TikTok ($PRIVATE:BYTEDANCE) had already captured Gen Z’s attention before millennials hopped on board out of quarantine boredom. Navigating the short form video platform is second nature for many teenagers and “content creators.” Viral dance challenges and trending videos are part of their lexicon.

TikTok’s owner, Chinese tech company Bytedance, positioned its product as an essential social network with something new to offer. TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly, initially focused on lipsyncing videos, but has since broadened its scope to include comedy, dance, fashion, and lifestyle content. It currently has an implied valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion. 

Of course, there would be no TikTok without YouTube ($GOOG), the pioneering platform of the modern viral video. In recent years, YouTube has expanded into music and television streaming, rivaling Spotify and Netflix respectively. And soon, it will take on TikTok.   

YouTube is developing a short-form video feature called “Shorts.” The feature will be included in the existing YouTube app by the end of 2020. But will TikTok users take the time to learn the language of an additional short video sharing app?

While YouTube has a comparably larger audience than TikTok, TikTok’s user base is growing at a much faster rate than YouTube’s, 32% faster to be exact. TikTok’s ratings count in the Apple App Store has grown an impressive 66% in six months, while YouTube’s count has only increased 34%.

In the last year, TikTok’s Facebook mentions have shot up a staggering 180%. YouTube’s have grown 16%.

Over 15 years, YouTube has already solidified its prime position in our culture, particularly with younger users. Shorts has the potential to get YouTube trending again, or it could be proof that the platform needs to pick a lane and stay in it.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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