They say that big things come in small packages. That may be one of the reasons that short-form videos have become the new big thing in social media circles. TikTok started the trend and was soon followed by a host of other platforms, including Instagram and other social media giants both big and small. Fast forward to the present, and now YouTube is the latest to join the party. After beta testing in India for a few months now, YouTube Shorts is all set to debut in the US in the coming few weeks.

In the grand scheme, short-form videos are a relatively new content format. TikTok, the leader of the pack, has over 700 million daily active users on the platform. It is estimated to reach 1.2 billion daily active users sometime this year. TikTok users spend a staggering 52 minutes on average on the platform per day.  It also sees the best engagement rates across all of the major social media platforms. This rise in popularity is what is attracting more platforms to experiment with short-form video formats. 

Once the US rollout is officially underway, you will see a tab on your main feed on YouTube aptly named “Shorts”

YouTube rules the roost when it comes to video-based social media and it has gone from strength to strength despite the surge from other social media platforms and video aggregator platforms. This is what makes the debut of Shorts an exciting development for users, influencers, and brands alike. 

Let’s talk about YouTube Shorts in detail and delve into some of the specifics of the new format.

 

How Does “Shorts” Work?

Users will soon have access to the Shorts camera, which does most of the work when it comes to creating Shorts. Similar to other platforms, the video creation features with this camera assist users in creating engaging and entertaining content in innovative formats that capture the audience’s attention. 

Creators who get access to Shorts will soon be able to create vertically aligned videos with music or audio of their choice. You can also add text and other effects to these videos, similar to what we see on platforms like TikTok. YouTube is also rolling out a corresponding watch feature that lets users scroll through reels videos with an upward swipe. 

Currently, users can find Shorts videos on the homepage in a new section. Users can also find Shorts videos from the creator’s profile as well as in the what to watch next section. You can also search for Shorts using the search bar. 

Users can create up to 60-second videos in a vertical format and include audio, choose from their own library, the Shorts library, or original sounds from other Shorts if available. These videos can then be tagged as #Shorts while uploading. YouTube does the rest of the work and shows your Shorts in relevant placements on the feed. 

During the initial launch, Shorts will not have any monetization options, and ads won’t be served in this format. However, it’s safe to assume that monetization options can be expected soon enough, once the format begins to see some traction. 

 

YouTube + Short Videos = A Great Combo

There is no mistaking YouTube’s position of supremacy when it comes to video content. YouTube has a multitude of great features and quirks that make it an extremely engaging platform in itself. Short videos are also inherently more engaging, delivering quick entertainment or information in a bite-sized serving. There are synergies here that make this combination a very exciting prospect for users, influencers, and brands. 

 

New Content Formats For Creators

Creating YouTube videos consistently involves a lot of time and effort. Additionally, it requires a lot of creativity if you aim to keep your content fresh and interesting. With the advent of Shorts, YouTube creators will now have a new content format that they can explore.  Shorts are much quicker and easier to create, which gives creators on YouTube one more tool to engage their audience with. 

The short-form video format augurs well for breaking down concepts and catering to a younger market while also leading to increased engagement. These are great attractions for all creators.

The inherent content discoverability in YouTube and a separate feed of sorts will ensure that there are boundless possibilities in attracting a new audience to one’s profile. 

 

Reduced Barriers To Content Creation

Shorts opens up the YouTube stage for new and younger creators too.

The barriers to entry for content creators will decrease quite a bit given the functionality of Shorts, and this is a good thing for aspiring creators. It means more content, more engagement on YouTube, and more opportunities for brands and influencers alike. The Shorts camera in itself will provide users with enough tools to create attractive content. The addition of short videos also gives creators a more low-involvement content consumption, which will again lead to more time being spent on YouTube. 

From a time-on-site perspective, this could be a game-changer for YouTube, which already boasts a 40-minute average mobile viewing session.

 

New Audience For Short-Form Video

YouTube attracts over 2 billion users every month, and as such, the audience you can find on the platform comes in every size and form. Having this variety of short-form videos on the platform is an excellent way to expose new users to short video content. There are many people who may not be aware of this format or may not actively follow it (for instance, those who aren’t active on platforms like Instagram or TikTok). But when their favorite YouTube creators begin creating Shorts, it is very likely to create an increased interest in the format.

 

Secure And Stable

If we are to look at Tik-Tok through the lens of a critic, the biggest issues come from the security concerns and regulatory challenges that Tik Tok currently faces. In some countries like India, TikTok has been banned completely due to security issues that continue to surround the platform.

YouTube Shorts offers an alternative that comes with the power of Google’s security and stability to back it up. The regulatory issues that make Tik Tok a volatile space are not as present with YouTube, making the addition of Shorts a safer and more stable alternative for influencers and brands to focus on to build their following. 

 

What Does This Mean For TikTok?

As is the case with any new platform addition, only time will tell whether or not Shorts hits the mark or falls short as so many others have when trying to replicate the success of features from competitor apps. In turn, we may have to wait a bit to see how this all plays out, including what long-term impact this has on TikTok. It’s fair to assume that Shorts will bring more people into short video content as a format, which will be a good thing for the format as a whole.

If YouTube Shorts establishes itself as a true contender, it is likely to attract a larger share of new users, including creators from TikTok. For those who are new to YouTube, it may be an easier task to build an audience there than on TikTok, which already has a huge number of established creators. 

Another aspect to consider is that YouTube has a more powerful monetization mechanism in place than many of its rivals, including TikTok. Though it may take some time to drive creators to the platform, this monetization potential would certainly be attractive to creators. 

 

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Creators aren’t the only one’s potentially coming out on top with the rollout of Shorts. It’s also an attractive addition for brands. As noted, short-form videos are massively popular, and brands can continue to leverage this on a new platform. Influencer marketing has allowed brands to present their content in a more creative (and ROI-friendly) format.

With this in mind, here are some of the important things brands can do to leverage Shorts.

Bite-Sized Content

If you are already a creator on YouTube, you can now start investing some time in crafting bite-sized content. The length of the videos is a critical factor on YouTube in general, and it takes a bit of trial and error to figure it out. Shorts may present an opportunity to eliminate this problem by providing users with format-friendly options for creating short-form videos. 

Leverage Virality

It’s hard to ignore that the majority of “viral” content is rather short. Whether you are a creator yourself or a brand working with influencers, creatively presenting the brand message can lead to more viral content. Shorter view times combined with increased engagement is the secret sauce of what makes short videos such a great option. 

Teasers & Trailers

Shorts also offers a good opportunity to attract users to your channel and other videos through short teasers and trailers. There isn’t a marketing team in existent that isn’t looking for new and exciting ways to create valuable content, and also how to promote it. The ability to create teasers and trailers will be inherent with Shorts. Brands will have increased opportunities to choose segments of their longer videos and portion them into consumable pieces of micro-content. This increases your ability to get your content in front of a larger audience, and those interested will have the ability to view the long-form – all within a single platform. 

 

In Closing

YouTube’s take on short-form videos is very much worth keeping an eye on. The general video capabilities of YouTube alone, combined with the inherent advantages of short video content, make it an exciting combination. As more users get access to Shorts and more content is generated, YouTube will likely see a nice initial boost in usage. Going by the results from the beta trials in India, Shorts did lead to a rise in engagement as well as growth in users for YouTube. 

Meanwhile, TikTok continues its rule in the space of short videos. But YouTube certainly has the potential to create new challenges for Tik Tok. As noted, YouTube’s monetization capability is another factor that will attract new creators to YouTube. Brands and influencers will be keenly watching this space, and we should soon see more brands and YouTube channels experimenting with short-form video content. YouTube Shorts is definitely not short on potential.

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