If you are on social media, which I assume you are, then the chances are very high that you have heard of both Instagram and TikTok.
Whereas Instagram has been around for a bit longer, TikTok has recently emerged as a top contender in the number of active users. Both of these companies are social media apps that enable users to share content. Instagram allows the sharing of photos and videos, whilst TikTok is all about videos.
The key similarity between these two competing apps is the reels feature. This is a feature that allows the creation of 3-15 second engaging video clips that can be as entertaining as your imagination can make it. Instagram recently released the reels feature as a direct response to the spike in popularity of TikTok and how the Chinese-based company was using it to market products to their users. The Instagram reels feature is the fastest product that Facebook has monetized since its release! The question that arises when comparing these two very similar products is which one has better, or rather more appealing, features for e-commerce.
Instagram’s Reels and online shopping
Instagram’s reels is a well-thought-out product. Anyone who uses the app can see how the algorithm (that knows what you want probably better than you do) is able to market exactly the products that you are most likely to purchase. Every time you like a post or spend more time looking at a particular post, this goes into the algorithm. With Instagram’s “shop feed” it is like walking into a store that has everything you ever wanted and more! It’s no wonder big retailers like Big W are entering that space too. You can find Big W specials on their Insta page and make your purchases from the app. It’s as easy as identifying what you want from the pictures or videos, tapping on it, and completing your payment details. It’s pretty mind-blowing to think about where we have come as a society.
Instagram, as part of the larger Facebook group, is known to deliver quality products. They are extremely well resourced, with most of the top minds from various industries working towards bringing top-notch products to sell through their app. You can see the products marketed directly from the company in one of their reels, IGTV (Instagram TV) videos, or regular posts and add what you want to your “wishlist”. You can then make purchases directly from the app. It’s just such a seamless and straightforward exercise that it is pretty hard to compare with.
TikTok and e-Commerce
TikTok has also entered the e-commerce space by allowing in-app purchases. In fact, we have even seen retail giant Walmart buying shares in the company to emulate the successful Douyin-Alibaba partnership that was so successful. TikTok has allowed businesses to add links to the adverts. The links will take potential customers directly to the business page. We also see “Shop Now” features pop up when a brand has an advertisement on the app.
The biggest move for TikTok so far has been their partnership with Shopify. Business owners can now link their TikTok account with their Shopify business account, which makes sales through their ads on TikTok seamless. This is by far their biggest step towards becoming an e-commerce magnet that rivals even that of Facebook’s Instagram. TikTok has braved the challenge despite the shaky start when Donald Trump wanted it banned altogether.
The verdict from our side is that for now, Instagram remains the better app for e-commerce. This is simply because, through Facebook, the company has already had a lot of experience in the e-commerce space. The design and mechanics of the app are impeccable, and more importantly, 100% trusted by consumers. This is not to say that TikTok is not giving them a run for their money. With the new Shopify deal and stakeholders like Walmart on board, we may be seeing a new leader in the e-commerce space going forward!