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Influencer marketers spent 700% more on YouTube shorts last year as short-form content continued to skyrocket.
YouTube shorts now have 50 billion daily views, up from 30 billion in 2022.
Conversely, TikTok has 3 billion downloads worldwide and a 53.9% penetration in the US, with a vast user base of 143.4 million total users.
Each active TikTok user spends 23.3 hours per month on the platform.
Also, 39% of marketers agree that short-form content brought them the highest ROI.
What do all those numbers mean for you?
Not leveraging YouTube Shorts and TikTok is like shooting your advertising campaign in the foot.
This article helps you avoid that scenario. We’ll:
Let’s dive in with arguably the most important aspect of YouTube Shorts vs TikTok: money.
Overall, the choice between YouTube Shorts and TikTok for marketing campaigns depends on the target audience, campaign goals, and budget, with each platform offering distinct advantages.
On average, advertising on YouTube Shorts is more cost-effective.
With an approximate cost of $4 per thousand views (CPM), it presents a more budget-friendly option for companies looking to maximize their ad spend efficiency.
In comparison, TikTok’s average advertising cost is higher, with a reported $8 CPM.
This higher cost reflects the platform’s strong engagement rates and appeal to a specific demographic.
What that means for you:
YouTube’s lower costs may be more attractive for small to medium-sized businesses or campaigns aiming for a wider demographic reach.
For brands specifically targeting younger demographics and seeking high engagement, the higher cost of TikTok ads could be a worthwhile investment.
Or, you can use both social media platforms.
Insider tip: Don’t just consider cost but also measure your campaign success in terms of engagement, conversion rates, and brand impact.
Analyze metrics like cost per mille, click-through rate, and ROI.
Here are some free tools you can use:
You can fill in any two fields to get a quick CPM in the simple mode.
The advanced more allows you to consider more in-depth factors.
This calculator lets you compare the CPM you’d get on TikTok and YouTube Shorts, thus prioritizing the best tool in your next marketing campaign.
Simply input your number of clicks and impressions in this calculator to get the CTR score for TikTok and YouTube shorts.
Then, compare the results to see which channel can boost your campaign’s success more.
The tool also has an advanced mode for more intricate calculations.
Your campaign efforts should bring a decent ROI.
Whether you’re using influencers or not, you should assess which channel maximizes your profits.
This ROI calculator was devised for influencer marketing campaigns.
However, you can consider your brand as the influencer and set your average followers and the number of posts accordingly.
Then, let the calculator estimate your potential reach, engagement, and impressions.
Pro tip: Compare the advertising budget and ROI from this campaign to the budget and ROI you’d have by using influencers.
Now that your campaign budget is set up let’s analyze the two platforms side by side.
YouTube Shorts is a feature within the YouTube platform designed to capitalize on the short-form video content trend.
Launched as a direct competitor to TikTok, Shorts allows users to create and share videos between 15 and 60 seconds long.
This feature is integrated within YouTube’s vast ecosystem, leveraging its expansive user base and content variety.
Shorts are engaging and easily consumable, offering tools for editing, music incorporation, and interactive elements.
TikTok, a leading platform in the bite-sized video content sphere, has revolutionized digital media consumption.
This app allows users to create, share, and view videos up to 3 minutes, focusing exclusively on this quick, engaging format.
Known for its viral trends, catchy music integration, and highly personalized algorithm, TikTok has become a cultural phenomenon, especially among younger demographics.
It’s a hub for creativity and spontaneity, providing tools and features that encourage users to express themselves in innovative ways.
YouTube Shorts have specific features that TikTok clips lack, and vice-versa.
Let’s analyze these features and see what they mean for your campaign.
Now for the section you’ve been waiting for: the differences between YouTube Shorts and TikTok and what they mean for your campaign.
YouTube Shorts algorithm is distinct from its long-form video algorithm.
It primarily focuses on video length, topics, and viewer engagement (how often a video is viewed vs swiped away).
Besides, Shorts are part of the larger YouTube platform, meaning they benefit from its sophisticated search and recommendation system, which is heavily influenced by user search history and channel subscriptions.
Another benefit is content longevity.
Videos on YouTube, including Shorts, tend to have a longer lifespan due to YouTube’s comprehensive content categorization and searchability.
Strategic impact on your brand:
Understanding the importance of topics and engagement in the algorithm helps you create more targeted and engaging content.
For example, you can:
This is a great example because it addresses the evergreen problem of online trust:
TikTok’s algorithm is known for its hyper-personalization, based on user interactions (likes, shares, comments), video topics, trending elements, use of effects, and overall engagement.
Content on TikTok can go viral quickly, influenced by trending sounds, hashtags, and challenges.
Besides, TikTok’s algorithm is excellent at pushing content to a broad, global audience, even if the creator doesn’t have many followers.
Strategic impact on your brand:
Insider tip: Ensure your content is catchy, highly engaging, and designed for immediate impact. If you’re using TikTok influencers, prioritize those with a proven track record of leveraging TikTok’s algorithm effectively. Those who are quick to adopt trends and viral content are especially great.
That’s what our sister agency, inBeat, did for the sports app Green Park:
As a result, Green Park’s budget scaled to 3X while maintaining their target CPIs. And all that within just three weeks.
YouTube offers comprehensive analytics, including detailed viewer demographics, engagement metrics, and performance.
Analytics for YouTube Shorts are available through a separate feature in YouTube Studio.
Strategic impact for your brand: The in-depth analysis capability helps you understand nuanced viewer behaviors and user engagement.
Therefore, you can plan your social media strategy long-term.
You get quick and easy access to basic analytics such as video views, likes, shares, and basic demographic information. These analytics are directly available in the TikTok app.
Strategic impact on your brand: The immediacy and accessibility of TikTok’s analytics enable rapid, on-the-go adjustments to content strategies so you can easily respond to short-term trends and viewer preferences.
Take our TikTok UGC campaign examples that move the needle.
We found that extensively testing and adapting catchy hooks is the key to:
Our work for Turo offers a great example because it’s the simplest hooks that work best:
Shorts attracts a broader age range, tapping into YouTube’s diverse global user base.
Strategic impact on your brand: This diversity allows for targeting a wider audience spectrum, making it suitable for content that appeals to various age groups.
It offers flexibility in content style, from more mature themes to youthful trends.
Insider tip: Campaigns on YouTube Shorts should consider a more varied content strategy to appeal to its wider demographic range.
This might include a mix of entertainment, educational content, and varied storytelling styles.
TikTok predominantly attracts a younger audience, particularly Gen Z and younger millennials.
Strategic impact on your brand: Content needs to be tailored to resonate with younger viewers, requiring a focus on current trends, fast-paced editing, and relatable themes.
It’s ideal for brands that engage with this demographic segment and build brand loyalty among young consumers.
Insider tip: TikTok campaigns should lean into current cultural trends, quick humor, and engaging challenges to resonate with its younger audience.
If you’re working with TikTok influencers, make sure they can create highly shareable, visually captivating content.
This video offers a good example of visually captivating content because it’s fast-paced and polished but still authentic.
And yes, it’s another one of our agency’s awesome work examples.
YouTube Shorts should be a minimum of 15 seconds and a maximum of 60.
Strategic impact for your brand: The shorter duration of YouTube Shorts requires concise, impactful content.
It’s ideal for quick messages, brand teasers, or snippets that lead viewers to longer-form content on the same platform.
This constraint also fosters creativity, challenging Shorts creators to deliver their message effectively in a brief window.
Insider tip: Focus on creating concise, entertaining content that quickly grabs and holds the viewer’s attention. This might include catchy visuals, quick facts, or humorous clips.
The duration limit on TikTok is 3 minutes.
Strategic impact for your brand: The longer duration available on TikTok allows for more detailed storytelling and more comprehensive, relevant content creation.
This flexibility is great for in-depth product showcases, extended narratives, and engaging story arcs.
It offers room for more detailed and creative expression.
Insider tip: Delve deeper into your content whenever necessary, whether through storytelling, detailed tutorials, or extended interactions with the audience.
YouTube offers basic editing tools, including filters for video brightness, hue, temperature, and a vast audio library.
You have enough functionality to create polished, visually appealing content.
The focus is more on the content itself rather than the effects used.
Strategic impact for your brand: The type of content that attracts YouTube social media users focuses on quality and message.
Basically, you must use the available tools to enhance but not overpower the core message to reach your marketing goals.
Insider tip: If you’re using influencer marketing, select influencers who can convey messages concisely and engagingly. Their ability to use YouTube’s editing tools effectively to create polished content should also be a priority.
TikTok has a vast library of advanced editing tools, including AR effects, green screen options, and filters.
Strategic impact for your brand: TikTok’s extensive range of creative tools allows for highly dynamic, visually creative content.
This can significantly enhance viewer engagement, as the platform’s audience appreciates and expects a high level of creativity and visual appeal.
Insider tip: Influencers who skillfully use TikTok’s extensive editing features, including AR effects and green screen, can add a creative edge to your campaign, making it more engaging and shareable.
Side note: inBeat offers an excellent (free) database for finding TikTok influencers. This tool can help you identify influencers whose style, audience, and content align with your campaign objectives.
All you have to do is select the right filters and keywords, like so:
Next, compare influencers’ profiles in terms of average engagement rates, follower count, and post activity.
As you can see, each platform offers unique opportunities and challenges, from YouTube Shorts’ diverse audience and content longevity to TikTok’s trend-centric approach and younger demographic.
The key to success is aligning your campaign strategies with each platform’s strengths and audience dynamics.
And if you want to find the right influencers or assess your marketing budget, check inBeat’s free toolkit and kickstart your campaign.