TikTok’s users now spend more time each month watching content than YouTube users, according to a report from app analytics firm App Annie. In the US, ByteDance’s app first overtook YouTube in August last year, and as of June 2021, its users watched over 24 hours of content per month, compared with 22 hours and 40 minutes on Google’s video platform. In the UK the difference is even starker: TikTok overtook YouTube in May last year and users there now reportedly watch almost 26 hours of content a month, compared to less than 16 on YouTube. Despite only being around since 2017, recall the Chinese short video app TikTok surpassed Zuckerberg’s Facebook as the world’s most downloaded app.
The figures only include viewership on Android phones, however, so may not be representative of mobile users as a whole. But caveats aside, they show the extent of TikTok’s meteoric rise over just a few short years, and are even more impressive given the three-minute maximum of most of its videos, compared to the 10-minute format preferred by many YouTubers. Not to mention the fact that for much of 2020, TikTok faced continued threats that it would be banned in the US amidst chaotic negotiations (Biden formally revoked Trump’s executive orders earlier this year).
YouTube is still ahead in time spent overall, no doubt because of its two billion users compared to TikTok’s roughly 700 million, according to BBC. Again, excluding iOS users and users of the app renamed Douyin in China, YouTube is still number one in terms of time spent on Android phones among “Social and Entertainment Apps” as of the first half of this year, with TikTok in at number five behind three Facebook apps: Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Users also spend more money on YouTube than TikTok across both iOS and Android worldwide (excluding Android users in China), according to App Annie’s data.
If you’re curious as to exactly how TikTok found such success, App Annie reckons “Short-video, authentic content and live streaming” are the reasons. So it’s unsurprising that YouTube is attempting to ape TikTok’s short-form video format with the launch of its own YouTube Shorts.