TikTok’s viewership surpasses Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts

According to eMarketer’s Industry KPI data from Dash Hudson, TikTok continues to dominate over its competitors Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts in terms of average video views across various topics.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, TikTok boasted an overall average view count of 143,912, compared to 120,917 for Instagram Reels and a distant 54,428 for YouTube Shorts.

The disparity in viewership is even more pronounced among accounts with large followings of 110,000 or more. Large TikTok accounts averaged 202,828 views, while Instagram Reels fared slightly better with 239,548 views. YouTube Shorts trailed behind at 91,973 views.

The significance of this data lies in TikTok’s uncertain political status, with President Joe Biden signing a bill on Wednesday that includes a deadline for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to divest within nine months or face a ban on app stores distributing the app in the U.S. This uncertainty underscores TikTok’s powerful advertising potential, which advertisers could lose access to if the platform is banned.

In the event of TikTok’s ban, attention would likely shift to Instagram and YouTube Shorts to compensate for the spending gap. Instagram, in particular, stands to benefit due to its strong position as a discovery platform similar to TikTok.

A recent study suggests that Meta (formerly Facebook) could capture between 22% to 27% of TikTok’s projected $6.61 billion in US ad revenues. Additionally, YouTube stands to gain a potential windfall of up to $1.54 billion, according to the same study.

However, advertisers should not overlook the potential of smaller, targeted influencers. Despite having a smaller audience, working with these influencers often results in higher engagement and ad retention. Therefore, YouTube Shorts, with its niche audience, could still offer advantages over larger platforms.

Yet another study indicates that a remarkable 71% of teenage YouTube users are active on the platform daily, surpassing the 58% of teen TikTok users who engage with the platform daily.

If TikTok does get banned, it would leave a significant void in ad spend and viewership. Both YouTube and Instagram would vie for the opportunity to attract TikTok’s displaced users and advertisers. Advertisers should carefully consider their distribution strategies and be prepared to adapt to the changing landscape of social media platforms.

Written by Jordan Bevan


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