Is Instagram Finally Taking Over TikTok?

instagram logo being switched with a tiktok logo
New Africa/Shutterstock rvlsoft/Shutterstock Vector Stall/Shutterstock Great Bergens/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Cox

Instagram reigned supreme as the go-to social media app for years, but TikTok changed the game entirely. While Instagram garnered 1.5 billion active users since its 2010 launch, TikTok accelerated from zero to 1.1 billion active users since just 2016.

Data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, shared via the Guardian, also indicates that TikTok has more engaged users, despite launching eight years later. These users spend an average of 95 minutes a day on the app, compared with 62 minutes on Instagram.

But could the tide be beginning to change, amid looming threats of a TikTok ban in the US? According to Sensor Tower, Instagram was downloaded 767 million times worldwide in 2023, just inching over TikTok’s 733 million downloads.

It also rose in popularity by 20% compared to the previous year, while TikTok only saw a 4% year growth. This data broke a five-year record set by TikTok, which had previously been the most downloaded app between 2018 and 2020. 

But what’s behind this change? 

According to Sensor Tower, this change is “likely driven by the popularity of its Reels feature.” Reels are Meta’s answer to the demand for short-form video content exposed by TikTok. Instagram also copied Snapchat with the disappearing ‘Stories’ feature.

But now, TikTok is getting even. App sleuth Assemble Debug discovered evidence that TikTok is preparing its own answer to Instagram. The platform is testing the tentatively titled “TikTok Photos” app. Photos have been available in TikTok for a while via its slideshow feature. But this app’s interface is set to be more similar to Instagram’s.

And with these new figures showing Instagram’s prevailing growth in popularity over the short-form video content giant, you can’t exactly blame TikTok.

What do you think of the ongoing battle between Instagram and TikTok? Email [email protected] to share your insight.

Content for Creators.

News, tips, and tricks delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Newsletter Signup

Top Stories