Maybe you have already heard of TikTok, and maybe you have also heard of the new video format on YouTube called YouTube Shorts that aims to take on TikTok.
But which of the two is better? And more importantly, which are more suitable for real estate marketing?
These two questions will be answered in this article.
You will learn what TikTok and YouTube Shorts are, important statistics, and marketing key performance indicators, which type of content marketing is working on each of the platforms, and how you can advertise on both of them.
I will give you the pros and cons and compare them directly, so you can make your own decision.
But a little spoiler right at the beginning: to me, there is only one winner at the moment when it comes to real estate marketing (it’s YouTube Shorts).
But that’s just me.
So please, keep reading.
What is TikTok?
Well, it is not associated with the Spanish Netflix comedy called Toc Toc, where a bunch of people with psychological issues and mental health conditions have to wait in a doctor’s office, trying to get along with each other for the time being.
Although some videos you may find on TikTok may indicate that psychological help wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea.
Some say that TikTok is the fastest growing social media network so far, which is somewhat true when you have been observing the growth over the last years.
By the way, it’s original name is actually Douyin.
Why does this rare name sound a bit Chinese?
That’s because it is Chinese, and in China, it’s actually known under that name.
TikTok is just the international version of Douyin and was launched in September 2017 for iOS and Android.
But this date didn’t make it available worldwide just yet, only after they merged with the Chinese social media service, Musical.ly, on August 2nd, 2018.
So the latter is the date when it really became available.
So it’s a Chinese video-sharing social networking service, and it is owned by ByteDance.
If you happen to have watched some of the TikTok videos there, you might have already noticed that they have a maximum duration of 60 seconds. The minimum duration is 3 seconds.
The type of content you will find there are dance, comedy, and education-based short-form videos.
Now that we have established what TikTok is, you might want to know what you can do with it, hence its features.
As already mentioned, you can create videos for a maximum length of 60 seconds and share them.
This is different from the social media service Miscal.ly with whom they merged; it has a wider range, and not only lip-syncing videos can be published there.
It provides users with a large selection of different song and sound snippets.
Additionally, you can add special filters and effects. Videos created on a smartphone can also be directly added.
In September 2020, TikTok included a feature called “reactions.”
With this feature, you can record reactions to a particular video and share it.
To better control the screen time, a digital well-being feature was added. Once users spend over two hours on the app, they get an alert.
There are eight further features that are focused on user protection and security that TikTok has been adding over time.
The Eight Further TikTok Features
1) Screen Time Management:
This feature enables users to configure their maximum screen time limit per day.
You can select whether you want to spend 40, 60, 90 or 120 minutes per day on TikTok.
Once users surpass this limit, they need to enter a password.
2) In-App Suicide Prevention:
As it seems some TikTok users became suicidal in the past, an in-app suicide resource page was implemented that provides users with key contacts and tips to counter these types of problems.
3) Age Gate:
This one I found a bit doubtful because only users aged above 13 are allowed to login and create a TikTok Account.
According to TikTok, this is to prevent underage users from using the platform.
4) Restricted Mode:
This feature is designed to restrict minors on TikTok with an optional account setting.
The display of content that might not be appropriate for minors will be limited. It is also protected by a password that is valid for 30 days.
If you want to consume unfiltered content in this mode, entering a password will be required.
This feature might be obsolete if they increased the minimum age for users to create new accounts in the first place (just an idea).
5) Comment Filter:
There are some people out there that like to give nasty comments, and the comment filter is the countermeasure for that.
Users can predefine particular words that need to be filtered out in the comments section. The list can be modified anytime afterwards.
6) In-app Reporting:
If and when users find unacceptable content or behavior, it can be reported in real-time to TikTok.
7) Risk Warning Tag:
Videos that may be inappropriate or contain “risks” for certain users are tagged.
8) Family Pairing:
As parents, you can link and unlink TikTok accounts, so you can configure several privacy and safety settings for your teen’s account.
Once this feature is active, you will be able to control the features mentioned above, such as screen time management, direct message settings, and restricted mode.
The TikTok Statistics & Demographics
In the U.S. the number of monthly active users is 26.5 million (source).
It is mostly downloaded in India, followed by quite a difference in download numbers in the United States (source).
It has a total of 1 billion video views per day, and 60% of users are aged between 16 and 24 (source), over 50% are aged between 18 and 34 and 25% are aged between 45 and 64.
Interestingly, 37% of Americans have never heard of TikTok, and only 5% plan to use it, and almost half are not interested in using it (49%) (source).
When it comes to gender, 63.4% of users are female (source).
Another interesting statistic shows that 37% of users have an annual income of more than $100,000, and 30% have an annual income of $40,000 or less (source).
Should You Advertise on TikTok for Real Estate?
To answer this question, we first need to look into the demographic that is most active (hence buying and selling houses/properties) on the real estate market.
Which demographics are the largest when it comes to real estate transactions?
So let’s get back to the TikTok demographics I mentioned in the beginning.
The important part to remember from this section is that 60% of users are aged between 16 and 24, over 50% are aged between 18, and 34 and 25% are aged between 45 and 64.
So, in the 50% demographic, besides many Generation Zs (usually not ready to buy or sell a home), you will also find a large proportion of millennials, and in the 25% demographic, you will also find baby boomers.
What we also can keep in mind is that according to the statistics above, 37% of users have an annual income of more than $100,000.
Generation Z wouldn’t usually qualify for being a potential home buyer because, economically, they are not quite ready yet.
But on TikTok, you might even have the chance to find some affluent ones.
I wouldn’t go all-in on that, though, when it comes to advertising.
The millennial group and baby boomers should be the first focus, in my opinion.
So the short answer is, yes, you may want to give it a try to advertise real estate on TikTok, provided you can target a share of millennials and some babyboomers or if you want to play the long game and target potential future home buyers, like Gen-Z.
TikTok Real Estate Content Marketing
From a content marketing perspective, gaining followers organically on TikTok is quite interesting compared to YouTube.
First, you need to know that the central page on TikTok is the “For You” page. It’s similar to a newsfeed, and TikTok curates personalized content there for every user.
You can find there different recommendations that are based on your behavior on TikTok. This is mostly viral content.
When it comes to turning a video viral, the playing field is a bit more level compared to YouTube.
The chances are generally a bit higher to get millions of views, even if your account has only a few or even zero followers.
The downside here is that you won’t have good chances to drive traffic to your real estate website because you can’t include links in video captions, and only certain users can add a link to their bio.
But what you can do is link to other social media accounts, such as Instagram.
On the other hand, this is possible with YouTube Shorts.
This means that you need to mention your business name in the videos and motivate viewers in such a way that they would search you on Google or other search engines and find your website directly.
What Content Works on TikTok?
The content type that works on TikTok is probably another challenge if you are in real estate.
On TikTok, basically, everything is about trends when it comes to content.
The videos that perform best are often ones that are a variation of an existing trend.
These are the common trends on TikTok:
- dance routine videos
- lip syncs
- beauty transitions
- comedy moments
- fitness workouts and tips
- camera hacks
What the most successful ones often have in common is that they are basic and fun.
Videos should also use trending sounds and hashtags to have better chances of being discovered.
So if you are a real estate agent and wouldn’t mind creating 80% of content consisting of lip-synching, having fun and dancing, and 20% of the time featuring some listings, you might want to give it a try.
There is a real estate agent that managed to do that. Her name is Jennifer Brough from Jennifer Homes Realty, and she managed to build a large following on TikTok.
In the same article, also another real estate agent is mentioned.
This other realtor had an interesting argument countering the point that a large part of the demographic is still too young to buy a home.
To him, it is a long game, and you can already build a following of future buyers.
According to this article, the type of real estate content you can post on TikTok is:
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Teasers and snippets of longer videos about different property listings
- Aligning real estate topics with trending hashtags and create videos with the hashtag in mind
- Playful videos with kids and pets
The 6 Different TikTok Ad Types
1) In-Feed Video Ads
These are ads displayed in the user’s newsfeed (the For You page) and are short-form videos.
Since they look almost like normal TikTok videos, they blend into the feed.
In in-feed ads, you can include several call-to-actions, and the maximum video length should be between 9 and 15 seconds.
The potential issue with this ad type is that it can be easily skipped or scrolled past.
So you will need to grab the attention of people that usually don’t have a long attention span anyway (e.g., millennials, Generation z), which makes it even a bit more difficult.
Just like any other TikTok video, your in-feed ad can also be liked, shared and interacted with.
Costs for TikTok In-Feed Video Ads
In-Feed Video Ads is the ad type where you will have the most control because you can set your own budget and schedule.
The current minimum campaign budget is $500, and the minimum ad group daily budget is $20 (source).
2) TikTok Brand Takeover Ads
When you open your TikTok app, and an ad is immediately displayed, that’s a Brand Takeover Ad.
This type of ad usually displays a full-screen video targeted to a predefined audience and can also be displayed on the For You page as a static image, GIF or video.
They can link to a landing page or a Hashtag Challenge (source).
If you want to increase brand awareness and aim to generate direct sales (more relevant for e-commerce, and not the case for large products, such as properties), this is the ad you want to go with.
Costs for TikTok Brand Takeover Ads
Prices for the Brand Takeover Ads period range between $50,000 and $100,000 per day.
This might be an option if you are a larger real estate company with a much higher advertising budget (source).
3) TikTok TopView Ads
This type of ad is similar to the Brand Takeover ads.
But they are less aggressive in contrast to them and aren’t displayed as soon as a user opens the app.
You can also change a Brand Takeover Ad into a TopView Ad.
They rather display as an in-feed post after the first 3 seconds and appear in the For You page.
Costs for TikTok TopView Ads
The costs are similar to Brand Takeover Ads. For 7.4 million impressions, you can expect to pay $65,000 per day (source).
4) TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge
With TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads, you really enter the premium ad level on TikTok.
You will know what I mean once I tell you what it costs.
A campaign like that creates a particular hashtag under which users can create comedy challenges or bespoke dance. It’s kind of a call to action campaign that takes six days.
When you select Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads, it’s basically an ad package because it also includes Brand Takeover Ads.
Costs of TikTok Branded Challenge Ads
The flat fee per six days for this type of campaign is $150,000.
And if you want to promote it, you will need an additional amount of between $100,000 and $200,000 (source).
5) TikTok Branded Effects Ads
With this type of TikTok ad, you can add 2D animated lenses to your views. They can be triggered via face and hand movements.
Who’s creating these lenses? It’s TikTok’s in-house creative team.
Costs for TikTok Branded Effects Ads
For 30 days, you can expect to pay $45,000.
6) TikTok Influencer Ads/ Brand and Creator Collaborations
This type of ad campaign can be created on the “Creator Marketplace,” where brands meet creators and where both can collaborate.
There are four different creator packages for these ad types:
The Mid-tier package
With this package, you can collaborate with five creators/influencers that have less than a million followers.
You can expect to pay $12,000 for this package.
The Top-tier Package
This is basically the same package as the Mid-tier package.
The only difference is that the five influencers will have between one and five million followers.
Here, you can expect to pay $35,000 for the package.
The Value Hybrid Package
Cost-wise, this package is between the Top-tier package and the Mid-tier package.
You will get two top-tier creators/influencers and three mid-tier creators/influencers advertising for you for that.
Expect to pay $20,000 for this package.
The Premium Hybrid Package
If you select this package, a mix of creators/influencers will advertise for you.
It will be one VIP Creator with more than 500 followers, two top-tier creators/influencers, and two mid-tier creators/influencers.
This package will cost you $30,000. (source)
What Are The TikTok Advertising Costs & Conversion Rates?
Overall, it’s slightly more difficult to find clear information about TikTok’s Ad cost structure to have a baseline to estimate the overall performance of this platform.
You could already read about the costs of the different ad types in the section above.
According to this source and based on a budget of $50,000 spent in the United States, TikTok ads can generate 155% more clicks while costing 36% less compared to Facebook and Instagram.
You pay $0.19 per click (CPC), which is also higher than on Facebook and Instagram.
TikTok doesn’t charge on a per click basis, such as for example, Google AdWords.
Their pricing is on a cost per mill impression basis (CPM), which is roughly $1.82 (source) .
This all sounds quite positive; however, the barriers to entry are higher than on Facebook Ads or Google Ads platforms.
To achieve the above costs per click, you will need a fairly high advertising budget from the start.
For example, the cheapest option is the In-Feed Video ads that already have a minimum daily budget of $20.
So, it’s not very friendly for real estate advertisers that need to start out with a small budget and test and optimize their way up to higher budgets once a campaign is successful and converts well.
My Little Workaround and Ninja Trick for the Higher TikTok Starter Costs
My idea for a workaround for advertising starters with a lower budget would be to first test video ads on the Facebook Ads platform, targeting only mobile users.
My longer article about real estate marketing on Facebook might be helpful in this context.
This Facebook ad’s testing can be done with a lower budget than on TikTok.
You then optimize the Facebook campaign until it converts well and is successful, and then you can pass this proven campaign on to TikTok.
You will risk slightly less advertising dollars in the beginning than having started first with TikTok.
What Are the TikTok Ads Conversion Rates?
Hard data based on the experience of various TikTok advertisers is hard to come by when it comes to conversion rates.
The only metric out there is TikTok engagement rates, which are 29% (source).
The problem with engagements is that they don’t correlate with conversions.
The engagement rate metric only tracks how a particular audience is involved with the content. It measures things like comments, shares, and “likes.”
I don’t know about you, but I have never met someone who could pay the bills with likes or comments.
I am interested in what TikTok can do in terms of lead generation.
So what can we do?
We can only assume or estimate a conversion rate based on other longer, existing advertising platforms dealing with video ads.
Which are the largest ones in this context? Exactly, YouTube Ads and Facebook Video Ads.
The conversion rate of YouTube is 0.5% (source).
Generally, the conversion rate in real estate for Facebook Ads is 10.68% (source).
When we take into consideration that this conversion rate is increased by 20-30% using video ads (source), we can assume a Facebook video ad conversion rate for real estate of between 12.8% and 13.8%.
To have some conservative numbers, let’s take the average between YouTube and Facebook Video ads, which is 6.65%.
This is the number we should also be able to apply to TikTok Ads.
A TikTok Costs per Acquisition (CPA) Estimation
Now that we have established some baseline numbers to estimate the performance, we can make a calculated estimation of the costs per acquisition.
We will need the average CPM and the conversion rate of TikTok, which is $1.82 and 6.65%.
To get a bit more exact, we can also include the average click through rate, which is between 1% and 3% (source). Let’s make it an average of 2%.
So the impression to lead conversion rate would be 6.65% x 2%, which is 0.133%.
Now we can calculate how many impressions you will need to buy to get one lead.
We divide 1 by 0.133%, which is 751.8. This is 75.18% of 1,000 impressions.
And 75.18% from $1.82 (what you pay per thousand impressions) is $1.37.
So, according to this estimated calculation, you would pay $1.37 per acquisition, which is pretty low compared to other CPAs I mentioned already in my real estate prospecting article here.
But I have to remind you again that while the CPA metric is better than the conversion rate metric, it won’t tell you much about the lead quality you get.
You might get cheap leads, but will they buy or sell real estate?
This will all depend on your audience targeting, your ad copy and your offer.
What Are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts are still pretty fresh.
It was launched in September 2020 and wants to attack TikTok since the future of TikTok is still uncertain in the U.S.
And as you could read in my statistics part about TikTok, almost half (49%) are not planning to use it in the near future.
It is still a beta version and is basically just a vertical video that you can upload to video with a maximum length of 60 seconds.
You will need to include the hashtag “Shorts” in the title or description for YouTube to recognize it as such and make the algorithm do its magic.
The advantage is that besides these videos being displayed normally in your channel, they will also be highlighted in an extra section on the homepage Shorts shelf of YouTube.
In the YouTube app on your smartphone, you can find a short-form video creation tool, which allows you to create videos up to 15 seconds long.
There, you can also capture multiple clips.
The advantage of getting into YouTube Shorts now from a content marketing perspective is that the algorithm will likely help you gain reach and rankings faster and increase your number of subscribers than conventional YouTube videos would do.
It also includes several creative features, such as:
- Speed control to increase or slow down the recording speed
- Adding free to use songs
- A countdown timer to stop the recording automatically once the maximum time is reached
By the way, here is a YouTube Shorts I created just recently to see for myself how this beta version would turn out.
YouTube Shorts Target Audience and Statistics
YouTube Shorts doesn’t suddenly have another target audience because it’s about Shorts. So you will also deal with the YouTube Audience.
Here are some interesting YouTube Audience and User Statistics:
- 2 billion active monthly users (source)
- 30 million active daily users (source)
- 1 billion mobile views per day (source)
- 77% of users between the age of 15 and 25 in the U.S. use YouTube (source).
- 73% of U.S. adults use it (source).
- Also, 77% of user between the age of 26 and 35 (younger millenials) in the U.S. use YouTube (source).
- 37% of users aged between 18 and 34 binge-watch YouTube daily (source).
- 51% of users over the age of 75 watch videos on YouTube (source).
- 90% of U.S. based users between the age of 18 and 44 use YouTube (source).
- 83% of YouTube users have an annual household income of less than $30,000 (source).
- 89% of YouTube users have an annual household income of more than $100,000 (source).
Specifically, statistics about Shorts user behavior aren’t available yet since it’s still so new.
But knowing about the TikTok statistics and that YouTube wants to attack TikTok, I would assume that you could likely attract a larger share of the younger demographics on YouTube.
Real Estate YouTube Ads with Shorts?
Because YouTube Shorts are, well, quite short, you won’t be able to run display video ads on a Short video itself.
This is because YouTube video ads can have a maximum duration of 6 minutes (source), which would surpass the maximum length of Shorts (60 seconds).
But the Google Ads platform already works in a way that you can display video ads in the standard YouTube Videos.
So to compare it with TikTok Ads performance metrics calculated above, we just make the comparison with YouTube Video ads.
The YouTube cost per click is between $0.10 and $0.30 (source). So the average would be $0.20.
As already mentioned, the conversion rate of YouTube is 0.5% (source).
With a conversion rate of 0.5%, you would need 200 clicks to generate one lead.
So, the cost per lead or cost per acquisition would be $40 (200 x $0.20).
This would be much higher than the above-estimated cost per lead of $1.37 on TikTok.
But maybe you need to generate more than 80 leads on TikTok to get one high-quality lead out of it and on YouTube, just one?
So it’s not the best way to compare, and again, you never know the quality of the leads you will generate at the beginning of a campaign.
The advantage of YouTube Ads in this context is that you can start with a budget of just $40 and see if you get one lead out of your first campaign.
So you have much more control over your ad budget.
On TikTok, again, the upfront costs to get started with a paid traffic campaign are much higher (at least $500).
So YouTube is much more campaign beginner-friendly in this regard.
How to Do Real Estate Content Marketing with YouTube Shorts
If you want to generate organic traffic and create an organic following with YouTube Shorts, you can use much more educational content than on TikTok.
And if you take advantage of YouTube Shorts still being in beta development, you can currently get more exposure faster since the YouTube algorithm will likely prefer this type of content to be able to attack TikTok.
YouTube Shorts content ideas that you could use are:
- Micro Projects
- Recycled Content (e.g., already created real estate articles)
- Pure Entertainment
- Micro Reviews
- Amazing Facts
- Micro Skills/Hacks
So overall, with YouTube Shorts, I see more options for real estate professionals because the different content types can more easily be aligned with conventional real estate content.
By the way, if you need ideas for real estate content, you may want to head over to my article about this subject.
Ending this article, I will provide you with several tables that summarize my findings.
The first two are pro & con overviews for TikTok and YouTube Shorts. The last one will be a general comparison.
Pros and Cons of TikTok for Your Real Estate Business
|Good opportunities to acquire future Gen-Z property buyers||Only 25% of users are aged between 45 and 64|
|Quickly growing user base (right now 800 Million Active Users WorldWide)||49% of Americans are not interested in using it|
|Higher chances of getting millions of views even with a few followers||A smaller audience share is in the age group where they can do a real estate transaction today|
|$0.19 cost per click (CPC) (slightly lower than on YouTube)||No easy direct linking possibility to your real estate website|
|Estimated conversion rate (CVR) of 6.65% (likely higher than on YouTube)||Music, entertainment and trend-based video content preferred (not ideal for real estate)|
|Estimated costs per lead or costs per acquisition (CPA) of $1.37||Minimum advertising budget for cheapest Ad type is $500 (less beginner friendly than YouTube)|
|Ad spend can get up to $350,000 with more expensive ad types|
|Less ad spend control than on YouTube|
|A lower number (37% ) of users than on YouTube have an annual income of more than $100,000|
|The different ad types and packages are a bit confusing.|
Pros and Cons of YouTube Shorts
|2 billion active monthly users worldwide (more users than TikTok)||A bit more difficult to gain subscribers than on TikTok with conventional videos, which is likely not the case with Shorts.|
|77% of users between the age of 15 and 25 in the U.S.||Slightly higher average cost per click (between $0.10 and $0.30 )|
|77% of users between the age of 26 and 35 in the U.S.||A lower average conversion rate (0.5%)|
|90% of U.S. based users between the age of 18 and 44||A likely higher cost per lead/per acquisition ($40)|
|51% of users over the age of 75 watch videos on YouTube|
|An overall broader number of different generations use YouTube and more in the age groups of doing real estate transactions|
|A higher number (89%) of users have an annual income of more than $100,000 than on TikTok.|
|The YouTube algorithm will likely help you gain reach and rankings faster and increase your number of subscribers with Shorts because it’s still in beta version and thus, likely getting preferred by YouTube.|
|You can easily link YouTube Shorts to your real estate website.|
|More variety of content, including education-based is possible for Shorts (more ideal for real estate).|
Lower daily ad budget to start out than for TikTok ads.
|Overall, more control over your daily ad spend|
Direct Comparison Between YouTube Shorts and TikTok
|2 billion active monthly users worldwide||800 million active users worldwide|
|77% of users between the age of 15 and 25 in the U.S.||60% of users aged between 16 and 24|
|77% of users between the age of 26 and 35 in the U.S.||50% of users aged between 18 and 34 (Gen-Z and a share of younger millennials)|
|90% of U.S. based users between the age of 18 and 44||25% of users are aged between 45 and 64 (some Baby Boomers)|
|51% of users over the age of 75 watch videos on YouTube.||49% of Americans are not interested in using it.|
|37% of users aged between 18 and 34 binge-watch YouTube daily.||63.4% of users are female.|
|89% of users have an annual income of more than $100,000.||37% of users have an annual income of more than $100,000.|
|83% of users have an annual income of less than $30,000.||30% have an annual income of $40,000 or less.|
|The YouTube algorithm will likely help you gain reach and rankings faster and increase your number of subscribers because it‘s still a beta version and thus, likely getting preferred by YouTube.||Higher chances of getting millions of views even with a few followers|
|You can easily link YouTube Shorts to your real estate website.||No easy direct linking possibility to your real estate website|
|More variety of content, including education-based possible for Shorts||Music, entertainment and trend-based video content preferred|
|You can start with a daily budget of just $2.||The minimum advertising budget for the cheapest ad type is $500.|
|More control over your daily ad spend||Ad spend can get up to $350,000 with more expensive ad types.|
|Cost per click is between $0.10 and $0.30 .||$0.19 cost per click (CPC)|
|The average conversion rate on YouTube is 0.5%.||Estimated conversion rate (CVR) of 6.65%|
|Estimated cost per lead or cost per acquisition is $40||Estimated costs per lead or costs per acquisition (CPA) of $1.37|
Conclusion – Is TikTok or YouTube Shorts Better for Real Estate Marketing?
If you take a hard look at the two different pro and con tables, you will realize that the pro column of YouTube shorts is much longer than the short column compared to the TikTok pro and con overview.
While TikTok seems to be tempting in terms of conversion rates or costs per click, the main points that worry me here are that it is less budget-friendly for starters and, more importantly, that 49% of Americans don’t plan on using it in the future.
YouTube still has way more users from America.
TikTok is often sold as the platform where many generation Z people hang out and also affluent ones, but if you take a closer look at the YouTube demographics, there are even more on YouTube.
The same is true for baby boomers and millennials, which are the ones in the age groups doing real estate transactions.
And now, with YouTube Shorts, you might have a nice opportunity to gain organic reach faster than with conventional YouTube videos.
So, to me, the winner is YouTube Shorts, but this concept still needs to prove how well it will perform in the near future since it’s still in the beginning stages.