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

Figuring out which social media platforms are the best place for your business to connect with prospective customers can be hard. Each platform has advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully considered, especially when platforms have a lot in common. 

When it comes to TikTok and YouTube, both are video platforms that feature user-generated content. Both have significant audiences. And both have created ad platforms designed to make it easy for advertisers to invest their marketing dollars.  

It is no wonder that business owners trying to figure out which platform is better for their business may feel overwhelmed. Here we’ll compare TikTok and Youtube for businesses and digital advertisers.   

TikTok vs. Youtube Overview

In order to figure out if TikTok or YouTube is the right platform for your business, it is important to understand what each platform offers and what it doesn’t. 

The main similarity between TikTok and YouTube is that both are all about video content. They also both offer users the chance to like videos, leave comments, and follow creators they like. 

The main differences are the length of content, access to that content, and–important to advertisers–demographics. 

TikTok is designed for 15-60 second videos that are quick, fun and entertaining. The demographics of TikTok skew heavily towards those under 25 years old and slightly more female across all age groups. 

In terms of content, YouTube allows content creators to make videos up to 12 hours long, while TikTok is focused on short content. YouTube has recently emphasized YouTube Shorts and TikTok has extended the possible length of videos to up to ten minutes. 

Users are constantly scrolling through TikToks and their attention needs to be captured quickly. While users are increasingly using TikTok as a search engine to find recommendations and tips, this informative content is still mixed with content solely meant to entertain.

This mix of informative and entertaining content isn’t that different from what one can find on YouTube. Users can scroll there, too. But there’s definitely more diversity in the types of video content found on YouTube. 

The content on YouTube is made up of a wide range of topics, but videos can be very informative (some might even say boring) and can be short or long. Many people use YouTube as a search engine as well as a source of entertainment. 

As far as access goes, you don’t need an account to view videos on YouTube. There are ways to view TikTok videos without an account, but generally users are pushed to download the TikTok app to view content. 

In terms of demographics, Social Shepard shares that YouTube tends to skew more male than female. TikTok is currently the opposite. TikTok’s audience is also younger, while all age groups are represented fairly equally on YouTube. 

It is also worth noting that while TikTok has gotten a lot of attention for hitting a billion users, YouTube already has over 2 billion monthly users. Yes, TikTok’s growth is impressive, but the YouTube audience is still massive. 

Pros and Cons of TikTok for Business

When looking at the pros and cons of each platform it’s important to make sure you understand where your audience is and find ways to reach them there. A pro for one business (young audience, for example) is a con for another. 

Here are some pros and cons of TikTok for Business

Pros:

  • Easy to use platform for creators

  • High-quality videos not required

  • Large audience base, primarily female and under 25

  • Audience primarily in the U.S.

  • Easy to work with influencers

  • Six types of ad formats

  • Lots of music options

Cons:

  • Short videos

  • Need to post frequently to build audience

  • Must be entertaining to capture attention

  • Ads used on other platforms may not work as well

Should Your Business Use TikTok?

TikTok can be a great platform for your business– if your target audience is on the platform. Some business owners worry that their business might not be visual enough for TikTok, or that they don’t have enough video skills to make professional looking videos, but neither is required. 

There are plenty of visual businesses, such as wedding dress shops or bakeries, that have done well on the platform, but there are also many accounts giving legal tips or financial advice that are successful as well. 

In terms of TikTok videos, those that are super sophisticated don’t actually usually do as well as those that look more “genuine.” That doesn’t always mean they are easier to create, as you still have to strike the right tone for your brand. 

TikTok collects a lot of information on who is watching your videos, the times/days they are active on the platform, the number of times your videos were viewed from a hashtag, and so much more. These metrics can be helpful as you try to figure out what works. 

Pros and Cons of YouTube for Business

Businesses and marketers have had a much longer time to experiment with content and ads on YouTube. But again, the pros and cons will depend on your business. 

Pros:

  • Large audience

  • Easily accessible to those without a account

  • Wide range of user demographics

  • Ads play on videos

  • Robust analytics

Cons:

  • Videos need to be higher quality

  • Ads may be shown on videos that aren’t an ideal fit

  • Ads are generally skippable

  • Can be hard to get traction and conversions

Should Your Business Use YouTube?

YouTube can be a great platform for many businesses. The range of ages and number of users means that many businesses can find their target audience on the platform. 

If you’re creating content, you’ll be competing with more established accounts and videos that have been around a long time. While you can certainly break into the space, it takes effort and consistency.  

Another consideration before using YouTube is that videos that are higher quality and well produced tend to do better on the platform, so it may take more time and resources to create videos for YouTube. 

However, if you decide to go the YouTube route it may be worth also starting TikTok. You’ll be frequently producing video content, so you could use ideas generated from  those videos or create snippets for TikTok. 

FAQs YouTube Vs TikTok

Why are the Results on YouTube Different From TikTok’s?

While TikTok and YouTube certainly share similarities, they don’t have the same content.  Some content creators are only on one of the platforms and not the other. Each platform also uses proprietary algorithms that serve up content and ads. As a result, users searching for the same topic are likely to get different results on each platform. 

Which Site Is More Popular?

Using data shared by Social Shepard, YouTube currently has a little over two billion monthly users while TikTok has roughly a little over one billion monthly users. In terms of daily users, the gap widens with TikTok having about 45 million users between iOS and Android, while YouTube has about 122 million daily users. 

Outside of traffic to each platform you can look at demographics, though those aren’t entirely accurate either. (For regulatory reasons, users under 18 years old are not tracked even though each platform presumably has users younger than that.) 


Finally, social media users may use multiple platforms so audiences may overlap. 

What are the Two Major Differences Between TikTok and YouTube?

Spend a little time on each platform and you’ll notice differences in the user experience. TikTok is serving up short videos and encouraging scrolling. YouTube is also serving up suggestions of videos to watch, but feels more like a video search engine. YouTube videos can be short or very long. 

In addition to the differences in video length, TikTok’s platform almost forces you to sign up to watch videos. If you’re not using TikTok, you may see TikTok videos embedded in other places, but you aren’t likely to just visit the site to watch TikToks. That may change, but for the time being it’s an app-driven experience. 

YouTube will also encourage you to sign up for an account but you can just as easily go to YouTube.com and search for videos in topics of interest without signing up or downloading the app. 

For advertisers, though, both platforms try to make it easy for you to create an ad account. YouTube ads generally have higher production quality than TikTok ads. Advertisers can easily get slammed on TikTok for ads that don’t seem to fit with the platform’s format.


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