YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Which One’s Better?

Updated on June 25, 2024

9 min to read

Content Writer

Published October 23, 2023

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Which One’s Better?
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YouTube Shorts vs. TikTokwhich 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.

Table of contents

What is TikTok?

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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.

What is YouTube Shorts?

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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. 

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Comparing their similarities and differences

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: 

1. User demographics

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:

CountriesLanguagesBiggest age bracket Gender ratio
TikTok160 countries75 languages16-24Male: 46.21% Female: 53.79%
YouTube100 countries76 languages25-34Male: 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.

2. Content discoverability

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:

  • “For You” page. On this page, users can find content from creators regardless of whether they follow them. TikTok’s “For You” page or “FYP” suggestions are based on an algorithm that analyzes each user’s view history. 
  • Search results. TikTok’s built-in search feature is another way for users to discover new creators. Simply enter a hashtag, song title, location, or any other keyword to find out what TikTok’s search algorithm has in store. 
  • Effects/Place/Sound pages. When using a sound, location tag, or sound, TikTok curates a list of posts that also use them. This is TikTok’s way of providing ideas to users (and bonus exposure to creators). 
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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. 

  • Shorts page. Like FYP on TikTok, the YouTube app has a dedicated page for Shorts. Here, users can scroll to their heart’s content—browsing Shorts recommended by the YouTube algorithm. 
  • Sound page. Users can also find YouTube Short suggestions when viewing a sound page. But unlike TikTok, YouTube doesn’t have pages for effects and places where users can discover relevant content. 
  • YouTube search engine. Users don’t need to use specific YouTube Shorts hashtags to find suggestions on the app. Most queries will automatically include Shorts on the results page.
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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. 

3. Business tools

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:

  • Growth center. Participate in “missions” and events that help grow your TikTok profile. Some activities offer rewards to galvanize rising brands. 
  • Creative Hub. Discover breakout accounts, hashtags, and sounds to stay ahead of the competition. Resources are organized under categories like shopping, travel, real estate, gaming, and beauty. 
  • Business content. Launch and manage your influencer marketing campaigns from a single location. You can track existing collaborations, analyze detailed performance reports, create Spark Ads, and more. 
  • Lead generation tools. With built-in lead generation tools, TikTok makes it easy to turn views into leads. Create a customizable opt-in form, perform follow-ups, and manage customer information without leaving the app. 
  • Easy promotion feature. Give your profile’s growth a head start through TikTok’s “Promote” feature. Boost your content’s visibility overnight and reach a set amount of views depending on your budget. 
  • Business information. Register your business on TikTok to display important information on your profile. This may include your phone number, business address, or a direct website link. 
  • Creator Portal. Learn essential skills like TikTok video creation and LIVE streaming through the community-driven Creator Portal. For more advanced topics like how to find deleted TikTok videos, refer to the TikTok Help Center.
  • Analytics. Take advantage of the in-app analytics feature to track insights, like audience engagement metrics and follower growth. TikTok also rounds up your most popular videos to help you understand the type of content your audience prefers.
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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:

  • Content research. Quickly identify trending YouTube search queries around topics you care about. Dig deeper by monitoring how your audience interacts with similar content while analyzing YouTube searches and viewed videos. 
  • Channel dashboard. Get an overview of the important stuff surrounding your channel. Monitor analytics, your latest video’s performance, content ideas, and news on the YouTube platform. 
  • Content options. Modify different options for specific Shorts on YouTube Studio’s “Content” page. You can disable comments, implement age restrictions, select a category, manage the visibility of likes, and more. 
  • Analytics. Monitor and compare video views with your channel’s historical performance data. YouTube Studio also helps you track metrics like watch time, subscriber count, and real-time views. 
  • Audience analysis. Analyze your YouTube audience by investigating viewer data, namely returning viewers, unique viewers, and subscribers. YouTube’s audience report also helps you analyze your viewers’ age, gender, location, preferred formats, and other followed channels. 
  • Comment manager. Filter, manage, and engage your YouTube comment history for all published videos and Shorts. Easily find comments under review, questions, comments you haven’t responded to yet, and so on.
  • Channel copyright. Issue copyright takedown requests against channels that use your copyrighted materials without permission. Claims can be made by attaching your video and filling in important details about your copyright.
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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.

4. Content creation tools

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: 

  • An ever-growing list of effects. Use video tools like the background changer, animation templates, HDR, and pro camera controls. 
  • Speed up content creation with templates. Publish professional-looking clips in seconds with ready-made TikTok templates.
  • Create with text. Post TikTok quotes, add text overlays, create text-only posts, or turn text into images using AI. 
  • Respond in video form with Duets. Explain, expound, or respond to another user’s content to easily create something fresh. 
  • In-depth retouching tools. Use facial enhancement and makeup tools for that extra confidence boost.
  • Unique TikTok content creation tools. Turn videos into animated stickers, add AI voiceovers, insert interactive elements, repurpose TikTok drafts, and more.
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YouTube Shorts has a few cool things up its sleeve when it comes to content creation: 

  • Advanced effects and filters. Apply filters, AR effects, green screen, and “Street View” effects to give your content a more unique appeal. 
  • Quickly enable or disable retouch. Enhance your appearance with one tap using YouTube’s retouch feature for Shorts. 
  • Remix options. Respond or react to existing Shorts by cutting the video, extracting its sound, or using it as a background.
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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. 

5. Monetization opportunities

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.

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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. 

Pro tips for using short-form video marketing

Follow these tips to succeed with short-form video marketing regardless of the platform you choose: 

  • Always observe the platform’s guidelines. Learning how to get unbanned from TikTok or YouTube is significantly harder (if it’s even possible) than spending an hour understanding each platform’s community guidelines. Be sure to always observe the rules, especially if you’re signing up for monetization programs. 
  • Schedule your posts. Use social media schedulers to leverage the best time to post on YouTube Shorts and TikTok for maximum views. Plan your content queue to maximize every opportunity to supercharge user engagement. 
  • Piggyback trends. Trends not only make your content more discoverable on TikTok and YouTube Shorts. They also make developing interesting video ideas that will turn eyeballs easier. 
  • Use full-fledged video editing apps. Although TikTok and YouTube have video editing capabilities, consider using third-party video editing apps to create more unique content. Some examples are InShot, CapCut, and KineMaster. 
  • Cross-promote your videos. Seriously—cross-promote your videos. It’s effortless to learn how to share a YouTube video on Instagram Story, how to spread your TikToks on Facebook, and so on.

Dominate with short-form videos using Vista Social

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.

  • AI assistant. The feature generates captions and provides reply suggestions for DMs, reviews, comments, etc.
  • Advanced publishing/scheduling. Vista Social has bulk upload, post approvals, workflow approvals, shared calendars, etc.
  • Comprehensive and customizable reports. The platform allows you to create various reports, such as team, competitor, and post-performance reports.

Help your clients take social media stardom today. Sign up for a Vista Social account now.

About the Author

Content Writer

Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.

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