TikTok vs YouTube: Which is worth your time?



YouTube and TikTok are two video-centric platforms with hugely successful reputations. YouTube is a lead contender to be considered the most well-established video-hosting platform in the world. However, despite launching as recently as 2016, TikTok has risen in popularity so quickly that it can easily be considered a rival to the long-standing video giant.

But which platform is best? Join us as we review the pros and cons of both platforms to discover which is worth your time as a creator, business, influencer, or user.

TikTok vs YouTube for content

TikTok is first and foremost a short-form video platform with content ranging from 15 seconds to 10 minutes long, while YouTube is known best for its long-form video content. That being said, YouTube has a newer feature that enables short-form content publishing known as YouTube Shorts, intended to compete with the growing popularity of TikTok and Reels.

When it comes to the actual content, YouTube is home to a wide variety of video types — polished and unpolished, professional and amateur — but is probably best known for more detailed how-to content or lengthy vlog-style content and discussion videos from influencers and creators. YouTube Shorts are generally shorter versions of the available long-form content, or snippets taken from popular videos on the platform.

TikTok’s content is best known for its authenticity. Due to the short-form nature of the platform, the majority of TikTok content is often snappy, concise, and not especially edited or polished.

TikTok vs YouTube for business

TikTok can be an excellent place for small businesses to thrive — especially those who can showcase their products and how they are created. TikTok is also a key place for product research, with 30% of Gen Z users accessing TikTok to discover new products.

On the flip side, YouTube may be a better platform for keeping some of your more informative content such as how-to tutorials, or information about how your products or service work. YouTube is also a much better fit for those without physical products or those with services or products that are more complex. If you work for a business that wants to maximize their chance of discovery via search engine results, then it’s also worth noting that YouTube videos can appear in search engine results, unlike the majority of social channel content.

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TikTok vs YouTube for influencers/creators

If you’re an influencer or creator, you may find it easier to build a following on TikTok rather than YouTube due to the way TikTok’s algorithm works, by giving more opportunities to those with fewer followers to reach a wider range of users on the app. While many OG influencers first began using YouTube, the platform has since become incredibly saturated, and you may struggle to grow a following and build a community. Many influencers or creators who use both platforms use their TikTok content to promote their YouTube channel as well by publish clips from their long-form content on TikTok and encourage viewers to head to their YouTube channel to watch their full videos.

TikTok vs YouTube for users

If you’re using these social media apps simply for personal enjoyment, you may find yourself making your choice based on a preference for long-form content (YouTube) or short-form content (TikTok). While we’ve covered that YouTube does offer short-form content, its strongest content offering is in its long-form video selection.

TikTok can be an easier platform to enter and find the content you want to watch due to the nature of its functionality. Its algorithm is also incredibly refined and will easily provide you with a stream of content that is likely to interest you the most. While YouTube comes with its own intelligent algorithm, a bit of browsing may still be required on the part of the user to decide which video they wish to watch.

Whether you choose to spend your time on TikTok or YouTube is also dependent on what you’re looking to gain. If you’re looking for a product recommendation or creative inspiration, then TikTok could be a better fit. However, if you want more instructional how-to content, then YouTube may be the better choice.

TikTok vs YouTube for monetization

TikTok and YouTube both come with options that enable you to make money through use of the platform. For YouTube, all Creators have access to the “Earn” tab within the YouTube Studio. This tab helps with creating and selling merchandise, advertising, and channel memberships. As with TikTok, YouTube content can also be used to create sponsored content in partnership with brands or promote products as a brand affiliate.

Additionally, TikTok makes it simple to link users to the items you want to promote through the TikTok Shop, where users can make purchases without leaving the app — especially handy for affiliates or businesses.

Further reading: How to make money on TikTok

TikTok vs YouTube for advertising

Of course, the best platform to advertise on will always be the platform where your target audience spends the majority of their time. TikTok is most popular with younger generations, with 25% of users between the ages of 10-19, 22.4% between 20-29, 21.7% between 30-39, and 20.3% between 40-49. Women make up most of the user base at 57%, with 43% of the app used by men. As for YouTube, their audience is rather evenly spread across ages from 15 to 56+, with men making up the majority of the user base at 56%.

While it may be note-worthy that the cost per click on an ad on YouTube is between $0.010–$0.030, while the average cost per click on TikTok is $0.50 to $1.00, it’s important to keep in mind that the successfulness and price of your ads will vary based on placement, industry, and content format.

YouTube ad offerings:

TikTok ad offerings:

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TikTok vs YouTube FAQs

How often should I post on TikTok and YouTube?

You should aim to post at least three times on TikTok per day. For YouTube, you should aim to post a long-form video once or twice a week.

What are the best times to post on TikTok and YouTube?

The best time to post on TikTok is Monday through Friday, 6-10am and 7-11pm. The best time to post on YouTube is weekend afternoons and Fridays between 5pm and 9pm.

Whatever your needs, YouTube and TikTok are both perfectly respectable platforms and could benefit your business or brand. Use the information above to judge which platform is best for you based on your audience, intentions, and the types of content you wish to create or watch.

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