Did you know that the first video posted on YouTube was only 18 seconds long?
Since it started in 2005, the founders of the video giant have learned time and again that content doesn’t have to take long to appeal to audiences.
After a five-month beta test and the success of TikTok, Instagram Reels and other viral video platforms, YouTube is now introducing its own short-form video function.
YouTube Shorts – a YouTube app that rivals rivals TikTok and Instagram Reels – launched its first round of testing in India last September. The beta feature allows users to view and create 15-second videos with musical overlays.
Even in its most basic beta form, the shorts feature has already performed solidly in India. In late February, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that videos from the India-based shorts player were receiving 3.5 billion views daily.
If you can access YouTube shorts
Some YouTube app users in the US have already started rolling out shorts on their smartphone app.
In a recent post by YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Niel Mohan, it was mentioned that the beta version of Shorts is expected to be fully released in March in the US.
While there is still no word on a global launch, Pichai told the press, “We look forward to expanding shorts to more countries this year.”
With the U.S. launch of YouTube Shorts in the US and a global launch in the near future, marketers are wondering how to leverage this video feature, what the final platform will look like, whether it has a virality similar to TikTok, and how it could help brands to better engage with YouTube’s more than 2 billion active users.
The truth is, as short-form video hosting sites become more popular, it is hard to know which ones will rise above the rest. And since the YouTube shorts could evolve until their full launch, we cannot fully predict what their usage will be in the near future.
However, since YouTube already contains millions of hours of branded content, YouTube Shorts can be worth your time – especially if you already have a video strategy on the platform.
Below, I’m going to break down the basics of YouTube Shorts and what opportunities it could offer marketers upon their official launch.
What is YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts enables users to create short-form vertical videos with features such as video segmentation, app-based recording, and music overlays. Videos must not be longer than 15 seconds and must not disappear like Instagram reels or stories content.
When it was explained why YouTube decided to launch Shorts, a blog post by the tech giant said, “Every month 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and socialize. Developers have built entire businesses on YouTube , and we want to activate the next one. ” Generation of mobile developers to use shorts to build a community on YouTube. “
“User-generated short videos were born on YouTube, starting with our first upload, an 18-second short video called“ Me at the Zoo. ”As technology advances, developers and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily produce quality Create and publish quality content wherever in the world, “added the YouTube post. “People can be entertained and informed in the free minutes of the day with bite-sized content – so we’re excited to announce that we’re creating YouTube shorts.”
What YouTube shorts look like
YouTube Shorts is currently in beta for US and Indian users as YouTube plans to add more features in the coming months. While we don’t know exactly what shorts will look like when the beta is exited, I took some screenshots of the beta that I recently discovered on my YouTube app to help marketers explore the potential user experience to introduce.
Create YouTube shorts
If shorts are available, creators can likely create them by going to their home screen, tapping the “+” icon in the bottom navigation, and selecting “Create Short” from the menu that appears. Below is a screenshot from YouTube.
While this doesn’t seem to be available in the US version just yet, for other users with the full beta it looks like this.
When you tap Create, the short movie creation interface is similar to Instagram Stories in that it opens to a camera screen where you can:
- Record segments of a 15-second clip or a full 15-second video.
- Upload pre-created content from a camera roll.
- Make a “short film” with cameras on the back or on the front.
- Adjust the video speed.
- Set a recording timer.
- Choose sounds for musical overlays.
While YouTube plans to expand on the features shown above, here’s a quick screenshot of what the platform looks like right now:
Watch YouTube shorts
Before the short film beta test, YouTube had already tested a section of its website where shorter videos were placed (see below).
Recently, YouTube added a special shelf for the Shorts feature to its app home page, where you can view shorts created by beta testers, as well as short videos that YouTube already had on the platform.
While watching a short film in India viewers can tap icons at the bottom of the screen to “Like”, “Dislike” or “Comment” on the video. Alternatively, if they like what they see, tap “SUBSCRIBE” to follow the video creator.
After a viewer has finished a short film, they can – as with Reels or TikTok – swipe up with their finger to see a vertical feed of other shorts from other developers.
What makes YouTube shorts different from its competitors?
As a marketer, seeing each social media platform launch stories or short video features can be overwhelming. And now that so many have come out, you might be wondering, “Do YouTube shorts offer more options than Instagram roles or TikTok?”
Well we still don’t know. However, we think YouTube Shorts will be well worth checking out. Here are some reasons why.
1. Short form creators could see wider reach.
As Gen Z users flooded TikTok and caused its amazing early growth, YouTube, the world’s second largest website, will be releasing shorts for more than 2 billion monthly active users.
Instead of asking yourself, “Are YouTube shorts becoming popular?”, Ask yourself, “How do I use shorts to reach the broader audience of YouTube?”
According to Nelson Chacon, HubSpot’s top YouTube content strategist, you want to know which segment of YouTube’s huge audience you want to market to before producing shorts or any other YouTube video. Plus, when you have a solid list of subscribers, you’ll want to keep creating content that is still relevant to them – even if it’s shorter.
“”Your subscribers know your channel for its content and Youtube as a platform works best with persistence, “says Chacon.
For example, if you regularly create long-form content related to your product or industry and find that it appeals to your audience, Chacon finds that short films provide “quick guides” or “step-by-step videos.” to this content can create topics.
2. Brands in most industries could use shorts.
Because TikTok has a niche user base with younger consumers, it falls to a few types of brands, such as: B. B2B companies, may be harder to raise awareness there. While YouTube is similarly popular with young adults, the content of its huge platform is so extensive that it appeals to people of all ages, countries, industries, and niches.
Ultimately, there is a video for everyone on YouTube. With shorts, more brands can target audiences from a much wider range of audiences.
While a B2B brand may struggle to connect with Generation Z consumers through TikTok, they may be able to connect with professionals looking for industry-related content on shorts. If you turn to older generations like Gen X, your short-form content may get more traffic on YouTube than it is on TikTok.
3. YouTube shorts may be less vulnerable than other viral platforms.
This summer and autumn 2020, TikTok threatened with bans and censorship regulations.
Why is that so important? If you’re a marketer who spends time mastering content strategies for a social media app, banning or regulating that app could result in the content you worked so hard on being potentially never seen.
However, because YouTube is one of the oldest and most successful online platforms and belongs to the publicly traded alphabet, it can be considered more trustworthy for governments around the world than viral apps that provide less information about public data security – like TikTok.
4. Shorts could offer long-term benefits.
While Instagram Stories and Reels content expires by default after 24 hours, some YouTube Shorts beta testers say shorts won’t go away from YouTube – which could help raise awareness about YouTube over the long term.
For example, if someone who prefers short-form content comes across your YouTube page, they will be able to see all of your short videos instead of just being able to access your longer content. If someone is in a rush and is looking for a quick tutorial video on something you’ve filmed, they can find and watch your short videos on the subject – even if you posted them months ago.
How to prepare for YouTube shorts
We’re not sure when Shorts will be released for all users, but it’s not too early to think about how to implement it into your social media or video marketing strategy. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind.
- Optimize short YouTube videos: Chacon says global developers should start adding “#shorts” to descriptions of videos that last 60 seconds or less. Although YouTube Shorts didn’t launch globally, this hashtag increases the likelihood of short videos appearing “on the app’s shorts shelf.”
- Identify short-form topics: Are there any topics your team is creating content around that can be summed up in a few quick tips, steps, or data points? If so, you may be able to reuse this information by creating a short.
- Review your short videos: Have you created Instagram rolls, TikToks, or other social media videos that would only require a few slight tweaks to appeal to your YouTube audience? In this case, you can test them for shorts when starting the platform.
For more information on YouTube Marketing, check out our Ultimate Guide – or download the free resource below.