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YouTube Is Quietly Boosting Short Videos As It Preps Its TikTok Rival For US Release — And Some Creators Are Seeing Big Audience Growth

  • YouTube is testing a new TikTok-like feature that allows creators to upload short vertical videos, called Shorts.
  • Ahead of its full release, some creators say they are seeing huge audience growth by posting short videos.
  • But for now, videos that appear in YouTube’s Shorts section don’t earn creators any money.

TikTok is top of mind for all the major social-media platforms.

Following TikTok competitors from Instagram (Reels) and Snapchat (Spotlight), YouTube is slowly rolling out its own rival in the US called “Shorts.” And in preparation for the launch, creators say YouTube is quietly promoting short videos, spiking engagement and reach for some channels.

While the full Shorts feature hasn’t launched in the US yet, creators are still able to upload short vertical videos that mimic TikToks.

Similar to TikTok videos, Shorts are vertical videos that can be up to 60 seconds long. YouTube announced the feature in September, and has been testing it officially in India, where it has added a short-form video creation tool and camera to the YouTube app.

Beyond India, some elements have been implemented as a beta test to the YouTube app, like a carousel (“shelf”) of short videos that appears in a section on the homepage and under videos.

YouTube is currently experimenting with different ways to help users find and watch short videos, and the company is testing adding a Shorts entry point on the Explore tab, the company said.

As YouTube prepares for a full Shorts launch, creators said a key to getting short-form videos into the special section is to add “#Shorts” in the title or description, though sometimes videos are added even if they don’t have the tag. YouTube confirmed that creators don’t need to use the hashtag but that adding it would increase the chance that a video would be shown on the Shorts shelf.

Some creators whose videos have been picked up by the Shorts shelf have seen runaway success in viewership,. I have even made a deep dive blog post to explain every fine detail and FAQs about YouTube shorts.

Daniel LaBelle, a comedy creator with 1.6 million YouTube subscribers, launched his channel in April to repost the TikToks he was making after his wedding photography business dipped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I posted for probably five or six months, built up 30,000 subscribers and then out of nowhere in November things exploded,” LaBelle said, adding that his channel went from 30,000 subscribers to over half a million within a month. “I think it was because of the Shorts, but I still don’t know for sure.”

Some of the short vertical YouTube videos LaBelle posted on a whim in the beginning of 2020 were being picked up by YouTube in November and added to the new Shorts feature, he said. LaBelle then noticed the view counts on those older videos begin to soar (his most viewed short has 23 million views).

“You can get a lot of attention on your channel by doing these short-form videos,” said Alex Sibila, a part-time YouTube creator with 4,800 subscribers. “Some of my Shorts are now my most viewed videos.”

Sibila is an electrical engineer and makes videos about electric vehicles and owning a Tesla. He uses the vertical video feature to share 30-second teasers that direct back to some of his full-length videos. His Shorts range from 20,000 to 50,000 views, which is more than the 1,000 to 5,000 average views his longer uploads attract.

Image result for tesla

“They are still shown on your channel as regular videos,” Sibila said of his short videos. “Then if you are on mobile they have the Short shelf, and that is where you get a lot of views. If videos are pushed out to the Short shelf then they are getting shown to a lot of people and that’s what is going to make them viral.”

As the battle for short-form video heats up, YouTube will compete against TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat to be seen as a platform where creators can make money, reach new audiences, and build a sustainable business. Snapchat’s Spotlight and TikTok have each set up programs dedicated to paying creators on an ongoing basis.

Read more: Snapchat is minting overnight millionaires with its TikTok competitor but creators worry the gold rush will end soon

The biggest question YouTube creators have about the Shorts feature is whether it will earn them significant amounts of money.

Creators generally earn money on YouTube from the ads placed in their videos through YouTube’s Partner Program. How much money a creator earns from AdSense depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors. YouTube also keeps 45% of the ad revenue, with the creator keeping the rest.

LaBelle’s short-form videos earn money when they are viewed in the subscriptions section of YouTube, where ads will play before the video. But if the videos are viewed in the Shorts section of the YouTube app, they don’t earn money because videos on the Shorts shelf don’t get ads or generate subscription revenue right now, the company confirmed.

Still, LaBelle said he is making more money off his short videos on YouTube than he is on TikTok, where he has 14 million followers.

“I am at a point where I am trying to prioritize YouTube as much as I can,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic income source as well, just being on YouTube and working with the AdSense program.”

But creators don’t know how Shorts will change when YouTube officially rolls out the feature in the US.

“YouTube just kind of threw this onto us without any warning or introduction,” said Rob Wilson, a content strategist at the YouTube analytics and growth platform vidIQ. “It still feels to me like a beta test that could change radically.”

But for now, creators are figuring out their own strategies and trying to get the most out of the feature, and the extra boost provided by the platform.

 

Sibila plans to post two under-60-second videos a week to share on Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube.

“Trying to get people to click on those longer videos and check out my channel is tough sometimes, especially as a smaller creator,” Sibila said. “Now that I’ve started posting more Shorts, I’ve found that they can be incredibly viral and they are very shareable.”

“It’s super exciting,” said Kevin Parry, a stop-motion animator and visual effects artist. “The struggle for me has always been to make one piece of content and have it work on every platform. With most platforms now pushing shorter formats, I can make one piece of animation, or one behind-the-scenes clip and post it everywhere now.”

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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE HOW TO GET MORE VIEWS ON YOUTUBE TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

YouTube Shorts Explained [What, Where, How, When & Why?]

YouTube shorts is the first new and large feature to be added to the YouTube app and platform for years.

This could be the start of a land grab for attention that we all need to pay attention to as Youtube positions itself to take on the vertical video format platforms like TikTok, SnapChat and Instagram Reels.

Quickly, what are YouTube Shorts? – YouTube Shorts are vertical format videos like TikTok. 0-60 seconds in length, uploaded using the YouTube Shorts App or uploaded as a normal video and tagged with #shorts in the title or description. These can be displayed on the stories shelf under suggested videos on mobile devices.

This could be the next big land grab in the YouTube platforms history so in this article I am going to step you through all I know about the new feature

What Are YouTube Shorts?

TikTok has rocked the digital world by grabbing the attention of the younger generation who want to share their videos and express themselves – and where the youth goes, so does the potential future of digital media.

We have seen this play out time and time again when a platform ages up too much that something new and “cool” comes along for the younger generation to play with.

MySpace was killed by the new Facebook.

Facebook got too widely used with even your grandma having a profile so people started to take selfies on Instagram and Snapchat.

Instagram got swamped with professionals and people worried that it was “too late to start a  YouTube Channel?” and so TikTok was the new home of the younger up coming demographic of content creators.

YouTube saw this trend and understood that if they want to stay on top of the video creation wave, they will need to win over the next generation of video makers back from TikTok – enter YouTube Shorts!

How To Make YouTube Shorts

Initially the YouTube Shorts tool is a closed beta in India to capitalize on India’s ban on TikTok leaving a very large gap in the market for YouTube to convert into new users.

How do I make a YouTube short? – You can make a YouTube short in the YouTube Mobile App by clicking the + icon at the bottom of the screen and choosing “create a short”. If you can’t see this feature you can upload vertical video under 60 seconds in length and tag it with #shorts in the title or description.

When using the feature via mobile tool (as of Oct 2020) it has very limited tools to assist with content creation but you can speed up your footage and set a timer for hands free recording.

While uploading the video as a normal video might give you a little more flexibility to record a vertical video and then edit it just like a normal video with overlays, music, transitions etc

  • Create: Creation is at the core of short-form video, and we want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts. We’re starting to test just a few new tools for creators and artists with our early beta in India:
    • multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together,
    • The option to record with music from a large library of songs that will continue to grow,
    • Speed controls that give you the flexibility to be creative in your performance,
    • And a timer and countdown to easily record, hands-free.

Why make YouTube Shorts?

You have been on the YouTube platform for years and you have always been told to stick to horizontal rather than “ugly looking vertical£ videos – why start making vertical videos now?

YouTube wants to win the new young creator demographic away from TikTok and to do that they are pushing the feature very hard to viewers.

Your videos could show up under the first suggested video on the mobile app giving you a large boost of views. Adopt it early and you could see great results before EVERYONE uses it! Make eye catching relevant videos and you could get featured against established large youtube channels.

Imagine if you could be one of the first people on YouTube all those years ago. Or one of the first people to grow an audience on Twitter and Instagram… this is your chance at a fresh new medium, but this time its supercharged by YouTube!

Even YouTube is exited about the tool

Get discovered: Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts.

I have been testing YouTube shorts and seen huge jumps in views even when the channel has only 65 subscribers!

YouTube Shorts Explained [What, Where, How, When & Why?]

Where Can I See YouTube Shorts?

YouTube shorts are currently curated by YouTube and displayed under videos on the mobile app.

It has its own shelf that you can swap through and the youtube shorts normally match the topic of the main video above – for example if you are watching a tech tips video you might see tech related short stories.

YouTube Shorts Explained [What, Where, How, When & Why?] 1

What is YouTube Shorts sizes? ratio?

The standard aspect ratio for YouTube Shorts 9:16. YouTube may add more padding for optimal viewing. The padding is white by default, and dark gray when Dark theme is turned on.

Recommended resolution & aspect ratios for YouTube Shorts.

For 9:16 youtube shorts aspect ratio, encode at these resolutions:

2160p: 2160×3840
1440p: 1440×2560
1080p: 1080×1920
720p: 720×1280
480p: 480×854
360p: 360×640
240p: 240×426

Can I monetize YouTube Shorts? YouTube Shorts Monetization

As with all video platforms people want to know if they can monetize it – because what’s the point of a large audience if you can’t make some pocket money from it.

Can you monetize YouTube Shorts? – Initially YouTube Shorts are not being monetized by YouTube and they do not count towards the YouTube Partner Program watch time hours you need to qualify to monetize your channel. However, TikTok currently offers a monetization program for their videos so YouTube will follow suit in future.

YouTube Shorts FAQs

Does YouTube Shorts watch time count towards monetization?

I the YouTube Short is viewed as a short from a YouTube Shorts shelf under a view then the watch time does not count towards monetization totals. However, if the short is watched on the YouTube channel as a native standard video then it does count towards channel totals.

Do I Have To Pay To Make YouTube Shorts?

No, YouTube Shorts are free to anyone. You can make them using the mobile app by clicking the “+” icon at the bottom of the screen and clicking “Make A Short”. Alternatively, you and upload the vertical video that is under 60 seconds as a standard video and tag it with #shorts in the title or description.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.