Over the past few years, we have witnessed a change in how users interact with content. The social media landscape has shifted from social connection-driven feeds to content-driven ones. Audiences are served content based on the algorithm over updates from those they follow.
At the heart of this shift is short-form video. Users now come to social media for entertainment, and social media apps are quick to adapt to this change by incorporating short-form videos into their offerings. While YouTube has been around since 2005, the app launched its short-form video offering in 2020 in India. Finally, in 2021, Shorts launched in North America, and brands were eager to understand how it fits into their social media strategy.
Like TikTok or Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts is a short-form video-sharing platform that lets you watch and create short, catchy videos while connecting you to YouTube’s 2 billion users. Shorts are vertical videos that are 60 seconds or less, and its creation tool lets you capture and edit videos from your phone, or you can use the standard upload flow.
Although Shorts hasn’t been around as long as TikTok or Reels, it is gaining momentum in the video sector. In June 2022, Google reported that more than 1.5 billion people watch YouTube Shorts monthly. This rising popularity offers clear benefits for brands and early adopters.
Adding another type of short-form video into your strategy might seem daunting, but YouTube Shorts offers unique benefits such as:
Above all, audiences expect to be entertained by content on social media. YouTube Shorts is a great way to strengthen your brands social entertainment strategy. What does this mean for marketers? Entertaining content is what will get eyes on your content. Focus on content that provides something of value to your audience.
With 1.5 billion monthly viewers, YouTube Shorts has massive demographic reach opportunities and is most popular with 15-36-year-olds. Different algorithms allow you to reach different audiences with similar content.
One way you can leverage YouTube to further build trust among your audience is by using social proof in your videos. Common ways to implement social proof marketing are through customer testimonials, how-tos, or behind-the-scenes.
Creating and sharing videos on YouTube Shorts allows discoverability through the platform itself and Google. Google owns YouTube, and if your brand optimizes your videos with the right keywords, you will benefit from the discoverability of both platforms.
Now that you have an understanding of what YouTube Shorts are, and how they can help your brand, it’s time to learn how to make and publish them for your followers.
You can only create YouTube Shorts through the YouTube app.
Download the YouTube app, log in to your YouTube account (or sign up), and tap ‘Create’.
To record a clip, press and hold the ‘Capture’ button or tap it once to start, and again to stop. You can also change your recording speed, set a timer and string clips.
Within the YouTube Shorts app, you can edit your video using the tools available (speed, timer, filters, etc.).
Once you’re satisfied with your video, tap ‘Next’ to preview. Here you can add music or text.
Once you’re happy with your Short, tap ‘Next’ to add a title and choose settings, like video privacy.
When you’ve recorded and edited your video, it's time to share your Short with the community. Tap 'Upload' to finish.
When posting video content to YouTube Shorts, you can use some of the same best practices you would when creating content for other social platforms. While the same type of content won't necessarily work across all platforms, these general practices will.
When creating your next YouTube Short, keep in mind these factors:
Focus on making the first few seconds captivating for users to stop their scroll and watch. Keeping your audience engaged will favor the algorithm.
The majority of users now watch videos on their mobile devices. Ensure that your video is visible on a small screen. Keep in mind framing, font, and brightness. Shorts loop, so pace your content accordingly and encourage replayability.
Rewarding content is key. Content that educates, entertains, or leaves the audience feeling good will perform best. Make your content relevant by incorporating trending songs, pop culture, or events.
Brands can leverage influencers to help create highly entertaining content that caters to a specific niche. When brands can find the right creator––one who understands the company's values and audience––the resulting content has the potential to reach a broad audience.
Every social media platform is different, and what works on TikTok or Instagram won't necessarily work on Shorts. Experiment with the content you post on Shorts, then look at how that content performed and optimize future content based on the results.
Video performance analysis is complex. Dash Hudson’s YouTube insights provide a holistic and easy-to-digest view of your content strategy. Whether you’re experimenting with YouTube Shorts or looking to streamline your reporting, we’ve got you covered.
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Quickly analyze your YouTube performance with insights that are easy to understand—from the KPIs on a single video to your entire channel’s impact on your marketing investment.
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Break your content down by topic, Shorts, or campaign to uncover trends and use the insights to improve your channel’s watch time.
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Dash Hudson provides the in-depth video-first creative analysis you need to deepen your engagement and discoverability across all key marketing channels.
See the impact your YouTube content has on your overall campaign strategy.
YouTube Shorts can be accessed from desktop, on the YouTube homepage, from a tab on the left of the screen.
Or YouTube Shorts can be accessed in the YouTube app from a tab on the bottom. To create a Short, you will need to use the app.
TikTok has a very different approach to video than YouTube. While YouTube has prioritized longer videos in recent years to compete with Netflix, TikTok went in the opposite direction and focused on serving users an infinite scroll of short-form entertainment. The current landscape has YouTube moving towards short-form video with its introduction of Shorts, while TikTok is introducing long-form video into its platform by allowing users to post TikToks that are up to ten minutes long.
Similar to Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts do not have the focus on trending hashtags and sounds that many consider TikTok’s secret to success. The advantage YouTube has is its comprehensive advertising infrastructure, including monthly payouts to creators. The TikTok Creator Fund, which we’ve written about, is still relatively new, and YouTube gives users control over how many and what types of ads are shown in their videos, which means that business-savvy creators benefit from sticking with YouTube.
Every social media strategy is unique; what works for one brand might not work for another. However, adding an additional social media platform has the potential to build brand awareness and reach new audiences - especially if it involves short-form video.
With the launch of Shorts, YouTube now has a player in the short-form video game. And with 1.5 billion monthly viewers, there’s the potential to reach a large audience.
So to answer if YouTube Shorts are worth it? You won’t know until you try. But it’s a platform worth exploring.
YouTube Shorts can be up to 60 seconds long, but keeping them shorter is recommended.