Today YouTube announced the U.S. launch of their latest product: YouTube Shorts. Designed to compete with shorter video formats as seen on TikTok and Instagram's Reels, YouTube Shorts are mobile, vertical short-form videos, and in the coming weeks YouTube will be introducing more features and updates surrounding this new product.
YouTube first announced their move to prioritize short-form content back in September 2020, and you can read more about that initiative in our article here. You can think of Shorts as YouTube's version of TikTok, as it’s centered around short-form content that can be easily created and shared from mobile devices. The initial beta was available in India only, and YouTube has seen extremely positive results testing the feature. The YouTube Shorts library has achieved massive growth already and has now surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally.
The current features available with Shorts include a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music and add songs, control speed settings, and more. The ability to add text to specific points in your video, as well as the ability to sample audio from other Shorts, are a few of the key new features added to the beta rollout in the U.S. over the coming weeks.
YouTube has also launched the ability for creators to use audio from the general YouTube video library to create remixes of that content in their YouTube Shorts. This will allow users to use songs and sounds of their choosing within Shorts, with each use linking to that sound’s ‘Sound Page’ which will show other Shorts using the same sound, along with a link to the original song and/or video.
To help viewers find Shorts more easily, YouTube has created a specific feed for Shorts that appears on the YouTube homepage. Expect this feed to be promoted and featured heavily over the coming months, so it's a good idea to start experimenting with Shorts now and implementing this product into your video strategy. In addition to the dedicated Shorts feed in the YouTube Mobile App, Shorts also appear in YouTube search results. As a channel owner, you will also have the option to opt-in to a specific "Shorts" shelf that will live on your channel, separately from your normal uploads shelf.
To create a Short on YouTube, you can follow these instructions:
• Sign in to YouTube on mobile.
• Tap Create.
• Tap Create a Short.
• To record a clip, hold the capture button or tap it to start recording and then again to stop.
• Tap Undo to remove the previous video clip you recorded or tap Redo to add it back.
• Tap Next to preview your video and then tap Next again to add details to your video.
• Add a title (max 100 characters) to your Short video. Be sure to add relevant hashtags to your title. Find out the best practices for using hashtags here.
• Tap Select audience to choose whether or not your Short is made for kids.
• Tap Upload to finish.
With the YouTube Shorts mobile app functionality, you can create up to 60-second videos to post as Shorts. You can also upload a video through the standard upload processes (via web or mobile), and if the video is 60 or less and includes the hashtag #Shorts it will be eligible to be featured as a Short on these new placements across the YouTube platform. However, YouTube recommends keeping Shorts to 15 seconds or less since that seems to be the length that resonates most with viewers of short-form content on YouTube.
What’s also important to keep in mind when your creating Shorts, is the video description will be a lot harder to see and find for viewers, so you'll want to make sure to make a Pinned Comment with any important information that you would usually include in the description. Your username may not appear under the Short as well, so including your name in the title may be useful. You'll also want to avoid using a lot of white or white backgrounds in your Shorts, as the interaction buttons in the mobile app for shorts are colored white, and will be harder to see with white in the video.
While short-form videos have obviously taken off on TikTok (and to a lesser degree, Instagram) over the past several years, this is a huge development for artists and labels that have spent years developing audiences on YouTube. Now you can use this bite-sized content to reach one of the world's largest user bases on the most important video platform for music. The race is on for artists to start developing creative strategies with Shorts to drive users back to their channels to become long-term subscribers, where they can then watch official music videos, live stream performances, and other flagship video content. Note that subscribers that have enabled notifications will receive up to 3 notifications per day for non-Shorts videos per channel and a maximum of 3 personalized Shorts highlight notifications across all the channels they’re subscribed to.
YouTube has also added new analytics for Shorts. Including the ability to view Shorts as a traffic source, which will allow you to get great insight into how your Shorts are generating and developing new viewership. While viewing a Short you’ve created, click on the ‘Analytics’ button towards the bottom of the screen, to view display performance stats.
YouTube is still developing the monetization options surrounding Shorts. Recently, YouTube announced the Shorts Fund, a new fund that will pay creators up to $10,000 per month for creating YouTube Shorts. Additionally, artists and labels will be able to monetize the use of their music within Shorts.
Expect more exciting developments in this space. We'll keep you posted as more details emerge, and in the meantime don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions!