YouTube Shorts vs TikTok. Now that's an interesting competition that will play out over the course of 2021. TikTok grew at an impressive rate during the height of the pandemic, garnering over 800 million users in a short period of time. But YouTube has been around for ages and already has a viewer base of over 2 billion people. Which platform will win out over the other? It's time to wait and watch. In the meantime, let's look at the new short-video platform from social video giant YouTube and how it compares with TikTok the monster.
What We Know About YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts is currently in beta in about 26 countries around the world - a very small portion of its total coverage area but it includes most top-tier markets including the United States and the United Kingdom. Huge markets like India are important because TikTok is banned there and there are few alternatives, such as Instagram Reels and Stories.
The app itself is integrated into the main YouTube mobile apps for Android and iOS. It can be found on its own 'shelf' or tab in the YouTube app. Down the line, there will be more functionality built-in but, for now, it's limited to video creation, some basic editing, and the ability to add music. But that's where it also trumps TikTok because of its extensive partnerships with creators all around the world. On the copyright front, YouTube is obviously much stronger than ByteDance. However, it's going to be hard to topple the #1 TikTok from its position.
The format that YouTube Shorts follows is very similar to that of TikTok. Videos are typically 15 seconds long and no longer than 60 seconds. That's the magic formula that TikTok pioneered and it's the same pattern being followed by Facebook and Google for their own short-form video platforms. YouTube Shorts also comes with a large music collection, all of which can be used as 15-second clips for Short videos. The videos themselves can be recorded on mobile using the camera feature, or they can be uploaded from other sources. Incidentally, a lot of users are not uploading their TikTok content to YouTube Shorts, giving the new platform an advantage that TikTok never had.
Will YouTube Shorts Replace TikTok?
This is a hard question to answer because the market for short videos is now much bigger than ever. TikTok was a pioneer in this area and set the tone for such platforms from majors like Facebook and Google. But can YouTube Shorts ever fully replace TikTok?
Logically, it has the potential to. There are 2 billion people using YouTube in one way or another, with TikTok coming in at about half of that. But that's only the potential market for YouTube Shorts. Google has to be able to reach the bulk of its 2 billion users in order to compete with TikTok. And since Shorts is still in beta and not yet available to the entire global user base of YouTube, that's still an open question.
However, YouTube also has other advantages, such as:
A mature mobile app and desktop presence that's more than a decade and a half old.
A presence on nearly every Android device on the planet - by default.
Impressive viewership and engagement metrics that eclipse any other social media site.
A still-fresh brand image, which Facebook has been struggling with despite owning platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.
A very large monetization pool comprising millions of advertisers.
The ability to serve content quickly and instantly to any corner of the world.
With all these advantages, one would assume that YouTube Shorts will quickly overtake TikTok. But wait, that's not about to happen any time soon. Why? It's because the platform isn't as mature as TikTok when it comes to short-form videos. TikTok also had the first-mover advantage, taking the world by storm after the pandemic hit because people literally had nothing to do but be on their smartphones all day. The timing was perfect, and that sort of 'perfect storm' might never happen for YouTube Shorts to help rapidly propel it to the top.
But there are also other differences that may give TikTok an edge over YouTube Shorts.
YouTube Shorts Vs. TikTok: The Differences
While many of the features of TikTok are already being seen in YouTube Shorts, there are also some important differences that might help keep TikTok at the top of the short-form video platform pile.
Familiarity - TikTok is branded as a short-form video utility, while YouTube Shorts is merely an offshoot of the main platform, at least for now. Although far more people know YouTube well, getting comfortable with short-form videos takes time.
Reach - TikTok has practically cornered the market in China. The original app, called Douyin, had over 600 million users in the PRC by August 2020. Google has practically no reach in that market, which is why it launched YouTube Shorts in India, where TikTok is currently banned.
Features - Tiktok is also more feature-rich than YouTube Shorts in its beta form. No doubt, Google is testing a slew of additional features that will likely roll out in the coming months, but TikTok already has an impressive collection of stickers, filters, effects, and other bells and whistles that YouTube Shorts still lacks.
These differences are very important because they'll decide whether or not YouTube Shorts gets enough traction to make it past TikTok in terms of its user base. And even if that does happen, it's not going to happen overnight. TikTok had the huge advantage of a ton of content going viral as soon as they were uploaded. On the other hand, since YouTube Shorts doesn't have a platform of its own, it's going to take time for regular YouTube users to start discovering content, let alone make it go viral overnight. For all these reasons, it's going to be extremely hard for YouTube Shorts to compete with TikTok. Besides, there is ample room in the market for two major players.
Recommended Tools: Best Video Editor for YouTube Shorts - iMyFone Filme
Regardless of who the long-term winner in this battle of short-form video platforms might be, the one thing they both have in common is that they deal with videos. And when that's the case, it's very important to have a solid desktop video editor at your disposal. That's where iMyFone Filme will play a huge role. It's already one of the favorites of TikTok users all around the world because of its extensive filters, effects, and audio tracks. It will become even more popular as YouTube Shorts users look for an easy-to-use video editor that they can use to make their videos even more engaging. As the competition to go viral picks up on Shorts the way it did (and still does) on TikTok, more and more users will flock to iMyFone Filme as the go-to video editor for short-form videos.
Here are just a few reasons why this will likely happen:
Filme allows easy importing of media from a smartphone to a desktop - wired and wireless
The timeline editing makes it easy for users to edit their videos and add special effects
The editing tools are extensive yet simple to use so beginners will find this very handy
There's an instant video creation tool called Fast Video Mode where you can choose existing video clips and images, rearrange them in order, and instantly create a video slideshow with audio
Filme's audio collection comprises an extensive range of genres that are available for commercial use, which is a huge advantage for YouTube Shorts users because of the platform's strict content policies
No matter what format your source video is in, Filme can import it and convert it into a format more suitable for YouTube, TikTok, or any other video platform
With so many attractive features and advantages, it's no wonder iMyFone Filme is often considered the best video editor for beginners aspiring to be professional video content creators.
Watch this video to learn how to edit video using iMyFone Filme:
In parting, it's important to realize that the market for video consumption is massive, comprising billions of smartphone and computer users around the world. Internet speeds are going up and mobile data costs are going down. New technologies like 5G are rapidly changing the way we consume data - and the amount we consume. Mobile devices are now coming in all forms, shapes, and sizes, giving videos the perfect multi-terminal ecosystem in which to grow and mature. As smartphone penetration continues to grow in key markets like India and Africa, the total addressable market or TAM for video consumption is constantly on the increase.
So, even if there's a TikTok and a YouTube Shorts and an Instagram Reels all competing aggressively for their respective user bases, each platform can still get a massive chunk of the market. In such a large ecosystem, there's no one single winner. Everybody wins. In other words, yes, YouTube Shorts is definitely a good competitor to TikTok, and the hope is that both platforms keep growing at a healthy rate in order to encourage competition and innovation.