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Tips For Creators
February 15, 2023
min read
Elad Schulman

YouTube vs TikTok - Which one is better for creators?

YouTube has been around since 2005, and today, YouTubers like MrBeast and PewDiePie make approximately $50M a year thanks to the video platform. For many years, YouTube was the best (and pretty much only) option for creators to upload long-form videos and make money. 

However, that all changed in 2018 when TikTok was born from the merging of the app and ByteDance, a Chinese tech giant. Who knows if it was the coronavirus or simply that people were eager for a different video-based platform, but in 2020, TikTok suddenly became a viable contender to compete against YouTube (and we’re not just talking about the YouTube vs TikTok boxing). Whatever the case, a number of creators, including Charli D’Amelio and Anna Sitar found major success on this social platform. 

It has become clear that in order to truly succeed as a content creator, you should have a strong presence on a number of different platforms, and understand the benefits (and shortcomings) of each one. But, many creators are left wondering which platform is better - YouTube or TikTok? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. The key is understanding the pros and cons of each platform, and deciding what’s most important and relevant for you and the content you create.

So here it is - TikTok vs YouTube: 


Let’s be honest, aside from enjoying sharing the things you love with a growing audience, money is on your mind. But, how exactly do you make money on YouTube and TikTok, and is there a platform that’s more successful at monetization? 

How to make money on YouTube

  • Google AdSense: Creators that join the YouTube Partner Program and set up an AdSense account will be able to receive a portion of the ad revenue that’s made off of the ads that play before, during, and after their video. For example, Ryan Trahan’s ad revenue, a creator known for his challenge-type videos, is estimated to be at about $1.24 million a year,
  • YouTube Shorts fund: YouTube Shorts was introduced to the platform in 2020, allowing YouTubers to record, edit and upload short videos (of up to 60 seconds) directly on the YouTube app. In 2021, YouTube announced this creator fund which promises to reward creators with a monthly ‘bonus’ from the $100M fund pot. Every month, YouTube reaches out to thousands of YouTube Short creators based on their Shorts performance in the previous month. Creators can get anywhere between $100 to $10,000 from the fund - the exact amount depends on different performance metrics, including monthly channel Shorts views and where their audience is located. 

If you are interested in delving deeper into how much money YouTubers make, you can check out this article. 

How to make money on TikTok

  • Creator fund: The TikTok Creator Fund was established by the app and began in 2020. TikTok has pledged $1 billion over the course of three years to its top creators, and this sum is also split between all of the creators who join. The exact amount each creator gets will depend on the number of views and the level of engagement each eligible video gets. Unfortunately, the Fund is only available to you if you reside in the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. In general, TikTok pays its creators around 2 to 4 cents for every 1,000 views, so you could expect $20 to $40 after reaching a million views. 
  • TikTok Pulse: In June 2022, TikTok introduced TikTok Pulse, giving TikTok creators the opportunity to share the revenue by placing ads alongside their original posts. TikTok Pulse offers ad space alongside the top 4% of its most popular content among the top 12 video categories on the app (including beauty, cooking, and gaming). TikTok has said that the ad revenue split is 50/50 with creators.

How much money do TikTokers make

Preston Seo, a personal finance influencer known on TikTok as The Legacy Investing Show who has 2.4M followers, shared with Business Insider that he earned a total of about $1,664 from the Creator Fund between January 2021 to May 2021, and his account earns between $9 to $38 a day on average. 

Making money on TikTok is possible, it just seems that it’s not quite as fleshed out as it is on YouTube. This makes sense - YouTube has been around a lot longer than TikTok, but TikTok is definitely progressing in the right direction in terms of monetization.

Influencer opportunities - TikTok vs YouTube

Both platforms have the same opportunities for brand partnerships once you’ve built up a loyal following. 

  • Paid product placements: Brands will pay you to use or display their product in a video
  • Sponsorship and endorsements: Brands will pay you to advertise and use their products in a video. As your channel grows (both in the number of subscribers and in the level of engagement), your sponsorship rate will increase. For example, MrBeast, who has 104M subscribers, makes over 300k per sponsorship. Our YouTube Sponsorship Calculator can find out how much any channel is worth, and is a great resource for creators and brands to truly find out how much money can be made via a YouTube sponsorship.
  • Affiliate marketing: Brands will provide you with a link for your viewers, and you’ll earn a commission every time a product or service is bought with your link. For example, Whitney Simmons, a popular health and fitness YouTuber and an athlete for the popular brand Gymshark, has an affiliate link in the bio of every video for Gymshark products. She’s not being sponsored by Gymshark to mention their products, but she will get a portion of the income that Gymshark makes.

If you’re not sure how to reach out to brands for potential partnerships, let us help you match with relevant brands

Highest paid YouTubers and TikTokers

According to Forbes, here are the YouTuber creators that made the most money in 2021:  

  1. MrBeast: $54M, which is almost double his total income from 2020. MrBeast created content on his numerous channels around gaming, reviews, and challenge-type videos, including challenges that have a more philanthropic aspect
  2. Jake Paul: $45M, mostly sharing content surrounding his boxing career, music, and lifestyle videos. 
  3. MarkPlier: $38M, making gaming-related content like Let’s Play’s and game reviews.

According to Forbes, here are the TikTok creators that made the most money in 2021: 

  1. Charli D’Amelio: 17.5M, whose following grew immensely from her dancing and lip-syncing videos. Charli has a number of advertising sponsorships with brands like Invisalign, Dunkin Donuts, a Hulu show following her and her family’s life, as well as a show with her sister on Snap called Charlie vs. Dixie. 
  2. Dixie D’Amelio: 10M, whose following also grew due to her dancing and lip-syncing videos, as well as cute, short snippets of her day-to-day life. Dixie shares a lot of her business ventures with her sister but has also started a solo music career. 
  3. Addison Rae: 8.5M, whose growth on the platform came from creating original dances, hilarious sketches, and lip-syncing videos. Addison has also landed a number of roles with the streaming platform, Netflix, most notably He’s All That, a remake of the 90’s movie, She’s All That. 

The YouTube algorithm

The YouTube algorithm is ever-changing and, for the most part, remains a mystery. There are several tips and tricks that help creators optimize their content and channel to help them stand out amongst the 500 hours of content that is uploaded to YouTube every minute (read more about that here). 

In general, Social Media Examiner has recommended creators to aim for videos to be 7-15 minutes, as they are the videos that tend to perform best. However, YouTube has been incredibly vocal on its shift into short-form content. YouTube product manager, Pierce Vollucci, has said that based on YouTube’s analysis, “channels that create both Shorts and long-form video are performing better, overall, than those that aren’t investing time into Shorts.”

The TikTok algorithm

TikTok’s recommendation system is curated for each user, based on user interactions, the content they search for, and device and account settings (such as language preferences and interest categories). All these elements are comprised into the For You page that is constantly changing and adapting to your video-watching habits. 

TikTok has been making changes to its video lengths - videos started at 15 seconds, grew to 60 seconds, and grew to 3 minutes by the end of 2020. The option for 10-minute videos is also coming to the app very soon. TikTok has shared that videos longer than one minute receive over 5 billion views globally, and, on average, 2-minute videos are now the average on the app. 

A 3-minute video is by no means ‘long-form content’, but TikTok definitely understands the benefits of content that’s longer than just a handful of seconds. Long-form content is what allows the viewers to build a meaningful connection with the creator and an overall sense of community. 

YouTube - pros and cons

TikTok - pros and cons

So, TikTok vs YouTube - what’s the verdict? 

YouTube has definitely proven itself as a successful platform over the last 18 years, while TikTok has taken the world by storm in the last few years. There really is no ‘correct answer’ in choosing what platform is best. The platform that is the best for you, as a creator, depends on what your goals are and the type of content that you want to produce. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how both platforms continue to evolve as trends change and the creator economy advances. 

If you are a creator interested in scaling your YouTube sponsorship, let us help you match with relevant brands

Which platform do you prefer? Let us know! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. 

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