Right now, video content is taking over popular culture, and it’s a smart marketing strategy to get in on it. However, figuring out which social media platform is best for your short-form video content can take time and effort.
With so many platforms to choose from, it can take time to know which is right for you. Do you go with the well-established YouTube or take a gamble with the new kid on the block, TikTok?
We break down the pros and cons of each platform, how they work, and their differences so you can make an informed decision about where to put your time and energy.
How They Differ
First, let’s start with the basics. How do these platforms differ from each other?
TikTok is a social media platform built around short videos. It’s designed for users to create and share 15-second videos, although some longer formats are available.
On the other hand, YouTube Shorts is a new feature of the YouTube app that allows users to create and upload short videos — up to 60 seconds in length — directly to YouTube.
While both TikTok and YouTube Shorts are built for quick, bite-sized content, there are some critical differences between them. Here’s what you need to know.
TikTok is all about the algorithm. The app uses an algorithm to surface content that users are likely to engage with.
Your audience may only see your videos if you’re constantly creating new content and interacting with other users on the platform.
YouTube Shorts is less reliant on algorithm-driven content discovery.
Because YouTube is a search engine, your videos have a better chance of being discovered by users looking for the kind of content you’re creating — even if they don’t follow you or similar content creators.
TikTok is great for building a community around your brand. The app encourages users to interact with one another through the following:
- Duets (a feature that allows users to create a split-screen video in response to another video)
You can also use hashtags to connect with other creators that are making similar content. These interactions make it easy to build a strong community of engaged fans around your brand on TikTok.
YouTube Shorts isn’t as focused on community building — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. YouTube has always focused more on individual creators than TikTok, so don’t expect to see nearly as much interaction between users on the platform. However, you can still use features like comments and likes to connect with your viewers and encourage them to subscribe to your channel.
The app interface is radically different, which could be good or bad, depending on your goals. TikTok features a bottomless feed of short videos that play automatically when you open the app. This makes it easy (and tempting) to spend hours mindlessly scrolling through content without taking any real action.
Currently, the YouTube Shorts interface only appears when you open the YouTube app and click on the “Shorts” tab at the bottom of the screen; it does not show up in the main feed alongside longer videos from creators you follow. This means that users must go out of their way to find Shorts videos — although this could change as the platform becomes more popular.
Who Uses These Platforms?
TikTok’s primary audience is Gen Z, while YouTube’s primary audience is adults aged 18-34.
TikTok has a broad reach, with an estimated 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. On the other hand, YouTube Shorts boasts 1.5 billion logged-in monthly users.
TikTok has succeeded by catering to Gen Z’s desire for creative self-expression.
The platform is designed to be easy and fun, with various tools and features that allow users to create engaging content.
TikTok also offers a wide range of content, from dance and lip-sync videos to comedy and reaction videos. This diversity of content keeps users coming back for more, and it helps explain why TikTok is so popular with Gen Z.
On the other hand, YouTube Shorts has focused on providing a simple way for adults 18-34 to create and share concise videos. YouTube Shorts videos are typically under 60 seconds long and can be shot vertically on a smartphone.
This format is perfect for busy adults who don’t have much time to spare but still want to stay connected with friends and family.
Furthermore, YouTube Shorts videos are often filmed creatively, making them more visually attractive than traditional horizontal videos.
Pros and Cons
Now that you know the difference between these two platforms and their primary audience, it’s time to take a closer look at each of their advantages and disadvantages. Each of these platforms has something to offer and cater to the specific needs of its user.
- Broad reach: YouTube has a vast user base with over 2 billion monthly active users. This gives you a big potential audience for your Shorts.
- Great at repurposing content: You can use existing video content to create Shorts.
- Your Shorts are prominently displayed in the YouTube app: Shorts are displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage in the dedicated short-form video carousel. This means they’re evident and have the potential to be seen by many people.
- You can use Shorts to drive traffic to your website: You can add links to your website or product in the description of your Shorts which can drive traffic and sales.
- They’re easy and fun to make: You can create Shorts from your smartphone using the YouTube app.
- Excellent creator support: YouTube offers creative tools like multi-segment editing and in-app music that make creating videos simpler and more engaging for viewers.
- They have a shorter shelf-life than traditional videos: They’re designed for immediate consumption. This means you’ll need to create more content to maintain a consistent presence on the platform.
- The algorithm still needs to be fully optimized: Your videos may be seen by fewer people than you’d like. This could change as YouTube continues to tweak the algorithm.
- Not all businesses will be a good fit for this type of content: If you don’t think your business lends itself well to quick, bite-sized videos, then you should hold off on using this feature.
- Broad reach: As we mentioned, TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users. This presents a massive opportunity for businesses to reach various potential customers.
- Unique format: TikTok’s short-form, vertical video format is one of the first in the market. This makes it perfect for creative businesses who want to stand out from the crowd with their marketing campaigns.
- Engagement-driven algorithm: TikTok’s algorithm heavily emphasizes engagement, which means that your content is more likely to be seen by people who are interested in what you have to say. This helps to ensure that your marketing campaigns are more effective and efficient.
- Limited advertising options: Currently, there are only two ways to advertise on TikTok: in-feed ads and brand takeovers. While both options can be effective, they do have their limitations. For example, in-feed ads can only be up to 60 seconds long, which may be too short to tell your brand’s story. Brand takeovers can be expensive, so they may not be an option for businesses with limited budgets.
- Learning curve: TikTok is a new platform with a unique format, so there is a learning curve when creating compelling content for the platform. If you’re not willing to take the time to learn how to use TikTok effectively, there may be a better platform for you.
- Popularity may be short-lived: There’s no guarantee that TikTok will remain popular indefinitely; after all, remember when Vine was all the rage? If you invest time and resources into marketing on TikTok, you need to be prepared for the possibility that the platform could lose its popularity.
Crossposting as a Strategy
What’s the best strategy for your short-form content? The answer is to post on both platforms.
Crossposting is the act of posting the same content on multiple platforms. It’s a great way to get your content seen by a wider audience without putting in extra work. When it comes to TikTok and YouTube Shorts, crossposting is the best strategy for reaching the most people with your videos. Here’s why.
Reach a Wider Audience
The first and most apparent reason to crosspost your videos is that you’ll reach a wider audience. YouTube has over 2 billion active users, while TikTok has over 1 billion.
That’s a lot of potential customers!
By posting your videos on both platforms, you’ll increase your chances of being seen by someone interested in what you say.
Posting videos on two different platforms can seem like a lot of work. But if you crosspost, you can post your video once and have it appear on both platforms.
That means less work for you! Crossposting is a great way to save time while still getting your content out there.
Can Use Different Platforms for Different Purposes
TikTok and YouTube Shorts are two very different types of platforms. TikTok is all about short, fun videos that capture people’s attention. On the other hand, YouTube Shorts focuses on longer-form videos that provide more information and detail.
By crossposting, you can use each platform for its strengths. Post shorter videos on TikTok to capture people’s attention, then link to your YouTube channel for more in-depth content. This way, you can use each platform to its fullest potential!
Why YouTube Shorts Is the Ultimate Winner
While all is said and done, we still think that YouTube Shorts is the more sustainable platform for business owners, content creators, and marketers. Here are four reasons why we think this is the case.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube dwarfs TikTok’s reach. This is important because it means that there are more potential eyeballs on your videos if you choose to post them on YouTube.
If you’re looking to reach a global audience, YouTube is the way to go.
YouTube’s integration with its long-form content encourages maximum user engagement by providing diverse content they can consume.
This difference in engagement levels is likely because YouTube offers a broader variety of content than TikTok.
There’s something for everyone on YouTube, whether you’re into makeup tutorials, cat videos, or political commentary. TikTok, on the other hand, skews heavily towards musical content and Gen Z users. If you’re looking for a platform with more engaged users, YouTube is the way to go.
3. Ad Revenue
If you’re looking to monetize your short videos, YouTube is once again the better option. YouTube creators can earn money through ad revenue sharing, sponsorships, and product placements. YouTube also allocated a Creators’ Fund and a high revenue share split for creators.
On the other hand, TikTok creators can only earn money through product placements, sponsorships, and a relatively new revenue-sharing program.
YouTube has been around much longer than TikTok and has had more time to develop its monetization options. If you want to make money from your short videos, YouTube Shorts is likely going to be more lucrative.
When it comes to analytics, YouTube once again comes out ahead of TikTok.
YouTube provides detailed data on things like:
- Watch time
Whereas TikTok only provides primary data like views and likes/dislikes.
YouTube is owned by Google, which takes a data-driven approach to everything it does. Therefore, YouTube is the better option if you want comprehensive insights into how your Shorts perform.
Which platform should you use for your short-form content? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to reach a wider audience and don’t mind ads, then YouTube Shorts is the way to go.
If you’re looking for a more intimate experience with fewer ads, then TikTok is your best bet. Whichever platform you choose, remember to have fun and be creative!
Do you need any help with your video marketing? Contact our team today, and let’s discuss.