TikTok vs YouTube Shorts; which platform is better for business?
Social Media Platforms

TikTok vs YouTube Shorts; which platform is better for business?

Shannice Baynes
Shannice Baynes

It’s hard to imagine a time before ‘Have you seen on TikTok…’ was the starter of many conversations. But the platform only became known in 2018 when investors began their global expansion, and the pandemic gave people an unparalleled amount of free time, resulting in many people scrolling through TikTok to fill the days.

The heart of TikTok lies within its impressive ‘For You’ algorithm and a key focus on music integration in video to engage with users. This provides opportunities for creators and brands to connect with audiences, as the algorithm favours fresh and unique content forcing them to push out of their usual boundaries and experiment with new ideas. The ‘Discover’ page has seen a greater impact on how Gen Z utilise the platform as a search tool, with 40% choosing TikTok or Instagram as their first point of call to search over Google.  

However, beauty influencers told Vogue Business that they found it easier to generate revenue through YouTube Shorts over TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

After TikTok was banned in India, YouTube launched its own short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts in 2020 in India and was globally released in July 2021. YouTube Shorts may seem to mimic its rival's features, however, YouTube’s existing library of videos allows creators to remix their existing content into shorter and snappier moments!

Despite the vast success of TikTok, YouTube Shorts embraces the strong brand behind it, in addition to the $100 million fund behind the ‘Shorts Fund’. As of April 2022, YouTube reported that they are expanding their support to Shorts creators - “We're experimenting with different ways to reward creators from the fund, including expanding payments to more creators and raising the amount that creators can earn.”

TikTok only pays creators a small amount via the Creator Fund, so many have turned to the new ‘TikTok Shop’ feature to monetise their content further. The TikTok Shop allows creators to tap into the world of eCommerce by allowing viewers to purchase products directly within the app without having to open a new web browser. Business accounts can set up their own dedicated shopping tag on their profile for users to browse through product ranges. 

TikTok vs YouTube Shorts

Both platforms embrace short-form video content due to the traction it generates, as well as converting traffic into sales. But what one should you use in your next Influencer Marketing campaign?  

Selecting a platform for your Influencer Marketing campaign depends on your campaign goals and your target audience. 

TikTok has a predominantly Gen Z demographic with 52.38% being between the ages of 18 to 24, and has over 1 billion global users. However, due to the changing trends and algorithms, brands need to be flexible in what they would like the creator to produce - and be fast to sign off an idea. Adding complex scripts or layers of approvals can be detrimental to campaign success.  

YouTube Shorts however, has a broader demographic scale including millennials, boomers - and Gen Z. In a recent study by GWI, said Gen Z are most likely to visit YouTube on a daily basis (excluding China). The varied audience gives influencers and brands more opportunities to reach their target audience. Additionally, YouTube Shorts has a pre-established audience due to its brand legacy - but also, down to the loyal fans of popular YouTube creators. Loyalty can drive revenue, as creators have fans who are engaged and trust the recommendation. This is where the power of micro-influencers cannot be ignored, they have built a deeper and more personal connection with their audience and in turn are more likely to invest as a result of trust and commitment. TikTok creators are still yet to establish dedicated fan bases on the same level. This was seen earlier in the year at VidCon LA. 

Digital Voices has partnered with brands and creators on both platforms, during campaigns last year. We partnered with General Mills and Yoplait to launch the world’s first branded YouTube Shorts channel, to amplify Yoplait’s Moments of Gold campaign and capture the excitement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The aim was to inspire the next generation of athletes through Olympic sport-themed games and reveal the winner through Yoplait’s YouTube Shorts channel. We partnered with family YouTube creators, and the campaign and branded Shorts channel surpassed the organic views target, and achieved an extraordinary engagement rate.

Alternatively, we worked with Magnum to market their new Double Gold Caramel Billionaire ice cream, partnering with 9 creators across Instagram and TikTok! The aim was to bring a #ShowYourLayers challenge to life, inspired by Miley Cyrus’ iconic performance of “Miley’s Touch”. The creators produced thumb-stopping content on the platforms, and drove mass brand awareness, positive brand sentiment and even UGC from audiences who were inspired to take part!

There is no ‘one platform fits all’ rule, but understanding your brand, your marketing goals and target audience will determine where and how to work with influencers. 

What about long-form content? 

YouTube has a legacy of successful long-form videos and this will continue. But Shorts allows creators to align all marketing strategies by repurposing content across channels. Each video can be a maximum of 60 seconds and any video made across the platform of this length will automatically be categorised as a ‘Shorts’. An advantage for influencers and marketing agencies is that YouTube Shorts has a scheduling feature and the ability to edit the content after publishing.

TikTok has shaken up social content by delivering constant short-form videos in full-screen mode - encouraging endless scrolling. However, the platform recognises the commercial benefits of long-form video and extended video length to 10 minutes to increase monetisation opportunities. 

So, now what? 

The emphasis on video content continues to grow for brands and creators, with 87% of marketers saying that video has enhanced their engagement rates and ROI. If you would like more information on what social channel to use in your next campaign, or you are looking for more info on how to get started - please get in touch to discuss!

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For more insights into how Gen Z are engaging with video content - download our Gen Z report now!

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