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TikTok vs Instagram Users & Stats in 2023

Social media has become ingrained into our daily lives. As per DataReportal, almost 5 billion people around the world now use social media – equivalent to over 63% of the global population. Against this backdrop, visual content-focused platforms like TikTok and Instagram have emerged as massively popular havens for self-expression, entertainment and influencer/brand connections.

But how exactly do TikTok and Instagram compare when it comes to users, engagement and revenue potential in 2023? Let‘s find out through an in-depth data-driven analysis.

Monthly Active Users: TikTok Catching Up Rapidly

As of January 2023, Instagram remains ahead with about 2 billion monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide. However, TikTok is growing at an absolutely frenetic pace. From starting 2021 with around 1 billion MAUs, TikTok has now crossed 1.5 billion MAUs as per the latest data.

To put TikTok‘s growth in perspective, it took the platform just 4 years to hit 1 billion users since its international launch – more than twice as fast as Instagram. If TikTok continues this momentum, it could realistically catch up to Instagram‘s MAU count by late 2023 or 2024.

Let‘s look at the platform-wise monthly active user (MAU) trends over the last few years:

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YearInstagram MAUsTikTok MAUs
20181 billion271 million
20191.1 billion508 million
20201.3 billion756 million
20212 billion1 billion
20222 billion1.5 billion

These massive userbases underscore the marketing potential of both platforms. But why is TikTok growing exponentially while Instagram plateaus? Let‘s analyze the demographics and usage patterns behind the numbers.

User Demographics: TikTok Dominates Among Gen Z

While both TikTok and Instagram maintain a relatively balanced male-female ratio, their appeal across age groups varies significantly.

As per Statista, over 60% of TikTok‘s global users are aged between 10-29 years. In the app‘s fastest growing market, the USA, around 65% of users fall within Gen Z (13 to 24 years old).

In contrast, Instagram has the highest penetration among adults aged 25-34 – the older subset of Millennials who grew up with the platform. Over 68% of Instagram‘s user base is aged 18-44.

Clearly, TikTok has gained phenomenal traction among Gen Z – teens and young adults who crave bite-sized, entertaining video content. On the other hand, Millennials still dominate their social media homeland, Instagram.

This divergence in target demographics explains the rocket-charged growth of TikTok. As per eMarketer, Gen Z represents over 30% of the world‘s population. And in many countries like the US, Gen Z now outnumbers Millennials.

So while TikTok is attracting younger users at a breakneck pace, Instagram‘s growth is comparatively stagnating as its original core user base ages.

Daily Engagement Reflects User Preferences

Analyzing daily time spent per user also provides clues into what drives TikTok and Instagram‘s popularity.

As of 2022, the average TikTok user spends 95 minutes per day on the platform. In comparison, daily engagement on Instagram is lower at 53 minutes per user.

On TikTok, users view endless streams of 15 to 60 second videos served by the super-addictive algorithm. The For You page is designed for maximum entertainment and discovery, surfacing content that aligns with users‘ tastes. No wonder TikTokers can spend hours absorbing video after video!

On Instagram, engagement revolves around interacting with content from accounts one chooses to follow. The chronological feed encourages users to post polished photos and videos exploring their passions. But the experience tends to be more selective rather than endless scrolling.

These usage patterns tie back directly to TikTok‘s strength among youth who crave entertainment and Instagram‘s appeal for those seeking an expressive creative outlet.

Top Countries Driving User Growth

As of 2023, the United States and India represent the largest markets for both TikTok and Instagram in terms of total monthly active users:

  • USA: Over 120 million MAUs on both TikTok and Instagram
  • India: 230 million Instagram MAUs, but TikTok remains banned there

Other top countries on both platforms include Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and developed European markets like the UK, Germany and France.

Interestingly, TikTok sees much higher adoption than Instagram in Mexico – over 55 million MAUs. But Instagram enjoys more popularity in Canada with over 20 million MAUs compared to around 15 million for TikTok as of late 2022.

For brands seeking global growth, maintaining active presences across both networks is crucial to engage users in all key markets. TikTok is especially critical for Mexico and developing markets, while Instagram offers added reach across Europe and Canada.

Revenue and Monetization: Instagram Leads TikTok

Given Instagram‘s longevity and Facebook-backed scale, it has developed a thriving advertising business. Instagram revenue hit an estimated $51 billion in 2022 driven by ad placements and influencer/brand partnerships.

As the newer platform, TikTok is still building up its monetization model centered around in-feed video ads, hashtag challenges and its Creator Marketplace. However, its tremendous user growth has accelerated revenue – latest projections estimate TikTok earned around $12 billion in 2022.

If TikTok sustains this momentum, its revenues could cross $23 billion by 2024 per market analytics. Brands across sectors are taking notice – ad spend on TikTok is estimated to double in 2023 as marketers chase its Gen Z audience.

Here‘s a snapshot of estimated revenues across recent years:

YearInstagram RevenueTikTok Revenue
2019$20 billion$3 billion
2020$35 billion$6.2 billion
2021$47 billion$8 billion
2022$51 billion (est.)$12 billion (est.)

The bottom line – both platforms offer compelling returns on investment for brands. Instagram provides proven advertising formats and influencer marketing options. Meanwhile, TikTok enables going viral among younger demographics.

The ideal strategy is to leverage both within a diversified social media marketing mix.

Which Platform Should Brands Prioritize in 2023?

For businesses targeting Millennials, Instagram should be the priority platform for 2023 and beyond. But no brand can ignore TikTok‘s phenomenal growth.

Here are my top recommendations for marketers:

Invest heavily in Instagram marketing if your brand caters primarily to adults over 25 years old. Instagram‘s unparalleled scale, polished aesthetic and range of ad formats make it a must-have channel.

Focus intently on expanding your TikTok presence if your product resonates with younger consumers. TikTok must become a cornerstone platform to drive awareness and sales among Gen Z.

Maintain active accounts on both networks to maximize reach across different demographics. While TikTok is the future, Instagram still offers proven value.

Test a mix of paid advertising and organic content to identify what drives best results on each platform. Creative experimentation is key to succeed on TikTok especially.

Analyze performance diligently and optimize your strategies. As TikTok evolves, remain nimble and lean into what‘s working.

Join both platforms this year if you haven‘t already – it‘s not too late to capitalize on their immense potential!

The Visual Social Media Wars Have Just Begun

Instagram revolutionized visual social networking, but TikTok has completely disrupted the space with its explosive rise. While Instagram still rules, TikTok is catching up at breakneck speed as the Gen Z‘s social playground.

For marketers, both platforms warrant substantial investment and focus in 2023. Harnessing TikTok‘s youth appeal and Instagram‘s brand-friendly formats will remain mission-critical. As the visual social media wars heat up, maintaining a competitive edge will require mastering both emerging and established networks. Get ready for an exciting ride ahead!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.