YouTube Shorts has officially landed in Australia, as part of a global rollout of the new short-form video format.
YouTube is now the third major social platform, following Instagram’s Reels and Snapchat’s Spotlight, to take on TikTok and jump on the short-form video trend that’s taking the social media world by storm.
Although YouTube is known for its long-form vlogs, tutorials and reviews, short-form video content is in the platform’s roots. The 2007 ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ video could be named as one of the internets very first viral clips, and it was only 56-seconds long.
This new and exciting feature is an attempt from the Google-owned platform to re-capture the attention of short-form video viewers. But before you take on the new world of Shorts, here’s everything creators and marketers need to know.
Where can I access Shorts?
Shorts began its first round of testing in India last September, just two months after TikTok was banned in the country. It’s now available in 26 countries including New Zealand, the US, UK, UAE and Canada.
Where can I find it in the YouTube app?
To improve accessibility, YouTube has added a Shorts icon on their mobile app’s home page. Between the ‘Home’ and ‘Create’ icon, you can find the ‘Shorts’ icon that takes you directly to your Shorts feed.
What do they look like?
The Shorts feed looks very similar to TikTok’s FYP and even scrolls the same. Videos can be up to 15-seconds long, users can like, dislike, comment and share Shorts. Audio, text and filters can be added once a clip has been filmed.
How do I create a Short?
Similar to TikTok and Reels, Shorts are very simple and easy to make directly in the YouTube mobile app. Here’s how to create your first Short:
#1 Click the ‘+’ icon at the bottom of the home page.
#2 Tap ‘Create a Short’.
#3 Film your Short by tapping the red record button once. Or you can upload a clip from your camera roll. Here is where you can also set your video speed, start a timer or add filters.
#4 Once you’ve finished filming, click the white tick in the bottom right corner of the screen.
#5 You’ll then be able to add music from YouTube’s audio library, overlaying text and filters.
#6 Click ‘Next’ in the top right corner to then add your video’s title, set your visibility to public, unlisted or private, schedule your posting time and disclose any age restrictions. These are all things YouTubers will already be familiar with.
#7 Finally click ‘Upload’ in the top right corner and voila! Your very first Short is ready for the world to view.
Will Shorts take off?
The early signs look positive. There’s a big appetite for short-form content and Shorts’ already has strong usage numbers in the markets it’s available. Daily views were reportedly reaching 6.5 billion.
YouTube also knows that where creators go, users will follow, so the launch of Shorts alongside a generous creator fund was a wise move. The platform has set aside $100 million to pay out to creators. It’ll be distributed over the course of 2021-2022 and anyone is eligible. You can find out more here.
But when we take a look at TikTok’s success, it hasn’t only been down to the content format. It also has a highly-addictive algorithm that quickly learns what content will keep each user scrolling and gives creators a chance of overnight success. YouTube hasn’t released how their Shorts algorithm works yet. Will it work similarly to YouTube’s algorithm, which prioritises viewers’ previously watched content, watch time and engagements?
Vamp’s Co-Founder, Aaron Brooks weighs in on the topic with AdNews Australia.
What makes Shorts different from its competitors?
Although Shorts is looking and sounding a lot like TikTok and Reels, it does have some differing qualities that brands can take advantage of.
Possibly the largest music library
A huge majority of artists upload their music to YouTube – specifically their music videos. This gives Shorts a major leg up against its competitors, as the platform’s huge audio library gives users an abundance of popular and undiscovered songs to choose from, possibly more than what TikTok and Reels offers its users.
YouTube’s loyal users can increase your reach
Thousands of creators on the platform have already built an engaged audience and have grown their YouTube channel with a loyal subscriber base. This can only suggest that partnering with these YouTube creators on Shorts could help your brand achieve a higher reach and engage more of your customers than compared to its competitors.
The scheduling tool is a social marketers dream
Shorts’ uploading process is pretty much the same as YouTube videos, which means you have access to the scheduling tool. TikTok and Reels both have the option to save drafts, but you cannot schedule your content to go live directly in the apps. This is a social marketers dream as it not only saves your time, but allows you to publish content during your peak performance time, without having to be there manually doing it!
Who will be using Shorts?
Demographically speaking, the average YouTuber is older than the average TikToker. Roughly 77% of Youtube’s audience is 18-35, meanwhile over 60% of TikTok’s audience is under 24. It also may offer a higher intent audience as many people turn to YouTube seeking information that often informs purchase behaviour, such as tutorials or product comparison research in the form of video reviews.
Whether that audience is going to be as engaged in shorter content on the platform, when they already have other apps specifically designed for their short-form needs, is the ultimate question.
Will Shorts be a good opportunity for brands?
With the current popularity of TikTok and Reels, brands are well on their way to mastering short-form video. So they might be less intimidated to create Shorts and more willing to repurpose their existing short-form content there. At least until the official ad options are released.
The important consideration for brands is a seamless conversion experience. If Shorts ends up providing a non-intrusive path to purchase for consumers, we can expect brands to invest heavily.
For now, Shorts is another entertaining and engaging platform for brands to collaborate with existing YouTube creators and potentially reach millions of customers.