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YouTube vs. TikTok: Which Is Best For Businesses and Creators?

By Lauren Lietzow 9 November, 2022, 12 mins read

YouTube and TikTok: two huge video (and social media advertising) platforms in the world. 

One has been around for more than a decade. The other is new but has grown incredibly fast and gets more traffic than Google.

For both businesses and creators, it can be challenging to know which platform to focus their efforts on. Both help businesses connect with new audiences. Both help creators monetise their content.

So which is best for businesses and which is best for creators?

In this guide, we’ll answer that question. We’ll also explain some of the key differences between the platforms, as well as how each platform’s algorithm works.

About YouTube

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YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world. It’s also the second largest search engine after Google, whose parent company owns YouTube.

YouTube is more than just a video sharing site, though. It’s also a powerful social media platform. You can follow channels, leave comments, and engage in conversations with other YouTube users.

Some channels, like Mr. Beast, have millions of subscribers and their videos have been watched hundreds of millions of times. 

Key YouTube Statistics

YouTube dominates the video streaming industry. It’s used by a massive number of people across and represents an enormous potential audience for businesses and creators. 

  • Every month, 1.7 billion people visit YouTube. 
  • In the United States, 62% of YouTube users engage with the site on a daily basis. 
  • Globally, users spend an average of 19 minutes per day on YouTube. 
  • Every minute 694,000 hours of video are streamed on the site.
  • 81% of all internet users in the world have used YouTube. YouTube shorts get 15 billion views every day.

YouTube Demographics

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YouTube is a massively popular platform with a global audience and high levels of engagement. Essentially every demographic uses the platform, and it represents a significant opportunity for both businesses and creators. 

About TikTok

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TikTok was originally called Music.ly and was created by the Chinese company ByteDance. In the last 5 years, the app has exploded in popularity and now has more than a billion monthly users

The app allows users to create short-form videos that are up to 60 seconds in length. It also allows users to add music, stickers, gifs, and other forms of media to their videos.

Like YouTube, users can comment on and like videos. Creators can create all types of videos, including time-lapse, DIY, comedy, dance, and more. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram have all introduced short-form video features in an effort to keep up with TikTok.

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Key Statistics About TikTok

Though not nearly as old as YouTube, TikTok has changed the video streaming industry. Its algorithm is designed to keep people in the app, and it does this very successfully. 

  • The TikTok app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times 
  • Users spend an average of 95 minutes per day on the app
  • The average user opens the app 8 times per day
  • 83% of all users have posted a video
  • In the United States alone, it’s estimated that TikTok generates $500 million in revenue
  • Songs that go viral on TikTok almost always become trending songs on Spotify during the same time period

TikTok Demographics

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Like YouTube, TikTok is also a hugely popular social platform with a global audience. For example, in Australia, residents averaged 16.8 hours per month on the platform. Taken as a whole, that’s more than 42 million hours per month watched by Australians alone. 

  • 32% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10-19 and 29.5% are between 20-29. This means that TikTok is hugely popular with Gen Z, who have a significant influence on current trends. 
  • 60% of users identify as female and 40% as male
  • TikTok is available in 154 countries in 75 different languages
  • Out of the 2 billion app downloads, 500 million have been by users in India and 180 million from China.
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TikTok vs. YouTube: Key Differences

Video Length

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YouTube lets you upload videos of all lengths . This gives it broad appeal to video creators of all types. You can find everything from 1-minute videos to multi-hour movies on YouTube.

TikTok, on the other hand, is built for bite-sized videos. The app only allows videos that are up to 60 seconds in length. This makes it ideal for Gen Z users who have short attention spans but makes it less suitable for longer videos.

Video Content

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There is a huge range of video content on YouTube. You can find DIY videos, product reviews, vlogs, music videos, educational content, and more. This diversity is one of YouTube’s major strengths.

TikTok, on the other hand, is mostly used for entertainment purposes. The majority of videos on TikTok are lip-syncing videos, comedy skits, or dance clips. Compared to YouTube, there is much less diversity.

This makes YouTube better for businesses and creators who want to upload longform content, e.g. educational or product-related videos. TikTok, on the other hand, is better suited for entertainment and creative content.

Both platforms offer live streaming options. TikTok content tends to go viral more often than YouTube content.

Primary User Base

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As we’ve noted, YouTube has a huge user base covering almost every demographic possible. The platform is used by people of all ages, in all countries, and with a wide range of interests.

TikTok has a narrower focus. Although the app is used widely, it is aimed primarily at Gen Z users and is most popular with teenagers and young adults. This is evident in both the app’s design and the types of videos that are popular on the platform.

If you’re targeting teenagers and young adults, then TikTok is a good choice. If you want to reach a more diverse audience, YouTube is a better option.

Types of Advertisements

YouTube offers advertisers a number of different options for their ads, including:

  • Pre-roll
  • Mid-roll
  • Post-roll
  • Sidebar
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With TikTok, ads are inserted naturally into the users newsfeed. In fact, they look so much like native content that it can be hard to tell they’re ads unless you see the “Sponsored” text at the very bottom.

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Messaging Options

Both platforms offer messaging options. YouTube allows users to comment on videos. Users can also give videos a thumbs up if they like a video and the creator will see that.

TikTok has a similar feature that allows users to comment on videos. However, the app also offers a direct messaging function that makes it easy for users to communicate with each other.

Understanding TikTok’s Algorithm

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The TikTok algorithm has been finely tuned in order to provide users with a constant stream of interesting videos. When a user first signs up for TikTok, the app will ask them to select a few topics they’re interested in. 

The algorithm then uses this information to curate a personalised feed for the user. The algorithm will also recommend people to follow based on your selected interests.

As you use the app, the TikTok algorithm also takes into account things like:

  • How long a user watches a video for
  • What sort of videos a user likes or comments on
  • What sort of videos a user shares
  • Which topics a user searches for
  • New accounts you follow
  • Specific video information (hashtags, sounds, captions, etc.)

All of this data is used to improve the quality of the content a user sees. The TikTok algorithm is constantly changing and evolving, which is one of the reasons why the app is so addictive.

Understanding YouTube’s Algorithm

The YouTube algorithm is based on user satisfaction, and it uses a variety of methods to measure that. For example:

  • How long users watch videos
  • Where users drop off
  • Which videos users like and dislike
  • Which suggested videos users click on
  • Past search activity
  • Past watch activity
  • Overall performance of a video (total views, likes, etc.)

The more a person uses YouTube, the more information YouTube is able to gather and use to make relevant video recommendations.

YouTube vs. TikTok: Which Is Best For Your Business?

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Now let’s talk about which video platform is best for businesses to use.

Benefits of Promoting On YouTube

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Larger Audience

Although TikTok has an enormous user base, YouTube is still twice as large. This means that there is potential to reach a larger audience on YouTube. And, as we’ve noted, the YouTube audience is diverse. You can be sure that your audience can be found on YouTube.

Granular Targeting Options

Like Google Adwords, YouTube offers granular targeting options when it comes to advertising. You can target by location, gender, age, interests, and even keywords. This allows businesses to laser-focus their advertising efforts and get the most bang for their buck.

Positive ROI.

Even small businesses with a limited budget can find success advertising on YouTube. Google reports a 108% return on YouTube ad spend. What’s more, YouTube ads are 84% more likely to capture the attention of an audience than TV advertisements. 

Whatever your marketing goals, you can be sure that YouTube can help you achieve them.

Easy To Measure Campaign Results

YouTube makes it very easy to track campaign results in real-time. You can see exactly how many views, likes, comments, and shares your videos are getting. You can also track click-through rate, conversion rate, drop-off rate, and other key metrics. 

You can see which parts of your video get the most attention from users as well. This data is extremely valuable as it can help you fine-tune your marketing strategy on the fly.

Benefits of Promoting On TikTok

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Effective Reach

TikTok has an extremely effective reach. Incredibly, TikTok ads reach 17.9% of ALL internet users over the age of 18. That’s almost 885 million people. In some countries, TikTok ads can reach almost half the population. 

As we mentioned earlier, TikTok videos are highly shareable. This means that your marketing message has the potential to go viral and be seen by millions of people with very little effort on your part.

Audience Engagement

Because the TikTok algorithm uses interest based targeting, it is designed to show users the most engaging content possible. 

This means that your marketing message is more likely to be seen by people who are interested in what you have to say. 67% of users say that TikTok inspires them to shop. 73% say that they develop a deeper connection with brands when they interact with them on TikTok.

Precise Targeting

TikTok allows businesses to target users based on interests, behaviours, and even demographics. You can also target by location. You can also use a variety of ad types, such as in-feed video ads, brand takeovers, and hashtag challenges to reach your target audience. 

This means that you can be sure that your marketing message is seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.

Creator Monetisation Tools

YouTube’s monetisation tools

The most obvious way that creators make money through YouTube is via the YouTube Partner Program. To be eligible for this program, creators must have a YouTube channel with at least 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. 

Once they are accepted into the program, they can enable ads on their videos and earn a share of the revenue.

In addition to this, YouTube also offers Super Chat and Channel Memberships. Super Chat allows viewers to pay to have their comment featured prominently in the chat window. Channel Memberships allow viewers to pay a monthly fee to get access to exclusive content from their favourite creators.

YouTube also has a merchandising program that allows content creators to sell branded merchandise on their channel. They also have created a YouTube Shorts Fund, which will give creators a portion of the $100 million fund to create short-form videos.

Finally, content creators also get money from the YouTube Premium program. This is a subscription service that allows users to watch videos without ads, download videos to watch offline, and access exclusive content. 

If a viewer watches a video from a creator who is part of the YouTube Premium program, the creator will earn a share of the revenue.

TikTok’s monetisation tools

TikTok also offers a number of ways for creators to make money. First, they have their Creator’s Fund. This fund is designed to help creators make a living from their content. TikTok takes a portion of the ad revenue that they earn and puts it into this fund. 

Creators can then apply to receive a share of the money. The amount a creator receives is based on a number of factors such as audience size, post frequency, user engagement, and more.

In addition to this, TikTok lets users send virtual gifts to creators during live streams. These gifts can be bought with real money, and creators receive 100% of the revenue from these gifts.

TikTok also has a Creator Marketplace that fosters connections between brands and creators. Creators can apply to be a part of the marketplace and, if accepted, they get access to a variety of brand partnerships. 

These partnerships usually involve the creator promoting the brand in some way, such as through a sponsored post or by participating in a challenge.

In Summary

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Both YouTube and TikTok are outstanding platforms for creators and businesses. Which should you choose?

Businesses

Your choice will depend on your campaign goals. If your goal is to create awareness, TikTok is probably a better choice. Most users on TikTok are in a passive mode, simply swiping through their newsfeed. They’re open to new brands and new products but aren’t necessarily in a buying mode.

YouTube, on the other hand, can be used both for awareness and to drive leads and conversions further down the funnel. People use research both in a passive mode and when they’re actively researching things. If you’re looking to create a video that will get people interested in your product or service, YouTube is probably the better platform.

It’s also worth considering which platform your target audience is using. If they’re mostly on TikTok, it makes sense to focus your efforts there. The same is true for YouTube.

Creators

If you’re a content creator, your choice will depend on a number of factors. First, what types of videos do you want to create? If you’re looking to create short, funny videos, TikTok is probably a better choice. If you want to create longer, in-depth videos, YouTube is a better option.

You should also consider your audience and where they are spending their time. If your target audience is younger, they’re probably spending more time on TikTok. If they’re older, they’re probably spending more time on YouTube.

Finally, you should consider your monetisation goals. If you want to gain money primarily through the number of views your videos get, YouTube is probably a better option. However, if you are wanting to partner with brands, it’s easier to set that up through TikTok right now.

Get Help from the Pros

Want to use YouTube and TikTok to maximise sales, lead generation, and brand value? 

Then you’re in the right place. Megaphone Marketing is the #1-rated marketing agency in Australia. We’re experts at both platforms; so much so our sister company, TrendFM, is Australia’s #1 TikTok agency. 

We’d love to help you figure out social media advertising and marketing with a free consultation, worth $1,200. Just click the image below to give us your contact details!

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