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YouTube Shorts vs TikTok: Which is the Best for Your Content?

Discover the key differences between YouTube Shorts vs TikTok. We cover pros and cons so you can decide which aligns better with your goals.
Kendall Breitman
Social Media & Community Expert
Last Updated:
September 10, 2023
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Weighing up between TikTok and YouTube shorts can feel like a useless exercise? Aren’t they both just short-form social media video formats? Though TikToks and YouTube shorts are similar in format, style, and usually trends as well, there’s more to it than meets the eye. 

If you’re dead set on committing to one over the other, this article will help you choose the best format. And for content creators who want to create a presence on both YouTube and TikTok, we’ll help you understand what you need to do on both platforms. 

YouTube Shorts vs TikTok: 

Let’s start by taking a look at what these short-form videos actually involve and how they work: 

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are YouTube’s versions of TikToks or Instagram Reels: short-form vertical videos that last between 15 to 60 seconds. YouTube characterizes them as ‘easy to create’ short-form videos, since all you technically need is a smartphone with a camera and a YouTube account. You can sample songs from other (eligible) YouTube videos, edit, and add text within YouTube. 

Pros of YouTube shorts

Reach a new, bigger audience 

Shorts give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience. There’s a lot of speculation in the creator community that Shorts help you to gain bigger exposure to new viewers, though this isn’t a failsafe formula. Either way, in 2020 alone YouTube Shorts saw 3.5 billion daily views. So there’s huge audience potential waiting for you. 

Plus, there’s no denying that short-form content has overtaken longer videos in terms of ‘consumability’. 

Easy to make & publish 

Youtube shorts are meant to be quick and easy to make, publish and watch. This means they’re a perfect format for all types of creators, from beginners to established YouTubers. You could, in theory, record, edit, and upload a short directly from your mobile phone. Alternatively, you can make You Tube Shorts super quickly using Riverside’s Magic Clips feature. 

Monetize your shorts 

Monetizing your shorts is easy and a great way to create a new stream of income. All you need to do is fulfill the eligibility criteria for the YouTube Partner Programme. To do this, you need 1000 subscribers and 10 million valid public Short views in the past 90 days. 

Complement your long-form YouTube content

Shorts are an effective way to promote (and repurpose) your typical long-form Youtube videos. Using Riverside Magic Clips, you can quickly stitch together short-form promotional clips that direct viewers to the full-length video. Additionally, YouTube shorts help push your viewers to your longer-form content. This is a highly-effective way of drawing people from short-form to long-form. 

Cons of YouTube Shorts 

More time consuming than you think

YouTube shorts can take more time than they’re worth. They’re an added step in your video production process because you need to identify key moments, keep up with trends, and continually generate new ideas. If you’re not hitting huge numbers of views, you might feel that they’re a slight waste of your precious time.

Necessary consistency 

The very nature of short-form content is that it’s also very short-lived. This means that you need to post consistently and regularly to ensure your content stays at the top of the algorithm. 


The short 60-second maximum length is both a blessing and a curse. For some creators the 60-second limit can be frustrating and harder to work with than the longer lengths allowed by Instagram reels and TikTok. 

What is TikTok

TikTok calls itself the ‘leading destination for short-form mobile video’. And it’s true that TikTok has taken the world by storm since it really started gaining traction in 2019. Different from YouTube, TikTok is a platform dedicated entirely to short-form videos. TikToks can last anywhere from under 60 seconds to 10 minutes.

Like YouTube shorts, you can technically shoot, edit and publish your TikToks directly form the app. 

Pros of TikTok

Huge audience potential

TikTok saw 672 million downloads worldwide in 2022 alone. It also has 1 Billion active monthly users. This represents a huge potential audience that you can tap into. However, TikTok is notoriously most popular amongst younger users. Almost 50% of users are below the age of 30. Depending on your target audience, this might exclude the people you’re actually trying to reach. 

Easy to make & publish 

TikToks are also easy to make and publish, which means there’s a very low barrier to entry wherever you are in your content creation journey. Plus, TikToks have a general reputation of not needing to look as polished or professional. This means you don’t have to put in as much effort if you don’t want to. 

Cons of TikToks 


One potential drawback of TikTok is the political controversy it’s caused. You might have seen TikTok hit the headlines recently with many lawmakers all over the world seeking to limit, restrict or regulate the use of the app. This is due to security and user data privacy concerns.


You can monetize through TikTok by joining the TikTok Creator Next program. To qualify, you need to fulfill the minimum follower requirement for your region, you need to have 100K video views in the last 30 days, and be based in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, or Spain. The regional limitations mean that creators in other places don’t have native monetization opportunities. 


TikToks are also not entirely ‘evergreen’. TikToks are very trend-based and short-lived. If you want to perform well on the algorithm, you need to be hyper-aware of the latest trends, formats and video styles.

Differences and Similarities between YouTube Shorts and TikTok


Success on both TikTok and YouTube depends on understanding, and harnessing, the algorithm. Unfortunately, understanding how the algorithm works is not a sure science. Overall, it seems like both algorithms work on a similar basis. Here’s what we know about both TikTok and YouTube’s algorithms. 

YouTube Shorts Algorithm 

YouTube Shorts are governed by a different algorithm to regular long-form content. This was confirmed in an interview by Creator Support. Though we don’t know exactly how it works, it’s clear that the YouTube shorts algorithm uses information about your video to surface and promote it to potentially interested viewers. Important factors include length, topics, engagement (viewed vs swiped away). 

TikTok’s algorithm

It seems as though TikTok’s algorithm works through a combination of factors. This includes:

  • user interactions, 
  • your video’s topic,
  • whether it subscribes to any trends,
  • use of effects, and
  •  user engagement.  


You can monetize your content on both platforms. For instance, if you create sponsored content, this is a great way to monetize your videos in a way that’s unrelated to the platforms themselves. The native monetization possibilities for both platforms look a bit different. 

YouTube shorts monetization: 

YouTube recently launched ad revenue sharing for Shorts. This is part of the YouTube Partner Program. You can only join this program if you fulfill the eligibility criteria that we mentioned earlier. 

 The way this works is that YouTube first pools the ad revenue that run between videos on the Shorts Feed as people are scrolling.  They then use this ‘pool’ to pay creators and cover music licensing costs. 

This pool is allocated to the “Creator Pool” according to the number of views and music usage. Typically, creators who are monetizing their content will get to keep 45% of their allocated revenue.

This means what you earn depends on the number of views you get, plus where you’re located. Creators can expect to make anything from only a few dollars, all the way to thousands of dollars.

TikTok monetization 

The TikTok Creator Fund 

To qualify for the TikTok Creator fund, you need a minimum of 100k views in the last 30 days with 10,000 followers. TikTokers receive funds from the Creator Fund based on “a variety of factors from their videos”. This apparently consists of number of views, how authentic all those views are, and how high engagement is. TikTok says that it has committed £231 million over the next 3 years to the Creator Fund. 

As we said earlier, you need to be based in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain or Italy to get access to the fund.


Your audience can also send you monetary tips through TikTok. The platform has partnered with Stripe, a third-party payment provider to process these payments. Creators receive 100% of the value of the tip, excluding Stripe processing fees. 

In order to qualify to receive tips, you need to have a minimum of 100,000 followers and need to be over the age of 18. 

Editing capabilities & interface 

Both platforms feature the ability for users to record, edit and publish their short-form video within the app. 

YouTube editing capabilities and interface: 

To create Shorts from your mobile, you need the latest version of the YouTube app. You can easily shoot, edit and then upload Shorts straight from within the application. YouTube allows you to add music or sound effects, use different filters, speed up or slow down your recording, overlay text, and more. 

You can also easily turn your own long-form videos into short-form content using the ‘Remix’ feature. These will automatically be linked back to the original video to maximize exposure on your long-form content. 

Creators who are used to YouTube on the browser may find the mobile creation process takes some getting used to. In general, however, the YouTube app lives up to the clean and easy-to-use interface that everyone is familiar with. 

TikTok editing capabilities and interface

Just like YouTube, you can record, edit and publish TikToks natively, making use of the app’s built-in editing tools. You can edit your clips, add in sounds, overlay and customize your text, use filters, and add frames. 


Both YouTube and TikTok offer huge, global audiences. If you’re looking to maximize exposure, you definitely want to be posting to both. That being said, as we touched on earlier, both platforms' demographics differ slightly.

TikTok users tend to be on the younger side, whereas YouTube seems to cater to older audiences

TikTok has seen 3 billion downloads since its launch, with 50 million daily active users. 1  in 4 TikTok users are under 20 years old, and 47.4% of its users are under the age of 30.  

Meanwhile, YouTube has over 2.7 billion active users and 25 to 34 year olds account for YouTube’s largest share of advertising audience.  

YouTube vs TikToks: Which should you choose?

The short answer is that you probably should be posting to both platforms. By publishing your short-form videos to both, you maximize your exposure and the return you get on your content. This also helps you to diversify your platform and build communities across different audiences and user demographics. 

If you’re intent on choosing just one of the platforms, then you need to consider what you’re trying to achieve through your short-form video content. For instance, if you’re publishing regular content on YouTube, it makes a lot of sense to post shorts related to those videos regularly. Inversely, if you’re not active on YouTube, then it might not make sense to invest too much time and energy into the platform. 

Bonus: Creating captivating videos for YouTube Shorts & TikTok in one go

As we just mentioned, if you have the means and resources, the best strategy is definitely to post to both YouTube and TikTok. Luckily, Riverside makes it easy to create short-form videos for both platforms as part of your overall video-making process. 

Here’s a quick introduction to Riverside: 

Riverside is a studio-quality video recording and editing platform known for its seamless interface and and innovative AI-powered features.  You can record with up to 7 remote guests in up to 4K video resolution no matter where you are. Then, you can polish your recording with our text-based editor. Our Editor works with AI transcriptions so trimming through your content is as easy as deleting text. You can download these transcriptions as files, or burn them directly as video captions. 

Better yet, turn one recording into multiple short-form videos with one quick click using Magic Clips. Magic Clips uses AI to automatically identifykey moments that would make for interesting TikToks and Shorts, then edits them together instantly. 

Riverside’s key features: 

  • Local recording means that Riverside records each remote participant on their own device. This means that poor internet won’t impact your recording quality. 
  • Remote recording with up to 7 remote guests wherever they are 
  • High-quality video: record video in up to 4K quality and 48kHz audio 
  • Automated transcription for use as captions. Riverside automatically transcribes your content in over 100 languages 
  • Livestream to all major platforms during your recording session 
  • Progressive upload means you don’t have to wait around at the end of your session for you and your guests’ tracks to process
  • Intuitive interface & easy to use so anyone and everyone can use it 
  • Instant customer support if you run into technical difficulties or need some help 
  • Text-based editor makes it quick and easy to edit your videos. Search instantly for key terms and navigate your recordings intuitively. Edit your videos as if they were Google docs. 
  • Automated Magic Clips make it super easy to create short-form content from your long-form videos.
  • Tiered pricing for any and all budgets. Start using Riverside for free. 
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How to make Youtube Shorts & TikToks on Riverside

Here’s a quick guide to creating short-form video using Riverside:

Step 1: Login to your Riverside account. Hit ‘Create a new (reusable) studio

Step 2: Give your studio a name and choose the type of recording (video and audio) 

Step 3: Next, you’ll land in the lobby where you can check your appearance and make sure that all the right mics and cameras are connected. 

Step 4: Enter your studio, invite your guests and enjoy your recording session. (You can learn more about recording here).

Step 5: Once you’ve wrapped on your recording, it’s time to head to your dashboard. Here you’ll find the automatically generated transcript, all your tracks ready for export and download, the Editor and Magic Clips. 

Step 6: To create short-form clips of your recording, you can use the Magic Clips tool. You can use your Magic Clips as they are or add your personal touch with branding or small edits. 

All you need to do is click on the ‘Generate Clips’ in the Magic Clips box, and AI will create multiple clips for you. The longer your recording, the more clips you’ll receive. 

Step 7: You can hover over any of the clips to edit them. Alternatively, you can click on a recording and select Go to Editor to create your own clip.

Select your desired video format: Story, Post or Full Length. When you land in the editor you’ll see your video’s transcript on the left hand of the screen. If you highlight and delete words or phrases, Riverside will automatically delete the corresponding audio. 

Here you can also use the toolbar to:

  • Add video captions
  • Adjust your layout
  • Customize your background and add a logo
  • Fine-tune your audio and remove unwanted background noise and silences

Step 8: When you’re done editing, you can hit export. 

FAQs on TikTok vs YouTube Shorts

Which pays more TikTok or YouTube Shorts?

This is a difficult question to answer. We’d say that YouTube offers far better in-app monetization options for its Shorts creators. TikTok’s Creator Fund continues to be a limited revenue opportunity. 

Did YouTube Shorts surpass TikTok?

Again, this is hard to quantify exactly. We know that YouTube shorts now see more than 50 billion daily views, but there’s no exact figure for TikTok’s daily views. 

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