YouTube Shorts Yay or Nay: YouTube’s Answer to the TikTok Craze

By Editorial Staff

In 2020, TikTok took over and revolutionized the social media space. As creators flocked to the platform and app downloads spiked, other social media platforms began looking for ways to keep up with their new competitor. When rumors started spreading of a TikTok Ban later in the year, this competition grew much larger – it wasn’t just against TikTok anymore.

Since then, we have seen the dawn of many new short-form video platforms. Back in August of 2020, Instagram launched Instagram Reels: a short-form video platform that allows users to film, edit, and post short videos in a similar style to TikTok. Competing apps like Clash and Triller have also proven to be viable TikTok alternatives in the market. Now, YouTube has provided their own answer to the TikTok craze: YouTube Shorts.

What is YouTube Shorts?

The social media platform that TikTok poses the highest risk to is YouTube. They are the two biggest platforms in the social media space that deal exclusively with video content. And while YouTube has not become any less relevant, there is no doubt that TikTok is growing faster and that it is both accessible for creators and easily digestible for users. Therefore, YouTube launched YouTube Shorts. 

Want to see the power and reach of TikTok in action? Read about the users on the app who have gained celebrity status here.

YouTube Shorts is YouTube’s new feature that allows creators to film and post short-form videos directly on the platform. The videos can be up to 60 seconds long and can be viewed directly on the home page of the platform. Shorts are easy to create and, unlike normal YouTube videos, do not need to be edited and posted on a computer – the platform is compatible with the mobile app! These are the main characteristics of the Shorts Camera:

  • Combine multiple video clips
  • Select music from a song library
  • Adjust the speed of video clips
  • Film with a timer

Similar to TikTok and Reels, the videos are vertical and each can be swiped through vertically on the platform. YouTube Shorts will also allow users to discover new creators outside of those they already subscribe to through the feature – which is similar to Instagram’s “Explore” feature and TikTok’s “For You Page.” 

Here’s a breakdown of how YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok compare to each other based on their short-form video features:

PlatformMax. LengthFilters and EffectsSpeed AdjustmentRecording TimerText, Stickers, Gifs, etc.Discover FeatureMusic Library
Shorts60 sec.NoYesYesNoYesYes
TikTok60 sec.YesYesYesYesYesYes
Reels30 sec.YesYesYesYesYesYes

How to Use YouTube Shorts

TikTok was initially competitive against YouTube because of its easy accessibility. On TikTok, anyone can easily create a video on their phone and post it. On YouTube, it’s much more difficult to post a traditional video because of the length. With YouTube Shorts, although, it a very easy to create and post a video on your account from the mobile app! Here are the steps:

  1. Open the YouTube mobile app.
  2. Press the “Create” button located on the bottom center of the screen.
  3. Select “Create a Short.”
  4. Once you are on the Shorts Camera, you can choose to add music, adjust the speed, use a timer, or upload a video from your camera rolls. To film a video, press the red record button at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Start and stop recording to film multiple segments.
  6. After recording, you can adjust the clip(s) to your liking before pressing “Next.”
  7. Preview the final video and press “Next” again.
  8. You can then create a title and press “Upload” to post your video.

YouTube also created a helpful video that perfectly explains how to use YouTube Shorts. Check it out here for further explanation:

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YouTube Shorts for Creators

It is always a great ideas for creators get a head start on a new platform before it gets big. Since the platform was only made available in the United States very recently, there haven’t been too many creators testing it out yet. This is probably because many creators are wondering if it is worth it or not. Here’s everything we know so far about how well YouTube Shorts works for creators:

Earlier this year, YouTube announced that all Shorts views will count towards a creator’s overall channel view count. Shorts views will also be counted the same as any views on a normal video. This is definitely a win for creators and should give new YouTubers a chance to make a higher impact on the platform and rack up some views. 

On the other hand, YouTube has also stated that videos on YouTube Shorts cannot be monetized and do not count towards YouTube Partnership Program. According to Business Insider, although YouTube Shorts can help boost a creator’s subscriber count substantially, creators do not make nearly as much as they would from a regular YouTube video. Nevertheless, YouTube also stated that monetization may be available on Shorts videos eventually. Although influencers cannot make a living off of them right now, it may be possible in the future. 

Even if Shorts can’t be monetized, you can still make money on YouTube. Check out this blog to learn how to get monetized on YouTube.

Is It Worth It?

When evaluating YouTube Shorts, it is clear that the platform is not perfect. But, it also extremely likely that YouTube will improve it, add new features, and make it more attractive to creators in the coming months. And although users are not going to abandon TikTok for the new platform, it will definitely make YouTube more competitive against other social media platforms with short-form video features. 

There is no doubt that the feature could be very beneficial for both brands who are trying to raise sales or brand awareness and influencers who are hoping to grow their following. And, as with any other platform, the sooner you establish a presence the better chance you have of blowing up. Therefore, YouTube Shorts is definitely worth a try!

This article was written by Rachel Phillis

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