TikTok vs YouTube by Ramit Sethi

TikTok vs YouTube | Everything You Need to Know

Choosing between TikTok and YouTube is like picking your favorite ice cream flavor — it’s all about what hits the spot for you. 

They’re obviously not the same platform, so knowing the best place to post your videos is going to be a crucial factor for your growth. In this post, I’ll be cutting through the tech jargon to help you figure out where your videos will feel more at home and maybe even go viral. 

Ready to dive in? Let’s do this!

TikTok vs YouTube by Ramit Sethi
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  • Watch Ramit Sethi host Netflix’s “How to Get Rich” 
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Table of Contents

TikTok and YouTube: Platform Basics


TikTok is your digital stage for the here and now. It’s like hosting a worldwide talent show right in your pocket. This is the place where trends are born and everyone’s fifteen seconds of fame are just a quirky dance or a catchy tune away. With its arsenal of editing tools and filters, you can go from an average Joe to a viral sensation overnight. But remember, fame on TikTok is as fleeting as fashion trends — blink, and you might miss it. On this platform, content creation is as easy as pie; your smartphone is your studio, and the world is your audience.



YouTube, on the other hand, is THE grand library of videos. From learning how to fix a leaky faucet to getting lost in a documentary about underwater cities, YouTube has it all. It’s like the wise old sage of the internet; whatever you’re curious about, YouTube probably has an answer. And let’s talk diversity — it’s not just about cat videos and makeup tutorials. On YouTube, you can find a community for everything under the sun. Planning to go deep on a topic? YouTube’s your go-to. And if you’re curious about turning those views into something more… lucrative, stick around. I’ve got some insights to share that might just pique your interest.


TikTok vs YouTube: What Are the Differences?

Target Audience


TikTok, primarily known as the digital stomping ground for Gen Z, has seen explosive growth, with about 60% of its user base being between the ages of 16-24. But it’s not just a youthful playground; recent stats suggest a growing trend of older demographics engaging on the platform, with users aged 25-44 making up roughly 26%. This means that on TikTok you can find a diverse audience pool, ripe for businesses aiming for rapid brand visibility and engagement. The platform’s unique algorithm, which favors user interaction over follower count, means that content can go viral overnight, providing an unmatched opportunity for explosive audience growth.



YouTube is a more mature landscape with a vast, multi-generational user base. It’s the second most visited website globally, boasting over 2 billion logged-in monthly users. Millennials, in particular, make up a significant portion of the audience, with research indicating that 70% of millennial YouTube users watched a video to learn how to do something new. This makes YouTube an invaluable platform for in-depth, informative content that caters to a range of interests and educational needs. 


Content Format and Duration


TikTok is the definition of bite-sized entertainment, perfect for today’s fast-paced digital world. The platform champions short, snappy videos ranging from 15 seconds to a minute, with a cap at 10 minutes for more in-depth stories. It’s a playground for creativity where the usual barriers to content creation vanish, allowing anyone with a smartphone to become a storyteller, comedian, or educator. 



YouTube, on the other hand, is like the grand stage for digital content, where length is limited only by imagination and message. While it supports short-form content through YouTube Shorts, similar to TikTok, it truly shines with long-form content, allowing creators to flesh out complex narratives, share detailed tutorials, or stream live events. 




TikTok’s algorithm is like a personal DJ, mixing a unique playlist of videos tailored just for you. It curates content on the For You Page based on your interactions, ensuring that each swipe introduces you to videos that resonate with your taste. This personalized approach not only does wonders for the user experience but also offers creators a fair shot at visibility, making your next viral hit just one engaging post away. 



YouTube’s algorithm functions more like a seasoned librarian, recommending content based on your viewing history and a mix of other factors. It’s a sophisticated system that prioritizes watch time, ensuring users are presented with videos that keep them glued to their screens. Regular uploads and high view counts also play a significant role, signaling to us that YouTube is a platform where consistency and depth are rewarded.


Editing Capabilities


TikTok’s in-app editing tools are a game-changer, offering a plethora of filters, effects, and music options right at your fingertips. The platform encourages spontaneous, authentic content creation, making it perfect for creators on the go. The ease of editing and posting means your next viral video can be crafted during your coffee break, the perfect combo of creativity with convenience.



On YouTube, video quality and editing are taken up a notch. Creators often rely on sophisticated external software to refine their content, focusing on high-quality visuals and sound. This is not necessary but keep in mind that YouTube viewers expect a higher production value. 

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Forms of Interaction


TikTok fosters a vibrant, interactive community with features like duets and stitches, inviting users to collaborate creatively and directly engage with content. The platform’s design encourages active participation, with users easily liking, commenting, and sharing videos, inviting them to be active participants in the content ecosystem.



On YouTube, viewers engage deeply with content, leaving comments, participating in live chats during streams, sharing their favorite videos, and subscribing to channels they love. It’s a multi-layered interaction that creates a dynamic community and an ongoing dialogue between creators and their audience. And that’s how lasting relationships are built.


Monetization Opportunities


On TikTok, monetization extends beyond the app through affiliate marketing and brand partnerships. Creators can also tap into TikTok’s Creativity Program for direct earnings and receive live gifts from fans. However, substantial income often requires a significant following and external collaborations, making off-platform opportunities essential for financial success.



YouTube offers a diverse revenue stream through ads, memberships, Super Chat, and sponsorships. Joining the YouTube Partner Program allows creators to earn via their Google AdSense account. While becoming a top earner requires extensive work and a large audience, YouTube also serves as a powerful marketing tool for businesses, leveraging visibility to promote products or services, much like I do.


So, TikTok or YouTube: What should I choose?

TikTok offers quick, trend-driven interactions, while YouTube provides a platform for in-depth content. If you want to solidify your presence on social media channels, you should definitely incorporate both platforms in your content strategy.  Leveraging the strengths of both can maximize your visibility and impact, and ensure a broader reach for your message.

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.