Founder and CEO of Sway Group, an award-winning agency that specializes in influencer marketing with a focus on B2C nano and micro campaigns
If there’s a single type of content that is now officially king, it’s mobile-friendly short-form video.
You’re probably thinking, “Great, so my business should be running to TikTok, right?” TikTok may seem like the obvious platform of choice for on-trend video marketing. After all, TikTok’s meteoric rise over a relatively short period of time has garnered all sorts of attention: Not only did TikTok outrank Google in 2021 as the most popular internet destination, but TikTok users spend an average of 95 minutes per day in the app.
However, brands that are dazzled by TikTok’s undeniable appeal may want to consider yet another contender in the short-video game: YouTube Shorts. YouTube Shorts is a relatively new offering, having officially launched globally in July 2021, but this extension of YouTube’s already powerful reach may just turn out to be the social marketing channel to win them all in 2023.
3 Ways YouTube Shorts Can Boost Your Marketing In 2023
1. You Can Expand Your Reach With A Massive Built-In Audience
YouTube Shorts offers the short-form video format while also integrating into YouTube’s larger long-form platform with nearly 2.6 billion monthly active users.
YouTube is the second-largest social media platform, coming in just behind Facebook. It’s clear that YouTube is heavily promoting Shorts, with a series of recent announcements and features that include a $100 million investment in original creator content.
Brands that experiment with Shorts have the opportunity to leverage the momentum of YouTube’s own promotional efforts. As YouTube continues to ramp up Shorts discovery and viewership, brands have a variety of ways to help users find their short-form content: in the YouTube app, on the YouTube homepage, in their notifications, in their subscriptions and more.
What sets YouTube apart from other video-centric platforms is its enormous appeal: There’s so much content among so many categories that it attracts users from all walks of life. While a brand targeting older consumers may have trouble reaching its target audience on TikTok, it’s much more likely to be able to find the 55-plus market on YouTube.
YouTube Shorts means that more brands can engage a wider audience demographic with on-trend short videos—with the added benefit of connecting Shorts content to already established YouTube presences.
2. You Can Engage Audiences In Creative New Ways
Much like TikTok, YouTube Shorts offers built-in tools with endless possibilities for content creation and display, including the ability to edit together multiple 15-second video clips for a maximum 60-second length.
TikTok’s consumingly entertaining content experience should lead the way for brands that want to give YouTube Shorts a try. A few tried-and-true video trends that are perfect for YouTube Shorts include:
• Authentic reviews and recommendations of your brand, shared by popular social media personalities.
• How-tos and tutorials, with step-by-step instructions for making the most of your brand.
• Unboxing videos, with creators showing viewers all the reasons to get excited about your product.
• Try-ons or “get ready with me” experiences that showcase usage and drive inspiration.
• Hacks, secret menus, behind the scenes, life tips from top creators—everyone loves to be privy to insider information.
• Trending content—sharing a unique twist on topical audio and video trends.
Curious about how existing brands are using YouTube Shorts? Check out the following examples:
• Cooking community platform/marketplace brand Food52 posts a variety of recipe and food-related Shorts that often include sneak peeks of its longer-form YouTube content.
• ESPN offers highlights, trending moments, commentary and more via its Shorts, providing an exciting new format for its loyal audience of over 8.81 million subscribers.
• Top YouTube creator MrBeast is a great example of someone who repurposes content from longer high-performing videos to extend even more value from past content.
• This past June, beauty brand Glossier created a truly unique sales promotion centered around YouTube Shorts. More than 100 influencers were asked to create Shorts videos about the brand’s eyeliner with #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. Viewers who tapped the hashtag were brought directly to the Glossier website where they could make a purchase. (Note that YouTube has been investing in its e-commerce capabilities, with recent product launches like shoppable ads, the ability to shop directly from livestreams and now YouTube Shorts’ shopping features.)
3. You Can Partner With Inspired, Rewarded Creators
As mentioned earlier, YouTube launched a $100 million Shorts creator fund designed to inspire creators to make “creative, original Shorts that delight the YouTube community.” In September, YouTube announced that Shorts would soon be eligible for monetization, with creators eligible to keep a whopping 45% of the revenue generated from views. Not only that, but YouTube is also testing affiliate program capabilities for Shorts.
As a platform, YouTube has historically offered the most opportunities for creators to earn money from their own content. YouTube’s model has allowed creators to bring in revenue through advertising, subscriptions, associated merchandise sales and brand sponsorships—and now YouTube Shorts offers yet another avenue for creator monetization.
Brands that are interested in tapping into the proven effectiveness of influencer marketing in 2023 should consider the benefits of YouTube’s focus on providing reliable creator compensation. Considering the growing high-profile criticism of TikTok’s and Meta’s creator funds, YouTube’s creator revenue pathways may just turn out to be the tipping point Shorts needs.
The Final Word
YouTube currently offers a number of advantages over its short-video rivals. Consider the fact that TikTok continues to raise security and privacy concerns. As one of the longest-running and most successful social platforms, YouTube certainly seems less likely than TikTok to encounter threats of bans or censorship regulations in 2023—and it doesn’t attract user backlash over platform changes the way Instagram has in recent months.
From its massive reach to its ability to cross-promote content to its unique creator revenue model, YouTube Shorts has a lot to offer brands and creators—whether you’re looking to convert viewers into subscribers or browsers into buyers.