In a nutshell

  • The question of “YouTube vs. TikTok: Which platform pays more for short-form content” is difficult to answer definitively, as it depends on various factors such as target audience, content type and creator’s existing presence on each platform.
  • Monetization on both platforms is based on revenue-sharing models, meaning payouts fluctuate.
  • Turning shorts into a sustainable income source is incredibly challenging; sponsorships and advertisements play a crucial role in boosting earnings for creators on both YouTube and TikTok, emphasizing the importance of growing a brand and exploring additional revenue streams.

The question of whether shorts creators make more money on YouTube or TikTok is a challenging one to answer. Nevertheless, as short-form video platforms continue to gain popularity, it becomes increasingly important for creators to understand the monetization potential of TikTok versus YouTube and vice versa.

In this article, we delve into the topic of YouTube Shorts and TikTok Shorts monetization, comparing their monetization options, payment rates and factors that affect your earnings as a creator.

Let’s get started.

Short-form video platform popularity

The rise of short-form video platforms in recent years is undeniable, although the concept of short-form video is not new. Its origins can be traced back to 2009 when marketers began experimenting with one-second advertisements. The current popularity of short-form videos is driven by the demographics consuming them, as younger generations are increasingly drawn to video content. The appeal lies in the ability to consume more content in less time, resulting in higher engagement, improved reputation, and rapid growth. Additionally, short-form videos are well-suited for on-the-go consumption on mobile devices, catering to modern, fast-paced lifestyles. Another contributing factor is the potential for short-form videos to quickly go viral. While the concept of short-form content is not novel, its popularity is set to keep rising as creators and audiences continue to engage with the diverse content available on video platforms, particularly on mobile devices and on the move.

YouTube vs. TikTok: How they work

YouTube Shorts

First, let’s discuss YouTube Shorts. YouTube Shorts is a feature on YouTube that focuses on short-form content, specifically videos that are 60 seconds or less. These clips are designed to be easily consumable and shareable, catering to the growing demand for quick, engaging content. Users can use the Shorts camera feature within the YouTube app to create a YouTube Short. This allows for recording and editing short clips with various creative tools such as music, text, and filters. Once uploaded, Shorts are showcased in search results and users’ Shorts feeds.


TikToks, like YouTube Shorts, are short clips that can be up to 10 minutes long. Most TikToks are created using TikTok’s built-in camera and editing tools. Once uploaded, the platform’s unique algorithm then surfaces videos to viewers based on their interests and engagement. TikToks can be easily shared across various social media platforms, further increasing their reach and potential for virality.

YouTube vs. TikTok: Who can earn money?

Both YouTube and TikTok have requirements creators need to meet before they can start making money with their shorts.

On YouTube, creators either have to have:

  • 1,000 subscribers and 10 million public Shorts views in the past 90 days.
  • 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours on their long-form videos.

On TikTok, creators need to have:

  • At least somewhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers and between 1,000 to 100,000 video views within the last 30 days.

How monetization works: YouTube vs. Tiktok

How monetization works on YouTube

Monetization on YouTube Shorts follows a revenue-sharing model between creators and music publishers. VidIQ explains that the revenue from Shorts contributes to a creator pool.

Unlike long-form YouTube videos, CPM (Cost Per Mile) doesn’t apply to YouTube Shorts. So how does YouTube pay its Shorts creators? In the case of Shorts, YouTube combines all the revenue from the ads played in between shorts and adds it into a pool. So, essentially, everyone’s working together to increase the revenue pot. Then, factors like the number of views, where you live and the number of music tracks you use in your content affect your earnings.

When creators include music tracks in their Shorts, they share the revenue with music publishers based on the number of tracks used. For example, according to VidIQ, if a Short contains two music tracks, music publishers receive 66 percent of the revenue, and the creator gets 33 percent. If a creator uses only one music track, they split the revenue evenly with music publishers. If no music tracks appear in the Short, the creator keeps their entire share of the revenue from the creator pool. Also, as VidIQ points out, keep in mind that monetizing creators retain 45 percent of their revenue share from the creator pool after accounting for music usage deductions.

How monetization works on TikTok

Like YouTube’s Shorts Fund, TikTok splits a pot of money between all the creators who join. The amount each TikToker collects varies based on the number of views and the size of engagement an eligible video gets. TikTok pays creators based on how well their TikToks perform and their engagement levels. However, there’s never a consistent payout. The amount that TikTok pays creators constantly changes because the fund is based on the number of videos posted in a single day.

So, which platform pays more?

The question of whether you make more money on YouTube or TikTok doesn’t have a cut-and-dried answer. There are many variables that creators need to consider — one of the major ones being their target audience. TikTok skews younger, so if your content is made for a younger demographic, you may find more success on TikTok. Likewise, if you already have a big presence on YouTube, you may make more there. While payouts fluctuate for both, YouTube has the opportunity to grow. This is because the more creators that start making Shorts and the more advertisers start to get on board, the revenue pool will go up. However, TikTok is exploring more monetization options.

It’s also worth noting that turning shorts into a living on their own is incredibly challenging. It’s essential to consider that sponsorships and advertisements significantly add to the amount creators can make on both platforms. So, go with the one that allows you to branch out into other forms of capital, like sponsorships.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which platforms yield the most money-making potential for your brand.