A new report suggests that TikTok has surpassed YouTube average watch time in the US and UK on Android versions of both apps respectively.

A new report on recent data from App Annie by the BBC suggests that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in average user watch time for the first time. However, YouTube still reigns supreme as the dominant online streaming platform due to the volume of users across mobile and desktop. With an estimated 2 billion monthly users, YouTube dwarfs that of the reported 700 million said to be registered with TikTok.

One notable tidbit from this report is that the data was derived from Android phones and does not take into account the userbase or viewership in China — TikTok’s home market. In the UK, TikTok’s average view time exceeded that of YouTube as far back as June 2020 and that lead has grown in the time since. Whereas in the US, YouTube held the leads until April 2021, when TikTok’s average view time surpassed Google’s video streaming service per user:

  • image: App Annie
  • image: App Annie

YouTube’s move to push the new TikTok-like “Shorts” is undoubtedly a reactionary switch to ensure that it remains the biggest global player in online video. Short-form video has grown in popularity as TikTok filled the void left by previous efforts such as Vine, which offered six-second long clips but struggled with monetization on the platform.

While this is undoubtedly a big deal for both TikTok and YouTube, watch time favors the former streaming service due to the way in which it is used and, therefore, consumed. Almost exclusively used on mobile and with portrait video being key, TikTok also includes an auto-scrolling interface that promotes increased engagement and, therefore, watch time. A recent pledge by YouTube could help readjust these metrics as $100 million is being offered to creators behind viral Shorts with the highest views and most engagement.

YouTube Shorts began testing in India before rolling out across the globe in recent months — with the US gaining access to the new 60-second TikTok-esque video content early May. It’s integrated into the main YouTube app on Android and iOS, with the ability to create from your smartphone.

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TikTok surpasses YouTube’s average watch time on Android in US and UK
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