TikTok vs YouTube: What Should My Business Use?

With 86% of businesses now using video as a marketing tool, two of the most popular digital platforms are YouTube and TikTok. But which is better for businesses and should a business favour one over another? The Zen Agency will highlight insights & stats to help highlight which platform is better for you & your business.

TikTok vs YouTube: What Should My Business Use?

Through-out and after the pandemic content creators were using video content more than ever. Although, Cisco had already estimated that by 2022, 82% of all created content would be video. A main reason behind content creators focusing on videography was due to videos becoming easier to develop in-house.

Another reason for the potential rise in videography was during the pandemic, online behaviour shifted which made content creators become more comfortable in their authentic selves – 42% of social media users agreed that there was less pressure to portray an unrealistic image of their life.  

TikTok and YouTube benefited massively from with YouTube growing their US market from 73% to 81% during the pandemic. Whereas, TikTok saw a massive growth with a spike of 180% at the start of the pandemic as many were isolating from home.

Worldwide, YouTube and TikTok are within the top 5 social media networks, with YouTube at number 3 and TikTok climbing the ranks at number 5. Selecting the right platform for your business requires careful consideration of your brand, target audience and budget.

What is TikTok?

TikTok originated from Chinese tech company ByteDance which acquired Musical.ly in 2017. Some of Musical.ly’s technology was used in the development of TikTok. The social media platform allowed users to create short-form videos, taking inspiration from online cult hero Vine. TikTok provided a free in-app video editor which allowed users to add filters, stickers and text for a 15 second video.

TikTok has been downloaded 3 billion times worldwide and is the first non-Meta owned app to do so. It's reported that 52% of TikTok users who have came across a SMB on TikTok they have went on to make a purchase. 

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free video sharing platform that allows users to watch and share videos online. It also allows users the chance to create and upload your own videos online for others to view. YouTube was created in 2005 and has users watching around 6 billion hours of video every month.

Both TikTok & YouTube provide users with a fee account, meaning it costs businesses nothing to promote on these channels. However, there are some differences in the successful video platforms:

Difference in Key Audience

One slight difference in the platforms is target audience. TikTok UK key audience were 13–24-year-olds with 32.9% whereas YouTube’s main audience were users between 25-44 year old with 44%, however YouTube claims “theres something for everyone to enjoy on YouTube no matter your age”.

As a result of having different key audiences, it maybe beneficial to choose one platform over another. For example, if you were targeting Gen Z, TikTok would be your main source of advertising as the platform is very popular with the demographic. Whereas, older Gen Z and Millenials are more likely to trust YouTubers, highlighted by Ypulse survey that results in 31% of YouTubers being the most trusted public figures.

Content Length & Format

Another difference between the platforms is their content length, TikTok fundamentals mean a video has to be short & sweet. With the maximum length being 3 minutes, and TikTok recommendations state for a video to be “optimal” it should be between 21-34 seconds to keep viewers attention. However, the average video lasts anywhere between 15 & 60 seconds.

TikTok favours “short-form” videos with their favoured aspect ratio of 9:16, so it’s optimized for mobile devices. This is due to their target audience preferring mobile usage over anything else.

Whereas YouTube videos can last up to two hours long. However, unverified accounts can only upload 15-minute videos. Similarly to TikTok, YouTube’s most popular device is also mobile with 49% of users using their mobile to stream videos. As a result, content creators should also use a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Both platforms have a high amount of time spent on the platform per day with both channels having around 45 minutes, with TikTok just out doing YouTube with 45.8 minutes compared to YouTube’s 45.6 minutes.

Comparing Algorithms

Both platforms have content that performs well regardless of which platform, things like product reviews and reaction videos. This could be due to users trusting user content more than a brand’s marketing video. However, there are some types of content which performs better on one platform than the other.

TikTok – Bite-sized content works best, that keeps the audiences attention before moving on. Successful segments are trending dance videos & lip syncs, specialised content like travelling a country showcasing the top 5 locations and content involved in one specialty market.

Due to the shortness of the video, successful videos usually are simple, engaging and straight to the point. Most successful TikTokers are relatable to their audience and authentic.

YouTube – YouTube videos have great success if the targeted user deems them helpful and insightful, for example, how to videos, product reviews and podcasts. Compared to TikTok, YouTuber has a longer chance to capture their audience as they have a longer content length. Businesses with a difficult or complex part of their product/ service should use YouTube instead of TikTok.

TikTok also has a unique feature called the "For You" page which curates personalized video content for each user. YouTube also has a similar feature called "Recommended" videos, but TikTok's for You page is known to be more accurate and personalised.

So, What Should I Use?

The Zen Agency believes both platforms are here to stay, so whichever one you choose will help your business develop in the long run. On the surface, YouTube has the larger stats out of the two with 646 billion traffic and 65.1 million paid traffic. However, this is due to YouTube being set up first. TikTok’s rise to success has been unprecedented and the earlier a business invests into it the richer the reward will be.

The best platform depends on your brand, it’s resources and your target audience. There is also no ruling out using both platforms for different brand objectives. If budget allows, a business could use both platforms successfully to advertise on. One thing both platforms rely on is content needs to stand out and be engaging to have any success.

Are you needing help with content creation or digital marketing? At The Zen Agency we have specialist teams to help successfully grow your brand. Contact our team of specialists at 0141 229 1333 or fill out our quick enquiry form on our website and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your marketing needs.

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