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Published: 12/Aug/2020 17:20 Updated: 12/Aug/2020 17:27by Chris Stokel-Walker
TikTok creators are wary of jumping ship to Instagram Reels, an informal survey of influencers by one talent agency indicates.
A snap survey of talent managed by UK-based generation Z agency Fanbytes, carried out days after Instagram launched its TikTok competitor, indicated 75% wouldn’t be moving from TikTok to Instagram Reels.
Reels was launched worldwide on August 5 by Instagram, whose parent company is Facebook. The app shares many similarities with TikTok though includes different editing tools including AR effects and tools that help align different takes for a finished video. The maximum video length allowed on Reels is also shorter – 15 seconds, compared to TikTok’s maximum of 60 seconds.
The app has been criticized by some for being a carbon copy of TikTok, an allegation Instagram’s product director, Robby Stein, denied. “At the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either,” he told The Verge.
Despite those similarities and the imminent risk of a ban in the United States, following India outlawing TikTok at the end of June, a high proportion of TikTok creators appear to be remaining with the app as their primary place to post new content.
Big TikTok creators such as Josh Richards, who has 21 million followers on the app, have continued posting on TikTok – despite Richards signing up as an investor and head of strategy for TikTok competitor Triller in late July.
The massive audiences creators have built on TikTok is one reason for them to stick with the app despite its controversies – while loyalty appears to be a decision for others.
“Social media was crying out for a new video platform for years when TikTok first launched – especially one not owned by the same one person,” said Stevie Yessaian, a comedy creator with 1.1 million followers on TikTok.
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Another creator with 2.3 million fans said: “TikTok is home for me, a place where me and my weirdo internet friends hang out.”
Creators are smart, however, and know that it makes sense to expand their audience beyond a single platform, particularly one threatened with a ban in multiple countries.
One in five of the 46 Fanbytes creators surveyed did say that they’d be including Instagram Reels in their social strategy to the extent that it would impact their content creation on TikTok.
The majority of those who said they would be dialing down the number of videos they produce on TikTok in favor of most posts on Instagram Reels were people who had originally made their name on Instagram, and had more recently migrated over to TikTok in order to build their audience.
“I’m not surprised about the influencer reaction,” said Timothy Armoo, founder of Fanbytes, who surveyed the talent he oversees. “One of the interesting things is that TikTok as a platform has its own culture, and a whole generation of people have grown up as the platform has.”
Opposition to Instagram’s strategy also plays a part, explained Armoo. “They objectively see Instagram almost as a copycat to what they’ve always known,” he said. “I think this only applies to people who have grown up on TikTok though.”
Influencers who have less of a history on TikTok are more willing to make a move – and more accepting of the arrival of Reels on the scene. “Reels provides them with the similar functionality, though I think the culture is missing,” Armoo said.