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Your Ultimate Guide To YouTube Shorts

Short-form content on YouTube isn’t new. In fact, the first-ever video published on the platform was only 18 seconds long.

What is new is its mobile-first design and snappy name:


Haven’t heard of shorts? No worries, TopVA is here to fill you in on everything you need to know. Continue reading for an introduction to YouTube Shorts and find out the opportunities it has in store for your brand.

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts is a vertical short-form video feature that YouTube introduced in 2020 as a response to TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Spotlight. Using this feature, users can record videos up to 60 seconds long and upload them directly to YouTube from the eponymous app.

It also comes with nifty built-in creation tools which allow users to overlay licensed music, add animated text and filters, control the speed of the footage, and edit multiple 15-second clips together like a pro.

For viewers, the learning curve is not as steep. They can do all the usual things on Shorts as they would on regular YouTube videos, such as leaving a comment, liking/disliking, and “smashing that subscribe button.”

Where do YouTube Shorts live on the app?

Accessing YouTube Shorts is super easy! On a mobile device, you’ll see a tab on the bottom of your screen that says ‘Shorts’. Just tap it to view an endless stream of short-form videos from channels you're subscribed to as well as those recommended by the YouTube algorithm.

If you’re on desktop, Shorts can be found on the left sidebar of the home screen. You can also find them in the Explore tab, which is like a shelf for viral YouTube videos (both long-form and Shorts). We recommend the latter when performing deep Social Listening.

You'd be hard-pressed to miss the create (+) button. It’s on every page of the platform, whether you're using a web browser or the app, waiting for you to create your next Short.

Why Create YouTube Shorts?

Now just because it’s still in its infancy doesn’t mean it hasn’t got plenty to offer. Here are a few reasons why incorporating YouTube Shorts in your marketing strategy is a good idea

Boost Your Channel's Reach

As mentioned earlier, Shorts show up on so many places on the platform. This means there are plenty of opportunities for people to notice your content and grow interest in your brand. Plus, the algorithm favors Shorts—quite aggressively, in fact—so strike while the iron's hot!

Maintain Posting Frequency

Since they’re short and easy to create, Shorts makes it possible to quickly put together content without spending hours on production. You can record on the spot and do all the editing natively—i.e. on the platform itself. As a result, you get to maintain regular posting frequency and keep your audience engaged in between your long-form video posting schedule.

Access a Wider Demographic

TikTok might be the leading short-form video app, but its audience leans towards a younger demographic which could be limiting for some brands. The same goes for Instagram Reels and Snapchat Spotlight. On the other hand, YouTube’s user base is made up of people with varying interests, backgrounds, preferences, and age groups. Therefore compared to its rivals, Shorts can get your brand in front of a much more suitable audience.

YouTube Shorts Best Practices

It wouldn’t be a TopVA blog post if we don’t leave you a few quick tips for success. So without further ado, here are some best practices to help you get the most out of the rapidly expanding world of Shorts:

  • Start bold If those first few seconds don’t immediately hook your audience, they’re just going to keep scrolling. Focus on making them as captivating as you can.

  • Write compelling captions — While the video is still the most important element, its caption can be what makes a viewer decide to watch or keep scrolling. Make those 100 characters count.

  • Record vertically — Asking viewers to turn their screens is a major turn-off. Always record vertically to give your audience the most ideal viewing experience.

  • Take advantage of the loop — Shorts loop back to the beginning once they end. Though it’s not required, it would be wise to think about incorporating that element while filming.

  • Provide value — Make each video with your audience in mind. Understand them, the problems they face, and what you can do to help.

Ready to Give YouTube Shorts a Try?

We hope this article has given you the information you need to leap into the “shorter side” of YouTube. Good luck creating your Shorts—and have fun!

Need a hand? Drop us a line and we’ll get in touch shortly!

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