YouTube has been the undefeated online video juggernaut for more than 15 years, but a shorter-clip competitor burst onto the scene in 2018. TikTok was the new platform that shed light on a gap in online video consumption. Users were unavoidably drawn to easily digestible, short-and-sweet content that engaged them and kept them scrolling.
As an answer to the global phenomenon of TikTok and the rising popularity of short-form video content, YouTube developed Shorts. The 60-second spot to “shoot, share, and binge” fun and interactive content on YouTube.
TikTok audiences also represent a niche audience that skews younger than other platforms. YouTube’s hundreds of millions of people, who browse and consume approximately 1 billion hours of content every day, span across all generations. This means some brands and B2B companies may find it more difficult to get real traction or to connect with their ideal audience on TikTok.
Unlike TikTok, YouTube content is made for all ages, stages, industries, and niches across the globe. B2B brands that aren’t getting the visibility they need with the right audience bracket on TikTok would stand a better chance on Shorts. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals are already looking to YouTube for industry-related content, and now they can find it on Shorts too.
How Shorts Got Its Start
The Google-owned video search engine was looking for user feedback on the new platform and launched a campaign to fund organic growth and reward their most inspiring users. YouTube started a $100M fund that will be dripped out over the course of 2021 and 2022.
This campaign is open for anyone to participate, not just partners. While there are a few user-related guidelines, virtually any creator who uploads unique and engaging Shorts could be one of the thousands a month chosen for financial rewards from $100 to $10,000!
If you’re selected, you’ll get a notification from YouTube via email and inside the app about your bonus. Payments will be processed through AdSense, so make sure you set that up too.
Here is a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about YouTube Shorts.
The Anatomy of YouTube Shorts
Shorts is YouTube’s short-form video content feature that is maximizing the popularity and traction short-form content is experiencing. They’re adapting to the next generation of content creators and providing another opportunity for community growth.
These mini-videos are a maximum of 60 seconds long and can be recorded all at once with multiple segments, or you can stick with only 15 seconds. With lots of tricks and tools available for editing and enhancing, the possibilities are endless!
While it’s not available yet, YouTube does have plans to monetize Shorts. Content creators don’t want to sleep on this new feature! Don’t hang around and wait for the monetization. Get involved and be part of the movement! Start growing your audience and reach now.
The How-To’s of Youtube Shorts
Now that you’re excited about the what, let’s dive into the how!
Get the YouTube App
Though it’s possible to upload Shorts via a desktop computer, they were designed to be created, uploaded, and viewed all from your mobile device. For best results, download the YouTube app from your mobile app store and sign in to your account.
If you’re more comfortable creating on your laptop or desktop, you can upload Shorts videos in much the same way you share standard video content. For the best compatibility with Shorts formatting, the video must be shot in a vertical orientation, 60 seconds or less, or in 15-second increments.
Make Your Shorts Video
In the app, tap the “Create” button at the bottom that looks like a plus (+) sign. There will be a pop-up menu at the bottom, where you’ll choose “Create a Short.” If you’ve never used the Shorts feature to capture images before, YouTube will ask for permission to access your camera.
How to Use the Recording Page
Now that you’re on the recording page or in creation mode choose your time frame. You can change the recording time from 15 seconds or up to 60-second clips.
Tap the record button to begin recording; you don’t have to hold it down if you want to stay hands-free. Tap again to stop. You can tap multiple times within the same video to create segments of any length within the 15- or 60-second video.
As you record, there’s a red bar at the top of the screen that is a timeline showing you how much time you’ve captured and how much time you still have left. If you’re not ready to finish the video, you can save it for later. When you come back to the record page, it will ask you if you want to start over or continue with your existing footage.
Available Settings in Recording Mode
You can use the following settings as you record in real-time.
The circular arrow button will switch views between your front- and rear-facing cameras for recording.
With the speedometer button, you can speed up or slow down your video by as much as three times in either direction. If you speed up the video to three times faster, the recording time will be triple.
A 15-second video at three times the speed is 45 seconds of recording time, while 60-second videos at three times the speed will give you a total of three minutes of potential recording time at the highest playback speed.
If you slow the video down, keep in mind that frame rates do not keep up, so the footage won’t be smooth. This will only allow you to capture a few seconds of actual recording time.
The timer button lets you delay the start of the recording by either 3, 10, or 20 seconds. You can get set up and in position while the recording starts automatically. There is also a bar to drag that allows you to set how long you want the auto-record feature to capture video.
Add Sound and Music
Pressing the music note button will take you to a new page with a list of sounds and music clips you can choose from. They include “Recommended” clips that may be trending, “Featured” sounds promoted by YouTube, “Up-and-Coming” music, and “Genres” for you to browse.
You can also search for specific music using the search bar and save sounds you like for later use. Saved sounds will be in the favorites tab on the top right of the “Add Sound” page.
Choosing music here will let you record the video with the music in real-time as you move to match the beat, or move however you like and just be yourself!
Editing YouTube Shorts Videos
Once you move on to the next step by tapping the white checkmark at the bottom right of your screen, more editing features are available to add after you’ve captured the video footage.
Adding Music After Recording
On the next screen, you’ll find a new bottom screen menu. At the far left is the “Sound” button for adding that now, which will bring you to the same music menu as on the recording screen.
If the music doesn’t sync well with your video or if you want to feature a different section of the song, the next button is “Adjust” with scissors and a music note. Here you can drag the music to suit your video, change the selected sound, or delete the music.
The text button is how you add interactive text to your video in several different colors, fonts, backgrounds, and alignments. As you watch it playback, tap any text box to edit or adjust its timing.
Use the timeline to adjust when and for how long you want each portion of text displayed.
After recording, you can tap the Venn diagram button for “Filters.” You can select from a dozen or so preset filters that change the color and tone of your video.
At this time, you can’t add tags to a video as you create and upload from the mobile app, but you can do it later from a desktop in the metadata settings.
Uploading Your Video
When your creation is complete, tap the “Next” button at the top! Choose a snappy and useful title that fits in the 100 character max. Leave room for the recommended hashtag “#shorts!”
Choose your visibility from these three options:
- Public: Public visibility is open for anyone to find and watch.
- Private: Private visibility only allows those you choose to see the video.
- Unlisted: Unlisted visibility is restricted to only those with the direct link.
Something to keep in mind for some younger creators is that the default visibility setting for ages 13-17 is private. Visibility settings for anyone over 18 will default to public.
Select the appropriate audience for your content. According to YouTube and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, you’re legally required to disclose whether or not your content is made for children. If appropriate, you can also restrict viewing to any viewer under the age of 18.
Now all that’s left is to tap “Upload Short” and wait for your video to finalize. Finished videos will appear in a Shorts library on your main YouTube channel.
Welcome to the world of YouTube Shorts!
How to Boost Visibility and Engagement
Here are a few best practices to implement for your YouTube Shorts videos.
Shorts were designed to be created, shared, uploaded, and viewed all on a mobile device. The easiest way to do that is portrait orientation which is how most people hold their phones when casually scrolling through content.
If you make a landscape-oriented video, only a square out of the middle will be visible, and you’ll have black bars of empty space above and below your video. This looks a bit unpolished and can be distracting, so it is not recommended.
Best Practice: Portrait Orientation
Video Description and Tags
Even though you can’t do this while you’re creating from the app, you can access the settings from the Video Library after it’s uploaded, similar to how it’s always been done for original platform content.
From your video library, choose the three-dot menu next to the video you want to modify and select “Edit.” The next screen will have fields for you to add a video description and tags. This helps with the searchability of your content and makes it easier for your content to be found.
Best Practice: Add Descriptions and Tags
Custom Thumbnails for Shorts
Unlike Instagram’s Reels, you can’t add the thumbnail or cover as you upload. YouTube adds a Shorts Shelf to each user’s channel that will display your library of Shorts videos altogether. Organized thumbnails will make it more visually appealing, but depending on your audience or traffic sources, it may not be necessary for your channel.
From your YouTube Studio’s navigation menu on a desktop computer, choose “Content.” Find the video you just completed and choose the pencil icon. From here, you can edit the details of your Shorts video and add a custom thumbnail. YouTube may require verification of your account before allowing this.
Best Practice: For More Polished Content, Upload Custom Thumbnails.
A pinned comment is one that stays at the top of the comment feed, no matter how many are listed. To easily direct Shorts video viewers to your other content or website, create a pinned comment with a link or your call to action.
Best Practice: Use Pinned Comments For Your CTA.
Monetizing YouTube Shorts
As mentioned above, YouTube Shorts are not yet monetized. Sort of.
It’s not monetized in the traditional way that other YouTube content is monetized, though there are plans to do this in the future. Right now, the only way to earn money is via the YouTube Fund. This is the $100 million dollar fund that YouTube set up to reward dedicated creators who share original and engaging content on Shorts.
The system is a bit of the “luck of the draw” in that creators who will reap the monetary rewards will be selected by YouTube. They chose creators every month through 2021 and have planned the campaign through 2022. Reward money will range from $100 to $10,000 for thousands of creators every month.
There are a few eligibility requirements in order to participate, such as age and location, Community Guidelines compliance, upload frequency, and an AdSense account.
Since monetizing options are limited only to the fund, now is not the time to run ads for shorts. The best practice, for now, is genuine, engaging, and delightful content creation.
YouTube is still growing and developing its new Shorts platform, and more information about traditional monetization may not be available until after the YouTube Fund campaign has ended.
Benefits of YouTube Shorts
Creators and businesses have been establishing their brand on YouTube for over a decade or more. YouTube Shorts have provided another avenue to keep the content flowing but in the more easily digestible bite-sized pieces.
Low Production Cost
Creating long-form videos that are full of slides and dynamic scenes can be time-consuming and costly. YouTube Shorts offers a more affordable way to capture attention with snappy, engaging content while still pointing users to your other resources. All you need is your smartphone and you’re set!
Keep the Content Cookies on the Bottom Shelf
Deeply academic or technical content isn’t suited for Shorts content, and users know this! They expect to be dazzled and delighted with easily digestible content as they scroll.
YouTube Shorts may not stack up quite evenly with its short-form video competitors in terms of feature count, but there is plenty available to keep it simple and still put out dynamic and engaging content.
Top YouTubers on Shorts
As of today, YouTube’s search engine shows 172 million videos uploaded from over 10 million channels using the hashtag #shorts.
The Bentist is a dentist active on both TikTok and YouTube Shorts. His channel has 2.75 million subscribers, and a Shorts video posted three days ago has 552,714 views and 63 thousand likes.
Gary Vaynerchuck is an entrepreneur that specializes in high-level marketing with brands across the globe. A Shorts video about video marketing he posted to his secondary channel (GaryVee TV) got 992,990 views and 45k likes.
Beauty brands, video marketing service brands, fitness studios, graphic designers, and online coaches and consultants are just some of the creators and businesses that are leveraging YouTube Shorts for B2B and B2C content strategies.
Leverage YouTube Shorts Content with Sparkhouse!
Maybe creating and editing videos on this platform or any platform is not in your zone of genius. Or maybe you just don’t want to. That’s ok! Sparkhouse has your back.
We’re a full-service and strategy-focused corporate video production agency that specializes in promotional content for brands on the rise. Our crazy talented team can help you launch a trend, join a challenge, or tell snappy quick stories chock-full of value in short-form video. Reach out to our team and let’s strategize!