Instagram Reels vs TikTok Ads : Which performs better ?

There is no doubt that Instagram ‘Reels’ feature is often compared to TikTok. With the addition of ads to Reels, the competition has really gotten intense. So which ads perform better: TikTok or Reels?

Our Paid Ads specialists ran an experiment to find out which one would perform better and the results may surprise you.

Instagram Reels vs TikTok Ads: The Hypothesis

After a long scrutiny session, we were confident that TikTok will take home the crown since it had higher engagement and growth statistics.

Although both the platforms enjoy top-tier positions in the social media app war, it only took TikTok about five years to reach a billion monthly active users compared to Instagram’s 7.7 years.

We were certain that the ads on TikTok would perform better given the platform’s virality and growth although we are avid fans of Instagram.

The Experiment

  • We ran a 15-second ad video on both platforms with the same goal – reach, ad copy, daily budget, total spend, location targeting, etc for the same exact time period.
  • We utilized interest targeting instead of retargeting users that have already seen the ads with a demographic set to 28 to 41 with an interest in technology, music, and movies.
  • We also added a custom frequency cap so that the ad does not repeat itself too much causing the users to get annoyed.

Following is the setup table :

TikTok Reels
Objective Reach Reach
Daily budget $20 $20
Total spend $700.20 $702.32
Landing page
Location Australia Australia
Age 28-41 28-41
Custom frequency cap 1 impression/2 days 1 impression/2 days
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The Results

Instagram won the experiment!

Reach 79,477 -Reels 49,298 – TikTok
Impressions 128,537 – Reels 101,652 – TikTok
Cost/1,000 people reached $1.80 $4.60
Clicks 19 8
CTR 0.01% 0.01%
CPC $18.23 $25.72
CPM $0.92 $2.3


Instagram Reels ad outperformed the TikTok ad in all areas

Instagram Ads reached 79,477 users while the latter reached about 49000. The reels bought 19 clicks while TikTok got only 8. While the CPC and CPM were quite high on both platforms, Instagram was still the clear winner and was the cost-effective solution.

Instagram Reels ads vs TikTok: experiment observations

The biggest takeaway from the experiment is to always try the platforms out before making any assumptions. Whether you are planning on marketing on TikTok, Reels, or any other Social Media platform, make sure you run multiple tests.

We at Boost Social constantly test our advertising strategies across various platforms repeatedly. This gives us a better idea of how the campaigns can impact the users and where we can strike to receive the maximum return on Ad Spend.

Book a free consultation session today!