If you’ve seen the skateboarder lip syncing to Fleetwood Mac while drinking Ocean Spray cran-raspberry juice, you might agree that TikTok can make anything go viral. It’s been a tricky platform to keep up with, sometimes seeming like it holds a monopoly over what’s popular on the internet.

The recent addition of “Reels” to Instagram in August gave users the ability to edit and add effects to short “entertaining” videos, and “reach new audiences on a global stage.” It sounds a lot like what users of TikTok have benefitted from, so CivicScience polled Americans nationwide on their experience with Reels.

In a survey of Instagram users (13+), 6% had used it and 7% intended to use it while 56% had never heard of it.

Looking more closely at types of Instagram users, half of the people who use Instagram at least weekly haven’t heard of Reels. It makes sense that infrequent users and non-users would be more unaware of the latest feature but the percentage of heavy users who don’t know about Reels is surprising.

Since its August launch, CivicScience has seen a slight increase in users and intenders of Reels (30% to 33%), so it’s likely there is still room to grow.

Among users of other social platforms, TikTok and Snapchat users were the most likely to have tried or say they intend to try Instagram Reels. Instagram users themselves were third likely when compared to the other major apps and sites.

As suspected, Gen Z is the most likely age group to have more users and intenders of Reels. This age group also has the largest concentration of TikTok and Instagram users, so it wasn’t difficult to predict. But it’s worth noting the margin of difference.

There are 70% more TikTok users in the 13-24 age group than in the next age group up (25-34). The difference between the amount of Instagram users in these same age groups is much smaller (23%), despite there being more Instagram users overall. For CivicScience, noting these margins of difference is important as the platforms compete. While Instagram wants to keep up with TikTok, its user base is more generationally diverse and therefore requires a balance of features that appeal to all its users. In the same vein, generations more present on Instagram might be led to try TikTok for the first time given their experience with Reels.


As both TikTok and Instagram make updates to their user experiences (and vie for popularity) CivicScience will be able to quickly identify correlating trends that affect business. And, perhaps, help you create something truly viral for your viewers.