Thanks to the rise of TikTok, short-form video content is taking the social media world by storm. This type of content is fun, entertaining, and easy to watch.
After seeing the success TikTok was having, other social media platforms quickly jumped onto the trend, releasing their own versions of short-form video content.
Let’s talk about one of the newest: YouTube Shorts.
What Are YouTube Shorts?
First introduced in India in September 2020, YouTube Shorts are short-form videos that are 60 seconds or less. Creators can use musical overlays, text, and graphics to spice up their content.
Though the beta version was only released in India at first, the platform still saw immense success with the new offering. Within a few short months, YouTube Shorts were receiving over 3.5 billion daily views.
After the successful initial launch in India, they were introduced to the United States market in March 2021. YouTube Short’s success continued to grow. Shortly after the launch, daily views were topping 6.5 billion views.
In addition to the large following, YouTube Shorts can also be monetized. The company says they will reward users with over $100M in 2021 and 2022 – usually through monthly bonuses between $100 and $10,000 from the YouTube Shorts Fund for qualified creators.
Creators are eligible for the YouTube Shorts Fund based on monthly performance metrics. They also must be at least 13 years old, in an eligible country, follow community guidelines, and have posted an original short within the past 180 days.
How to Upload YouTube Shorts
From Your Mobile Phone
YouTube Shorts can be created and uploaded in five simple steps.
To get started, log in to your YouTube account. Touch the “Create” button, then “Create a Short.”
From here, you’ll choose your music and record or upload your Short. To record your clip, press and hold the record button. You can also tap it to start and tap it again to stop. You can also set the recording speed and timer, as well as edit clips together on this screen.
After you’ve recorded your short, add filters and captions to your video. Adding captions is always a good idea so that people with hearing impairments can still enjoy your content.
Once you’ve edited your video and added your captions and filters, share your YouTube Short!
Click “Upload” in the upper right corner and get ready for the comments and likes to roll in!
From Your Desktop
If you’re uploading your YouTube Short from your desktop, you’ll need to prerecord your YouTube Short on your mobile phone.
Make sure your recording is still under 60 seconds.
Pro-Tip: record vertically to create a 9:16 aspect ratio.
Now you’ll upload your YouTube Short the same way you would upload a regular YouTube video.
From your YouTube Studio account, click “Create” and then “Upload a Video.” Select your file and start filling in the required fields.
Include the word “Shorts” somewhere in your title and your description to indicate to YouTube that your video is a Short, rather than a full-length video.
How to Watch YouTube Shorts
Unlike other apps, YouTube Shorts are available both on the mobile app and on a desktop.
To watch a short on your desktop, open the YouTube website. Shorts will appear both on the homepage, similar to TikTok’s For You Page and on the specific channel’s homepage.
Watching a YouTube Short on the app is similar to the website version. Open the YouTube app on your phone and you’ll find Shorts on the homepage and on the specific channel’s homepage.
You can also search for YouTube Shorts by using specific hashtags. Similar to Instagram, this technique will produce YouTube Shorts you might like based on the hashtags you are searching for.
YouTube Shorts vs. Other Competitor Platforms with Short-Form Video
There are a few differences between YouTube Shorts and other short-form video platforms like TikTok or Instagram Reels.
The first is the length of the video. Both YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels cap the content at 60 seconds. TikTok just recently raised the time limit to 3 minutes per video.
Another difference is the use of an in-video shopping option. TikTok and Instagram Reels let creators insert links to help their followers buy products directly from their videos. Although it could be added to the feature, Shorts does not offer that option yet.
The final difference between the three is the editing abilities. While all three are very user-friendly and make editing and personalizing videos fairly easy, Instagram Reels and TikTok offer a lot more options in terms of special effects and AR features. You can use filters, music, and captions when making Shorts, but their special effects and AR features are non-existent.
Pros and Cons of YouTube Shorts
Like any digital platform, there are pros and cons to using YouTube Shorts.
Pro: Exposure Potential
The biggest pro of YouTube Shorts is the platform’s reach. Over 3 billion people visit YouTube every month. That is a lot of potential eyes on your content.
The content is also placed on the YouTube homepage, in the Shorts tab within the YouTube app, and on your channel’s homepage. With other platforms, you are limited to exposure within the app and sometimes only on your own page. With Shorts, you’ll capture both the mobile and desktop audiences.
Pro: Traffic to Your YouTube Channel
YouTube Shorts also serve as a lead magnet to your larger, more monetized videos. When a viewer watches your short video, they can automatically flow to your channel. They don’t have to click out of an app like they would if they were watching a TikTok or Instagram Reel.
Pro: Less Time Consuming
YouTube Shorts are also a lot less time-consuming and expensive than making full-length YouTube video content. Some YouTubers and brands spend a lot of money on influencers, backdrops, props, and video production. All of that expense adds up. Even low-rent full-length videos that may be cheaper financially take time and energy.
With YouTube Shorts, time, energy, and money aren’t an issue. All you need is an idea, your phone, and video marketing strategies. Any editing that needs to be done is done directly on the app.
Pro & Con: YouTube Shorts Fund
A big pro to using YouTube Shorts is the YouTube Shorts Fund. Raking in monthly bonuses could be a great way to add to your profit margin.
However, YouTube only mentions that this will be an option for 2021 and 2022. Whether this is just a two-year prize fund used to encourage users to make Shorts or an ongoing way to monetize your account remains unknown.
You are also at the mercy of YouTube awarding you these bonuses. Qualification is based on varying metrics that change from month to month based at YouTube’s discretion. Since you can’t always be sure of what these metrics might be or what the baseline of the metrics will be, the YouTube Fund is not a reliable source of income.
As the YouTube Shorts Fund continues to grow and iron out the details, only time will tell if this is a big pro for creators or a waste of time.
Con: Fewer Optimization Options
As far as the cons of using YouTube Shorts, the biggest is probably the customization options. Videos become more eye-catching when you can use interesting and creative special effects and AR features.
Con: YouTube Server
Another big con to using Shorts is that they are uploaded through the YouTube server. If you have a poor connection, the server is down, or the app is undergoing maintenance, you lose access to your channel.
Important KPIs for YouTube Shorts
Since YouTube Shorts are still in the beta phase, things are constantly changing and the key performance indicators are still evolving.
However, you can monitor your performance by looking at the same KPIs you would use for any video posted on the YouTube platform. These KPIs include:
- Total Engagement
- Total Amount of Video Views
- Number of Subscribers
- Traffic Sources
Monitoring these KPIs are going to give you a good idea of whether your work with YouTube Shorts is worth it or not.
Examples of Brands Using YouTube Shorts
Here are some great examples of brands that have already started using YouTube Shorts.
Who is more attention-grabbing than pop star Jojo Siwa?
In this YouTube Short, celebrity gossip channel, TheThings Celebrity, used quick clips of the star to tell a story about how she traded her trademark ponytail for a shorter style.
The short-form video is quick, entertaining, and eye-catching while also encouraging viewers who want to know more to follow their other long-form content.
In this mouthwatering YouTube Short, FitWaffle Kitchen does a great job of posting quick, but delicious-looking recipes. She uses captions to describe what she’s doing and expertly blends together various video clips to create one quick, 60-second video that leaves the viewer wanting more.
Wrapping it Up
To answer the original question: Are YouTube Shorts worth it? I’m going to say yes… for now.
Personally, I love short-form video content. It’s engaging, entertaining, and educational. It’s a great way to build your brand awareness, increase your reach, and find new lifelong fans.
I think that YouTube Shorts are definitely a trend worth exploring, especially if you already have a long-form video channel on the platform.
You can always repurpose the content and use it on other platforms. Besides, they are simple enough to create that you won’t waste too much time if they turn out not to produce much traffic for your brand.
So try making some YouTube Shorts of your own. You never know, they could really increase your traffic and qualify you for the coveted YouTube Shorts Fund!