We are all guilty of opening up TikTok or Instagram with the intention of spending a few minutes checking out the latest content in our feed, only to have hours fly by as we wonder how we got down the rabbit hole of engaging videos and missed our normal bedtime. Part of that reason is due to advertisers. Most video ads are created so well they are seamless in our viewing experience, and social media platforms have continued to make video content a priority.
YouTube is no different and recently the platform has shown initiative to move away from only long video content and make short clips of 60-90 seconds available for users. These clips are what YouTube calls “shorts,” and if you are not utilizing them, you could be missing out.
Shorts are not new, YouTube launched the content option in 2021. However, shorts saw a spike in engagement in 2023 when YouTube announced it would add shorts to their partner program. This means creators can now earn revenue from the engagement they get on their shorts – and naturally where there is money to be made, there is attention to be had. I spoke about YouTube engagement trends in episode 53 of the MoreVisibility podcast calling out how YouTube shorts may have increased engagement for all videos on the platform, as data suggests users are watching videos for longer periods of time than ever before. Let’s explore the benefits of shorts and some content ideas that could help your social strategy.
YouTube has an editing feature for shorts that is similar to Instagram, meaning the tools provided are not foreign and will not take a long time to test. Upon selecting your video clip, you will have the option to add music, filters, trim your video and add text. This mobile-friendly editor allows creators and brands to edit and upload in just a few clicks.
Digital marketers should always be conscious of how their brand is perceived. In terms of social media, nobody wants to be labeled as “old,” or “behind the trends.” In fact, it is just the opposite, the brands who find success in new content are early adopters and risk takers, often introducing a new ad unit or content template to their audience before it is “cool.” With YouTube putting a focus on shorts, every brand will have a “shorts” tab on their profile for users to see and click through. If you are a well-known brand and are active on social media, it can be a negative to have a blank space where others have content. Many brands keep developing content for social platforms to stay relevant and get their message heard. Just like you spent time building video playlists for your YouTube channel, its now time to boost your shorts playlist.
You likely already know the type of video content that does well with your audience, so the key to success may be in the way you create the video. The shorts that get more average engagement for brands all have one thing in common – they immerse the user into their message. Successful shorts can show behind the scenes content, a customer or client testimonial and even ‘a day in the life’ type of video. Users want to feel like they connected with the brand and the brand understands what is important to them. Clothing brands do this very well on YouTube, showcasing their fashion in a way that you can almost feel the material through your screen and imagine yourself wearing the outfit while doing an activity you love. Be personable and don’t be afraid to show your audience what your brand is like behind the curtain.
If you are not creating shorts today, I would suggest adding that to your video content strategy. YouTube shorts also provide a great way for marketers to gather more data on what their audience likes. Because you can be more personable with these videos, you may find a new way of showcasing your services sells better. You could also take a successful shorts video and use it in other advertising strategies and platforms. Keep testing, keep evolving and make sure YouTube is a platform you invest time in.