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TikTok vs Instagram Influencer Campaigns: How to Choose
Not sure where you should run your next influencer marketing campaign? Below we explain the benefits of TikTok vs. Instagram to help you choose.
Making your influencer marketing strategy work means picking the right campaign platforms.
And when choosing between creators on TikTok vs. Instagram, the stakes are high.
Decisions like this feel make-or-break with increased pressure to prove campaign ROI.
The good news? Both TikTok and IG are awesome places to run influencer campaigns.
Still, that doesn’t make your choice any easier. That’s why we wrote this post to help!
This post explains how to pick the best place to run an influencer campaign for your brand. We’ll also share firsthand insights so you can make your choice with confidence.
TL, DR? 👩🏫
Skip to Section 👇Key Differences Between TikTok vs. Instagram
TikTok vs. Instagram Influencer Campaigns: Choosing a Platform
Let’s kick things off with a breakdown of how TikTok and Instagram differ when it comes to strategy. The key differences between the apps aren’t always super obvious at a glance.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into some specifics to help you choose between the platforms!
Think About Your Audience, Product and Industry
Conventional wisdom says to run campaigns where your audience already hangs out.
Sure, this approach makes sense most of the time. If you’ve built an audience on a platform, working with influencers in the same place seems like a no-brainer.
But what if you’re trying to reach a totally new audience?
Or maybe you’re still growing and don’t have an established social presence anywhere yet.
There’s a good chance that your target audience is active on both TikTok and IG. Here are a few factors to narrow down your choice:
- Your target audience (think: age, demographics, income)
- Your product (think: premium vs. budget)
- Your industry
TikTok attracts a wide range of brands, products and consumers alike. This includes a ton of products you wouldn’t expect to go viral via influencers. Many home goods and CPG brands have found surprising success on TikTok.
Research says that two-thirds of TikTokers shop on the app even if they weren’t planning to. This highlights the popularity of viral products and impulse buys on the platform. If your product is budget-friendly and sold on Amazon, TikTok can be a goldmine.
Instagram is basically the birthplace of modern influencer marketing. The app is especially popular among beauty, skincare, wellness and food brands.
Both the audience and demographics of Instagram make it friendlier to higher-priced products. The app is welcome to brands that don’t align with TikTok’s advertising policies, too. This notably includes alcohol brands.
Which Types of Influencer Content Does Your Brand Need?
In many cases, deciding between TikTok vs. Instagram hinges on the content you want:
- Both platforms support how-tos, tutorials and reviews that highlight your products. The key difference is that TikToks are traditionally more unfiltered and raw. If you want a more “traditional” showcase that’s polished, Instagram might be the better play.
- Micro-influencers are extremely active on both platforms. These creators have high engagement rates and are enthusiastic about the products they promoteTikTok is home to more everyday influencers than Instagram’s more “professional” creators. That said, both platforms have a mix.
- TikTok is (mostly) video-only versus Instagram’s photo formats.
By default, Instagram offers more opportunities to stretch your influencer content. For example, brands can repurpose influencer content in multiple formats beyond Reels. This includes static photos, Carousel slideshows and Instagram Stories.
On the flip side, TikTok videos are very specific to the platform. The app’s watermark also makes repurposing and crossposting more complicated. Not to mention that TikTok doesn’t allow off-site promotion of videos using sounds from their music library.
That said, right now short-form video is the top content format for lead generation and engagement among marketers. You don’t have to look hard to find brands using Instagram Reels or promoting products on TikTok.
Here’s a quick anecdote from our own creator network here at Statusphere last year:
- Short-form video was the most popular type of influencer content (by far)
- Our creators generated a total of 38,863,103 video views
- Instagram Reels received 15,210,380 total plays versus 23,652,723 TikTok loops
These numbers illustrate the power and popularity of looping video content. Not super surprising given that 41% of Gen Z prefer discovering products via short-form video.
The takeaway here is that there isn’t always a night-and-day difference between TikTok vs Instagram influencers. Heck, many content creators are active on both platforms.
Note: need short-form video inspiration? Check out our 60 video ideas proven to drive engagement on both TikTok and Instagram.
Important: Do You Want to Run Your Influencer Content as Ads?
The effectiveness of using UGC in ads is crystal clear. That’s why brands are rushing to weave influencer content into their paid strategies.
Thankfully, both platforms make this possible. Here’s a quick overview of how:
- Spark ads, which are one of the most popular types of TikTok ads. These ads let brands take top-performing TikToks from creators and boost them.
- Branded content ads, which likewise turn creators’ Instagram posts into ads.
- Influencer whitelisting, possible on both Instagram and TikTok. This manual process involves creators giving brands access to their posts.
Influencer-based ads are fair game on both apps. The process isn’t nearly as complicated as it was a few years back which is great news for brands.
What’s Your Bandwidth for Managing Influencer Campaigns?
“Is it easier to grow on TikTok or Instagram?”
This is a question we get asked a lot. The short answer: it really depends!
Again, brands usually run influencer campaigns where their audience is most active.
Keep in mind that most brands on TikTok have a much smaller following there than they do on Instagram. After all, Instagram has been around much longer so this makes sense.
Having a large following isn’t really an expectation on TikTok. There are many brands with big IG followings that almost exclusively rely on customers and creators for TikTok promotion. Athleta and LL Bean are two examples of this phenomenon. This is why we’re adamant that followers don’t matter nearly as much as they used to.
When it comes to bandwidth, also consider the process of finding creators to promote your brand. Needless to say, identifying Instagram influencers or messaging TikTokers can be a time-sink. That’s before you provide instructions or collect their posts.
This highlights why so many brands invest in a platform for influencer marketing to earn creator content at scale. Creators posting on your behalf means less legwork for growing your social presence. Ongoing influencer campaigns provide a constant flow of fresh content to post.
Examples of Brands Working with TikTok and Instagram Influencers
To wrap things up, let’s look at what running an influencer marketing campaign looks like on both platforms.
Doe Lashes is a shining example of how to build a brand through consistent micro-influencer marketing. The brand identified the value of raw and unfiltered content on TikTok during the app’s early boom phase.
How-to and lifehack content from micro-influencers continue to perform well on TikTok. The fact that Doe’s products have a relatively low price point helps, too.
LUS (Love Ur Self) is a great example of a brand that’s active on both TikTok and Instagram. However, note that the brand’s follower count on IG (269,000+) is 10x their following on TikTok (24,000+).
The brand gets a ton of mileage out of its creator content by cross-posting between platforms. That said, the higher view counts engagement on IG vs. TikTok for identical content speaks for itself.
This is a great example of running campaigns where your audience is already engaged.
As noted earlier, some brands can succeed with creators on both platforms. Supergoop! is another example of this. The brand earns solid engagement and runs ads featuring creators on both TikTok and Instagram alike.
This highlights yet again how the debate of TikTok vs. Instagram for business doesn’t have to be a matter of either-or.
How to Figure Out Where to Run Your Next Influencer Campaign
We get it: making big decisions related to your marketing strategy can be daunting.
This is especially true when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns.
Again, we’ve seen how brands can crush it on both TikTok and Instagram. If you’re struggling with where you should run your next campaign, Statusphere can help.
Our turn-key micro-influencer marketing platform matches brands and creators across both platforms. Based on your product, target audience and goals, we can hone in on the type of influencer campaign that makes the most sense for your brand.
Want to learn more about how our platform works? Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists today to see how we can get more creators posting about your brand today.
This article was first published in May 2020. It was last updated May 11, 2023.