When YouTube launched YouTube Shorts — the company's answer to viral short-form video content popularized by platforms like Vine, TikTok, and Instagram Reels — plenty of YouTubers scoffed. And it's hard to blame them.
YouTube's rollout of YouTube Shorts has been clunky, sporadic, and anything but intuitive. Not to mention the format is kind of the antithesis of YouTube, which is all about fullscreen, carefully edited videos published a few times a month. And yet plenty of YouTubers are committing to uploading more Shorts. So what changed?
Well, for starters, YouTube has made incremental improvements to the YouTube Shorts experience. But more importantly, the platform is doubling down on using it for discoverability — and the stats show it.
Here are a few key stats about YouTube Shorts and what they might mean for creators.
YouTube Reaches 25 Percent Of The World — And About 25 Percent Of All Mobile Traffic Is On YouTube
This is an insane stat when you think about it. Part of the platform's ubiquity (at least relative to the rest of the Internet) has to do with the fact that YouTube is such a vast resource available to so many people. That includes in countries like India, where TikTok is banned. But another part of it is due to the increased ease in creating YouTube content thanks to Shorts.
The key takeaway here is that content creation is a global medium and YouTube is, without question, the global leader in video content. While it's usually smartest to make your target audience people from your general area or country, we've seen plenty of great examples of content with universal appeal picking up traction in international markets.
Also, phones: think about how people are interacting with your content. Most of the time they're using their phone, which means you need to think about content that fills up the frame and audio that puts the most important (and usually most visible) element first.
About 72 Percent Of YouTube Shorts Are Over 16 Seconds Long
YouTube Shorts can be up to 60 seconds long. And for a platform that also incentivizes creating longer videos, it's not surprising users are taking advantage of the longer side of Shorts (estimates vary, but typically at least 8 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for making decent ad revenue from normal YouTube videos).
The key thing to think about here is how YouTube Shorts may lead to more engagement on longer videos. If you can craft your YouTube videos with 15 to 60-second segments that could work well on Shorts in mind, you'll be able to basically handle two tasks at once. That's not saying you should simply cut up your longer videos. It means you should actually plan segments of your longer videos that will look and feel like natural Shorts.
One YouTube Subscriber Is Worth 25 TikTok Followers
Alright, the valuation on this one is a little subjective, but it's stark nonetheless. According to a report by CNBC, the Karat Black Card is a credit card specifically for social media influencers. The baseline threshold for being eligible for the card is, according to Eric Wei at the time of the article's publishing, 2.5 million TikTok followers — but only 100,000 YouTube subscribers.
So while it may be a little subjective to say one YouTube sub is worth 25 TikTok followers, there's a company out there that's actually banking on that number. And you'll probably find plenty of creators who utilize both platforms that agree with you. It typically comes down to how much money you can make from ad revenue on YouTube (versus TikTok) and how likely a subscriber is to see your content on YouTube (versus TikTok).
Anecdotally, YouTubers are reporting significant increases in subscribers when they post YouTube Shorts. This, of course, means it's very important that your Shorts content aligns with your regular video content.
It remains to be seen if YouTube Shorts will actually devalue YouTube subscribers in the long run. But for now, the fastest way to grow your subscriber base includes utilizing Shorts.
YouTube Shorts Are Growing 135 Percent Year Over Year And Have Over 1.5 Billion Monthly Users
It's weird to think about social media content in terms of supply and demand, but when it comes to Shorts, it turns out more people want to watch more content than is currently available on the platform. Which is also nuts, because there are over 1.5 billion logged in monthly users as of June 2022, according to YouTube.
Tubular Labs and AdWeek report that short-form content has grown 135 percent on the platform between Q2 2021 and 2022. That's not to say long-form content is taking a backseat per se, but more and more creators are utilizing YouTube Shorts. In fact, 95 percent of creators uploading them are individuals.
What this means is, realistically, you need to start posting YouTube Shorts if you focus at all on video content. It's one of the most sought-after ways of communicating a message and will likely only continue to grow in the coming years.
YouTube Will Start Ad Revenue Sharing On Shorts In 2023
This is a big one (even though it's not really a statistic). Beginning in 2023, YouTube will allow creators to opt in to their Shorts revenue sharing service. Users must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days.
If a creator meets those marks, they'll take home 45 percent of the allotted ad revenue from their videos (compared to 55 percent on regular YouTube videos). The ads will play in between Shorts, which makes it a little different from normal YouTube ads which show before and during specific videos.
Still, the new ad revenue sharing agreement could be a serious revenue boost to creators who were spending a lot of time on YouTube anyway.