YouTube Hopes To Gain Traction and Rival TikTok’s Numbers in Revenue Through YouTube Shorts

By Thomas Price Thursday, September 17, 2020

Given the incredible popularity of the social media app, TikTok, many other video or photo-based social media websites and applications have been scrambling to try and rival it as quickly as possible. Instagram and Snapchat have been the first to counterpunch up to this point; however, it appears that YouTube has finally entered the ring with its new feature, YouTube Shorts. The short-form videos that initially gained popularity with the app, Vine, which featured six-second shorts until it stopped accepting new uploads in 2016, have now found a new home with TikTok. So, what exactly is YouTube Shorts, what advantages does it offer, and what kind of popularity can people expect from it?

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts breaks down in a similar vein to Instagram Reels instead of being a direct copycat to TikTok. While TikTok allows videos up to 60 seconds long, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts both cap out their videos at about 15 seconds. YouTube Shorts does have a few features that give it a slight edge over Instagram Reels, with by far the main one of those being the larger music library that it has been given and the amount of music available on the website itself. As it currently stands, YouTube Shorts will have hundreds of thousands of songs immediately available for use on the platform. The social media service will also scroll vertically between the different videos in a similar manner to how TikTok currently works. Other features for YouTube Shorts include speed controls, as well as timer and countdown options for hands-free recording. While Instagram Reels has not been positively received, there is a lot of hope that YouTube Shorts certainly might be given a few different advantages it holds over the apps it is going up against.

Possible Advantages of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts holds slight advantages over Instagram Reels given its aforementioned music library that is set to expand over time, but also for a variety of other features. The two largest have to do with the website itself and where they have been targeting the market for the initial rollout. As opposed to Instagram, which is primarily for sharing photographs and memories, YouTube is a website dedicated already toward entertainment through video. The platform has been an open source for content creators of all kinds to make any kind of videos they so choose, and since it was created in 2005, there is already a serious market of users built in. In fact, as of 2020, YouTube has an incredible 2 billion active monthly users. If even a fraction of that number begins to use YouTube Shorts with any regularity, it would immediately become a significant threat to TikTok. This, of course, is compounded by the many legal struggles TikTok has had in large nations that have been considering or have already outright banned the app from use by their general population. One of those large nations that have banned TikTok is India. In fact, roughly 30% of the whopping 2 billion downloads of TikTok are from India, where it is no longer available for use. Coincidentally, this happens to be where YouTube Shorts has begun to test its beta of the platform en masse. In 2019, YouTube made around $15 billion in revenue, coming mostly from their ad revenue, with a much smaller portion coming from their subscription-based platform, YouTube Premium. It’s almost certain that YouTube will find a way to integrate ads into YouTube Shorts either before viewing videos or in between scrolling, which would surely increase revenue if the platform takes off in popularity. With worldwide rollout looming, their test to fill the gap that TikTok has left in India will certainly give indicators as to what chance at success YouTube Shorts has moving forward.

Final Conclusions

YouTube Shorts is an ambitious goal in infiltrating the market of short-form video that, up to this point, has been dominated by TikTok. Where Instagram Reels has been falling short, YouTube Shorts has a legitimate chance. Based on the nature of its host website and the site for its beta testing, there’s room to come out with a viable alternative to the billions of users on TikTok who may be looking to post and view video clips on a site surrounded in less controversy.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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