Is TikTok better than Youtube? aka Long-form vs. Short-form content

The popularity of video form content has created waves in recent years, with more and more social platforms implementing video content, such as reels and shorts, into their interface. 2020 saw an increase in online video consumption of 96%, where 9 out of 10 viewers said that they wanted brands and businesses to showcase more video content. So, as the demand for video gets higher, so must the offer; there has never been a better time for marketers and businesses to give the people what they want; especially if they want to remain relevant and up to date with industry trends.

However, there has been a massive shift in the type of video content that we consume, It’s not enough to simply create video content, it’s about choosing the right types which will unlock the best opportunities, engagement and drive traffic to your website

Introducing, short-form video content

Short-form video content such as shorts and reels are 10-15 sec videos that are proving more advantageous for both consumers and businesses, providing bite-sized information that is easily digestible and binge-able. Platforms such as TikTok are taking over the digital space and redefining what it means to consume video content. 

On the other hand, when we think about long-form video content, our minds immediately think of YouTube. Since 2005 YouTube has dominated the video content space as a platform overflowing with different video content from dog and cat videos to cooking tutorials and has even invented the concept of ‘vlogging’ (i.e video blogging). Youtube has had a long and successful reign lasting nearly 2 decades and receives 14.3 billion visits per month; which is more than Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon and Instagram. Its popularity is undeniable, to the point where it’s been coined into a verb:  

E.g  ”Need to know how to change a tire? Youtube it “

For this reason, it seems somewhat unfathomable that this powerhouse could be threatened or dethroned by shorter content forms. However, in marketing, the answer is never that simple. 

We are here to explore if Youtube is truly becoming redundant for marketing and if businesses need to jump onto the TikTok wave and start creating shorter-form content. Ultimately we are discussing whether TikTok is better than Youtube, and hopefully, by the end of this blog, you’ll leave with a clearer picture of which platform to invest in. 

Let’s begin.


Did you know we have a blog already written about TikTok; What it is and how it works? Check out the link below to read the blog and gain a better understanding of the platform.


TikTok: What is it and does it hold any value for your brand

Ok, so unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you will have noticed the TikTok boom, and if you fall under the Gen Z and Millennials age group, you will have had front row seats in contributing to its success.

Even if you don’t have the app downloaded you will have undoubtedly noticed its effects in some way or the other. With over 1 billion active users, the app has quickly climbed to becoming the 2nd most downloaded app and the social media app with the highest engagement rate per post. Due to its growing success, the platform has diversified its content form to include live streaming, TikTok Tv and TikTok shopping, opening up loads of opportunities for businesses to grow their brands and client base.

One of TikTok’s advantages is its proven track recorder for raising brand awareness, Take Refy for example. The UK based beauty brand founded by social media influencer Jess Hunt in 2018, turned to TikTok to promote their 2021 Black Friday sales and resulted in reaching over 2 million users with an engagement rate of 2%. The influence of the ad campaigns also resulted in an increase in organic performance due to profile traffic and thus experiencing a 750% rise in organic revenue. 

The campaign triumphs as an example of the untapped potential available on TikTok for brands and marketers.  Furthermore, with a reach of over 2 million users, the business saw a 101% increase in TikTok followers and, the ad format used to drive the campaign was TikTok’s Spark Ads which allows businesses to promote their organic content creatively and engagingly. The feature allows ads to appear on the In-Feed Ads, which is TikTok’s standard ad format which enables ad videos up to 60 secs to not only appear but auto-play on users For You Page the moment the app is opened.

Furthermore, Refy linked their Shopify site to the ad allowing anyone viewing the ad to easily shop the product with one simple click. In doing this Refy was also able to present their product catalogue, and views and could then browse through and give themselves the potential to upsell more products. Therefore within one ad campaign featuring a 43-second video, the brand was able to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their eCommerce site, generate leads and conversions.

TikTok has a number of different ad formats which offer different features,  we recommend going on to the TikTok website to explore them all and fully understand what is cable for business. But if there is one thing we can stress is that when it comes to TikTok for businesses it’s about becoming creators. When creating more business opportunities, TikTok create the motto:

Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks“.

TikTok for Business.

To help reiterate the point that the app is to be used creatively and thus to succeed on the app as a business you have to let go of the traditional ideas of marketing and become more personable and relatable to your audience. Companies such as Ryanair have embraced this concept and creative short-form videos, which are not only engaging and comical but have enabled them to prompt their services in a way that is in keeping with the platform. With videos such as the popular personified talking plane, the budget airline company has managed to engage over 1.6 million people and generated 13.6 million likes across all their videos and has become so popular their US audiences are beginning to build a base in the States.


With that said, not all is lost with long-form video content as Youtube is still a top option for many businesses as it is still viewed as a great tool to help fully showcase a company’s story. It’s undeniable that long-form content provides much more detail and context than short-form content, which normally provides snippets, especially when it comes to detailing products and services which Youtube thus dominates . For example when we look at brands such as Footasylum, the UK street and activewear retailers popular amongst Gen Z we see a company that leverages Youtube to grow a following and capitalise on the use of long form video to connect with their audiences and marketing their business. 

Their Youtube channels alone has generated over 1 million subscribers and over a billion views, and they have managed to lock in a consistent number of loyal views by affiliating with popular UK youtube royalty such as Nella Rose and Young Filly. One could even argue that influencer marketing was established but platforms such as Youtube as they have reaped the benefits from it the longest. Through the use of sponsored videos and affiliate links Youtube has quickly become advantageous for businesses looking to use influencer marketing to promote their products and services in front of their target audience, through a trusted and reliable influencer.


Influencer Marketing: A guide for small businesses

Though one could argue that influencer marketing can be beneficial on any platform and with any content type, long-form video has undeniable benefits for businesses as it can help brands to break the fourth between audiences and brand, build better brand awareness and loyalty more than a 10- 30 sec video can. On the other hand, one of the biggest disadvantages is the cost of production, as short-form videos are usually free and shot on a mobile phone. Whereas a lot of long-form videos often cost more and longer to produce, with arguably the same results.  

For example, one of Nike’s most viral 2020 “ You Can’t Stop Us Now” campaigns celebrates sports in a motivational video as a way of acknowledging the difficult and unprecedented times faced in sports during covid. The campaign was streamed across their social media platforms and succeeded in generating over 45 million views on Youtube and 40 million on Twitter. The ad’s impact increased traffic to Nike’s website, with 46% of consumers being more likely to convert and purchase products as a rest.  

Although this could be categorised as a successful ad, the cost of producing a campaign of this level would have been expensive, and not an expense that many companies have the luxury of having. Nonetheless, the ad also stands as an example of the benefits and impact of long-form video content, in connecting and engaging with an audience.


With 2.6 billion active users on Youtube, there is still a strong likelihood of growing your audience and achieving your marketing goals from long-form video content. Youtube has introduced shorts, which are 10-15 sec videos, enabling creators and businesses to create both long and short-form video content to maximise their opportunities on the platform. However, when it comes down to which to pick, the growing popularity, cost, simplicity, and effectiveness of marketing with short-form videos on platforms such as TikTok, there is a clear winner. 

The main aspect which makes TikTok a better fit for many are YouTube’s entry barriers. YouTube’s market is now mature and, in order to succeed, it requires a big effort in filming, producing and creating high-quality content on a regular basis. On the other hand, TikTok makes the content creation process easier and quicker, where people can create engaging content without necessarily spending hours filming and editing.

The opportunities are truly endless, especially for B2C businesses looking to connect with their audience organically and authentically. However, that’s not to say that both can not function together as part of a marketing strategy as both video forms present individual pros and cons. Ultimately it comes down to your business’s individual goal and implementing the best strategies.  

There is no right or wrong!


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