For long, Instagram (owned by Facebook Inc.) has been battling their competitors on numerous fronts. They tried to purchase Snapchat back in 2013 for $3 Billion in order to increase their engagement with a younger audience. However, Snapchat turned down the offer. Instagram countered by introducing stories, a feature previously found only on Snapchat into their own platform.
Another of Instagram's competitors, that has seen tremendous growth during the last couple of years is TikTok. With short 1-minute videos and an incredibly smart algorithm, TikTok is a creative platform that attract primarily Generation Y and Z.
As with any of their competitors, Facebook tried to eliminate their competition by purchasing TikTok back in 2016 (at least part of it) when they tried to acquire it's predecessor Musical.ly.
Unfortunately for Facebook, the deal didn't go through. So Instagram started working on Reels, a direct copy of TikTok, and have now incorporated it into their platform.
One thing that all successful social media platforms have in common is that once they have a big enough audience, they provide the possibility for companies to advertise on their channels. In return, they charge advertisers to increase their revenue.
The Instagram vs. TikTok war has been going on for quite some time. The two are constantly battling eachother trying to outshine its competition by being the first to introduce valuable features their respective audiences might find interesting.
As of right now, it seems like Instagram has pulled ahead as they just recently launched Shoppable Reels.
Why is this such a big thing?
In todays digital world, we (consumers) are turning more and more lazy. We want it to be as frictionless as possible while going through the purchasing process. If we see something we like in a video, we don't really want to exit the app, go to Google and try to find a potential retailer for that specific product. We would much rather have the possibility to purchase that specific product directly from the video we are watching, and that is the feature Instagram are now bringing to life which will possibly mean big bucks for not only Instagram, but for advertisers as well.
The war will continue...
Even though Instagram beat TikTok to this specific feature, it doesn't mean that the war is lost, not at all. TikTok is still one of the quickest growing social media platforms ever, and with a growing audience, they will play a huge part in companies digital marketing strategies for years to come.
One advantage that TikTok has over Instagram is that it's relatively new. The platform isn't filled with ads in every section (as some people claim Instagram is) which gives creators a greater organic reach, meaning they reach a wider audience without having to pay for it. And if that's not a big enough reason for you to board the TikTok-train, you need to rethink your digital marketing strategy.