YouTube has been on top of the “digital video” food chain. There have been a few who have gotten a bit close, i.e, vine, Dailymotion, etc. But nothing has ever taken over YouTube or gotten even close to taking over it – until now.
Forecasts suggest that more than three-quarters of internet users and two-thirds of the US population visited YouTube every month in 2021.
YouTube is an immense giant!
More people watched videos on YouTube than visited Facebook in 2021. That’s not it, YouTube even has at least as many views as traditional TV.
And yet, with a wide variety of video-sharing features available on other platforms, it is eating into YouTube’s dominance – especially TikTok, given the recent popularity, it has been enjoying.
Fighting for Attention
In the last couple of decades, as access to the internet has become more common, people’s attention span has lowered considerably. Not only does YouTube now have to compete with all the other platforms in video sharing but also in getting people’s attention and keeping it as well.
The way these video-sharing platforms work is that they recommend those videos more that get more engagement. Engagement could be likes, comments, watch time, sharing, etc. A shorter attention span obviously means shorter videos will get more attention. This clearly shows why TikTok has been getting more popular with each passing day.
TikTok up the ante when it only allowed one-minute-long videos to be posted on its platform. It gave the creators an opportunity to put out more content since everything that they could make had to be short-form content. Another benefit of making videos for TikTok was the lower production quality that was required.
Most of the content that was posted was shot exclusively on smartphone cameras. No lights or any sort of equipment is required at all. Do you have an idea? Just grab your phone, open TikTok, and you’re ready to roll! It’s that simple.
With YouTube, however, certain production quality was expected of the content creators and still is.
Introduction of YouTube Shorts
Now, people at Google and YouTube are not oblivious to any of this. They saw this and pushed YouTube Shorts as a direct competitor to TikTok.
Basically, it was an opportunity for the creators to make or even post the content that they made for TikTok on YouTube as well. YouTube even set aside $100 million dollars as an incentive for the creators who would put out content for Shorts.
As a result, the channels which now post both types of content (long-form & short-form) are performing relatively better than those that are focusing on a single type.
But YouTube isn’t the only platform that’s making such dramatic functional changes.
TikTok is Expanding its Maximum Video Length
Not very long ago, TikTok expanded its maximum video length limit from 1 minute to 2 minutes, which was appreciated by the majority of the viewers and creators because it gave a lot of creators enough time to convey their message properly.
TikTok has recently also announced that it is expanding its maximum length for videos to 10 minutes. Such a step suggests that they think that in order to take on YouTube, they have to add more weapons to their arsenal. And folks, this is a big one.
Is YouTube a Thing of the Past?
It may seem like TikTok is already ahead of YouTube or might come on top very soon, but YouTube isn’t going to let that happen that easily. YouTube is still more popular across every age group by a good margin.
Besides that, there are still a lot of users who watch their favorite creators on YouTube and/or prefer long-form content.
One major reason YouTube is likely to remain on top for a long period of time is how they pay YouTubers. For every dollar the advertisers pay, YouTubers get 55 cents. Effectively, YouTube pays more than half of what they earn from a creator’s video back to the creator.
The story is much different when it comes to TikTok. They have dedicated a “pool” out of which they will pay the creators. This means, that if more people create content and generate views, there is less money to go around. Huge red flag for creators and it has also been getting backlash recently. Hopefully, TikTok will reconsider and make things easier for creators.