YouTube vs. TikTok – Complete Comparison

Both YouTube and TikTok are popular video streaming platforms for live streaming and building online communities.

Whether you’re a DIY expert or a speedrunner, both platforms will let you show off your adventures to eager audiences. However, there are clear differences between YouTube and TikTok. You may be wondering which of these is better for your online career.

YouTube vs. TikTok: Covering the Basics

A Look at YouTube

YouTube is the de facto streaming platform with the highest number of daily users. The streaming giant has set the stage for others and continues to push the envelope technologically.

YouTube has over 2 billion monthly users and is the world’s second-most-visited website. It started as a project that very few businesses took seriously.

YouTube turned the entertainment industry on its head. From frivolous lawsuits to regulatory bottlenecks, YouTube braved against all odds to create a space for itself.

In doing so, YouTube created a framework from which all streaming platforms are in profit. As the OG of streaming platforms in California, YouTube has no second.

The streaming giant continues to dominate the internet for various factors, including:

  • Intuitive interface that is easy to use
  • Targeting a broad audience with diverse topics
  • An incredibly massive user base that incentivizes others to join
  • The sheer variety of content and scale of production

It also helps that YouTube was one of the first streaming platforms. Over 500 hours of content is uploaded on YouTube by the minute.

You will find content on just about everything – from news and politics to entertainment and education.

YouTube Demographics

YouTube is most popular with millennials. 37% of millennials will binge-watch YouTube videos every day.

The streaming giant has slightly more male users. It has the largest number of users in India, followed by the US.

Nearly 81% of adults in the US claim to use YouTube. The majority of these users fall between the ages of 18 to 49.

They make up three generations of YouTubers with an ever-increasing purchasing power. The millennials have entered the workspace and moved up the corporate ladder.

This means they are more likely to buy a product or service after watching ads. They are also more likely to donate and support their favorite content creators.

A Look at TikTok

TikTok wasn’t supposed to get this much traction. But the idea behind TikTok allowed the platform to take off.

TikTok perfected the art of making viral content – mostly short videos. This makes sense because the average online user does not have to watch a 10-minute video all day.

A quick 30-second video on petting a dog or dancing to a funny song suffices as entertainment. People have short attention spans, and TikTok is not sharing any with YouTube.

ByteDance founded the short-form video-sharing platform in 2017. The formula for success hasn’t changed.

The algorithm is primed to serve short videos in a snappy fashion quickly. This ensures that people stay glued to their screens and don’t get bored.

One of TikTok’s standout features is the ability to upload videos from smartphones. Users can edit these videos and add background music to them.

Like YouTube videos, TikTok videos also receive likes, reactions, and comments from the community.

TikTok is not meant to replace YouTube. If anything, TikTok complements YouTube by providing it with healthy competition. TikTok keeps YouTube on its toes and ensures that it does not have a monopoly on the market.

TikTok Demographics

Today, TikTok has one billion active users in 154 countries worldwide.

The app has over 2 billion downloads across App Store and Google App Store. Visitors spend an average of 858 minutes on TikTok per day.

The bite-sized videos have proven so popular that even YouTube has adopted them.

TikTok has wide appeal across all age groups. But it has captured the attention of young adults and teens. Most TikTok users are under the age of 30.

Almost 41% of TikTok users are between 16 to 24 years old. The majority of these users are based in India, followed by China.

US content creators show better engagement rates and daily usage, followed by the UK and France.

Check out, YouTube vs. Twitch

Content Categories: Comparing YouTube with TikTok

The four most popular content categories on YouTube are unboxing videos, challenge videos, education, and vlogs.

The most subscribed channel on YouTube is T-Series – the largest music label in India. Gaming is also a very profitable niche on YouTube.

In Q2 2022, YouTube Gaming Live generated 1.13 billion hours of content watched. This shows that gaming continues to be a major source of revenue for YouTube.

Where to Advertise: YouTube vs. TikTok

This is where the rubber meets the road: advertising spend.

Both TikTok and YouTube are generating millions of dollars in revenue every year. The two streaming giants have a massive user base with lots of spending power.

The combined spending power of GenZ, millennials, and bloomers presents an enormous opportunity for brands.

In general, the advertising budget for the same user reach on TikTok is cheaper than on YouTube.

Here’s how both platforms fare.

YouTube for Business

YouTube has to contend with other streaming platforms, but it remains the default choice for brands. YouTube leads the industry in terms of reaching more people.

It also allows content creators to generate revenue from their videos. YouTube’s revenue-sharing program is unprecedented.

It pockets 45% of ad revenue and distributes the rest to content creators. We believe that’s fair enough, given that YouTube maintains such a massive platform.

In 2021, YouTube brought in $28.8 billion in advertising revenue. 55% of this was distributed to content creators.

YouTube has recently started offering YouTube Shorts to sway users away from TikTok. It is offering more incentives and opportunities to get paid.

YouTube Shorts has been a major success. It generates five billion views every day. This is good for brands because they can maximize their reach to users.

Aside from ad revenue, content creators are also leveraging non-ad products. These include Channel Memberships and Super Chat.

You would think that advertising on YouTube would be expensive. But that’s not the case. YouTube is very accessible to small businesses.

The average cost per view of ads is about $0.010 to $0.030. It takes $2,000 to reach 100,000 viewers.

The best part? YouTube does not charge if the video was not watched for at least five seconds. YouTube uses a PPC model for advertisers.

This means you can set how much you will pay for each click. The benefits of using YouTube for advertising are endless. You get fast results that are easily measurable.

The analytics tab can be used to improve your ad campaigns and maximize advertising spending.

YouTube serves ads before and after a video ends. Ads may also interrupt videos. This can lead to a horrible user experience because no line appreciates ad interruptions.

Ads are also presented as the user scrolls through the platform.

Check out, YouTube vs Vimeo

Using YouTube for Advertisement

Advertising on YouTube is easy and cost-effective. Here are the types of YouTube ads:

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • In-display ads
  • Overlay ads and banners (non-video ads)

Learning how to use YouTube ads for your business will take some time. We recommend contacting a marketing expert to maximize your advertising budget.

TikTok for Business

TikTok is a goldmine for marketers. The streaming platform allows marketers to realize their business goals quickly and effectively.

Brands are moving away from cookie-cutter advertisements and opting for more quirky and creative ad content.

Note that TikTok does not serve ads in its videos. This makes sense because the videos are extremely short.

You don’t need a big budget to make engaging and captivating content. There is a cause for concern with TikTok, though: the young demographic.

The platform mostly appeals to younger users with shorter videos. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for your brand.

TikTok is a great tool for creating brand awareness. Most users don’t go to TikTok expecting to see an ad.

The algorithm and the users will abandon anything that reeks of a traditional ad! So try to get in with the times and approach ads more creatively.

Create content that resonates with the user base by studying trends. Viral challenges and harmless pranks often do well on TikTok.

Many businesses have leveraged TikTok to boost their sales. Chipotle is one such business that comes to mind. The brand introduced the #GuacDance challenge in 2019.

This engaged the community and resulted in thousands of video submissions and sales. As a result, Chipotle managed to generate 800,000 new orders.

G2A, an online gaming marketplace, used video ads to achieve 12 million impressions. This only cost them $0.16 CPM and $0.07 CPC. 

Using TikTok for Advertisement

There are several benefits of uploading videos on your channel and collaborating with influencers. The platform creates a fun environment that encourages creativity.

There are several ad types for brands to increase their reach, this includes:

  • In-Feed ads
  • Branded Hashtags
  • Brand Takeovers
  • Branded Effects
  • TopView Ads

Creating an advertising campaign on TikTok does require a little learning. You can use services like Hootsuite to improve your reach on TikTok.

We recommend updating your TikTok videos every week to avoid audience fatigue. TikTok itself also recommends this.

Try to use various types of videos, including B-roll and transition footage, to keep audiences engaged.

Make sure to get to the point because TikTok users have low attention spans. Video ads can go up to 60 seconds. But you are recommended to get to the point in the first 5 seconds.

The first 10 seconds can make or break your ad campaign!

Also, check out, YouTube vs. YouTube Premium: Which is Better?

The Algorithm: YouTube vs. TikTok

Both YouTube and TikTok use powerful algorithms to improve the user experience. The algorithms often award shorter videos because they are popular with users.

This isn’t to say that YouTube doesn’t award longer videos. The algorithm supports a broad range of content. In this sense, the YouTube algorithm is superior.

The YouTube Algorithm

YouTube’s algorithm has matured over time. It used to reward videos with clickbait titles and thumbnails.

However, this has changed. YouTube now awards influencers for creating high-quality content. It also serves videos to users based on three factors:

  • Performance of a video, including its duration and user satisfaction
  • User watch history and activity
  • Current trends and interests

Verified accounts on YouTube can upload videos for as long as 12 hours. Unverified accounts can upload 15-minute videos. The optimal length on YouTube is somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes.

The TikTok Algorithm

TikTok recommends videos to users based on various factors. These include user interest and watch history.

This makes the experience unique to every user. A lot of content is available for users on the For You page. This makes it easier for audiences to find creators they are more likely to enjoy.

There are several factors that the TikTok algorithm takes into account; these include:

  • User engagement in the form of comments and likes
  • External factors such as trends and seasonal relevancy
  • Device settings and language preferences

The average length for videos on TikTok was 60 seconds. The company increased it to 10 minutes. However, the algorithm is primed to reward shorter videos.

YouTube vs TikTok
YouTube vs TikTok

Which Platform is Ideal for Creators?

Both TikTok and YouTube reward content creators for being original, fun, and witty. If you can be successful on TikTok, you can start a channel on YouTube and vice versa.

If you like making short, funny, and unconventional videos, try TikTok. But if your videos are more DIY-related with in-depth discussions, you should use YouTube.

Some categories find both platforms ideal for their viewers. For example, fitness enthusiasts upload hour-long podcasts on YouTube.

They then upload short snippets from those podcasts on TikTok and YouTube Shorts. These short clips often go viral and redirect traffic to the larger video. The result is a win-win scenario for content creators.

Wrapping Up

After looking at the key differences between TikTok and YouTube, both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Whether you are a business or an individual, it is recommended to use both YouTube and TikTok. YouTube is best if you are a gamer or DIY channel. TikTok is best if you want to make viral clips. Let us know which platform you like to use and why!

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