BLOG POST BY: Joanna Hughston
May 3, 2023

TikTok vs YouTube Shorts: How and Where to Invest Your Influencer Budget in 2023

“TikTok’s being banned…” “Shorts isn’t taking off…”

What’s really going on with these platforms? And where should you put your influencer budget this year?

Two Goats go head-to-head…

TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Both incredibly powerful platforms. 

And whilst TikTok is arguably still the “platform of the moment”, Shorts has been hot on its heels (did you know it now boasts over 1.5 billion active monthly users worldwide?).

Brand marketers are left spoilt for choice, and with marketing budgets tightening this year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know where to focus.

So let’s say you have 100K budget for ONE campaign on either TikTok or Youtube Shorts… 

Where should you put it?

In this virtual event, we tasked two of our social media experts with this debate. Over 30 minutes, they argued for each platform, presented the opportunities and challenges for brands, and shared tips and insights for getting the most out of platform.

  • Representing TikTok… US Lead Strategist, Ajalin Zenon
  • Representing YouTube Shorts… Head of Strategy, Jago Sherman
  • And moderating the discussion… Account Director, Hannah Pether

Scroll down for the recording of the session, as well as our top 5 takeouts.

Tiktok Vs Youtube Shorts: Which Is Better For Your Brand?

TikTok vs YouTube Shorts – Top 5 Takeouts

(1/5) Shorts’ stats may shock you…

In a poll to kick off the event, we were surprised to see how few attendees were using YouTube Shorts as part of their marketing strategy! The focus for the last couple of years seems to have been all about TikTok, but Shorts has some impressive stats that could convince even the most sceptical of marketers to sit up and take notice. To date, Shorts has had over 5 trillion views and as of June 2022, it was attracting over 30 billion views a day. In fact, according to Google, around 75% of YouTube’s total audience are actively watching Shorts, and this has potential to grow even further.

(2/5) What about the audience?

TikTok is often referred to as a “Gen Z app”, but as Ajalin noted, we’re really seeing it start to “age up”. Gen X are now making up about 16% of total users and this is growing every day, opening up opportunities for brands that want to reach older audiences. YouTube on the other hand has one of the highest penetrations of any social media platform, and as Jago says, “The demographics of Shorts reflect that of YouTube itself“. This means Gen Z and millennials, but also reaching much higher as well, making it an attractive channel for a diverse audience range.

(3/5) The barrier to entry vs the power of FOMO

One of the biggest debates between our three panelists was which platform has more potential to grow. On the one hand, Jago argued that while Shorts is a relatively new feature, its potential lies in just how easy it is to enter into that space via an existing YouTube channel. In comparison, TikTok involves having to download a new app. So the question is, for older audiences or for people who haven’t already downloaded TikTok, are they really going to do it anytime soon?

Having said that, as Ajalin countered, the power of TikTok FOMO is real. In her words, it truly is a “culture driver” right now – how often do you hear “Did you see that video on TikTok?” or “TikTok trending”? Even the famous hashtag “TikTok Made Me Buy It” shows its power. Can Shorts really compete with this?

(4/5) What do you want to achieve?

One of the benefits of TikTok is the frequency of use (the average users opens it between 7 and 9 times a day). Yes, they may not be watching for a long period of time, but this still adds up to a significant amount of time. It’s also a platform that’s more based around discovery and an algorithm-driven For You page, giving brands and creators a much bigger chance of getting in front of new audiences or even going viral. In comparison, people tend to go to YouTube with more of a set purpose in mind, or the desire to actively engage with creators they already subscribe to vs discovering something new.

What Shorts is great for though is driving people to longer form content. Jago touched on this when he talked about the power and potential of connected TV. There’s a huge opportunity for brands and creators to drive people from their Shorts to a longer form video where there’s then much more time to get a deeper, more meaningful message across. As Jago says, “Shorts is part of the YouTube ecosystem where it’s easier to capture attention and divert it to where you want it to be.

(5/5) Where are people searching?

A big topic of conversation this year is the impact of TikTok on search, with many labelling it as “Gen Z’s new search engine“. But where does that leave Shorts?

Jago argued that YouTube Shorts is going to be incredibly important for search. “Just remember that YouTube is part of Google which has been the dominant search engine for as long as we can remember“. Imagine the ability to search “Where to go for dinner tonight” or “Review of new Nike trainers”, then being able to watch a Shorts for a quick answer, which may also lead you to longer content and reviews on the main channel. It’s an incredibly powerful platform for bringing customers all the way down the funnel, from awareness to consideration, right through to conversion. Ajalin countered this though saying that yes, Shorts could have huge potential, but that requires a consumer behaviour change because right now, TikTok is dominating. “Google is adapting its search engine. Why? Because people are going to TikTok. So right now, Google’s trying to play catch up“.

This is just a short summary of some of the brilliant insights touched on in this virtual event. If you want to find out more, watch the full 30 minute TikTok vs YouTube Shorts discussion here (and find out who won the debate!).

Read more on TikTok vs YouTube here. And subscribe to our Raised on Social Newsletter to keep up with all our upcoming virtual and in-person events.

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Written by: Joanna Hughston