Shorts and Reels are Coming for TikTok Consumers

TikTok has created a new game with short video content, attracting massive audience engagement. YouTube Shorts, as well as Facebook and Instagram Reels, seek to close the viewership gap with their own visually addictive offerings.

What does the future hold for brands hoping to cash in on these increasingly viral videos? The promotional potential is exciting. Social media monitoring will be a critical component to navigating the emerging trend of short-form video. Let’s explore.


Specifically, we’ll break down the conversations surrounding this emerging trend with a focus on:

  • TikTok masters short-form video
  • YouTube Shorts takes aim at TikTok
  • Facebook responds with Reels

TikTok has quickly become a force to be reckoned with among social media platforms as these statistics from Influencer Marketing Hub indicate:

  • As of the end of September, TikTok has topped 1 billion monthly active users.
  • TikTok users in the U.S. spend an average of 858 minutes a month on the platform.
  • Zoom was the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store in 2020, followed by TikTok, which beat out Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, Netflix, YouTube, and Instagram.

Bite-sized videos were TikTok’s ticket to social media stardom, and now everyone is itching for a piece of the action. Brands need to be strategizing – yesterday.

marketing on tiktok

TikTok Masters Short-Form Video

TikTok started gaining massive traction in 2019 and absolutely exploded in popularity at the onset of the pandemic last year. And it has shown zero signs of slowing down, hitting the one billion monthly active user mark just last month. TikTok is now the emerging trend that spawns emerging trends.

TikTok specializes in short-form video, which is easily digestible and leaves users scrolling for more. And that’s to the tune of over 850 minutes each month for the average user in the U.S. – that’s over 14 hours!

Viral dance videos drove its initial success, but now TikTok videos accommodate pretty much every vertical under the sun. Along with the ecommerce boom last year, users are drawn to items featured in their favorite videos, evidenced by the widespread use of the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit.

tiktok made me buy this post

And brands will want to pay attention here because TikTok is capitalizing on the popularity of short-form video – and now ecommerce.

At the end of September, they hosted their first-ever TikTok World 2021 event aimed at brands and marketers, which introduced social ecommerce functionality into the site. And this is huge as the platform has become prime real estate for every type of product marketing you can imagine -from lipstick to tacos.

Using social media monitoring to keep tabs on the conversation, behaviors such as check out, want, use, and shop are trending highly among users over the past three months. So, brands and marketers will want to keep a close watch on TikTok’s ecommerce performance as it’s sure to add a whole new dynamic to the wildly popular platform.

Other social media networks have already been taking notes.

marketing on tiktok

YouTube Shorts Takes Aim at TikTok

YouTube Shorts is the company’s response to the short-form popularity of TikTok and launched in beta back in March. Of course, YouTube is the undisputed reigning king of long-form video content, but social media changes rapidly, so the shorts feature is the platform’s effort to chime in on emerging trends.

Myspace gave way to Facebook, and then the younger generations went looking for something younger once Grandma had an account. Snapchat and Instagram filled the void and have remained popular for years now.

However, the platforms got saturated with influencers and professional content creators, which partially explains the draw to TikTok, where everyone could get a fresh start with bite-sized content that could be gobbled up in short chunks. And YouTube has not only stuck around through it all – they are jockeying to stay in tune with emerging trends through YouTube Shorts.

YouTube Shorts has shelf-space within the regular mobile app and feels a lot like TikTok, but not exactly. To gain traction, they’ve kicked off monetization with a $100 million Shorts Fund which will pay top creators up to $10k per month. And to further encourage new creators and content, an account does not need to currently monetize the platform to be eligible. Also, content cannot be shared from third-party platforms or reproduced from other content on YouTube.

This monetization style is set to run through next year but will surely be replaced in the long term by a scalable solution. Brands will want to direct their social media monitoring skills towards the viability, popularity, and marketing options that YouTube Shorts offers going forward.

Facebook Responds with Reels

Facebook is no stranger to ecommerce but is a relative newcomer to the short-form video format. Not content to let TikTok and YouTube have all the fun, the platform recently announced the release of Facebook Reels on IOS and Android. Proceeding that, they released Instagram’s version last August.

instagram reels

Surely, ecommerce functionality will be coming down the pipe in the future since Instagram only took a few short months to add the feature. However, YouTube and Facebook’s focus doesn’t appear to be ecommerce from the get-go but attracting content creators to embrace their new short-form video features.

Facebook has also announced a commitment to invest one billion dollars through 2022 to entice content creators to the platform. And part of that is their Reels Play Bonus which creators can sign up for to earn money based on the performance of their reels.

Traction and visibility mean everything when wrestling for share of voice with emerging trends. And short-form video will be no exception. TikTok brought the concept to prominence on the world stage, and now some major players are throwing their hats in the ring.

Through diligent social media monitoring, brands, agencies, and marketers will want to keep their eyes glued to how this plays out with consumers. Success will be contingent on attracting both creators and viewers. And from there, marketing and monetization options for your brand will hinge on what types of influencers are at work in your vertical and whether they’ve attracted your custom audience – and social media monitoring will inform it all.

Short-form video is a doozy of an emerging trend – is your brand ready to capitalize on it? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll ensure that your social listening tools are up to the task.

marketing on tiktok

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