20 May 2021

YouTube To Pay Influencers $100M

Startup, Entrepreneur, YouTube, Influencer, TikTok

As YouTube announces plans to pay out $100 million to influencers who publish on YouTube Shorts over the next eighteen months, Floww takes a further look into the potential of YouTube’s newest feature and how it will stand up against its competitor, TikTok.

A Staple of Online Video

YouTube is one of the widest-reaching social media platforms ever, with 2 billion active monthly users and an audience that spans across all ages. 73% of adults in the US use the platform. YouTube’s traction does not seem to be harmed by the emergence of video on other social media platforms, such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram’s IGTV and Reels. Regardless, YouTube is constantly evolving to rise above and beyond – its new Shorts feature is the platform’s latest demonstration of this ambition.


Despite its initial success of 3.5 billion views per day, it’s difficult to tell whether YouTube Shorts will reach similar heights globally.

If YouTube is going to be known as the hub of video, it has to offer all forms of video. Its recent addition of stories and its latest feature, Shorts —15 second short-form videos, much like those offered on TikTok—enact this commitment.

Shorts firstly launched in beta in India, where TikTok was banned just months prior and expanded to the US in March. Despite its initial success of 3.5 billion views per day in its test run in India, it’s difficult to tell whether YouTube Shorts will reach similar heights globally where its competitors are so well established.


Startup, Entrepreneur, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram

Image via YouTube: in-device camera.


Playing Copycat

The last few years have seen YouTube adding more and more new features that mimic other popular streaming services. YouTube Music is Google’s alternative to Spotify and Apple Music, and YouTube TV competes with live TV streaming services such as Hulu.

YouTube Premium offers an ad-free streaming experience of YouTube, a YouTube Music subscription, as well as access to YouTube Original TV shows, which compare to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

All these names and different offerings seem quite hard to keep track of, right? This lack of clarity translates to YouTube’s inability to draw users away from the dominant platforms in each of these markets. 

Yet, YouTube has by virtue of this diversification also shown its versatility, and Shorts is their latest demonstration of this – so will it be more successful than YouTube’s previous copycat initiatives?


Shorts might just future-proof YouTube’s place as the hub of all video content and defeat all emerging competition.

The Potential of Short-form Video

It’s clear that YouTube would be missing out on a trick if they didn’t try out the short-form videos. TikTok’s success has demonstrated the form’s popularity, especially with young people. It is easy to consume and provides succinct, bitesize entertainment. You don’t have to commit to watching a fifteen-second video and this has been a game-changer for Instagram: their video content has been found to receive 49% higher engagement than static alternatives.

YouTube is also likely to benefit from the snappier content due to Shorts’ verticality being perfect for on-the-go mobile watchers. Not only will Shorts be easier to watch than standard videos, but they will also be easier to make. There is no need for an expensive camera and computer to make amazing videos; as with TikTok, you can film, edit, and upload all via your phone. This lowers the barrier for entry and makes video-making much more accessible for younger users, startups and businesses alive, or people just wanting to try it out. YouTube Shorts are clearly a step up for YouTube.

Competing against TikTok

YouTube’s 2 billion active monthly users are a great starting point for success. So many people are already familiar with YouTube, so will find it a comfortable platform on which to try something new. For many — particularly older users —TikTok seems like a huge leap into the unknown. YouTube Shorts will not only access a different demographic than TikTok, but many TikTok users who already regularly use YouTube may convert. 77% of 15–25-year-olds use YouTube: this is TikTok’s key market. Coupled with paying $100 million, if all of the top perks and talent of TikTok are also available on their already-loved YouTube, what is going to stop users from enjoying all their favourite content in one place? 


Startup, Entrepreneur, YouTube, YouTube Shorts, TkTok

Image via YouTube.

YouTube also offers a new bank of creative resources for use in short-form videos. You can use audio from videos across YouTube in your Shorts. Todd Sherman, Product Lead at Youtube, explains “this means you can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience — whether it’s reacting to your favourite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.” YouTube also has music licensing agreements with any label sharing their music on the platform, enabling a huge range of songs to feature in Shorts in comparison to TikTok’s only recent deals with Sony, Universal and Warner.

Keep an eye out for YouTube Shorts as they launch globally. It might just future-proof YouTube’s place as the hub of all video content and defeat all emerging competition.

Header Image: via Netbase Quid. Read more about how how to grow your startup on platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok here.

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