Today we will discuss the growth of YouTube and the future competition with TikTok. I have a big clue in my head that TikTok and YouTube will be the two that are left once the dust settles after the storm. What I mean by that is, fast forward five years from now; they will be the more authoritative forces on social media platforms.
I honestly think YouTube doesn’t even really get credit that it deserves. I don’t think many people consider it a social media platform. They consider it more of a video viewing platform, almost like a streaming platform as if it is Hulu or Netflix. The reason for this is that not a lot of people will make their own YouTube videos because there’s a barrier to entry in terms of creating the content. In contrast, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook encourage and almost give you a layup with content creation. They encourage less formal content publishing and creation. If you don't know the guy who started Instagram was in bed with his girlfriend one night while he was still coming up with the idea for the platform, and she was like, “yeah, but I would never post to it.” He was like, “well, why not?” And she was like, “well, everyone's stuff on there just looked so pretty. Like, I don't think I could ever make mine look that good”. So that was how he came up with the idea for filters on photos. That got Instagram up and off the ground as an authoritative platform.
Now I say filters today, and it's laughable, right? Like every single platform has pre-built filters. The reason for that is because it lowers the barrier of entry for the consumer, their perceived likelihood of achieving the outcome, and the goal of the post. Which is getting engagement, looking intelligent, funny, or pretty, whatever they're looking to get affirmation in. The barrier of entry is much lower with those platforms because you can apply filters and manicure the content to look a little bit better.
So let's reel this back to my idea with YouTube for a second. I think YouTube doesn't feel like a social media platform because the barrier of entry is high. They have yet to figure out how they can make it easy for people to post so that they want to put things out there.
When you think people will react more positively toward whatever the goal is, you're more likely to post. YouTube has an issue right now because people feel like if they would put a YouTube video out, it will not get a hundred thousand views because they don't have a following XYZ.
TikTok has kind of eliminated a lot of that. One, it's really easy to go viral on the platform. Two, it's easy to create content because of the ability to share audio, filters, and reuse themed content.
So I think that one of the more significant problems that YouTube is facing right now is getting more people to post on the platform and not just consume content like a fly on the wall. YouTube has recently started YouTube Shorts.
I was chatting with a fellow yesterday about it, and I made the point, “dude, you can't even go in the app now without shorts being the first thing you see.” The reason for that is that they're trying to get in competition with TikTok and Instagram.
It's the same thing Instagram is doing, right? If you go on Instagram right now, I bet you probably over 80% of the stuff you scroll past will be video content, if not specifically a Reel. The reason for that is, again, they're trying to compete with user retention times against TikTok. TikTok came in and had been changing all the other platforms because of its success.
When we're looking at TikTok and YouTube, I think they'll be the main two left because of user retention time. The average time someone spends scrolling on the app is 30 to 40 minutes, maybe less than 20. Instagram, I think on average is upwards of 40 to 60 minutes, then you have TikTok, which is the freak out of the group is sitting at 110 minutes, almost two whole hours. People are spending on that platform, and it's because the content is addictive as heck.
What's remarkable is YouTube has a similar thing going for it where the average watch time on YouTube daily is typically much higher. It's because the content is more long form, not necessarily more addicting, but more extended form. What you're seeing right now with TikTok these last probably 12 months or so is they're upping the posting length of videos. So it used to be a minute when they first started, and then it went to five minutes, and then just recently, they were beta testing 10 minutes, and they're kind of following in the footstep of Bigger Brother, I guess you could say the Chinese counterpart to the app. If you don’t know, there’s a pre-established version of TikTok already full-fledged and going up in China right now, private to China. They have whole separate internets from us and separate social media as well.
So with that, they already have social media that is a few years ahead of US TikTok. They own both, which means they can look at what's happening on this app and then trickle down the successes to TikTok.
That's something we've seen inside the Chinese version of TikTok. They have increased the posting time up to 24 hours. You can go also go live for up to a week now. So you can live stream for up to a week straight. YouTube did the same thing. YouTube was first to this, but they were doing a very similar thing where when YouTube first came out, 10 minutes was the length.
Then it went to 30 minutes, then it went to 24 hours, and now it's at 24 hours plus like a file size limit. I've talked about that in the past episode, but that's like the trajectory, right? They're lengthening the time now. YouTube did that in the past because they know and experienced that user retention is higher when people are watching videos on a more frequent basis and not only more frequently, but longer on a per session basis. They’re more likely to stick around on the platform, be more addicted to the content and come back to revisit.
Ultimately, the most significant purpose is to fill the pockets of YouTube through ads. So they’re running ads on there. They get the creators to get a portion of the ad fee. If someone watches the ad, YouTube gets a portion of it. If they watch it and then click on it, they get higher payouts for all of that stuff.
So they have figured out that if you leverage time, you get more money. That's the game that these platforms are playing with each other. So TikTok is. I kind of got a little bit of a leg up. I hate to admit it, but they have the addictiveness down though. They're leveraging user retention and the average session duration through addictive content, not just through the ability for long-form content. So as you can imagine, like a podcast, I post a 15-minute video of this episode on YouTube and a minute clip of it on TikTok. The 15-minute video, on average, will probably have more session duration than the one minute can.
It has 15 times more ability to be watched because it's 15 times longer. Right? So that's something YouTube has always had going for. It is someone who will click on a 30-minute video, and they’ll watch the whole thing, or they might watch five that day. And then they have two and a half hours of session duration.
Well, TikTok has had the virality portion down where they have, on average, you. People watch 110 minutes a day, but they’re going through like, a hundred videos or almost at a thousand, a couple of hundred videos per session as they go through all of this. So it’s like a 15-second video scroll, 32nd video scroll ten-second videos, scroll five-second videos scroll.
So they’ve got the addictive thing down. Well, when they start to make their times longer and longer and longer as they have in the Chinese app, they have both of those pieces of the equation coming together. Where they not only have you sitting there on addictive content, but it is long-form addictive content.
As you can imagine, this has to increase the platform's average session duration, which will trickle down into dollars for the actual creators of the platform. So that is my prediction. They're working in opposite directions. Because of that, YouTube has figured out long-form content and longer session durations.
Now they're working towards shorts, trying to get creators to get on there and generate short form addicting content, ultimately growing the platform. As well as get other people to start posting personally from their accounts to get them to weigh in and treat it as another social media platform. They want to make it into that iPhone folder with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube; they want to be in that group.
Right. So they’re working towards short-form content, trying to lower the level of the playing field, I guess, lower the barrier of entry for people to post, to be considered another social media. To work back toward making more money. Then you've got TikTok on the other spectrum, other into the whole spectrum where they nailed down short form addictive content.
They've got that now. They just need to leverage the actual session duration and the ads that are playing to people. So now they're working on the long-form content and trying to get people that are posting the 30-minute videos on YouTube to consider TikTok as a platform for that and to start posting that content.
So how does this all affect you as a business owner or a person that posts on social media or someone that is just a social media enthusiast? I don't know why else you'd be listening to this podcast. How does this apply to you? It applies because the place that is around in five years, the whichever one domineer or maybe, let's in a freak world, say Twitter, and, Instagram die off.
If YouTube and TikTok are the main two things on the internet for social media, and you're five years behind because you didn't start now from listening to this episode or something else that you heard through some other third form of stimulus, then you're going to be really mad at yourself in five years when you turn around and “Dang. I knew about this coming already. I heard about this in a podcast. It made a lot of sense. I just didn't listen”. So, the takeaway right is to post to both platforms equally, and wait, I mean, like we're all kind of playing a waiting game. We're just subject to. Whatever the social media gods give us in terms of the platforms that are available.
But I think that would be the recommendation I have to you is to actually start doing what YouTube wants, which is treating it as a social media platform, a viable social media platform for your business, where you can actually post content.
If you're already making Instagram Reels or you're already making TikToks, there's a whole layup for you right there. You can start posting them to YouTube. You can get YouTube channel subscribers through that. You can post only shorts in the beginning, if you want, and build up an audience through that, and then start posting long-form content and see who sticks around for that.
I would do both, especially if you're already making short-form content, and then conversely, another side of the spectrum, if you're making YouTube videos or long-form content that makes it to Facebook Watch and YouTube put that stuff, if it allows for it, lengthwise put that stuff on TikTok.
You don't even have to crop into vertical. I would recommend that you did, but if you really don't have the manpower or the editing skills or whatever it is, at least still attempt to repurpose that content. I remember when I started this social media business, like four years ago, it was like we had three platforms as opposed to now, it's not only more platforms, but there are more types of content to post to each platform.
For simply said, for the most part, it's vertical versus horizontal content. Where does that all go? You've got any vertical content that would be a TikTok, an Instagram Reel, and a YouTube Short. You can trickle that into stories for Facebook and that's really good.
I mean, it, it can all go everywhere. So if you're making videos in any capacity, you're missing out if you're not posting to both YouTube and TikTok. Now you notice I'm not focused on meta for this, Facebook and Instagram. I don't necessarily think they're not gonna be around in five years. I think the future for them looks very bright still because of Oculus and Virtual Reality.
I think that if that really takes off technology-wise, everything I'm saying will be a little bit less relevant, just because of the popularity that will be driven through virtual reality and augmented reality. They're very much so ahead of the game for that. There are lots of updates, coming for that, by the way, expect an episode soon.
I would say for TikTok and YouTube, I've been watching the scope of the world on where attention goes in terms of digital content. I can tell you right now that long-form content is going to be king when then when everything's said and done, when the dust settles, like I've said long-form, content's gonna be where it's at now in the perfect world.
What TikTok is trying to build is addictive long-form content. So it's like, how can we get someone to go on our website and watch for six hours a day? Do you know what I mean? So, Ultimately takeaways for this. If you're making content for one platform, post it everywhere and be consistent with it because you never know what the future holds.
I would say if you're putting your eggs in a basket from someone like me, who's been in the game and in the space for a while. I would listen to myself and put a lot of my eggs on YouTube, because I really think that, long-form video content is going to be king. Gary V has been saying for years now that.
Audio is going to be king. So, you know, podcasts, audiobooks, all those things that they'll be king. The reason he says that is because of passive content consumed, passively. So if you're listening to this podcast while you're driving right now, perfect example, right? You can do two things at once.
The beauty behind all of that, and even behind this podcast is sometimes you can leverage. Even the video content you're making into audio content. So another way to repurpose the stuff, is if you're making YouTube videos.
Gary V's been saying, audio will be king eventually, just because you can passively consume it. I think that that is in part true, but I also think people are inherently lazy. At least the ones I'm exposed to here in America. Just kidding.
We've beaten a dead horse with TV shows, Reality TV, and all those things that we haven't really done yet are gotten the masses, like our parents and people that don't live with a phone in their hand as I do. We haven't gotten the masses to pick up YouTube as an addiction. I know that sounds weird outta pocket, but, we haven't really got them to start being like, oh no, I follow that certain subscriber and he just posted a video. Like they would for like, America's Got Talent. We haven't crossed that bridge yet were just the average everyday Joe is going on YouTube on a regular basis and consing stuff. Now TikTok has figured that out.
Most people that have a TikTok are on it. My grandma has TikTok. So, they have a leg up there, but I don’t think we should dismiss one of the platforms yet.