Launched first in India after the TikTok ban in August 2020, YouTube Shorts rolled out globally in June 2021. The feature, which is accessible via the YouTube app, reached two billion monthly logged-in users as of July 2023. YouTube has been heavily promoting its short-video format platform since its global launch, including redirecting users automatically to Shorts when the YouTube app is opened and launching the YouTube Shorts Funds to entice creators' participation. In 2022, user and travel vlogger Shangerdanger took the crown for the most popular Short on YouTube, with his video “Diver cracks Egg at 45 ft Deep".
TikTok versus Reels: competitors’ comparison
Launched in September 2016 in China as Douyin, TikTok went on to become of the most engaging social media platforms for global users, challenging mainstream social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube in their primary markets such as the United States, Brazil, and Japan. TikTok’s popularity exploded between 2019 and 2020, as the work was experiencing the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Reels, Instagram’s in-app short video experience, debuted in 2020 as Facebook (now Meta Platforms) bet on the short-video feature to improve users’ engagement. While videos were an already popular format on Facebook and Instagram, social short videos soon became an even more popular format with users. As of June 2022, the average video viewing rate for Reels on Instagram was 2.54 percent, while for videos was of 1.74 percent as of June 2022.
Content is key: creators drive an entire economy
As of July 2022, influencers on TikTok and YouTube generate the largest share of video views, over 90 percent, while content produced by media companies and brands constitute only a smaller part of the video views generated on the two video platforms. As content creators are emerging even more clearly as the backbone of social media marketing and advertising, it is not a surprise that an entire economy devoted to their needs and presence has developed in recent years. In 2022, companies supporting the creators’ economy by offering merchandising services had an annual average revenue of over 500 million U.S. dollars, while companies overseeing subscription services generated approximately 300 million U.S. dollars.
YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023
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TechCrunch. (July 26, 2023). YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved September 30, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/
TechCrunch. "YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions)." Chart. July 26, 2023. Statista. Accessed September 30, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/
TechCrunch. (2023). YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: September 30, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/
TechCrunch. "Youtube Shorts Global Monthly Active Usage in 2022 and 2023 (in Billions)." Statista, Statista Inc., 26 Jul 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/
TechCrunch, YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/ (last visited September 30, 2023)
YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions) [Graph], TechCrunch, July 26, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1314183/youtube-shorts-performance-worldwide/