YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok: The Short-Form Video Content War

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Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2024

TikTok 101

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We saw the YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok debate coming. You must be tired of people saying that we have short attention spans. We usually hear it from the generations above us. They come from when they watched TV shows at a designated time. 

These shows would typically last at least half an hour. You need patience to sit through and watch an entire story through the build-up, execution, and resolution. 

These days, we can have an entire rollercoaster of a story within a few minutes. You don’t even need a full minute. Thanks to TikTok, the short-form content is all the rage. It is everywhere. 

And we mean everywhere. Every platform allows for some kind of video content. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok all enable creators to share short videos. These videos are usually extremely technical or just very simple. 

It’s normal to expect a creator to have a full-feature film in a few seconds. It’s equally normal for them to have a short video with text on the screen. There is room for high effort and low effort. This adds to the virality. 

You may prefer short-form videos for watching but not creating. If you prefer to make long-form content, try to hop on the short-form trend anyway. You shouldn’t deprive yourself of the potential reach of short videos.

A cellphone on a tripod records a woman in a chair.

TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts Monetization: The Bottom Line

Of course, you’re wondering about the financial opportunities that each platform can give you. Social media has become a marketplace in itself. If you’re going to spend time creating content, you want to know that it is financially worthwhile

So, who is superior regarding TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts monetization? Let’s talk about the options to earn an income on each platform. Hopefully, this will help you with your options so that you can ultimately make an informed decision. 


For some people, TikTok is a place where you can scroll all day. For other people, it’s a source of income. How exactly do they make money on this platform? We’ll give you three ways that they do this.

  1. Brand partnership: So many people blame TikTok for their purchases. How often do you hear a creator say that TikTok made them buy something? Even the brands know about this influence. In response, they offer products to TikTok creators. They ask them to create videos promoting the products. They also usually pay handsomely for this kind of content. It is a new way to advertise without using commercials. A creator on the Internet that you relate to tends to be more convincing than an infomercial with strangers. This is a popular way to earn an income on most platforms.
  2. Creator Fund: You don’t have to depend on brands paying you. You could earn by creating very popular content. The Creator Fund is an excellent way for creators to get payments from TikTok.The platform will pay you when you meet certain criteria.
  3. Gifts: If your audience appreciates what you do to entertain them, they can give you gifts. These are virtual gifts that convert to money for you. This method depends totally on your followers feeling generous. This means it may not be reliable.

A person holds a phone showing the home screen.


YouTube was the first platform that made creators consider quitting their 9-to-5 jobs. They started the trend of people becoming full-time content creators and creating at the YouTube Studio. It remains a platform that offers lucrative opportunities to creators. Here are some options.

  • The Partner program: You can put ads on your videos. This generates revenue, of which YouTube will take a portion. You partner with them in profit sharing. Of course, they retain the right to choose the videos that benefit from this.
  • Brand partnerships: This method is similar to what you can do on TikTok. You can create content for brands to promote their products. They can pay you for this advertisement to your follower base. 

Two women dance for a video.

Is YouTube Shorts Better Than TikTok? We Help You Decide

It can be better than TikTok. This depends on the vision that you have for your brand. As a video creator, you want to give your content the best chance at success. That could mean several things. One of which is deciding on the best short-form video platform to share your content. 

It can be hard to spread yourself in between the multiple platforms. It may be best to choose one and focus your efforts. YouTube is a great platform, but is it the best for you? Is YouTube Shorts better than TikTok? We have outlined a few points for you to think about. Reflect on the nature of your content or what you want it to be. Then, you can answer the question for yourself.

1. Disliking Videos

On YouTube, you can dislike videos if you want to. It’s a good way for your viewers to let you know what they think about your content. Unfortunately, it’s also a good way for malicious people to spread hate on videos you work hard on. 

YouTube may not be for you if you’re not one for the display of dislikes. On TikTok, if you dislike a video, you can keep scrolling. This may do wonders for your mental state as a creator. Seeing an overwhelming number of dislikes may negatively impact your mental health. 

A person watches a video on YouTube.

2. Video Length

How long-winded can you be? If you don’t know how to condense your information, YouTube Shorts may be hard for you. It only allows videos up to 60 seconds. This is a fraction of what TikTok offers you. You can share a video that goes up to 10 minutes long. 

It’s quite ironic that the long-form video content platform is the one limiting you. If you realize your video will be particularly long, consider flipping your phone. Go to landscape mode and record a regular video for YouTube. You could use the Shorts to promote the longer video. 

This way, your viewers can get a teaser. Highlight the main points and include them in the short video. Even though people love short-form videos on TikTok, creators have much to say. 

It is not unusual for a creator to upload several story parts in multiple videos. If you don’t mind doing this, TikTok is a great place for you. 

Chopping up that same video on YouTube into several parts will be a little more tedious.

3. Filters

TikTok is the platform with all the fun filters. It makes content creation more enjoyable. It also makes content creation a little more comfortable. TikTok is already a platform where people don’t mind looking stripped-down. People don’t mind coming online with minimal makeup and undone hair. 

But some people want to look presentable. Some filters can help with that. That way, you can focus on what you have to say in your video. YouTube is less forgiving when it comes to that. Users will typically post more professional-looking videos in YouTube Shorts. 

You don’t get the luxury of uploading a video full of filters on YouTube. If that’s a problem, you may have to find a way around it. 

For example, maybe you should upload a video to TikTok first. Then, you can download that video and put it on YouTube.

Hopefully, these key differences will help you decide how to reach your target audience.

A woman records a video showing off items.

Let’s Talk Instagram Reels vs. TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts

Another social media platform has entered the chat. It’s almost as if Instagram watched the success of TikTok. It wasn’t going to allow another platform to dethrone them. Now, they have included their own type of short-form video content. Instagram Reels are IG’s submission to the video conversation. It is quite popular as well. 

But who wins in the debate on Instagram Reels vs. TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts? Let’s expand our conversation to include Instagram.

Trending Sounds

On TikTok, you can expand your research by using a trending sound. A trending sound is audio that is popular on the platform. The algorithm decides to push creators to make videos with that sound. In response, creators try to use that sound as often as possible. It increases their chances of going viral. 

The Instagram algorithm is quite similar in this way. Creators can upload Reels using sounds that are popular on the platform. Then, Instagram will promote the Reels that use this sound. You could go viral if you hop on the trend at the right time. 

The platforms are similar in this way. Still, the songs that go viral on Instagram are likely already viral on TikTok. If you missed the trend on TikTok, you might be just in time to join it on Instagram. 

Video Scheduling

It doesn’t matter how good your content creation skills are. The process will overwhelm you if you can’t organize your video posting. This is why video scheduling was so useful to creators. On both Instagram and TikTok, you can fully create your videos and schedule them to go live later. 

This is a game changer for creators who can’t always be on their phones. They can set aside the designated content creation period. This is when they film, edit, and record. You can even put captions and hashtags as you please. Then, you can schedule the video to go up much later. 

YouTube has not followed suit yet. If this is important to you, strongly consider Instagram and TikTok for your video sharing.

Two women sit at a desk with their laptops.

The Truth About Re-Purposing Content 

Some people don’t want to engage in the TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts debate. They would prefer to just choose them both. By this, we mean recycling the same videos on every platform. 

After all, a short video is a short video everywhere, right? This may not be the case. Creating one video for multiple platforms may be a great use of time. But let’s talk about why this approach may not work for you. The video views may be very different.

The Age Demographics Are Different

The average cell phone will have all of the big-hitting apps. They will have YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. That doesn’t mean they get the same amount of attention from users. Some people have their personal preferences when it comes to social media platforms. 

Someone active on Instagram may not have any interest in TikTok. Similarly, someone who scrolls endlessly on TikTok won’t get the appeal of YouTube. Some people get their short-form content fixed on one platform. This is especially after they realize that so many of the videos exist on all platforms. Regardless, the age of the app users is important. 

Instagram was extremely popular when Millennials first got the introduction. They have largely remained on the platform. For this generation, TikTok seems to be the Titan. YouTube has staying power, but people know it for long videos. 

The content that you post on one social media platform may not be popular on the next social media platform. If your audience is older, it may take a while for you to find them on TikTok. You may have to create content that Gen-Z kids love. This may mean hopping on viral trends or topics to gain visibility. 

Of course, it’s not just a platform for young people. If you know how to target your audience, you should be able to build a community there.

The Culture Is Different

Your video might do very well on one platform and crash and burn on another. People who use YouTube are still getting used to Shorts. They come on the platform with their snacks, ready to sit down and enjoy a journey. 

Watching a short video is not what they signed up for. If they wanted a short video, why would they come to YouTube in the first place? 

On TikTok, things are a lot less polished. People are on the platform spilling information about their life experiences. They are uploading awkward dance videos just for the fun of it. They do what they can to give a quick dopamine rush to the viewers. That’s the kind of content that succeeds on that platform.

It’s hard to guarantee that it will also succeed on YouTube. It has nothing to do with the quality of your content per se. It’s simply not what people have come to expect on the platform. 

Two people sit side-by-side and watch videos on a smartphone.

End the YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok Debate

TikTok shows us that it will always be around for a long time. It would make sense to focus your efforts on this platform. That doesn’t mean that growing there will be easy.

There are lots of active users, but how do you get them to follow you? You may need the help of a professional growth expert. You can find one at High Social.

Our advanced growth techniques will bring you the user engagement that you desire. You won’t have to debate between YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok. 

With us, you can master the TikTok platform. Let’s start growing your page reach with High Social today!

TikTok 101