YouTube Reaches 1.5 Billion Users of Shorts, Its TikTok Rival

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Tech giants are investing in short-form video to win back attention from users and creators

YouTube said it has reached more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in viewers of Shorts, its short-form video feature that launched in late 2020 as a response to the surging popularity of TikTok.

The video giant, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, announced the milestone on Wednesday, trumpeting the ascent of what executives called ‘the multiformat creator’—someone who produces both long and short videos. In 2021, YouTube started putting Shorts posts directly within its main app and has encouraged the platform’s biggest stars to produce videos tailored for the format.

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The focus on Shorts is part of a broader trend in social media to challenge ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok for the attention of viewers and creators. TikTok surged in popularity worldwide during the pandemic, including in the US, the tech giants’ most lucrative ad market. Meta Platforms Inc. has dramatically redesigned Instagram to feature Reels, its TikTok copycat. Instagram hasn’t disclosed a total number of users for its app, but says Reels comprises more than 20% of users’ time spent there.

In its recent quarter, Google said that traffic on Shorts had eaten into YouTube’s main site in its most recent quarter, hurting the division’s margin. Google told investors ads were coming to Shorts soon. In 2019, YouTube declared that it has more than two billion monthly visitors for its main site; the company hasn’t updated the figure since.

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