Since the latter part of 2020, YouTube have been pushing a new type of content on their platform called Shorts. Shorts are meant to be a competitor to the hugely popular Tik Tok platform that has been taking the world by storm in the last year or two.
Other platforms are also weighing in with their versions of this – from Instagram Reels to standalone apps like Likee, Byte and Triller. But YouTube are rolling out Shorts in a very different way to the norm for new YouTube features.
As the Indian Government moved to ban Tik Tok in the latter half of 2020, YouTube almost immediately stepped in as India’s Tik Tok savvy audience’s saviour – by introducing a Shorts camera section to the YouTube app in that market. India has become the de facto testing ground for the Shorts camera and Shorts shelf experience.
Fortunately, the rest of the world does not miss out on the fun. Whilst not having the Shorts camera (bar a few beta testers), YouTube content creators were invited to contribute content to the Shorts ecosystem. Anyone with a YouTube account can upload content via the usual upload process and have their content considered for the Shorts shelf by doing the following by uploading:
- vertical video (9 x 16 instead of the usual 16 x 9 asepect ratio)
- under 60 seconds long
- and using the hashtag #Shorts in either the title or the description.
This is all that YouTube requires – in fact, they say that just by being a vertical video under 60 seconds puts it in consideration. This is very different to the content coming from the native Shorts camera, which is limited to a maximum of 15 seconds duration.
Those that have done some testing in the subsequent months have noted that videos around 15-30 seconds are the ideal length for the best chance of getting picked up for the Shorts shelf/player. I’ve put together a playlist of videos that have some suggestions on best practices when it comes to YouTube Shorts.
You can also watch my video on how I create and upload Shorts to YouTube (its the first video in the playlist!)