Everything You Need to Know About YouTube Shorts

Following Instagram and TikTok’s footsteps, YouTube launched Shorts last year. But what is a Short and how do you make them work for you?

Written By:

LW
Lauren Webb
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What’s the first thing you think of when we say short-form video content? Likely TikTok or Instagram Reels – YouTube Shorts is probably not the first thing that springs to mind.

Undoubtedly, TikTok and Instagram have a huge share of the social media market. But YouTube certainly paved the way for viral video content when it started in 2005. And last September, the streaming giant introduced YouTube Shorts, a vertical, 60-second-max sub-platform. But what do they offer that Reels and TikToks don’t? The answer is a pool of approximately 2 billion active viewers that you could be tapping into. Since its inception, its estimated Shorts have notched over 5 trillion views. So, whether you already have long-form content up and running on the platform, or you’re looking for a bit of cross-platform exposure, there’s certainly nothing to lose in giving Shorts a shot.

So, how do I make YouTube Shorts?

As well as having the ability to shoot within the app, YouTube Shorts is much like TikTok and Reels in that it lets you upload content from your gallery. This means little to no extra work if you’ve already got content banked. It’s also excellent news for Pivo users: you can continue to use your Pod and the fun create modes within the Play app to make your content stand out, before uploading them as a Short. 

It’s possible to upload pre-made content from your desktop, but if you want to get creative with the YouTube app, you’ll find the shorts camera by pressing the ‘+’ symbol in the center of the bottom toolbar, then ‘Create a Short’.

After shooting (which you can also do hands-free using the timer), you can edit your content within the YouTube app. You’ll be able to retouch, add filters, a green screen, to speed up or slow down your Short, and edit lighting using the toolbar on the right of the screen.

Content created from the Shorts camera will be automatically identified as such, so there are no extra steps or hashtags you need to add in order to ensure it finds the right place.

What are the limitations?

Orientation: YouTube Shorts are shot vertically. Horizontal videos won’t work.

Timing: Shorts can be up to 60 seconds in length, that’s one continuous 60-second video or several 15-second videos knitted together. However, if your Short utilizes music from YouTube’s catalog, the limit is 15 seconds.

Titles: Take into consideration that while Shorts titles can be up to 100 characters long, only 40 will show up in the preview. 

Privacy: Users aged between 13 and 17 will have their Shorts automatically set to private. Those over 18 will be set to public, though you can change this at any time in settings.

Desktop uploads: They’re possible, which is convenient, but you’ll need to ensure you tag your video as #Shorts to ensure it’s recognized.

Can I earn money from Shorts?

The short answer is yes. YouTube recently announced that Shorts creators will be able to earn a share of ad revenue from January 2023 if they have at least 1,000 subscribers or 10 million Shorts views in 90 days. Once accepted into the Partner Program, creators can get up to 45% of ad revenue from their videos. This is how it works: Ads run between videos in the YouTube shorts feed. Each month YouTube adds together the revenue and divides it amongst creators. This revenue also goes towards paying for licensing of the music used within Shorts.

YouTube estimates that top-performing Shorts creators could be earning up to $10,000 per month. So if you’re ready to commit, there’s potential to be bringing in significant revenue from the platform.

Best practices for YouTube Shorts

Get to know your audience and your niche. Take chances and try different things at first, but make sure you take the time to understand what your audience is receptive to.

Keep it snappy, informative, and fun. Shorts need to be just that – short. If your audience wanted to engage with longer content, they’d watch traditional YouTube videos instead.

Choose stand-out thumbnails. Short-form content is easier to come up with, so the market is more saturated. You’ll want to make sure your content stands out in any way it can. Make the effort to use enticing thumbnails so you catch the attention of viewers.

Post often. Consistency is key. Gaining viewers is one thing, but regular posting grows a following. With a following comes loyalty, and ultimately your content is spread further.

Observe trends, and utilize them. While it’s said that the YouTube Shorts algorithm is mostly chronological these days, there’s no doubt that platforms spotlight popular trends. That being said, you should keep an eye out for popular trends and topics and try to put your own spin on them. Always remember to check for any relevant hashtags, so your content gets featured when trends are taking off.

Make use of editing tools, but don’t overdo them. While the YouTube Shorts in-app editing comes kitted out with plenty of tools, too many in one 15-second clip could be overwhelming. Does your video need sound? Do you really need to plaster text all over to get your point across? Think carefully about what you include – too much can be a distraction.