What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are a new video type on YouTube that are also known as short-form videos. Today, Short-form video content is recognized to be 2.5x more engaging in comparison to long-form video content, especially to the Gen Z generation. In fact, millennials have a longer attention span of 12 seconds in comparison to Gen Z users who have an attention span of 8 seconds. The more popular short content becomes, the shorter the attention span grows. Having a platform like YouTube, which has been known for its long-form video content for two decades, introduce short-form videos, will surely bring attention to the feature. This is a clear attempt for YouTube to hop on the trend of vertical videos that have gained popularity on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

Graph showing attention span in seconds.

YouTube short-form videos can be produced, viewed, liked, commented on, and shared. They are 60 seconds or less and can be created by YouTube's own tools that allow you to edit, add music from well-known labels, attach animated text, adjust video speed, merge videos, and so on. In comparison to Instagram and TikTok, YouTube shorts are the shortest short-form videos as of today. These short marketing videos are quite digestible in that they can retain users' attention easily by providing engaging content or information. You can also utilize this video format by creating Shorts from your existing long-form videos, hence further promoting your own channel.

To find out more about how to make these YouTube shorts successfully, keep reading!

Follow these easy steps to create YouTube Shorts

You can create YouTube Shorts on your desktop and your mobile app. Today, we will go over creating reels using the mobile app, therefore if you don't already have it, start downloading and follow our steps below. To create a YouTube short you also have to of course have an account, so if you don't already, after downloading the application, make sure to create your YouTube account.

Guide to creating YouTube shorts

Image showing a guide on creating youtube shorts.
  1. Tap the (+) sign at the bottom of the screen and select “Create a Short”.
  2. Make sure to Allow Access to your camera, so you can begin recording your short.
  3. Tap the circular red button at the bottom when you're ready to start recording, and tap it again while it's recording if you want to create multiple segments in one YouTube short video. By tapping the red button when you've already begun recording, you will stop the video. Should you wish to resume recording, you just need to tap the same button again.
  4. You can also, upload videos to your YouTube Short, but they must be vertical with a 9:16 aspect ratio and have a resolution of 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels.
  5. In the top right corner, you will see the number 15. YouTube's shorts are set to be 15 seconds maximum by default, however, if you'd like to change it from 15 to 60 seconds, you can do so by tapping the number.
  6. On the right, you will view multiple different video editing tools, some of which are:
  • Flip: This allows you to use the front or the back camera, depending on what you'd prefer to show.
  • Video speed: The options for video speed are as follows: 0.3x, 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x. These allow you to slow down or increase the speed of your video.
  • Timer: Should you need to prepare quickly for the video or record yourself from further away, you can set a countdown that is either 3, 10, or 20 seconds long, and you can even adjust at what second the recording should stop.
  • Green Screen: You will first need to allow access to all photos or the select few you would like to include. The green screen enables you to replace your video's actual background with a photo.
  • Retouch: This touches up your YouTube video.
  • Filters: When adding filters to your recording, you can change the colour and tone of the entire video and make it more visually appealing,
  • Lighting: This helps you make your YouTube short video darker or lighter, depending on your preferences.
  • Flash: Lastly, the flash option gives you the option to choose if you want to have the flash on or off when recording your video.
  • Trim: This option appears when you have different segments of videos that are either recorded or uploaded. The trim tool helps you shorten each clip.
  1. Once you are done creating your YouTube Short, you can click the white checkmark at the bottom of the screen, and you will then be able to see the preview of your video.
  2. When viewing the previous, 5 more editing tools will appear at the bottom of the page:
  • Sound: This allows you to add music by browsing popular songs, or browsing songs you have saved from other YouTube shorts. Once you have inserted a track, you can adjust it and its volume.
  • Text: You can add text anywhere to your video and modify its font, size, and colour.
  • Voice-over: When you tap this, move the vertical white line on the filmstrip to where you want to begin your voice-over, and then hold or tap the red record button and start talking. If you’d like to stop, then just tap the red button again.
  • Timeline: Once you have added text or music, you can adjust how long you'd prefer them to be and when they need to show on the YouTube short.
  • Filters: Here you can again apply filters to your YouTube shorts video.
  1. After you have finished editing, you can click the “next” button in the top right corner of your screen. This will take you to the final steps of posting your YouTube short.

Image showing the add details page.

  1. Here, you need to create a caption for your video that provides information on the content or is captivating enough to gain a viewer's attention. You can also choose visibility, whether you want the short to be visible to the entire public, anyone with the link, or only to people who you have chosen to view it. Then you will be able to schedule a time for publishing the video.
  2. Pick the location of your video depending on your target market and audience.
  3. Then select an audience. Here you can decide whether the content you will be posting is made for kids or not, and you can add an age restriction if necessary. Now that you are done, you can upload your video by tapping on “Upload Short”.

What is the best length for your YouTube Shorts video?

The length of your YouTube shorts is best determined by the type of content you want to provide. For example, if there is short information you want to deliver or music you want to add, then perhaps it’d be best for your Short to be more than 15 seconds. More than 70% of YouTube Shorts are actually longer than 15 seconds. Your YouTube shorts can be a maximum of 60 seconds long. Other factors that the length of your YouTube short depends on are; the industry you are posting for, trying to fit into the marketing and sales funnel, considering channels, and so on. The most viral YouTube short videos range between 25–35 seconds, therefore, the shorter they are, the sweeter the content. 

Can you monetize YouTube Shorts?

The short answer is, yes. However, it is important to note that YouTube shorts are not a part of the watch hours for monetization on YouTube. The way you can monetize these short-form videos as of this year, 2023, is by joining the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). What's that, you may ask? YouTube's partner program allows creators to monetize their content by gaining access to more resources and features, such as the platform's creator support teams. Furthermore, the YPP gives you access to revenue sharing from ads shown on your content or even fan funding. You can become a part of the YouTube Partner Program in two ways; fan-funding and ad revenue.

In order to be eligible for fan-funding, you need to have:

  • 500 subscribers
  • 3 public videos uploaded in the last 90 days
  • 3,000 public watch hours within the last 365 days or 3 million public shorts views within the last 90 days.

An example of fan-funding is the Super Thanks revenue, which essentially comes from video tips given by fans that can range from $2 to $50. Another example is Super Chats and Stickers, on these live chats, fans can reward you with donations ranging from $1 to $500.

To receive the benefits of both ad revenue and fan funding; you must have:

  • 1,000 subscribers
  • 4,000 public watch hours from long-form YouTube videos within the last 365 days, or 10 million public Short views in the last 90 days. 

Once you are a part of YPP, only the eligible shorts will receive advertising revenue. This means you must:

  • Follow YouTube's Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
  • Do not use scenes from movies and TV shows that you don't have rights to
  • Do not upload content from another creator without adding your new perspective to it or entirely transforming the content.
  • Do not pay for fake views.

Lastly, if you are not interested in being a part of the YPP program, another way to monetize your YouTube Shorts is through brand sponsorships. This is a very well-known method across all social media platforms. A brand sponsoring you is a great method for earning money as a creator. Moreover, you do not need to have that many views or subscribers to begin this. Furthermore, you can add channel memberships and offer your subscribers premium subscriptions, or use shorts as a marketing channel to sell products and maybe even your own merch. 

How does the Shorts ad revenue sharing work?

YouTube calculates the creator pool by including the revenue from ads being run in the Shorts Feed between videos. The revenue regarding YouTube short ads is then split between YouTube, music publishers and creators. YouTube keeps 55% of its ad revenue share, while creators get 45%. A portion of the money in the creator pool goes to music publishers, to pay for the rights of using their songs. This means that two-thirds (⅔) of the ad revenue generated by a YouTube short will be added to the Creator Pool, since one-third (⅓) will go to the owner of the song. If you used two songs, then only (⅓) will go to the Creator Pool. To remain on the safe side, try using royalty-free music. 

To better understand how the revenue is distributed, you need to know that the revenue from ads shown in the Shorts Feed is added up each month before it can be distributed. Then it is allocated into the Creator Pool based on views and music being used. The revenue is then handed out to monetizing creators in the Creator Pool according to their share of the total views generated by monetizing creators’ shorts in every country.

What are the benefits of using YouTube Shorts?

Increased brand awareness and user reach

If you are looking to grow your channel, then YouTube shorts might just be a great strategy for expanding your audience reach. Your viewers now have another way to access your content and be persuaded to subscribe, especially since it is mobile-friendly. Every time you publish a YouTube short, you increase your chances of reaching new audiences and gaining more subscribers,

Increased engagement

Short-form videos encourage more likes, comments, and shares. Due to being easy to consume, they are also easily convincing and viewers don't have to watch for a long period to decide whether they like the content or not.

Improves SEO

The more value you provide to your viewers via entertaining content or useful information, the more it will improve dwell time and reduce bounce rates by encouraging viewers to keep scrolling. By engaging with your Shorts, your SEO ranking and search marketing campaign will gradually improve. Utilizing tools to export YouTube Analytics can provide valuable insights into your Shorts performance and audience engagement

Best tips to utilize your YouTube Shorts

3-5 second set-up

Having a 3-5 second set up is crucial in ensuring your viewers continue to watch and engage with your YouTube short video. This means that you need to have a clear promise of interest within the first 3 to 5 seconds of the YouTube short, otherwise, your viewers will lose interest and stop watching altogether or keep scrolling. When I say promise of interest, I am talking about delivering a clear and catchy message or topic within the first few seconds of the video that guarantees what the rest of the YouTube short will continue to build on. 

Create intriguing titles

Having a title that will captivate your audience is crucial for generating more views. Another way to ensure your title is gaining awareness is by making it precisely accurate to the content of the video.

Make eye-catching Thumbnails

Although creating a thumbnail is not necessarily a given feature yet, there are still ways to do so for YouTube Shorts. Adding a thumbnail on any type of video is highly important as it provides a visual preview or an interesting image relevant to the video's content, which greatly influences engagement and click-through rates. The first approach to add a thumbnail to a YouTube short is by setting a chosen frame from your video when uploading it. You will be able to see the editing feature once you are on the “add details” page and tap the pencil outline on top of the shorts image. The second way to get this done is by creating a thumbnail beforehand on platforms such as Canva or Photoshop, and then setting it as a new frame when uploading the video.

Repurpose videos

Use existing video content that may not be yours, so long as you do not need legal rights to repost, of course. You can then respond to this content or debunk something about it to make it your own. 

Short Journey

These videos are exactly what they sound like. It is a YouTube short where a creator demonstrates starting something, documents the middle of the journey and then finally the end of the journey. In between, to make it more interesting, you can incorporate a challenge or a mistake and provide a solution at the very end. 

Add relevant hashtags

Hashtags are always a useful tool to target an audience and gain more brand awareness. You can add up to 3 hashtags to your YouTube shorts via the title and the description. This is a great strategy to categorize your video.

Sensory-rich content

Image showing ASMR.

Sensory content

This particular topic focuses on attracting viewers using stimulating sounds or visuals. These types of videos employ ASMR elements and use these sound effects to evoke particular interests or feelings in their viewers. 

Create tempting content

Consider shorts as the video format responsible for captivating potential leads. When you produce content that is so short, you want to make it tempting to your audience and entice them with quick information and visuals. Shorts can be leveraged for product releases or to attract attention to your longer videos with more information on an intriguing topic. In fact, surveys show that less than 50% of Gen Z have a likely frequency to purchase products from social media, while 74% of millennials are likely to purchase products from social platforms. Have a look at the graph below for a visual representation of these generations’ purchase frequency. 

Graph showing purchasing frequency.

Transform your longer videos into short clips

Another way to increase your odds of going viral is by turning your long videos into shorter clips. By doing so, you can publish more content and reach a wider audience. Shorter videos are more likely to be shared on social media platforms and can help to increase engagement and visibility. However, when you do this, try to make the shortened version immersive and engaging. You don't want to bore your audience with information, since you can hardly explain anything in just under 60 seconds. Make sure that a shortened version of your long-form video covers the most intriguing factors of your longer content and creates captivating visuals of it.

Promote your content

Promotion is a valuable tool across all social media platforms. Seeing as the e-commerce market is becoming saturated with different products and services, it is crucial for any brand to cross-promote and advertise themselves well. Considering YouTube shorts are relatively new and in contrast to YouTube's original product, long-form content, it is important that creators share their shorts across other platforms or perhaps collaborate with other creators to increase brand visibility. Furthermore, the subscribe button is visible on all shorts, therefore, it is a great means for turning viewers into subscribers.

Behind the Scenes

Image by Freepik

Show behind-the-scenes (BTS) bits of your content, no matter what it is. Viewers enjoy authentic and transparent content that’s being explained visually or through auditory elements, therefore, providing them with a short BTS video may encourage them to subscribe or interact with your content in other ways. It is also the perfect way to humanize your content, should it be brand-related. Behind the scenes can be about the launch of a product, company operations or organisation, product updates or other brand-related updates, and many other topics. The more authentic your content is, the more users will feel inclined to trust your brand and develop a strong liking or support for your brand/channel. 

Have multiple segments in one video

What does this mean? Having multiple segments means to include numerous cuts throughout the 15 to 60-second-long video. To keep your users engaged and make 60 seconds feel even shorter, avoid making the video in only one sequence without stops.

Connect the Short's ending with its beginning

Just like TikTok videos, YouTube Shorts are on a loop and therefore begin replaying as soon as they finish. This presents creators with the opportunity to connect the ending to the video's beginning, hence possibly making viewers watch the video again for the satisfying transition or because they may have not noticed the video replay itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we only add 15 seconds of music to YouTube Shorts?

Fortunately, you can now attach music that is 60 seconds long as well! 

Why are YouTube shorts low resolution?

YouTube Shorts are processed in low resolution because doing so makes the upload process quicker. This means others can stream your video more easily, with less or no buffering, and on a variety of devices. If you'd like your quality to be better quality, then upload your videos using the YouTube website rather than its app. The website offers more options for you to choose from.

How much do YouTube shorts pay for $1 million views?

It is difficult to determine for sure, as there are a lot of factors you would otherwise take into account. Firstly, determining the payment you will receive for 1 million views, depends on your Revenue Per Mille (RPM), which is the metric for the amount of money you earn for every 1,000 views. RPMs for YouTube Shorts reportedly range from $0.3 to $0.7, which is relatively low. This means that for 1 million views, YouTube Short creators earn between $30-$70. However, seeing as this all depends on subscriptions, memberships, and other factors, many creators have an even lower RPM than $0.3. This is quite normal, seeing as the RPM for shorter YouTube videos is also lower. Considering YouTube shorts are a new concept and within their trial period, the RPM will most likely change over time.