YouTube Shorts Is a Serious Marketing Challenger to TikTok

YouTube Shorts, now two years old, is making a splash with the marketing community, which finds the feed of vertically oriented videos of up to 60 seconds a viable alternative to TikTok content. Creators of YouTube Shorts can add music, hashtags and other features. In June, the company said that of YouTube’s more than 2 billion logged-in viewers watching videos each month, about 1.5 billion of them are also watching YouTube Shorts, a statistic that captured the attention of advertisers and the media by surpassing TikTok’s 1 billion monthly users in five years.

“Marketers are increasingly experimenting with reaching consumers using YouTube Shorts,” The Wall Street Journal reports, explaining that “Shorts can lower brands’ barriers to entry on YouTube because its viewers are accustomed to a relatively lo-fi, user-generated, vertical look — the same style brands are already using as they make video for other platforms.”

Some advertisers view YouTube Shorts as an incubator for the YouTube mothership, WSJ notes, writing that “success on Shorts can give the agency and brand more confidence to spend more on a bigger execution of an idea on YouTube.”

Brands have reportedly come to appreciate Shorts as a place within the broader YouTube platform that has always been video-first. According to David Dweck, SVP of paid media at Wpromote, a performance marketing agency, “active YouTube users have the lowest overlap with TikTok users and a greater purchasing power.”

Short-form fashion and beauty creators say it’s “easier to drive revenue on YouTube Shorts over ByteDance’s TikTok and Meta’s Instagram Reels,” writes Vogue Business, noting that assessment could further drive market share.

YouTube already generates a key portion of online advertising revenue for its parent company, Alphabet’s Google. During the Television Upfronts in May, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told Madison Avenue that “YouTube is the mainstream.” In Q2, YouTube TV passed 5 million paid subscribers, including trailers.

Its combination of long- and short-form video is an advantage with ad inventory. In March, TikTok increased the maximum length of its videos from one minute to 10 in response to advertiser demand.

This year, TikTok is expected to generate about $12 billion in ad revenue, less than half of the $28.8 billion YouTube took in last year. As for revenue from YouTube Shorts? “We’re encouraged by the results we’re seeing. We’re excited about the opportunity,” Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler said in July on the company’s Q2 earnings call.

YouTube’s Making It Easier for Creators to Turn Longer Content into Shorts, The Verge, 7/28/22
YouTube Shares New Insights into How to Use Shorts to Boost Your Channel Performance, Social Media Today, 7/29/22
YouTube Shorts Algorithm Explained In Q&A Format, Search Engine Journal, 7/29/22
How to Upload YouTube Shorts, TechRadar, 8/8/22
TikTok to Overtake Facebook in Influencer Marketing Spend This Year, YouTube by 2024, TechCrunch, 8/2/22

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