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YouTube Shorts closes in on TikTok

 Illustration by Kate Walker

YouTube Shorts closes in on TikTok


The Future. YouTube Shorts now has the same number of users as TikTok, pitting the platforms in a battle for dominance. But with creators able to go back and forth between the platforms, both may be stuck in a cycle of growing at the same pace… and paying people for the same content.

The short of it
YouTube is doing a bit of a victory dance as it inches closer to TikTok’s short-form throne.

  • Per WSJ, Google revealed that over 1.5 billion people watch at least one YouTube Short monthly.
  • That’s comparable viewership to YouTube Shorts’ top competitor, TikTok.
  • YouTube Shorts hit this milestone less than two years after launching.

This is great news for YouTube, a major driver of Google’s ad business ($28 billion in revenue last year). After pressure from investors, the tech giant started reporting YouTube’s revenue separately in 2020 — just as TikTok started to take off. The viewership metric allows YouTube execs to boast that they can still compete.

As the two giants continue to battle for dominance, Instagram is also trying to edge its way in with Reels. The feature, which Zuckerberg says accounts for 20% of the time people spend on Instagram, is testing a new full-screen mode that… let’s face it… looks very similar to TikTok’s UI.

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