YouTube Shorts is a new short-form video experience by YouTube that allows creators to record 60 seconds or less short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones. Since its launch in 2020, Shorts has grown tremendously in popularity and has become one of the hottest new social media trends.
In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about YouTube Shorts, from how to create them to tips for making your shorts stand out. Let's get started!
What Are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts are short-form videos that are 60 seconds or less in length. They are designed for creators to express their creativity and capture the attention of mobile audiences through bite-sized content.
Shorts builds on the technology of TikTok and other popular short video apps, allowing you to record and edit multi-clip videos, add licensed music, and more. The videos can be recorded and edited directly within the YouTube mobile app.
One of the key features of Shorts is that they load and play faster than traditional YouTube videos as they are capped at 60 seconds. This makes them ideal for on-the-go viewing and sharing on mobile devices.
How Do YouTube Shorts Work?
To get started with Shorts, simply open up the YouTube app on your iOS or Android device and tap on the “Create” button. From there, you’ll see the option to create a Short.
When creating a Short, you can record clips up to 60 seconds in length. You can string multiple clips together to create a cohesive narrative or story. The app provides basic editing features to trim clips, add filters, text, and licensed music.
Once your Short is ready, add a title and description, and tap the “Post” button. Your Short will then be discoverable on the new Shorts tab in the YouTube app.
Users can swipe vertically from one Short to the next when browsing, similar to TikTok. Shorts will also begin appearing on YouTube’s existing homepage as well as related video results pages over time.
YouTube Shorts Creation Tips
Here are some tips to help create captivating and engaging YouTube Shorts:
Have a clear focus: Determine what your Short will be about and build your narrative around it. Shorts thrive on having a tight concept or hook to reel viewers in.
Use eye-catching text and graphics: Text overlays and graphics help convey your message quickly and enhance your Short’s aesthetic. Use sparingly and make sure text is readable on mobile.
Shoot vertically: Shorts are designed for mobile viewing so shoot all your clips vertically in 9:16 aspect ratio. Use your phone’s entire screen real estate.
Make creative edits: Take advantage of basic editing features like stitching multiple clips, adjusting speed, adding filters and music. These enhancements keep viewers glued to your content.
Find the right music: Music adds energy and personality to your Short. Browse YouTube’s audio library to find the perfect licensed track to complement your video.
Make it snackable: Keep your Short under 60 seconds. Trim any extra fluff to highlight only the most engaging parts and leave the viewer wanting more.
Add intriguing captions: Well-written captions will attract viewers and add context. But keep them short, descriptive, and engaging.
Promoting Your YouTube Shorts
Getting more eyes on your freshly minted shorts requires promoting them across social media and within YouTube itself:
Share on YouTube Community tab: Give your subscribers a preview by posting the Short on your YouTube channel’s Community tab.
Promote on other social platforms: Download your Short and share a compelling still frame or clip on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to drive viewers to YouTube.
Run YouTube or Google Ads: Consider running YouTube masthead ads or Google discovery campaigns to push your Short to a wider audience.
Collaborate with others: Team up with complementary creators to produce engaging Shorts and expand your collective reach.
Remix popular trends: Put your own spin on viral sounds, songs, or video ideas to capitalize on existing platforms.
Analyze metrics: Keep track of views, likes, comments, and traffic sources to identify top-performing shorts to produce more of.
YouTube Shorts vs TikTok
As a short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts shares some similarities with TikTok but also has some distinct differences:
Length: Both allow videos up to 60 seconds but TikTok also permits longer 3-minute videos.
Music & Effects: TikTok boasts an expansive pre-licensed music catalog and augmented reality effects. Shorts’ selection is currently more limited.
Discovery: TikTok’s algorithmically-driven “For You” feed enhances chance of going viral. Shorts relies more on YouTube search and recommendations.
Monetization: TikTok has robust monetization via gifts, tips, and its Creator Fund. Shorts currently only offers money-making via YouTube Partner Program.
Audience: Thanks to YouTube’s 2 billion existing users, Shorts already has a massive built-in audience. TikTok had to grow this base from scratch.
While TikTok pioneered the short video format, YouTube Shorts stands to become a major competitor by tapping into YouTube's platform strengths and resources.
YouTube Shorts Best Practices
Here are some top best practices to employ when creating YouTube Shorts:
Hook viewers in the first 5 seconds with an eye-catching opening.
Film horizontal or vertical videos - but never post horizontal shorts. Remake them vertically.
Add captions not only for accessibility but increased watch time.
Use simple backgrounds that don’t distract and on-trend visual effects.
Interact with viewers by asking questions and responding to comments.
Post consistently 1-2x per day to stay top of mind. Reels only have a short shelf life.
Have a consistent brand image and style across your shorts.
Monitor your audience retention graphs to see when people lose interest.
Promote your best-performing shorts with ads to maximize views.
Following these best practices will help you create shorts that captivate audiences and stand out in this popular new format.
The Future of YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts has enormous potential for both creators and viewers. For creators, it opens up new opportunities for virality and revenue. For viewers, it provides easily digestible, entertaining content.
As YouTube expands monetization options, adds creation features, and drives audience growth to Shorts, expect it to become more competitive with market leaders like TikTok.
Shorts also fills an important niche for YouTube - a dedicated short-form video experience tailored for mobile users. It diversifies YouTube's content offerings and appeals to Gen Z viewers hooked on platforms like Snapchat or Triller.
The future looks bright for YouTube Shorts. Like Stories on other platforms, short-form video is here to stay and YouTube is now strongly positioned in this space thanks to Shorts. It’s an exciting time to become a Shorts creator!
So grab your phone and start shooting - the opportunity to build your audience and have fun with Shorts awaits. The sky's the limit with creativity!