Has Instagram’s Latest Move Started The Clock Ticking For TikTok?

Has Instagram’s Latest Move Started The Clock Ticking For TikTok?
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Thomas Grainger (pictured below) is client lead at content and production agency Daresay. In this guest post, takes a look at the simmering Instagram-TikTok war and predicts there’ll only be one winner…

Last week Instagram launched its new feature, Reels, for Brazilian users of the Facebook-owned app. It’s Instagram’s answer to video sharing app, TikTok, which has been growing in popularity since its launch in China in 2016. Instagram’s foray with Reels enables users to create and edit 15-second scripted video clips with a high emphasis on music and soundtrack, to upload to their Stories. A first for the app as it emerges into the arena of self-curated and edited content.

Thomas Grainger

This soft launch of Reels is restricted to a localised market for now, but what does it mean for brands wanting to stay at the cutting edge of content marketing to reach consumers in authentic and engaging ways? Should you be focusing on TikTok, the new kid on the block, to reach your audiences? Or will Instagram’s efforts to replicate the latest content trend mean the Facebook-owned party of social apps continue to reign supreme?

The reality is, you should never discount the might of Insta and here are four reasons why.

The audience is already there

Instagram has 500 million people using IG Stories every day, and rest assured, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t interested in handing over his market share any time soon. When Instagram announced the launch of their Stories feature in 2016 it was a direct response to Snapchat’s growing popularity and its model of disappearing content. Since then, Snapchat has seen a decline in users, and IG stories are now an integral component for brands’ wanting to continuously create and publish content.

While TikTok boasts it has achieved 15 billion downloads, the majority of this is coming from India and China, with Australian audiences being a younger demographic, much like that of Snapchat. This limits the reach for many local and international brands seeking to engage with older audiences using cultural-contextual and indeed, relatable content.

Brands are already there

Currently, Australian brands have limited advertising capabilities on TikTok, but with the roll out of Reels within Stories, the same targeting and advertising opportunities offered through Facebook, will be available to brands to promote content made for Reels. Marketers can tap into an existing database to serve up more of the content consumers want and track and measure the success of this content in real time.

Security and privacy

There have been concerns raised about TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, around data security and privacy issues, which has resulted in a US national security investigation. Brands should be mindful of how they participate on the platform in light of how this could expose them to reputational risk.

The one stop shop

TikTok is not a replacement for Instagram. It has, until now, been an extension for alternative content creation. With Instagram’s new feature encroaching on TikTok’s territory, the app is providing users a reason not to leave the platform, and continue to create, view and share all in one place.

While it’s important brands don’t dismiss the incredible momentum of TikTok, the reality is Instagram still holds most of the cards. Its scale, relationship with parent company Facebook, more established offering for both consumers and brands, large global audience and the ability to quickly react to competitor offerings, means that the clock might strike twelve for TikTok before it reaches commercial viability for many brands.

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