Brand ResourcesTikTok MarketingYouTube Marketing

Comparing the Kings of Short-Form Video: YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok

Just how ingrained is video content in our collective everyday life? People are currently watching an average of 17 hours of online videos per week. That’s nearly two and a half hours a day! We just can’t get enough. And as our collective appetite booms, innovation has followed. In this case, it’s a race to the shortest—short-form videos, that is. 

In addition to Instagram Reels, the two biggest short-form video platforms at the moment are YouTube Shorts and TikTok. While there are similarities between the two, they each have unique features and an audience culture. Like any social platform, it’s important to “speak the language” of both – including the types of content that are successful on each!

Let’s compare YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok, so you can work both of them into your creator marketing strategy successfully. 

What are the Similarities of YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok?

YouTube Shorts and TikTok share some similarities that make them beneficial in your influencer marketing efforts. Some of these similarities include:

  • Allowing users to create short videos, usually lasting a minute or less
  • Vertical orientation, vs horizontal (which is the standard on “regular” YouTube)
  • Offering analytics like video views, likes, comments, and more
  • Both are centered around a feed of recommended content, which users can endlessly scroll through.
  • Both provide brands with sponsored content and advertising opportunities, and give creators opportunities to monetize their content 
  • Offer creators a range of tools to add sound, filters, and other visual elements to their videos.
  • They both have a feature to allow for split-screen reaction videos, in which a creator is reacting to another video as it’s playing. On TikTok, this is called a Duet, and on Shorts, it’s the Collab feature. 
  • Both allow for live-streaming

The bottom line: each of these platforms strives to maximize interest and engagement because they want to keep users on the platform as long as possible! 

What Are the Differences Between YouTube Shorts and TikTok?

Let’s take a quick look at some functional differences between YouTube Shorts vs TikTok that brands need to be aware of:

  • Video Length: YouTube Shorts are only 60 seconds, but TikToks can be up to 10 minutes (although, this is not a best practice!)
  • In-App Shopping: Through TikTok shop, users can now purchase products that creators and brands link to without ever leaving TikTok. There is also a separate Shop area within TikTok’s app to search for products. With YouTube Shorts, creators can still link out to products, but they aren’t purchased within the app itself.
  • Viewing Analytics: Users can view their TikTok analytics directly in the app, but Shorts analytics must be viewed in YouTube Studio.

Alternatively, YouTube Shorts has a scheduling tool, an option to select whether your content is kid-friendly, the ability to edit your content after publishing, and the choice to unlist your shorts—all features TikTok doesn’t exactly have.

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Which One Is Better for Your Brand?

Along with their similarities and differences, you’re probably wondering which platform will best promote your brand, gain a wider audience, and boost sales. Here, we can look at audience demographics, which are key to budgeting and developing a content strategy on any social platform. 

YouTube Shorts vs TikTok chart comparing each short-form platforms monthly active users, demographics, and daily watch time.

TikTok is relatively new to the game, first launching in 2016. It didn’t launch in the US until 2018. And while it has experienced rapid growth in the US and boasts over a billion after users, still faces some scrutiny as a Chinese-based company. Several countries have enacted restrictions of varying severity, causing some brands and advertisers to proceed with caution with their investments in the platform. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has yet to experience this kind of uncertainty.

As a subset of online content giant YouTube, it’s unsurprising that YouTube Shorts are also popular. Recently, Google claimed that YouTube Shorts hit 2 billion active users, meaning it has edged out competitors like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

With all this in mind, there’s no reason to limit your creator initiatives to one platform. In fact, a cross-channel approach is increasingly popular with brands. Audiences want to follow along with creators they love, wherever they are online. Ultimately, you may find that each platform impacts your brand in a different way; for instance, YouTube Shorts leads to more conversions, but TikTok leads to more conversions. Pay attention to your influencer marketing metrics to determine which to activate to impact specific parts of your funnel.

Video Content Marketing Is the Future

When choosing a video-sharing platform, there are three things to keep in mind: your target audience, your budget, and your marketing goals. 

TikTok has popularity, especially with younger audiences, but it also has become a powerhouse of cultural significance. Products have gone viral and songs have topped the charts as a result of being popular on TikTok. On the flip side, YouTube Shorts offers stability and a wider audience reach because it is part of the larger YouTube (and Google) ecosystem. And, Shorts is continuously learning from the path already blazed by TikTok and Instagram.

One thing is clear: video content marketing is now and the future: 93% of companies have acquired new customers via social video. It’s the most dynamic and fast-changing space on social – to stay competitive, brands must be as well. So regardless of whether you work with creators on TikTok, Shorts, or both, you’ll be perfectly positioned to grow your brand on social.

At MagicLinks, we understand how crucial short-form content is for content creators, their audiences, and in turn, brands. Reach out to us to get matched with short-form creators with highly engaged audiences and the potential to drive sales for your brand.

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