Daily Insights

TikTok’s Newest Competitor

By: Mackenzie Baker | Sep 17, 2020

Following in the footsteps of Instagram Reels, YouTube unveiled a new video feature called YouTube Shorts

Though TikTok’s future in the U.S. seems secure for now, if a ban does go into effect, YouTube is prepared to fill in with its new platform dedicated to 15-second videos. YouTube Shorts allows users to create and view quick videos on YouTube. The clips are designed for a mobile viewing experience, with users able to swipe down to watch a succession of videos, similar to TikTok’s interface. YouTube Shorts, which can be viewed on the platform’s new Shorts tab, includes a series of creator features to upgrade clips, such as video speed controls, a library of music to record with, and a multi segment camera allowing several video clips to be edited together. 

Though YouTube could go head-to-head with Reels and TikTok in the U.S., it’s first rolling out in India this month. There, it could take advantage of the country’s rapidly growing streaming audience and fill the gap left by TikTok. YouTube Shorts could make its way to the U.S. by the end of the year, and if its test-run in India is successful, could quickly expand to other parts of the world, too. With teenagers in the U.S. spending an average of nine hours a day on their phones, YouTube Shorts could provide a new, mobile entertainment outlet for them, particularly during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, more than half of YouTube’s video views come from mobile users, marking an opportunity to convert loyal, long-form mobile viewers into YouTube Shorts fans. YouTube’s record engagement rates and high interactivity levels could also make YouTube Shorts an appealing advertising destination for brands, according to a Gartner report on the topic. 

Though the video streaming market continues to crowd, YouTube’s role as an original, digital streaming platform could help Shorts stand out and appeal to longtime viewers from around the world. Additionally, the rising popularity of short-form video content could help YouTube Shorts attract a new audience, including loyal TikTok and Reels users looking to decide on the best video platform on the market.