Video content – and the way it is being created and consumed – has changed drastically in the past decade. As a core pillar of marketing, businesses used it religiously to connect with a modern audience. In fact, the numbers back video as a key form of marketing, be it traditional or digital. Video’s adoption rate has been on an upward trajectory since 2016, with well over 61% of businesses agreeing to use it as a marketing tool back then. Now in 2021, approximately 86% of businesses have video in the marketing mix.
There’s no doubt that YouTube was, and still is, a major player in this shift. The video-hosting giant served as an incredible tool and was the foundation for many successful marketing strategies. Today, several platforms have claimed their share of the video market on the internet, ranging from standalone sites to social media hubs.
Over the years, however, shorter videos that were up to 30 seconds have dominated the market. Vine was the first of its kind to popularise the concept, after which Stories, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram Reels and many others followed. Today, convenient content experiences are all the rage, and YouTube’s response is YouTube Shorts. To learn more about the new addition, how it works, and if it matters to businesses, read on.
What is YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts is a feature within the app ecosystem that allows users to create short videos. These are within the 60-second timestamp and often contain musical overlays from added effects. In a way, Shorts pays homage to the first user-generated short video ever posted, ‘Me at the zoo’, which was only 18 seconds long. Videos like these are highly entertaining, engaging, and catchy. In fact, the feature allows users to create engaging content using just their mobile devices, right from capturing content to editing it, adding soundtracks, and posting it.
As for its history, the YouTube Shorts release date was 14 September, 2020 and it was first launched in India. This was a beta-launch following the ban of the popular platform TikTok. This trial was very successful as per data reported in February 2021, the YouTube Shorts player had amassed 3.5 billion cumulative daily views. These numbers only grew as the feature went global, with numbers exceeding 6 billion daily views by March that same year.
Are YouTube Shorts worth it and should businesses adopt them into the marketing mix?
In a word, reach. YouTube has a massive user base where more than 2 billion users visit the platform every month. These numbers point to the potential for unprecedented growth, especially in a time when virality has become mainstream. YouTube Shorts for business is an untapped vein of potential. Considering that a study has already proven the positive link between video watching and the final purchasing decision, it is a no brainer that YT Shorts should be part of the mix. Besides the large audience, much larger than other competitors in the space, YouTube also has an established platform that has stood the test of time.
YouTube has successfully served as a platform for all types of video content and has the infrastructure in place for its delivery. Brands can leverage this to market both their long and short-form content in just one location. It offers a closed ecosystem and that in itself is a massive advantage for businesses. There’s no need to port assets for other platforms or have to work around different music rules or capabilities. Businesses can establish complete campaigns within the space and target a wide range of demographics with the various format provisions.
How can businesses take advantage of YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts for business can propel digital marketing efforts if businesses leverage 3 key winning traits.
Integrated content library
Your YouTube Shorts video will get directly posted to the brand’s business channel and will feature as one among the entire repository. From a business POV, Shorts allows you to create content that takes audiences through all 3 parts of the marketing funnel. This may not be possible or even viable on other platforms as certain types of content will demand longer formats, which may be unsuitable for the core audience. YouTube doesn’t have such a restriction and Shorts enables that seamless shift between content formats.
Content created for YouTube Shorts is inherently accessible as it targets audiences on mobile devices. There is no dedicated YouTube Shorts app, but the functionality resides within the main YouTube app ecosystem. Brands can use this to experiment and find easy-to-produce relatable content for newer audiences. One example is the Gen-Z audience who gravitate more toward popular short-lived trends. Brands can tap into these markets, create high-value content, and have it easily accessible. In fact, it wouldn’t be farfetched to expect younger talent and creators to be drawn in by such tactics.
Optimised video search engine
As YouTube Shorts will rest on the platform, it benefits from its video search engine capabilities. As such, brands can use it to tailor content for specific niches and target them specifically. It opens doors for brands to optimise content for search engines with relevant keywords, tags, and other factors that make a difference.
Quick tips on using YouTube Shorts
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of YouTube Shorts, be sure about the basics. The recommended YouTube Shorts resolution is 9x16 and 1920x1080 pixels. Videos that don’t fit within this format or are of poorer quality may not make it to the Shorts shelf.
Fortunately, there is no cap on the YouTube Shorts size, so video quality can stretch up to 4K resolutions. However, the maximum YouTube Shorts duration is 60 seconds.
With these basics in check, the next step is to get clear on the best ways to use YouTube Shorts.
How to view YouTube Shorts on PC
On launch, YouTube Shorts was only available on the mobile app. Now, you can simply click on the ‘Shorts’ section on the main YouTube homepage and view it on PC.
How to upload YouTube Shorts
To upload a YouTube Shorts video, simply go to the YouTube Studio, select ‘Create’, ‘Upload Videos’ and then choose the right video file or files, up to 15. Enter a title and publish to upload.
How to optimise for the YouTube Shorts algorithm
The best way to optimise for the YouTube Shorts algorithm is to ensure that the video matches the recommended format specifications. Next, input relevant hashtags for the YouTube Shorts video title. Even having “#Shorts” may do the trick. Lastly, avoid clickbait. The algorithm rewards engaging content and getting dislikes will hurt progress.
YouTube Shorts monetization
These short videos can be monetised via ads, but YouTube has its provision too. The YouTube Shorts Fund rewards creators that excel at creating such content. Here, a bonus is offered from a pooled USD100 million fund to creators that truly shine.
YouTube Shorts are an exceptional tool for video marketing and brands should be looking for ways to adopt it in the mix. While there are many other options to choose from, YouTube has proven itself over the years and has a stable audience that can be leveraged favourably.
Unsure of how to approach this format of digital marketing or how to strategize for it? Get in touch with the professionals at Edisol. Our talented team of content and marketing specialists offer services across a suite of formats. We can help you stay ahead of the curve and build an organic following that delivers. For more information, contact us.