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Opinion

Video Engagement: Are Brands Still Investing in Long Form Creator Content?

Short-form content in general, and videos in particular, are surely easier to consume, and people often choose TikTok over YouTube to kill some time and relax. Yes, TikTok is reported to have a higher user watch time than YouTube in the US and UK. The engagement rate is higher for TikTok too: it reaches 15.86% internationally (and 17.99% in the US) while YouTube average ER is set somewhere near 4%. 

But is it quality watch time? And what’s more important for brands and advertisers, what’s the “quality” of these TikTok users? Are they likely to buy something, do they have money at all? It’s a vital point to understand so that advertisers can set influencer marketing budgets wisely. So, will TikTok get around YouTube in terms of influencer marketing? Not now, and here are the reasons.

The age and solvency of the audiences

TikTok is young, and it concerns not only the app’s age but also the age of its users. 60% of TikTok viewers are aged between 16 and 24. So if your target audience is mainly Gen Z, you will most likely get a response and profit from TikTok. They’re into new fashion in any field, they’re engaged, they tend to pick up on new trends fast and easily. The con here is that many of the Gen Z-s are schoolkids, students, or young employees who simply had no time to reach a relatively high salary level yet.

YouTube is older in general even considering the huge number of kids’ channels. And even the ads of those actually reach out to older potential clients – the kids’ parents. At least 81% of American adults are reported to use YouTube and only 21% of them say they use TikTok.

Moreover, the wealthier the users are, the more likely they are to watch YouTube: 

  • In the US, 83% of those who earn $75,000 or more use YouTube;
  • The middle section of the Americans is loyal to YouTube too: three-quarters of those who earn more than $30,000 watch videos on YouTube;
  • Among those who earn less than $30,000 a year 68% visit YouTube.

The coverage

Yes, an average TikTok user spends most of the time on the app. But YouTube still is far ahead when talking about the overall user count. It has approximately two billion monthly users while TikTok has only reached 700 million. TikTok’s audience grows fast, but YouTube retains its championship regarding users number. The overall time spent on a platform is bigger for YouTube, which makes it more attractive for advertisers who have large and wide target audiences and need to cover most of the potential clients.

Relevant genres and possible ad length

Not every topic can be covered in a short video and in TikTok entertaining style. Science, technology, auto, finance, and many other themes need more explanation and therefore more airtime. 

These also include gaming videos and live streams that are simply meant to be longer and are watched by those gamers who are deeply engaged and invested in the game industry. They are usually earnest about the games and game content as well as interested in paying for new games or products for gamers. They can also watch TikTok for some memes but not likely for creators’ advice.

Coincidently, these categories are also considered to be the most expensive for advertisers and profitable for creators, as the audiences of such YouTubers are also more solvent. The CPA of an average entertainment channel usually is under $10 and even $5 (depending on the region), while the CPA for the “Science and Technology” category can reach $30 according to the data from BuzzGuru Analytics.

Also, just like the topics, some products and services can’t be advertised in a short way. For example, video games and devices need to be explained, so TikTok simply can’t offer the desirable amount of airtime no matter what, there’s just no such option. Some ad formats are unavailable on TikTok at all. And it’s probably one of the reasons why TikTok decided to increase the maximum video length from 1 to 3 minutes.

Attractiveness for creators

TikTok promises fast and easily gained popularity: it’s relatively easy to become a famous TikToker with millions of views and followers, especially compared to YouTube. Also, TikTokers don’t need to spend lots of money and time on video production: having a more or less modern smartphone is enough. YouTubers, on the other hand, need a good camera, some lightning devices, software for video editing, etc. This makes TikTok more attractive for youngsters who have fewer resources and/or less desire to work hard to earn popularity and influence on social media.

YouTube often attracts those who see making content as a business in the first place. Unlike TikTok that still has no partner programme that would allow creators to have some revenue share, YouTube offers a quite clear monetisation system. YouTube creators get 55% of what advertisers pay Google, the sum depends on the region, the number of creators’ videos, views, ad types, etc. Even without direct contacts and deals with brands or agencies, YouTubers who participate in the YouTube partner programme get some money. This is why the platform is much more suited for creator-businesspeople, while TikTokers usually start their channels for fun only and as a hobby only.

As a result, as YouTubers are more business and cooperation-oriented, they are more likely to be chosen by brands for advertising.

All in all, while TikTok really is a threatening competitor to YouTube, it won’t get ahead of Google’s video giant in the near future, especially in terms of influencer marketing.

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