TL;DR: TikTok has created a creative platform that doesn’t just bring a platform for creatives, but it created a platform where everyone can be a creative. Byte is focused on building community and transparency along with interactive features. Instagram Reels is a glorified Instagram Story.
On August 5, Instagram launched Instagram Reels which is another competitor in this race to capture the attention of creators and their fan base. As of July 2020, TikTok had 800 million active users across the globe. This app grew with the Zoomer generation and younger millennials holding 41% of their users between the ages of 16 and 24. Though, most millennials take their attention to Byte aka Vine 2.0, and the entertainment for these millennials.
I am in no way an expert, I am just a henna artist that posts her work on these platforms. Though after using all three, I definitely want to share my opinions for those who want to start (or continue) to post their content. I started off with posting ordinary Instagram videos and then went to posting stories. Instagram stories were difficult and didn’t bring the engagement I was hoping for, especially since they didn’t last longer than 24 hours without pinning it as a story highlight on my page. If you have ever edited a single video, you would know that editing videos can be a nightmare, especially if it is for Instagram’s dimensions. I was super excited for Instagram Reels hoping that this could solve my problems and save me time.
General Overview Of The Trio:
TikTok is not just a creators app for people to watch dances and “how to” videos. TikTok has given the capability to quickly edit videos in no time, merge them with other videos and images, add filters, effects, along with allowing to change the speed of the video itself. These functionalities are extremely user friendly and allow for people to quickly edit their content and have it published in a matter of minutes. Tik Tok allows the content to be up to 1 minute which is extremely helpful for people to create meaningful content. Therefore, when I think of competitors, my initial thought is that they are competing when it comes to the content creation- though this is not the case.
Byte is known at Vine 2.0, same founder who wanted to “revive” the well loved app with videos that are still memed and referenced. Byte allows videos that are up to 16 seconds along with “Floaties” which are texts, gifs, and images that float in the video you create- something very unique compared to its competitors. Byte is different in comparison because it only allows our audio or Byte Beats to be used rather than any songs.
Instagram Reels is a product embedded in Instagram allowing people to watch Reels among the the other videos and posts on one’s feed. Instagram Reels “is the first product Instagram has created that focuses more on creators than everyday users” as explained by Axios. The Reels are 15 seconds and include the music library that is usually provided via Instagram Stories. Instagram has a major upperhand in comparison because of the large existing user base. Currently the product is debuted in over 50 countries including India (unlike TikTok which is banned from there).
My Personal Review:
As a small creator (not influencer) it is important to me that the videos I create aren’t time consuming. Along with that, I want do little to no editing outside the app itself.
Instagram Reels in my opinion is a glorified Instagram Story. It offers speed change, customized timers but other than that the rest of the features are similar (if not exact) to that of Instagram Story. The filters, stickers, gifs, and interface is the same one seen as Instagram Story. It doesn’t offer a large amount of customization to already created videos. It’s quite similar to uploading videos on Stories except now the process will directly upload to the feed and store in the “Reels” section of your profile. Overall, I would only use it to engage my current social media audience and attract more followers in my target audience. I am not a fan of the process when creating and would probably have to spend more time editing outside the app and then uploading it onto Reels.
Byte is extremely interactive and offers a great community when uploading. Based on your interests and different communities, it allows you to instantly upload content to the right audience, reminds me of Reddit with the “/” (example: I upload henna videos onto /art or /aesthetic). The Floaties are very cool for a fun, engaging videos. Though, when uploading created videos (not directly on the app) it has limited capabilities. Byte only allows created videos to have added filters, text, drawings, and Byte Beats. I would expect Floaties to be in uploaded videos as well, unfortunately this isn’t the case. Overall, I enjoy the communities that Byte offers- it gives direct reach to the target audiences.
TikTok has created a creative platform that doesn’t just bring a platform for creatives, but it created a platform where everyone can be a creative. TikTok allows remixes and popular music to be directly used by anyone allowing a large amount of reach for newly released music. On TikTok I have noticed that content is diluted on the platform regardless of the hashtags used. As someone who is not looking to be viral, but is posting regularly using similar hashtags, it can be a hit or miss. When I started my TikTok I got 300 views within minutes of posting, though after posting consistently throughout the weeks I noticed that sort of engagement didn’t repeat regardless of the same time and hashtags. Overall, I prefer TikTok because of its editing capabilities. Though, I can see most people using TikTok as their editing platform and then sharing their videos on different platforms afterwards.
With the current political climate a lot of these famous TikTok creators are panicking about having to restart on other apps. While this may not be necessary, it is important to note that it is not that easy to move from one app to the other. TikTok has created a home for learning and creativity and none of its competitors have brought the same capabilities in comparison to bring an easy transition. Though, Instagram Reels has a significant edge with their large user base as well as being allowed in India, unlike TikTok who was banned from India and had over 124.9 million users. Byte deserves recognition for its emphasis on community and communication- since launch it hasn’t failed to give their users a voice and have proper communication with users about what ideas they have and what they want to implement in the future.