YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Which Best Suits Your Short-Form Video Content Needs?

Short-form video is no longer the new kid on the block of social media; it’s dominating. With its meteoric ascent to the top, it’s no wonder businesses are clamoring to get in on the action. However, deciding on brand voice fit is challenging with so many platform options. Which one will help you best connect with your target audience? 

Until recently, choosing between YouTube vs. TikTok for your business’s content marketing was a no-brainer. Their focus was on vastly different forms of video content.  However, in a bid to “unleash new grounds for creativity,” YouTube has come up with a side offering of 15 to 60-second video sharing that tramples all over TikTok – or does it? Let’s take a look. 

YouTube: The King of Long-Form Video Content 

As the long-standing go-to site for video sharing, YouTube needs no introduction. Launched back in 2005, the long-form video content site has not only stood the test of time but has excelled where many others failed. It is still every bit as popular with users as it ever was, and with its position right at the top of the pile, most marketers still regard it as the go-to platform for sharing business video content. 

TikTok: The Short-Form Video Powerhouse 

In contrast, TikTok is much newer to the game and, with its alternate angle on video creation, has made a clear niche for itself without having to compete with the likes of YouTube. The social media site’s focus on fun “snackable” content of 15 seconds to 3 minutes long became an easy screaming hit with the Gen-Z sect. A few forward-thinking brands have done very well with this infant platform. 

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok 

If you’re thinking about making short-form videos a bigger part of your marketing strategy, YouTube would previously not have been in the running for that. However, the release of their Shorts feature in 2021 has made them a major contender. That, coupled with the fact that TikTok has been busy making longer videos of up to 10-minutes, a larger part of its strategy going forward, may have put these two successful sites on a collision course for users. 

However, we believe each platform still has enough unique selling points to enable companies to choose between them. These include:

USPs of Youtube vs TikTok


YouTube still shines brightest with over 2 billion monthly logged-in users compared to TikTok’s 1 billion. That being said, the long-form video titan does have 11 years on the short-form newcomer, and it looks like TikTok may be catching up fast. The platform has enjoyed stellar growth across the last few years, being the most downloaded app of 2019, 2020, and 2021. Yet, for the time being, at least they still attract different audiences. 

TikTok seems to be better able to capture the imagination of a younger demographic, with roughly 43% of its current users falling within the 18 to 24 age range. On the other hand, with its more extensive array of more diverse content, YouTube naturally appeals to a much broader age range. However, that might not necessarily ring true for its Shorts content. That remains to be seen. 


While TikTok has quickly become THE video-sharing platform for Gen-Z consumers, is it likely to be as valuable a tool as YouTube for marketing purposes? The evidence suggests yes. While the platform may not make much of a dent in YouTube’s existing user base, they win out in terms of its high organic engagement rates and daily usage numbers. TikTok currently boasts the best rates on social media, with the average user spending 52 minutes on the app each day

That’s not to say that YouTube’s stats show any sign of decline. Quite the reverse. They remain the clear leader within the digital video market. And the forecast is that they will only continue to grow, especially as they keep adding new features to an already powerful platform. An astonishing 1 billion hours of content is viewed on the site every single day. That being said, current users only average 40 minutes on the site per day – a little less than TikTok. 


TikTok favors the authentic, less-polished video qualities that some companies and creators do so well with. It’s about humor, it’s about entertainment, it’s about being in the moment. Trends appear, skyrocket, and disappear again with alarming rapidity, and anyone using this site for their marketing will need to keep up. Yet doing well with each of these doesn’t always link back to engagement or conversions. 

From humble beginnings, YouTube has built up an empire based on top-quality video content, which the platform’s own algorithm favors as much as the site users. It’s tough to say how it will fare going down the road of snappier, rawer content. However, technology has come a long way, and simpler is no longer synonymous with low-quality. Another strength of YouTube is its potential to integrate with other content within its wider platform. Viewers can more easily be directed via call-to-actions to longer video content, channels, and other subscriptions and even towards purchasing. 

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: Overall Winner

With what we know about these two options so far, younger, funkier brands might be in a better place to benefit from TikTok’s continued soaring popularity among the hip, young crowd. Those targeting older or more sophisticated consumers could benefit from adding YouTube Shorts into their marketing strategy. 

Companies that straddle different age ranges might consider putting both in their marketing mix, although crossposting might not work so well here. It’s important to play to each of the platform’s strengths. YouTube is great for creating brand awareness, acquiring leads, and increasing conversions. TikTok holds its own for creating a buzz around brands, products, trends, or your company’s social activities. 

If you’re struggling with the time or know-how to take your business’s social media marketing strategy to the next level, we can help. We offer social media optimization services across a variety of platforms, including YouTube and TikTok. Get in touch today!