TikTok vs YouTube Shorts – Is Imitation Really Flattery?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

When TikTok first arrived on the scene, there was no real concept of a social network where there were exclusively videos. These videos, no longer than 15 seconds, took the world by storm. During the pandemic, it was estimated that TikTok gained around 800 million users and has around 1 billion active monthly users at any given point. The short-video platform has proven to be a proper disruption in a space governed largely by companies like Meta and Alphabet. With TikTok, a new format of videos was introduced and people instantly loved it. being able to watch videos that weren’t too long and optimized for phone screens was ideal.

Similar to how Snapchat introduced stories and everyone else followed suit, TikTok saw its idea replicated by the biggest names in the business. Meta announced ‘Reels’ for Facebook and Instagram and YouTube announced ‘YouTube Shorts’ as their offerings. Using their gargantuan audiences, these platforms didn’t have to work too hard to garner a sizable audience on their platform. However, TikTok is by no means falling behind in the race. Despite strong competition from other social media networks, TikTok still sits confidently in its spot. However, this begs the question, Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Oscar Wilde was definitely up to something when he said this. People are often offended when they see someone doing things as they are. However, if someone else sees what you are doing and proceeds to replicate it, they saw something of value in what you did. If someone is imitating what you did, it means you did something right and something worthwhile. 

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TikTok vs. YouTube Shorts – An Overview

When TikTok became a success and other brands followed, it was only a matter of time before these companies would try to one-up each other. Using their massive platforms, Meta and Alphabet began pushing for content on these platforms, leveraging their existing audiences on the platform. You just have to make sure that you have a strong internet connection. Click here to find one great option for yourself.

One could say that this sort of competition has made it possible for these platforms to consistently strive to improve themselves. For example, YouTube Shorts has been actively trying to push for shorter bite-sized videos similar to TikTok. On the other hand, TikTok has introduced longer formats for users. TikTok started at 15 seconds then added 60 seconds, and now there is an option for 3-minute-long videos. 

Similarities and Differences 

To understand the competition, let’s see how they compare.

The Similarities 

  • TikTok and YT shorts allow their creators to add music and other forms of media to the video. They can add music available on the app or use their own action as well. 
  • TikTok and YT shorts allow their creators to monitor their analytics i.e. views, comments, likes, shares, watch time, and engagement. Both platforms allow you to access these analytics on a computer for a better understanding of your account
  • TikTok and YT shorts have similar interfaces. They have the same scroll and endless video design between themselves. Moreover, both platforms require the user to manually scroll through the video
  • TikTok and YT shorts allow monetization so content creators on the platform can make money from their content. Monetization is a major driving force for content creators to continue creating content. Previously, YT shorts was not monetized as YouTube was still testing the waters with the platform. Starting in 2023, YT shorts will be monetized. However, as opposed to the long-form content we know and use, shorts will be monetized differently. With long-form, the revenue is split 55-45 in favor of the creator. With shorts, the revenue is split 45-55 in favor of YouTube. They say that this is to pay for the media i.e. music that these shorts will use on the platform.  So accountants for creatives are essential partners for content creators, helping them navigate the financial aspects of their creative ventures and ensuring sustainable growth.

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The Differences 

  • YT shorts and TikTok both offer monetization but in two different ways. YT shorts has a ‘shorts fund’ that they use for payouts. TikTok uses a digital gifts and shout-outs method for their creators to monetize their accounts.
  • YT shorts maxes out at 60 seconds whereas TikTok now maxes out at 3 minutes. Furthermore, TikTok has recently tested a 5-minute option but has no word on when it goes live. 
  • YT shorts uses YouTube’s large music library. This allows creators to use a vast library of music, audio, and other media as opposed to TikTok which is lower than YouTube
  • YT shorts and TikTok both have a ‘private’ option. YouTube’s option allows you to select a certain audience who can watch your video. TikTok’s option only lets the content creator watch the video in the app. 

TikTok 1 – YouTube Shorts 0

  • Duet and stitch. A user can duet with another user’s video by adding their video to the side. This has created an incredibly famous ‘reactions’ genre where one creator reacts to another creator’s video.
  • Discovery tab. This feature allows users to find new music, hashtags, and effects to use in their videos. This makes it easier for them to find new ways to switch up their content and create something unique.
  • Q and A. This feature allows users to ask the creator questions who either reply in their comments or as a separate video

YouTube Shorts 1 – TikTok 0

  • Scheduling uploads. The creator can upload a video and select a later date for the content to go live. 
  • Age Restrictions. The creator can set restrictions on who can watch a video. If it isn’t child-friendly, YT shorts allows you to limit its viewership
  • Edit after publishing. The creator can edit the content or thumbnail once the video has gone live, something TikTok does not offer.


All in all, TikTok and YT shorts keep each other on their toes. One pushes the other to do better and improve. Depending on which platform offers you the most value, there is no clear winner or loser. At their core, they are the same thing but have a few quirks and features that separate from each other.

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Author Bio Macy Davis

Macy Davis is an enthusiastic content writer with over a decade of experience. She has authored several articles for a diverse range of industries. She also sees herself as an explorer who wants to document every discovery made on her exciting journey. What makes her stand out is her belief that conveying her interpretation in the most thorough manner possible will strengthen her relationship with her readers.