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TikTok and YouTube will increasingly be competing for CTV ad dollars

The news: TikTok is looking to expand its connected TV (CTV) ad presence, according to a new job posting, ramping up its battle with YouTube to bring short-form video to TVs and capture more revenues in that lucrative channel.

  • The ByteDance-owned app is looking for a product manager of user growth who will be responsible for advancing the company’s CTV strategy and growth.

The competition: YouTube already has a powerful CTV presence and is looking to go further by tacking on YouTube Shorts.

  • At a recent internal partner event, the Google-owned platform appeared to demonstrate a CTV-integrated interface for its YouTube Shorts content. A whole suite was teased at the event, including expanded multistream capabilities for YouTube TV and increased smart TV integration for YouTube's music streaming service.
  • YouTube CTV viewing has been growing for some time now, and the company recently introduced a frequency-capping solution to attract more CTV dollars.
  • Last week, Google announced it will give advertisers more ways to purchase CTV ads, including audience guarantees using Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR). One of those places buyers can place inventory is YouTube—which could help attract more ad dollars.

TikTok already has apps for Samsung, Fire TV, Vizio, and Google TV, so it’s already begun to make headway in the CTV market—but the recent job listing makes it clear it’s looking to accelerate that growth.

Why bring short-form to TVs? CTV has been a hotbed for ad spending, and YouTube’s strong viewership on connected devices suggests potential for nontraditional video formats on TV screens.

  • Ad agencies will spend 53% more on CTVs in 2022 than they did in 2021, per Advertiser Perceptions. We forecast CTV ad spending to total $18.89 billion this year and $38.83 billion by 2026—though recent attribution scandals could have a cooling effect.
  • Despite its origins as a website and its evolution into a mobile app, more Americans are choosing to watch YouTube on TV screens. CTVs made up 30.5% of time spent per day on YouTube in 2020 and has grown to 36.4% now, per our recent Digital Video Trends Report. For the first time ever this year, mobile will make up less than half of all YouTube viewership.

Do people want this? People certainly want more short-form video, but how well it works on TV is an unknown.

  • TikTok and YouTube’s short-form forays into CTVs will help shed light on how well the format works. But for now, it still makes sense for both to unify their experiences across platforms.
  • YouTube is trying to do just that, even when it comes to attribution. Bringing Shorts to CTVs is a natural extension of that effort, especially as they become a bigger part of YouTube.
  • There are ways to make the short-form scrolling experience work for TV. Video feeds could autoplay to the next video and have a thumbs up or down button to adjust recommendations. Ads could be worked in between videos seamlessly as they are on the mobile apps.

The big takeaway: TikTok and YouTube are playing a game of cat and mouse for digital video dominance, and TVs are the latest battleground.

  • For consumers, it means short-form video doesn’t just live on your phones, but could soon become a powerful format across screens of all kinds.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Marketing & Advertising Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the advertising industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.