While TikTok is still leading the app download charts, YouTube is definitely not going to give up any video content ground without a fight.
This week, as part of its continued effort to quell the popularity of the short-form video app, YouTube has expanded beta testing of its Shorts tools to users in the UAE and the Middle East, the next stage for its TikTok clone effort.
And thus far, the Shorts feed has proven popular, despite it being a direct replica of TikTok.
Earlier this year, as part of its earnings update, YouTube's parent company Alphabet reported that Shorts is now up to 6.5 billion daily views, rising from 3.5 billion at the end of 2020. How, exactly those users come to Shorts is another question, with some simply viewing them as regular YouTube clips, as opposed to accessing them through the dedicated Shorts tab. But still, at YouTube's scale, it can provide significant competition for TikTok, and with YouTube's creator monetization tools also more advanced, it could prove to be a powerful lure for top TikTok stars, which may, eventually, be problematic for the rising app.
Indeed, already a swathe of TikTok creators are expanding their presences over to YouTube and TikTok, with big-name TikTokers like Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae amassing millions of followers on their YouTube channels.
And while most don't post as consistently on YouTube as they do on TikTok, with follower counts that high, their monetization potential on YouTube is likely far greater than TikTok in isolation. That gives them a level of insurance, in case TikTok were to, you know, get banned in the US, but it also provides them with more access to revenue options, as a comparison, which could eventually see them shifting more to YouTube instead, if TikTok fails to provide a comparable revenue stream.
And if YouTube Shorts is pretty much the same thing, that could better facilitate such, through expanded opportunities on the platform.
Essentially, while YouTube Shorts is not now, and never will be TikTok, it doesn't have to be, it just has to be close enough to provide a viable alternative for TikTok stars who may be considering other options.
Which is why this ongoing expansion is important - and at these view counts, it's worth considering whether YouTube Shorts might fit into your content plans as it continues to reach new regions.
UPDATE: YouTube's Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan has confirmed that Shorts Beta is coming to all regions this week.