How Brands and Creators are Utilizing YouTube Shorts

Snackable, short-form content is at the forefront of social media these days, as people reach for their phones for quick bursts of entertainment and inspiration during the in-between moments of their busy schedules. 

While mobile-first platforms like Snapchat and TikTok have spearheaded the shift towards bite-sized content consumption, other platforms have been quick to get on board with this increasingly popular trend. Most recently, YouTube has added Shorts – a new way to discover, watch, and create on the platform.

Launched in July of 2021, Shorts already has over 30 Billion daily views globally, making it a rapidly-growing medium for fostering creativity throughout the world.

From Long-Form to Shorts

While YouTube is most commonly known for its long-form video content, the platform has recently expanded into the world of creating and sharing short-form content as well, in the form of YouTube Shorts.

Shorts is a full-screen, mobile-optimized experience featuring videos that are 60 seconds or less. This easy-to-consume video format provides an engaging medium for Brands and Creators to update and engage with their audiences. 

The Watch Experience
You’re probably thinking, “This sounds awesome! But where do I find Shorts?” YouTube has made it easy for viewers to discover new short-form content in a seamless, interactive feed called the Watch, available right on the YouTube mobile app.

Once you’ve opened the YouTube app on your phone, find the Shorts tab on the bottom left side of the navigation bar. Shorts will open in a full-screen experience, looping through videos or allowing you to scroll up to sift through content.

While scrolling through Watch, viewers can interact with content by looping, commenting, swiping, sharing, liking, and subscribing with the simple tap of a button.

While Watch is the most immersive way to consume Shorts, it isn’t the only way to experience them. Shorts can also be found on Home, the Subs Feed, Search, and your channel page, appearing either as an individual video or a group of tiles within the Shorts shelf.

You can also find and discover new Shorts by channel, audio, and hashtags.

Creator Tools At Your Fingertips

Now that you’re starting to explore Shorts on your phone with an easy tap of the YouTube app icon, you’re probably wondering how to actually make them.

With an entire suite of user-friendly tools, YouTube Shorts makes it easy for anyone to create fun and interactive videos. Creators and Brands can leverage Remix features and instant engagement to partake in trending content and memes. 

It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Luckily for Brands and Creators, the learning curve for making Shorts is relatively quick and painless. In just a few simple steps, anyone can create a Short and optimize it for the best viewer experience.

Before you create your Short, it’s important to remember that not just any short-form content is engaging short-form content. In order for Creators and Brands to maximize their efforts with Shorts, there are a few key best practices to follow when creating content:

  1. Capture attention early – Think of an enticing hook to pull viewers into your content as they scroll through the Watch. Exciting visuals, relatable questions, and humor can all be effective techniques for getting users to stop scrolling and start paying attention!
  2. Feature one message – You only have 60 seconds or less to get your message across, so it’s critical to be extremely clear and concise with what you want to convey to your audience! Think about how you can best communicate your message in one compelling, bite-sized package.
  3. Lean into the trends – One of the most effective ways to have your content gain traction is to capitalize on what’s trending. By exploring other Shorts and seeing what’s popular, you can get a good idea of the type of content that’s timely and might resonate with your audience.

Once you have a plan in place for your Short, it’s time to start creating! Just click the plus icon in the middle of the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, and then follow these steps:

  1. Film or upload your video – Once you’ve opened the Creator tools, recording your content is easy. If you already have a video you wish to use or repurpose, you can opt to upload directly from your Camera Roll instead!
  2. Edit & enhance your content – Align your frames, add text, and change the speed of your video with any of Shorts’ easy-to-use editing tools. You can also add popular music with the Audio Picker feature, available in the Shorts Camera. 
  3. Reimagine sound – Have a favorite audio clip from a YouTube clip? You can sample it on Shorts and even add it to your creation! 

After you’ve successfully created your video, you’re almost done! The last and final step before posting your Short is adding the finishing touches. Think of a catchy title for your content, add popular and relevant hashtags, and be sure to add tags and descriptions. While these details may seem small, they all work together to create an optimized experience for your viewers and the algorithm. 

Expand Your Audience – Organically And With Ads

Whether you’re ready to grow your organic YouTube audience or use the platform for advertising, there’s a solution for you.

If you’ve created and posted a Short, now it’s time to leverage it!

Reviewing the performance of your organic Short is made easy with the analytics button, where you can see a comprehensive breakdown of the key metrics driving your performance. This includes likes, views, comments, shares, audience retention, and traffic sources.

While posting organically can help Creators and Brands reach new audiences, YouTube is now also testing ads on Shorts for select campaign types in a seamless and organic-feeling experience. In order to take advantage of this new inventory space, be sure to add vertical (10 to 60-second) videos to your ad campaigns. Ad assets should mirror the look and feel of organic Shorts, so viewers maintain a cohesive experience while watching your content. 

If you’re ready to take advantage of an increasingly-popular video experience, YouTube Shorts could be the perfect opportunity for your brand. With the ability to gain organic traction through creating and posting Shorts or by capitalizing on advertising real estate within Watch, advertisers and Creators can make the most of this new and engaging avenue for connecting with their audiences.  

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