no following, I believe it’s means more durable for his or her Reel to go viral,” he says. “Whereas with TikTok, I don’t assume your model essentially must have a giant a following to ensure that your TikTok to explode and go viral.”

Each good experiment wants a speculation, although (shout out to my ninth grade science trainer!), so we’ll simply choose a facet right here.

Let’s say… Reels. Reels will most likely carry out higher. In any case, Instagram desires us to get into Reels so dangerous they’ll do something to make my content material go viral… possibly! Hopefully!


I made a decision to create and publish 5 brief movies per platform that have been as an identical as doable.

Importantly, I created every video recent in-platform: these weren’t reposted. So there are some delicate variations between each — like I couldn’t discover a dupe of a cool pulsating TikTok filter on Instagram Reels — however they’re as shut as I may get.

Oh, and one different distinction. On Instagram, you may cross-post your Reel to your major feed in addition to your Reels tab, so I did that. It simply felt proper.


♬ Boys – Lizzo

I averted captions and hashtags on each platforms, in case that may skew outcomes a method or one other. It was purely in regards to the video content material. Time for my directorial imaginative and prescient to shine!


♬ I’m So Hungry – Karter Zaher

Nevertheless, there was one challenge with getting an excellent studying between platforms: I’ve about 1,600 followers on my Instagram account, and 0 on my TikTok account as a result of I simply signed up for this experiment. (Very brave of Hootsuite to permit a Millennial to have interaction in a TikTok-based venture like this.)

That excessive discrepancy appeared like it might skew the engagement fairly a bit, so I made a decision to start out a brand new Instagram account to verify the enjoying discipline was good and even. It will be a pure battle of the algorithms!

Which platform would dare to push my content material to the lots, though I gave the impression to be completely friendless and uninteresting to everybody? And would Hootsuite cease me halfway by means of this experiment and change me with a cool 20-year-old? Solely time would inform!


There’s no sugar-coating it: TikTok blew Reels out of the water.

I anticipated there to be much less engagement on the Reels I posted to my burner account than I’d’ve received if I’d shared them with the followers on my actual account, however I used to be floored that they mainly didn’t attain anybody.

I assumed that Reels are pushed out to non-followers and that I’d get not less than a couple of views, even when I didn’t wind up with any likes or feedback.

In any case, the Reels button is correct on the backside heart of the Instagram house display, and once I faucet on it, I’m fed a nonsense parade of content material from accounts I’ve by no means heard of. I see some man making an attempt to stroll down the steps with the whirlpool filter on; I see cute tweens dancing; I see an Indian bride exhibiting off her make-up. Who’re these individuals, and the way did they get in my cellphone… however extra importantly, how am I not getting any of this motion with my very own top-notch content material?!

It’s humiliating to share these numbers, however science is about transparency and reality above all. My Instagram Reels received a most of two views every. TWO.


Instagram Reels views

In the meantime, on TikTok, the very same content material virtually made me a star.

I imply, I’m no Charli D’Amelio. However I’m nonetheless tremendous impressed that my account, which had zero followers once I started this experiment, managed to garner round 450 views per video. I even received a couple of likes from strangers… and a comply with!

TikTok activity likes

What do the outcomes imply?

From this very scientific and grueling experiment, my conclusion is that TikTok does a much better job of pushing content material out into the world than Reels does… not less than when you have a small (or non-existent) viewers to start out with.

In case you’re trying to obtain attain along with your content material and construct an viewers from scratch, TikTok might be the only option.

Nevertheless, what this experiment didn’t check was how a lot engagement Reels get when you have a pre-existing viewers.

Would posting Reels from an account with followers have made Instagram worth my content material extra extremely in its algorithm? Possibly my followers themselves would have commented, preferred or shared my content material?

However till I develop my TikTok following from its present standing (one variety stranger) to one thing rivaling my Instagram account viewers, we’ll by no means know the way they may really evaluate.

Whereas I’m ready patiently to grow to be TikTok-popular, why not do this experiment for your self? It’s fairly low stakes and low effort, and also you’ll shortly discover out what’s the very best match on your model and social media technique. And if you wish to comply with me when you’re at it… effectively, that’s a win for everybody.

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