What are YouTube Shorts?
Have you seen YouTube Shorts? YouTube Shorts are quick, catchy, vertical format videos of 60 seconds or less that appear on the hugely popular video sharing network. It takes just seconds of viewing to realize that these short video clips are YouTube’s answer to Instagram Reels and the hugely popular TikTok app which had more than 689 million monthly active users as of January 2021.
YouTube wisely chose India (where TikTok is banned) as the first place to beta test Shorts in late 2020 and rolled it out a few months later. Shorts reportedly had upwards of 15 billion global views per day as of August 2021, more than double the 6.5 billion daily views it got in March of this year. The new format is reportedly making a whole new generation of content creators into overnight sensations hoping to become YouTube celebrities.
With the immense popularity and engagement garnered by video, particularly on mobile devices, YouTube Shorts offer individuals and businesses yet another way to reach and engage with audiences. Those who already have large subscriber bases on YouTube may find that Shorts provides a great way to increase engagement with existing subscribers, while adding new ones.
How are YouTube Shorts and TikTok videos similar?
There are quite a few similarities between the two platforms. Here are the features YouTube short videos and TikTok videos have in common:
- Record and edit vertical videos right from a smart phone.
- String together multiple videos from outside the app to create up to 60 seconds of content
- Choose music to go with your short from an in-app music library
- Add text, sync it to images, make it appear and disappear
- Change video speed
- Add filters
- Sample sound already on the platform to add to your own video
- Claim money from a fund set up by the platform to earn income from your content.
These are the main ways YouTube shorts are similar to TikTok but there are other similarities in the content creation process.
How to Make a YouTube Short
Here’s how to make a basic YouTube Short video. Log in to your Google account on the YouTube app on your smart phone. Click on “create” and then “create a short.” Tap the circular capture button to start recording and then again to stop. Use the backspace button to undo your clip or the U-turn button to redo if you change your mind.
You can change the speed of your video, add a filter, and choose music from the library. You can sync up the music with the video as you desire.
If you add text, you can choose when it shows on your video and when it goes away. “Next” to view your video and then Next again to view details on your video.
Add a video title of up to 30 characters. Your title is a big part in getting viewers to click, so give it a good one. Now your video is ready to upload.
YouTube Shorts Fund- Monetize your creativity
How do content creators get paid for YouTube Shorts? Similar to TikTok, YouTube has created a fund to allow Short creators to monetize their content. Each month, thousands of creators will be able to claim a payment of between $100 and $10,000 from this fund. Payment amounts will be determined based on engagement and viewership of a creator’s video.
Only videos that are original to YouTube will be eligible to claim payments, so a video that also appears on TikTok will not be eligible. YouTube has stated it will adjust its algorithm to deemphasize duplicate content.
Short videos on YouTube vs. TikTok—What’s the Difference
You might wonder how shorts on YouTube differ from those on TikTok and why someone might prefer YouTube short videos to those on Instagram or TikTok. Here are a few ways YouTube Shorts differ from TikTok.
TikTok is a social media platform and therefore functions differently than YouTube. TikTok and Instagram Reels both allow users to create, watch and share videos with friends right inside the app. YouTube doesn’t offer sharing and messaging. This is a huge negative for younger users who use these features heavily.
Another YouTube vs. TikTok difference is that Shorts currently does not offer augmented reality filters while TikTok does.
Perhaps the primary difference between the two is that YouTube’s algorithm for determining what content viewers will see is totally different from TikTok’s. The latter was set up to identify the short-form content viewers want and then keep them engaged and on the app by continually recommending more content based on its learnings of their preferences. YouTube’s algorithm has been serving up a very different type of content for many years. Now it must adjust and learn how to serve the needs of two very different audiences—those who want the platform’s legacy content and those searching for shorts.
The Challenge for YouTube Shorts
How YouTube will do that successfully remains to be seen. For now, users will continue to access YouTube Shorts and longer YouTube videos on the mobile app. It remains to be seen whether users will adapt to using both types of content in one app.
Will YouTube shorts spin off onto its own platform or remain part of YouTube? If things stay the way they are, there will be a learning curve until YouTube devises a way for its algorithm to serve the needs of both audiences. With the brain trust of Google behind it, it’s hard to imagine they won’t figure find a way.