How can brands leverage YouTube shorts?
“Full-screen mobile video feeds, such as those seen on TikTok or Instagram Stories, will have a long shelf life with mobile users. These curated journeys provide an endless experience tailored exactly for each user. Expect to see more niche sites launch with similar forms of short-form, vertical video content.”- Brain Meert
Short video content has been on the rise ever since Instagram launched reels, followed by short-video platforms such as Moj and Josh launched in India after the Tiktok ban. Often referred to as snackable content, the short video format is loved by the audience as it is more fun to consume and has shown more engagement over long formats of content. Short-format videos are successful at sending across your brand’s message in the most concise and creative way.
As Business Insider describes it, short videos, long reach; short video platforms are the new playground in the creator economy. A study by RedSeer reported a whopping 240 million short video users in India with more than 160 million active users on Moj and 115 million on Josh. Keeping up with the trend, YouTube launched the YouTube Shorts feature which was an instant hit among the YouTubers. The statistics are impressive enough to convince us of the power of video content, and it’s time for brands to integrate and leverage YouTube Shorts in order to make the most out of their marketing strategies. Want to know how? Keep reading!
1. What Are YouTube Shorts?
Just as TikTok and Instagram reels were received with a lot of fanfare, YouTube decided to give its answer, launching YouTube shorts with its first round of testing, launched in India. This beta version allowed users from this region to create and upload short content, i.e. 60-second videos with musical overlays. The basic beta feature smashed all records and saw unprecedented success. Next year in 2021, by February, India-based shorts players were garnering 3.5 billion cumulative daily views.
Releasing the beta in the US in March 2021, it immediately surpassed 6.5 billion daily views. In the same year, it was launched in over a hundred countries. This format of video-making lets us create short videos in the vertical format where you can utilize musical overlays and video segmentation. You can make the content engaging with a host of functionalities available. Also, it doesn’t disappear after a given time frame.
“Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts. User-generated short videos were born on YouTube, starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video called ‘Me at the zoo.’ As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world,” a post from the streaming platform read, explaining their take on launching this new format.
They also add that they believe today, in this age of so much information, customers enjoy snippets of information that wouldn’t take up a lot of their time. They presented it as an alternate form of long video format. Two years into this format, with its unprecedented success, creators can now utilize the advantage of funds kept for them at the YouTube Shorts Fund.
As we already know, it’s still in beta mode, and it’s rapidly smashing all records. In such a scenario, it would be interesting to see what the final version looks like and what more it adds to the table. Whether it would surpass the virality of existing platforms or would it be stagnant after steady growth. Only time could tell.
But as of now, we can tell you one thing- YouTube is the second largest search engine, and if you have a strategy to engage with the audience through this short form of video and increase your brand equity, you could be well on your way to glory with this short platform.
Let us look at the basics of YouTube shorts and how you as a marketer can leverage it for your brand.
When Was The First Youtube Short Video Created?
Contrary to what many people believe, the short video format was actually the first format that was launched, which later paved the way for a long-form of content, and now life seems to have come a full circle for YouTube, with the short format garnering rave reviews across the globe. Dating back to 2005, the first short video was posted titled “Me at the zoo.”
Now, since it is available in beta mode in over a hundred countries, it’s a bit difficult to gauge the final product but still, based on the available functionality now, we can have a look at it both from the creator as well as a consumer point of view.
If you are new to this business of creating shorts, here’s how you can create YouTube Shorts video:
- Launch your YouTube app.
- Hit the “+” icon.
- You will find two options. Either you can upload a premade 60-second video with the hashtag #shorts in the title or description.
- You can use the Create a Short button to create a video from scratch.
Once you open this, you will encounter an interface where the camera opens up, and you can then record a full one-minute long video. Here you can:
- Adjust the speed of the video
- Set a timer
- Add musical overlays
- Add filters
- Add text
Before the beta testing of shorts started, there was a designated place on YouTube dedicated to shorter videos. Now, YouTube has a dedicated shelf on its homepage where the Shorts can be viewed in the app itself. YouTube Shorts need no separate app to create or view the short format videos. After you are done watching the video, you can swipe your finger up to get a glimpse of more such short videos. This vertical feed can also be accessed directly through the Shorts tab.
3. Why Should Brands Leverage Youtube Shorts?
Here are the top 4 reasons why you should leverage YouTube Shorts for your brand:
Whenever there is something new in the market, our first instinct is to question its veracity. While with other platforms, it’s okay to get into the nitty-gritty of it all, with YouTube, the question is not whether it would work. Rather it should be about how I can make this work for my brand.
It’s important to understand the segment you want to target with your marketing before you strategize shorts for your brand. If you already have a considerable presence with a pool of subscribers to reach, you can study what’s working and create shorts with the same type of content.
This would create a brand value. Your subscribers associate your brand with a particular type of content, and you can leverage this consistency of identity. Let’s say you create long videos for your product and manage to engage your audience. You can then use YouTube shorts videos to make short tutorials or some step-by-step guide videos that would be informative and crisp at the same time.
Huge Audience Pool
A major problem that brands face with platforms like TikTok and Reels is that it has a specific niche audience to cater to and consists of mostly younger consumers who might not be the desired audience to connect with B2B companies.
YouTube, too, has a young audience to cater to. However, with YouTube, you get a wider subset of the audience along with the younger lot. Its vast arena means that it brings in people from every age group, country and niche. As a result of this, there is a video for everyone, catering to every segment.
Let’s say there’s a B2B brand wanting to market their brand, they might not have the ability to reach the millennial, but they can get a wide pool of audience to pull from. With the viral nature of shorts, it’s easy to reach this wide range of audiences.
Also, with YouTube, it’s easier to reach the older audience, which might be difficult to reach through other platforms.
Besides being highly loved and consumed by the audience, being a conglomerate of Google, YouTube is the most trusted and credible platform. Creators take it to YouTube to build their personal brand, and so do brands in order to amplify their brand’s identity.
YouTube has been hosting thousands of content pieces on various different topics which are consumed by the audience with great trust. Consumers turn to YouTube almost intuitively to know more about brands and products, and having a page dedicated to short, crisp and concise brand videos will only help you to gain their attraction and boost the credibility of your brand.
One of the biggest advantages of YouTube is that the shorts stay on YouTube for longer than it stays on Instagram stories and Reels. This can be crucial while creating long-term awareness for your brand.
Let’s say a person while browsing through their YouTube, stumbles upon your page and can see all your shorts contrary to that in the Instagram story as there it stays only for twenty-four hours. Or even if someone wants to go for a quick how-to video, they might stumble upon your videos, which might lead them to the long-form content featured on your YouTube channel, thus giving you impressive audience retention rates.
Creating short content can be challenging as you need to send across your brand’s message in a very simple, yet impactful way. A concrete content strategy for YouTube Shorts would largely depend upon a variety of factors including campaign goals, target audience and KPIs. However, here are 8 quick tips to make it work.
1. Attractive Captions
Caption for YouTube shorts is limited to a hundred characters. You need to make those hundred characters count. You can use something funny, something spicy or maybe even summarise the content. Whatever it is, make sure the caption gets the viewers intrigued.
Remember your captions are as important as your video or maybe even more. It’s the first thing viewers are going to encounter when they are deciding whether to click that video and give their valuable time and rake up the views.
While your video is the most important part, captions are still shown when Shorts pop up on the YouTube home feed, so having a compelling caption can be what makes someone decide to watch your video or keep scrolling.
2. Do Not Record In Horizontal Format
What makes shorts easier to consume is their vertical format. You don’t need to turn your screen to watch it. So make sure to stick to its desired format as it would give the viewers a better viewing experience leading your video to get a good amount of views.
3. Captivate In The First Few Seconds
If you can’t hook the viewer in those first few seconds, chances are they would scroll down and move to further videos. Those initial seconds are the part where the game must be played. Find a way to begin the video with something interesting and make it more interesting as you proceed so that the viewers watch it till the end.
4. Go With Trends
One of the sure-shot ways to get viewers to discover your amazing video is to pair it up with a trending song or a trending hashtag. Use trending songs, and viral clips or be a part of trending hashtags or challenges and add your own unique touch to it. The content will have greater chances of becoming viral as the visibility would be greater, and hence the reach would be more too. However, make sure it is relevant to your brand and its message.
5. Optimize Your Videos
Apart from all the above methods, it’s important to properly optimize your video. Use relevant hashtags to count it as a short, especially use #shorts in the descriptions of videos that are of sixty seconds or less than that and recorded in vertical format. Make sure you check out the YouTube SEO tactics, that will make your videos pop up higher in the search results.
6. Proper Topics
While making long format videos, you might have come across topics that could be used to create short videos. Make a note of those topics and workaround on a script for such topics.
It is also possible to break the content down into smaller chunks of content, thus repurposing it in a way that is fresh and enjoyable for the audience to consume.
7. Audit Other Short-Form Videos
Refer to short videos on different platforms. Study and analyse short-form content that works for your competitors. Study the requirements of each platform and accordingly plan out the content for your YouTube shorts videos. Try to refurbish the content and see how you can make it work for YouTube. This would allow you to use the same content for different platforms, thus saving your time, money and effort.
With Shorts, YouTube has launched an answer to all of those short video platforms and seems to be on the verge of running away with the bigger piece of the pie. Brands need to consider leveraging this platform in order to make the most of their marketing strategies. Short-form video content has seen the rise because of its crisp nature, and will still be trending on the chart in the long run. It is thus wise to rewire your marketing strategies and integrate short video formats on YouTube and Instagram, in order to get the most out of it. Influencers and creators, being the experienced players in the game, can aid you in this journey of creating content that aligns with your target audience, and help amplify brand reach and awareness.
Given the popularity of YouTube, leveraging YouTube Shorts for your brand will help you create a long-lasting impact on your audience and align your brand in a way that comes as appealing. Confluencr, being a global influencer marketing agency, we have closely studied various influencer marketing platforms and can help you leverage your brand on the same. If the blog has popped questions in your mind, write to us at [email protected] and we would get right back to you.