Posted: 18 Nov 2020 Contributor: Hannah OBrien
YouTube Shorts Strategy: Everything Marketers Should Know About The Tiktok Rival
TikTok has gained a lot of attention in 2022. It’s known as a platform solely based on video content with even Instagram following its lead and adding a “reel” feature to accommodate this successful format that consumers love. Now Youtube has followed suit and announced its new feature launch of “YouTube shorts”, which is essentially a variation of TikTok’s platform.
While most consumers usually browse Youtube for longer-form video content, this is the platform’s first go at short-span videos that cater better to the younger generations. Moving forward, businesses will now have the opportunity to understand and utilize Youtube’s new feature, even making it a part of their upcoming marketing strategies.
When you consider that two million people watch YouTube every month, it’s not hard to see why you need to hone your YouTube strategy and continually update it. Plus, within just two months, 1.5 billion users were engaging with YouTube Shorts, and these statistics are only increasing.
So let’s see why this new feature can be effective for your business by revealing all you need to know about YouTube Shorts for business below.
What Are Youtube Shorts?
Youtube has approximately 2 million users visiting its platform each month, meaning that they have been able to collect large amounts of data on users. The YouTube Shorts' initial launch started in India, where competitor TikTok has already been banned, allowing Youtube to test the waters with a country that has strong opinions on similar apps. To date, the test trial has been successful with India creating an opportunity for YouTube to become the leading short-form video creating platform in that country.
Regarding what Youtube’s shorts actually are, it’s a feature that allows digital creators to make short-form catchy videos using nothing but their mobile devices. Shorts will be Youtube’s quickest method to make, create, edit, and post video content. As opposed to Youtube’s normal creation options, shorts can be considered an “on-the-go” editing system. The platform acknowledges the convenience of mobile use and has created this option to cater to its users’ needs.
The features included in Shorts include video segments, options to record with music, speed controls as well as timers and countdowns with more features soon to be developed with growing popularity. As for now, Youtube hopes to extend its presence to other countries, undoubtedly with the underlying goal of outperforming TikTok and taking advantage of further potential bans to the platform.
What are the benefits of YouTube Shorts?
There are a number of benefits associated with YouTube Shorts for your brand:
- Videos are easy to create: You can create and upload your video via the YouTube app. Simply tap on a button, and you can start recording. Tap the button again to stop. It really is that easy! You don’t even need a computer.
- Reach a new audience: With information or entertaining content, YouTube Shorts can help you to reach a new audience. You can gain more views and possibly more subscribers in a short amount of time. After all, not everyone has the time to dedicate to long videos, especially when they are unfamiliar with the creator. However, people will be happy to watch a short video, and this could result in them subscribing to your channel and watching some of your longer videos.
- Engage users: Viewers enjoy watching more in less time, and that’s where YouTube Shorts really appeal. You can create 15-25 short videos daily and generate more views.
YouTube Shorts strategy
You need to hone your YouTube shorts marketing strategy to experience the benefits of YouTube Shorts. Here are some crucial tips for YouTube Shorts:
Create for your audience
Understand what sort of tone is going to appeal to your target audience, and create videos with this in mind.
- Who is your target audience?
- What do you want to achieve? Do you want to laugh? Inspire? Educate?
- What do you want the content to do for your company?
- These are the questions you need to ask yourself so you can take your strategy in the right direction.
Create custom thumbnails for your shorts
Unfortunately, there is no default feature to add a custom thumbnail to your YouTube Short. However, you can get around this. Here are the steps:
- Choose a frame from the video that represents what it is about.
- Anticipate the screengrab for YouTube.
- Use a number of editing tools to amend how the image looks by cropping it, inserting effects, adding shapes, adding texts, and changing the color.
- Click on ‘download’ to download your new thumbnail image in high-resolution, which is in the right-hand, lower corner of the screen.
- Upload it to YouTube.
Optimize the titles of your YouTube Shorts
Use between 50 and 70 characters. Use hashtags and research keywords to incorporate. Titles should be overlaid onto captions.
Make every video with your audience in mind to add value. Understand your audience and the issues they face so that you can best help them.
Once you have done this, you can then do the following:
- Share a takeaway that the person can apply to their daily lives
- Inspire and motivate your audience
- Tell them something they do not know about your company
- Give them something they can relate to in their own life or something new to think about
- Concentrate on developing the sort of content that resonates with people
Youtube Shorts Vs. TikTok
Youtube definitely had a couple of reasons why it created a similar feature to become a TikTok rival. The first is that TikTok within only 12 months of appearing was about to accumulate 842 million first-time users, a big contrast to Youtube’s slow rollout in 2005. Secondly, Youtube has noticed that consumers’ attention spans are as long as the video content the platform typically provides. People are interested in fast ways of learning and viewing content quickly and repeatedly, a concept that TikTok provides consumers with.
So, what comes next? Who is better, Youtube or TikTok? Brands have learned how to leverage TikTok but will YouTube Shorts become the upcoming industry leader?
Comparing YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok
Not only has TikTok made an impact with short, snappy videos, but Instagram Reels does the same thing, so it’s important to throw them into the mix.
- YouTube appeals to 15 to 35-year-olds.
- TikTok appeals to 16 to 24-year-olds.
- Instagram appeals to 26 to 35-year-olds.
YouTube Shorts offer the following features:
- A wide range of music tracks from the catalog on YouTube
- Fast uploading and color correction options
- Select the part of the song you want
- A multiple-segment camera
- Several create features to enhance video creation, such as speed controls
- Add captions automatically
TikTok offers the following features:
- Live editor and video editor
- Share your video on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- Discover trending content from your location or around the world
- Make your own video or select from pre-made videos with just one tap
Instagram Reels offer the following features:
- You can create a highlight reel of videos and photos, with the option to add location tags, captions, stickers, filters, and music
- Include captions at the start or end of a photo or video
- AR effects
- Finally, YouTube Shorts are only 15 seconds if you’re using the app, or one minute long otherwise.
- TikTok has a three-minute time limit.
- There is a one-minute time limit for Instagram Reels, no matter whether the video is recorded or uploaded.
Marketers & Advertising Opportunities
For brands that have finally mastered TikTok marketing, the addition of Youtube Shorts is something that most weren’t prepared for. Businesses now must consider both platforms, whether or not to switch their marketing strategies and the pros and cons of this new YouTube feature. Below is a handful of points as to what YouTube Shorts can bring to the table:
- Large Audience: Youtube’s platform already has 2 billion active monthly users, meaning that if a brand were to consider using Shorts for marketing, they’ll have the potential to reach a much larger audience than TikTok could provide.
- Functionality: As months go by, the functionality of shorts will only get better. YouTube has already created an easy swipe method - similar to TikToks - that will allow users to conveniently browse new clips.
- Will It Last?: While they did get the go-ahead in India, Youtube still has to get this new feature approved by many countries before brands will be able to use it or even consider joining. There is still a chance that this feature may never make it to your country with the potential that time invested in considering Shorts will be wasted.
- Consumer Behavior: Despite all the data and effort that goes into creating successful platforms and features, sometimes consumer behavior just can not be predicted. Marketers need to be aware that users may prefer TikTok’s app that they already have an account instead of creating a new account just to have access and utilize Youtube’s new feature.
Despite YouTube Shorts essentially being a replica of TikTok’s platform, Youtube also offers long-form content creating options that both marketers and users can take advantage of. Despite YouTube’s confidence in launching its “TikTok feature”, the platform should still be wary of Instagram’s take on short-form video content called reels, as the feature that ultimately led to little success. Here, YouTube can learn from Instagram’s mistakes where it’s similarities to the existing TikTok app was viewed as unnecessary by consumers.
For companies deciding whether or not to take the leap and start strategizing around YouTube Shorts, they’ll need to consider if their business could take advantage of all Youtube features to benefit their company, or are they better suited to sticking with their current methods of marketing.
YouTube Shorts monetization and content creation
- Making money from YouTube Shorts is different from making lengthier videos. However, you can monetize your videos.
- The YouTube Shorts Fund pays monthly bonuses between $100 and $10,000 for the best short videos.
- You can also secure sponsorships and brand deals. When a brand sponsors you, they pay you so that you advertise one of their services or products in your videos.
- YouTube ads are not available for shorts at the moment, but they are on their way, so you can expect this feature to come soon.
Overall, only time will tell if the Youtube Shorts experiment will succeed. TikTok meanwhile continues to have more and more issues as countries are still questioning the safety of the app and whether it’s intruding on users’ personal information and security. If for some reason the app is eventually shut down, YouTube has already set itself to act as a solution to TikTok’s issues, creating a potentially successful future as they look to solidify its position at the top of the industry.