Instagram vs TikTok: Who will win the battle to be the most popular social network?

The growth that TikTok has had in recent months has been something that we have not seen before on any social network. Its popularity began mainly among the younger audience, but today it has also penetrated the more adult audience. 


Its success makes some experts consider the possibility that TikTok will end up displacing Instagram and become the most used social network of these characteristics. 


In this article, we analyze the trajectory of both social networks and the data that best represents the current competition between them. Do you have reason to worry that Instagram or TikTok will be a fad? We analyze it!


Instagram story: how they have managed to adapt to their main competitors

This social network was launched on the market in October 2010 and was very well received by users of Internet. In just two months, it reached one million registered users. At the beginning, it was an application based on sharing photos with your network of contacts. 


Two years after its launch, it already had 27 million users, and the Facebook company decided to buy it for $1 billion. Since then, the company has put a greater focus on video content, adding for example the famous Stories to compete with Snapchat. This strategy ended up working, since today stories are the most viewed content on the platform and the number of Snapchat users is decreasing. 


Despite having ousted Snapchat, Instragram had a new competitor that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, managed to quickly go viral: TikTok. Instagram's response was to give even more importance to videos and add formats such as Reels or IGTV. In fact, directors of the company They have made it clear that the Instagram algorithm, which decides what content to show to users, favors this type of content and tends to make it more viral. 

TikTok: the largest growth in the history of a social network

TikTok first launched in China in 2016 under the name Douyin. Just 10 months after launch, it already had 100 million users. Due to its success, the company that owns this social network, Bytedance, decided to launch it worldwide under the name of TikTok in 2017.  


TikTok is based on videos between 15 and 60 seconds to which audio backgrounds and sound and visual effects can be added. But what is the reason for the success of TikTok? Content that is quick to consume and easy to go viral, and an algorithm that anticipates user tastes and automatically displays related content. 


There are currently more than 1,000 million users on Internet who use TikTok. This success is especially noteworthy among the youngest users, who are the ones who spend the most time on this platform. In addition, brands are investing more and more in TikTok, being aware of the potential it has to reach an audience that does not consume as much traditional media as television. 

Study of Instagram and TikTok users

Currently, Instagram has more users than TikTok, although the latter has achieved greater growth in recent years. For this reason, some experts predict that TikTok will end up beating Instagram in number of users.



Another reason why it is argued that TikTok will win this battle against Instagram is that it has a greater penetration in the younger audience. Where we see a bigger difference is in the 12-17 age bracket. In the US, 47% of them use Instagram while more than 60% are TikTok users.

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And finally, another factor in favor of TikTok is the time that users spend within the application. TikTok is the network with the longest average duration per session, being 10.85 minutes. Furthermore, the average time users spend on TikTok is much higher than on Instagram, being 52 minutes vs 28 minutes. 


Will TikTok end up unseating Instagram?

User data on both platforms is promising for TikTok, and for now it has a lot going for it. However, Instagram still has many users and resources to continue developing new features and retaining them. So it would not be easy for Instagram to leave the market.


Both platforms will most likely be used by both users and brands in the future. And it is that social networks are not an exclusive product, that is, users can use more than one, and in fact it is the most common. In addition, within the sector, user preferences change over time, recently they prefer more immediate content and video, but perhaps in a few years the trend will change and the platforms must adapt to survive.


In short, there is a market for Instagram and TikTok, and although TikTok's growth has been very fast, this does not directly imply that it will unseat Instagram. We will have to continue analyzing how both platforms evolve as well as the tastes of the users. 



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