Video content is an important type of content. Using video continues to grow, and every platform embraces it in some aspect. The use of stories by almost all social media platforms has allowed us to consume quick, bite-sized content.
YouTube has now introduced YouTube Shorts as a way to compete with platforms like TikTok.
If this is new to you, a YouTube short is a vertically shot video that is 58 seconds or less. This video style is intended to be recorded — and primarily watched — on your phone. Again, just like TikTok.
Will these short video snippets be an effective way to reach an audience? Well, I took it for a test drive and uploaded a short every day for 30 days.
Here’s what I found.
The Way That I Use YouTube
I’m not a YouTuber, per se. My principal forms of content are blogs and podcasts. But I understand how important a YouTube channel is to reach an audience and better connect with them.
I run two different podcasts, and a few years ago, I noticed that some podcasts were uploading audio files to YouTube. There wasn’t any video at all, and they were getting many views.
I decided to do the same thing with a health podcast I host, and all it required was uploading the MP3 file, and creating a new thumbnail for the “video.”
From there, I could easily add links in the description to direct people back to my website and podcasts. These “videos” have racked up tens of thousands of views — and I realize that YouTube is the primary way most people discover content.
Some people said they had discovered me through my YouTube channel and didn’t even know I had a blog or podcast.
I know what a massive commitment it is to film and edit YouTube videos, so the prospect of YouTube shorts seemed really interesting to me. And they could be perfect for your channel — which I’ll get to in a second.
How Do You Make a YouTube Short?
Shorts have caught on in the last few months — and YouTube seems to be pushing them hard.
The first important thing in creating a YouTube short — to be sure they are viewed on people’s phones — is to have them shot vertically. Normally, this is an undesired video form, but this is to compete with TikTok.
The next thing is that the shorts need to be 58 seconds or less. I am trying to understand the reasoning behind this. TikTok’s are 15 seconds long, but you can connect multiple clips to create videos up to 60 seconds long. I assume this is the logic behind it.
The last thing — and there is varying information on this — is that you want to include the hashtag: shorts, at the end of the title, and in the description.
Some say that this isn’t necessary as YouTube automatically recognizes it as short if it’s vertical, and under 58 seconds — but it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what I did.
The shorts I uploaded were for my pop culture channel, so they included a wide range of videos, including quick movie reviews, hidden things in films, and behind-the-scenes facts.
The Results After A Month
You can see the massive jump in views and watch time over the last month. This channel is small. The most-watched videos have a couple of thousand views.
Some shorts I uploaded were getting 1000 views in just a few hours.
The subscribers went up and continued to do even after I stopped uploading them.
You can see in the channel analytics that the impressions, views, and unique viewers had all skyrocketed. Like all forms of content, you never know what will connect, and some shorts only got a few dozen views.
If you’re going to make shorts, I think it’s important to create a wide range of content. It’s hard to tell exactly what YouTube will push with them, so it helps cover many territories.
But the key thing is that YouTube is pushing them, as shown in the screenshot below.
You can see how the shorts were responsible for most traffic sources. And more than half of the impressions were because YouTube recommended my content.
If you’re starting your YouTube channel, shorts are an amazing way to get discovered quickly. YouTube is making shorts a priority and is putting a lot of push behind them. The sooner you can get some up, the sooner they can get in front of people.
I would take advantage of this opportunity as they are doing everything possible to compete with TikTok and need content to promote.
Over the 30 days, I learned that the emphasis shouldn’t be on the shorts’ success but on what they help accomplish.
Shorts get more eyes onto your channel, and that can bring new eyes to your main videos. Shorts also bring in new subscribers — which should be the primary focus of any YouTube channel.
If you are new to YouTube, shorts can be a great way to make a splash, as it’s much harder to stand out with regular videos against all the larger competition. For the time being, shorts allow for a bit more even playing field.
Shorts can also be a way to give your channel a boost if it’s been stagnating for a while. You’ll have to find out the best approach for you, though. You may want to try it the way I did — or only upload a few shorts a week.
The point is, shorts are something new, and if you’re looking to grow your YouTube channel — you’ll definitely want to check them out.