YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok—which one should you choose?
TikTok has all the hype. It’s fresh, innovative, easy to use, and popular with the youngsters.
On the other hand, YouTube Shorts enjoys the global reach and notoriety that the big, red play button built over the years.
Both have their pros and their cons.
It all boils down to a closer look at their similarities and differences.
Let’s jump into it.
TikTok is a massively popular social network short-form video that exploded in popularity between 2018 and 2020.
It became one of the internet’s favorite pastimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, supplying youngsters and adults with bite-sized entertainment.
To spice up your short-form videos, TikTok lets you add music, Augmented Reality (AR) effects, stickers, filters, and voiceovers—on top of the in-app video editing features.
Users can also react or add to other people’s videos through “Duets,” which helps grow the platform’s community aspect.
Image Source: YouTube.com
After TikTok blew up the internet, other major social networks and video-sharing networks responded with their own short-form content features.
While not exactly a “TikTok killer,” YouTube Shorts managed to secure a fair share of the market—thanks to YouTube’s unchallenged dominance in the video-sharing space.
Shorts go against the well-established YouTube video size and length conventions for creators who want to make money.
Rather than focusing on creating 10 minutes of ad-friendly content, Shorts allowed YouTubers to generate user engagement with videos only up to 60 seconds long.
Like other short-form videos, YouTube Shorts uses filters, stickers, effects, and trending audio clips.
Now—on to the juicy stuff.
TikTok and YouTube Shorts share many similarities, but a handful of key differences make each platform totally unique.
Here’s a closer comparison of YouTube Shorts and Tiktok in five important aspects:
Fun fact: TikTok is more popular with the younger audience.
TikTok is also widely popular in certain countries, namely the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Overall, over 1.677 billion people actively use TikTok worldwide.
Shorts, on the other hand, capitalizes on YouTube’s existing user base of over 2.70 billion people—garnering over 50 billion daily views on the platform since February 2023.
India has the most YouTube users, with around 467 million users. They’re followed by the United States with a distant (but massive) 247 million users, Indonesia with 139 million, Brazil with 138 million, and Russia with 106 million.
Below are more demographic data on TikTok and YouTube:
|Countries||Languages||Biggest age bracket||Gender ratio|
|TikTok||160 countries||75 languages||16-24||Male: 46.21% Female: 53.79%|
|YouTube||100 countries||76 languages||25-34||Male: 53.9%Female: 46.1%|
Looking at user demographics, YouTube has a clear advantage in terms of potential reach.
TikTok may be ahead of YouTube in the number of countries supported, but YouTube has roughly a billion more users and caters to a wider range of audiences in terms of age and interests.
Let’s face it, user count means nothing if nobody can find your videos.
That’s why it’s important to look at the content discoverability features on TikTok and YouTube Shorts when comparing the platforms.
We’re not talking about content promotion tools.
Regarding discoverability, we’ll focus on UI features that help viewers find your content by themselves—au naturale.
For TikTok, non-followers can discover your content in different ways. Here are some examples:
Users can also discover new creators via playlists, other users that saved content, and templates.
In terms of content discoverability, learning how the YouTube Shorts algorithm works isn’t exactly rocket science.
It borrows a lot of concepts from TikTok and all short-form video platforms after it.
Image Source: YouTube.com
For content discoverability, TikTok has a slight edge over YouTube.
It offers more ways for content creators to make their videos discoverable, such as through effects, location tags, and filters.
One doesn’t simply choose a short-form video platform without looking at the business side of things.
Both YouTube Shorts and TikTok have a robust lineup of business tools for more serious creators.
On TikTok, this comes in the form of a “Business suite” page baked into the app. Just head to your profile, tap the hamburger settings icon, and select ‘Business suite’ to access features like:
While all of TikTok’s business tools are accessible from the app, YouTube provides them in two different locations: YouTube Studio and YouTube Creators.
YouTube Studio is accessible from the site’s desktop version or via a mobile app. It includes several tools, like:
If you want learning resources and YouTube Shorts ideas, head to YouTube Creators.
Here, you’ll find tips and tutorials on everything—from growing your YouTube channel to monetizing your videos.
As far as business tools go, TikTok features a more fleshed-out business suite. Not to mention that a large fraction of YouTube’s business tools aren’t created primarily for short-form videos.
The gap between YouTube Shorts and TikTok widens even more when it comes to content creation tools.
First and foremost, the TikTok app is built specifically with short-form videos in mind. Whereas YouTube Shorts feel more like an afterthought—a way for YouTube to catch up to TikTok’s rapid growth.
Check out some of the things you can do with TikTok’s content creation tools:
Image Source: TikTok.com
YouTube Shorts has a few cool things up its sleeve when it comes to content creation:
Looking at content creation, TikTok is miles ahead of YouTube Shorts. It has a better and more expansive lineup of content creation tools for social media marketing.
Lastly, let’s talk about monetization.
TikTok has many creative monetization programs outside of traditional campaigns, like sponsored posts and product listings.
For example, TikTok users in certain areas with at least 10,000 followers can earn through the Creator Fund, which pays a set amount per 1,000 views.
Their viewers can also send gifts with real-world monetary value via LIVE streams and regular posts.
TikTok users can also make money through tips sent directly to their profiles by other users. If you sell products, set up your virtual storefront through Creator Next and convert viewers into paying customers.
On YouTube Shorts, monetization is consolidated into the YouTube Partner Program.
Aside from traditional strategies like sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and donations, the Partner Program allows YouTube creators to earn through ads.
For monetization, TikTok is better for smaller creators due to more accessible opportunities.
YouTube is more profitable in the long run due to the larger user base—but you’ll have to overcome the considerable eligibility requirements first.
Follow these tips to succeed with short-form video marketing regardless of the platform you choose:
Whether with TikTok or YouTube Shorts, you need a capable Social Media Management (SMM) platform to concoct a seamless short-form video marketing strategy.
Use Vista Social to create videos, plan your posting schedule, and track analytics—all in one place.
Vista Social supports direct publishing for scheduled TikTok posts. There is no need to wait for an alert and publish videos yourself.
The platform offers many features to take your social media marketing efforts to the next level.
These advanced and uber-helpful features made Vista Social users fall head over heels for the platform.
Help your clients take social media stardom today. Sign up for a Vista Social account now.
About the Author
Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as Business.com, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.
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