Video-sharing service YouTube holds the runner-up position for the most-used social media app, but TikTok is rapidly catching up. Despite being relatively new on the social media scene, TikTok has 732 million active users, a number that will rise in the future if the current trend continues.
With its minute-long (or lower) videos paired with music or another sound, TikTok is perfect for someone who wants to quickly scroll through videos without paying much attention. In fact, research shows that Gen Z has an attention span of eight seconds, making TikTok’s short video formula attractive to youth. YouTube, on the other hand, traditionally promotes videos longer than 10 minutes, with creators on the app claiming the longer the video is, the more money it will likely make.
Recently, however, YouTube seems to be changing its stance on ideal video length with the introduction of YouTube Shorts. These less-than-one-minute videos are very similar to those on TikTok. There is an option to pair music with the video, add effects and include hashtags. Also, in order to be considered a Short, the video must be filmed vertically, another characteristic shared with TikTok.
YouTube has begun promoting these shorts, creating a separate section for the most viewed videos of this type on every mobile user’s homepage. YouTube did not introduce shorts for tablet or computer watchers, further showing how they want their shorts to resemble TikTok, a cellphone app. Clicking on a short on the home page will take the user to another tab where they can scroll endlessly, viewing different types of videos ranging from gaming to ballet dancing to reposted TikToks.
The Shorts feature is still in beta mode, meaning the algorithm may not be very accurate in terms of recommendations. Still, as more people use it, it will get more and more accurate. So far, shorts do not have ads like regular YouTube videos do, so it is unknown how creators will make money from this new video form. Regardless, YouTube continues to innovate to try to be competitive in this rapidly changing social media scene.