If you've ever been on YouTube, whether it be the app or on desktop, you might have seen something labeled “Shorts” and thought, “What are YouTube Shorts”?

YouTube Shorts, or just Shorts, are videos that range between 15 – 60 seconds and use a similar swipe feature to TikTok and Reels for moving from one video to another.YouTube created Shorts in 2020 after the massive growth of TikTok, with its short-form content.

YouTube Shorts is becoming a big deal for everyone who loves to watch or make these quick videos. So, let's dive in and see what makes YouTube Shorts so cool and why so many people are checking them out.

Disclosure: This content may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

The Key Features and Video Tools of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is like a treasure box full of cool tools for making quick videos. Imagine you have a camera in your pocket that lets you create awesome videos in just a few taps. Here's how it works:

  1. Start recording: Just hit the plus button, select “Create a Short” and hit the red record button at the bottom of the screen. It will start capturing whatever you find fun or interesting. You don't need fancy equipment; your phone is all you need.

    You can also simply select a pre-recorded video from your camera roll if you want. Keep in mind that your final videos can’t be longer than 60 seconds.
youtube shorts red record button
  1. Editing on the go: You can add music, text, and even cool effects/filters to your video right from your phone. It's like having a mini editing studio in your hand for free!
youtube shorts filter example
  1. Easy uploads: Once you're done editing your video, it is super simple to upload YouTube Shorts. If you've ever shared a photo or video on social media before, you'll find this just as easy. Simply add your caption, hashtags, and other options such as tagging and promoting the Short, then tap “Upload Short.”
youtube shorts caption and hashtags
  1. Vertical videos: Vertical videos became popular as meme culture rose to fame through apps such as Vine, but it took off when TikTok became the king of short-form content.

    Almost 70% of digital content is consumed through mobile devices, and the optimal way to watch it is vertical. YouTube Shorts are made to be watched on your phone, so they're also shot/uploaded vertically.

So what makes Shorts different from TikTok videos and Instagram Reels?

YouTube Shorts, TikTok videos, and Instagram Reels are all key players in the short-form video content arena, yet each platform carves out its unique space.

At their core, all three enable creators to craft and share brief, engaging videos, tapping into the zeitgeist (read: trend) of quick consumption and immediate gratification that defines today's media consumption habits.

The similarity extends to their basic functionality. This includes a vertical format optimized for mobile viewing, a plethora of editing tools that empower creators to add music, text, and special effects, and algorithms designed to propel content.

However, the differences are as important as their similarities.

The biggest difference between YouTube Shorts and other short-form video platforms is that Shorts makes use of YouTube's extensive user base and integrates with a creator's existing channel.

This offers a seamless blend of short and long-form content that can enhance a creator's reach and engagement within a single ecosystem.

TikTok, on the other hand, is a standalone platform that has been synonymous with the rise of short-form content. It is distinguished by its highly addictive algorithm, cultural trends, and a community that thrives on challenges, duets, and sound-based creativity.

Benefits of Using YouTube Shorts for Creators

Making YouTube Shorts is not just fun; it's also a smart move for creators. Here's why:

1. Reach More People

YouTube Shorts expand your visibility globally, tapping into YouTube's vast user base. This broadens your potential audience significantly, making it easier for new viewers to discover your content. 

The reason for this is the decrease in viewer’s attention span over the last two decades. In 2023 the attention span of a viewer can be as low as 47 seconds. YouTube Shorts had 50 billion daily views in 2023 which is a testament to the large user base you'll be tapping into.

LovelyLo, a female YouTuber, is an excellent example. She grew her channel to over 2 million subscribers in 2 years, with most of her success coming from Shorts.

Let’s take a look.

lovelylo shorts page

Her Shorts are simply repurposed from her longer video clips, which themselves are edited from her daily Twitch streams. They perform great, with some getting over 2 million views.

Now let’s take a look at her long-form videos.

lovelylo main page

These videos get much fewer views, averaging between 60-80K views. With over 2 million subscribers, that’s between 3-5% of her subscribed audience, versus the much higher viewership of her Shorts.

2. Get Views Fast 

Shorts cater to the preference for quick content consumption, leading to a faster accumulation of views. Their short format and the platform's algorithm can quickly propel your videos to a wider audience.

This is because approximately 80% of internet users under 35 engage with YouTube Shorts, while around 70% of those over 35 also tune into Shorts.

3. Show Your Creativity

YouTube provides extensive editing tools for Shorts, enabling creative freedom to showcase unique content. This helps differentiate your videos in a competitive space.

Shorts also offer channels the opportunity to create content that differs from their main long-form content. It's also a great way to share some behind-the-scenes (BTS) videos from your latest videos.

If you’re struggling to get the creative juices flowing, let ContentShake give you a boost. ContentShake AI is a tool designed for crafting unique and captivating content. It supports the entire content creation process, from initial ideas to publishing on your blog, offering insights into trends within your industry.

4. Boost Your YouTube Channel’s Growth

Adding Shorts can invigorate your YouTube channel, attracting new subscribers and re-engaging existing ones. It's an effective strategy to enhance your channel's growth and visibility.

Plenty of YouTube channels even edit their long-form content into Shorts to highlight some of the best bits of their content. Here’s an example from Smosh Pit:

YouTube Shorts Best Practices: Making High-Quality Shorts

Creating YouTube Shorts requires a mix of creativity, strategy, and understanding of what works. Here are some best practices to help you create Shorts that stand out:

  1. Keep it engaging: With Shorts, it’s all about keeping it as short and engaging as possible. Start with something eye-catching to grab viewers' attention right away. You only have a few seconds to make an impression, so make it count. 

    The longer the viewer watches your video, the higher the chances the algorithm will push it. Shorts that maintain longer average view times tend to be more frequently recommended to viewers.

    Statistics indicate that Shorts achieving an average duration of 50 to 60 seconds can gain about an average of four million views.
  2. Use high-quality audio: A good sound can make a big difference. Use clear, crisp audio to keep viewers watching. YouTube also provides a large library of audio that you can add to your videos to make them engaging and sound more professional.
youtube shorts sounds page
  1. Include a call-to-action: Since Shorts are so effective especially with its wide reach, adding a great CTA can help you get more subscribers. Encourage viewers to like, share, or comment on your video. This engagement can help boost your Short's visibility and effectiveness.
  2. Experiment: As I’ve mentioned above, Shorts are a great way to experiment with other types of content. Try different styles, formats, and content types to see what resonates with your audience.

    Analytics can help you understand what works best. This can then help you fine-tune your long-form content as well.
  3. Promotion outside YouTube: Don't limit your audience to the YouTube community alone. Share your Shorts by posting them on other social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, embedding them in your blog, or including them in newsletters to draw in more viewers.
  4. Light matters: Leveraging natural light and investing in a basic ring light can dramatically improve the quality of your Shorts. These elements ensure that your content looks professional, capturing your audience's attention.
  5. Collaborate with influencers: Collaborating with another influencer is a great way for both parties involved to expand their current audience. Just make sure that you choose an influencer whose content is relevant to your niche, so you don’t alienate your audience.

    If you are looking for other influencers in your niche but don’t know where to begin, or aren’t sure if an influencer’s stats are real, check out Heepsy. Heepsy will quickly find you relevant influencers to collaborate with, as well as provide detailed info about their account.

How to Monetize YouTube Shorts

The largest YouTube channels can generate millions of dollars a year through monetization.YouTube knows that making great videos takes time and talent, and that same care and attention goes into creating Shorts.

Here's how you can monetize your Shorts:

1. Ad Revenue

On February 1, 2023, YouTube allowed monetizing partners to earn from ads viewed between Shorts in the Shorts Feed, replacing the YouTube Shorts Fund. 

To participate, creators must adhere to YouTube’s channel monetization policies and accept the Shorts Monetization Module. Revenue sharing is based on ads in the Shorts Feed, with creators keeping 45% of revenue, calculated monthly from a pooled revenue adjusted for music licensing costs.

Earnings depend on the creator's share of total views and music usage in their Shorts.

To be eligible to earn ad revenue from Shorts, it's required to have at least 1,000 subscribers. Additionally, eligibility for monetization hinges on either of these two things:

  • Achieving 10 million legitimate Short public views within the previous 90 days 
  • Accumulating 4,000 legitimate public watch hours on long-form content over the past year

2. Ads and Partnerships

Even though Shorts themselves don't have ads like regular videos, Shorts can still be used to create sponsored videos and help you grow your channel.

Here’s a great example of a sponsored YouTube Short video from Sean Andrew who partnered with BandLab:

3. Merchandise and Memberships

More fans mean you can sell your merchandise to them or offer channel memberships with special perks. This can be a great way to earn money while giving your biggest fans something extra.

With the extra reach you get from Shorts, there’s no excuse not to promote your merch through a Short.

To sell merchandise, you’ll need to set up a website. Shopify is the easiest way to do this. Shopify stands out as an ideal platform for setting up an e-commerce shop due to its user-friendly interface, comprehensive suite of e-commerce tools, and robust support ecosystem.

The Future of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is set to transform how viewers experience content by personalizing every aspect of the Shorts feed to match individual preferences, creating a unique journey for each user.

  • AI-powered creative assistance: In 2024, expect AI generators to play a significant role in enhancing creativity on YouTube Shorts, offering suggestions for visual effects, edits, and music that align with your creative vision. This can also expand to crafting optimized captions and hashtags. 
  • Collaboration and community at the heart of Shorts: YouTube Shorts is evolving into a collaborative space, highlighting content that brings creators together, fostering a sense of community and shared creativity.
  • Interactive Shorts experience: The platform is introducing interactive features to make viewing more engaging, with elements like polls and quizzes that invite viewer participation.
  • Trend navigation and algorithm changes: YouTube Shorts will harness machine learning to identify and promote trending content, enabling creators to stay ahead of the curve with their content.

Start Your YouTube Shorts Journey Today!

YouTube Shorts represents a frontier of opportunity for creators looking to express themselves, connect with a global audience, and explore new creative possibilities.

With shorter content becoming the norm, especially on mobile devices, the time to embrace YouTube Shorts, TikTok videos, and Instagram Reels has never been better.

By leveraging the platform's features, embracing best practices, and engaging with the community, creators can unlock new dimensions of digital storytelling. Dive into YouTube Shorts and discover where your creativity can take you.

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