The marketing potential of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are dynamic and engaging short-form videos up to 60 seconds long. These videos offer quick, entertaining content that engages audiences and offers marketers new opportunities for expanding their reach. With this medium, creators can deliver concise, impactful content, making it an important part of digital outreach and audience engagement. In this article, we examine the growing impact of short-form videos, using video analysis and surveys to show their effect on consumer choices and marketing approaches.

Key takeaways



How video duration impacts engagement

Short-form content on YouTube (aka YouTube Shorts, as coined in 2020) has transformed user engagement on the platform. We analyzed thousands of videos from 2011-2024 to see how popular short videos are among YouTubers and viewers.

We noted a clear preference among viewers and creators for the content of short videos of 60 seconds or less. Nearly all the top 20 U.S. YouTubers (95%) produced short videos, which have made up over half (54%) of their latest uploads. This may have paid off: short videos have gotten 70% more likes than longer videos since 2011. Their popularity also increased in 2023, with videos 60 seconds or less averaging 19 million views — 27% more than longer videos.

This audience behavior suggests a shift toward YouTube content that delivers immediate value and entertainment, which can shape future digital marketing and content strategies.

YouTube Shorts in marketing

In this next part of our study, we surveyed marketing professionals specifically about their experiences with YouTube Shorts. They shared how much of their strategy and budget involves YouTube Shorts and the benefits they experienced as a result.

Among marketers who have invested in YouTube Shorts, 34% hired dedicated content creators to make them. Others relied on their existing team (48%) or engaged freelancers (18%) to produce Shorts content. One-third of marketers have incorporated Shorts into their strategies, with 18% of them considering it a key component. Nearly a third of the marketers who have not used this content type said they plan to do so in 2024.

This growing confidence in YouTube Shorts’ ability to deliver results could be due to its marketing outcomes thus far. One in three marketers attributed a 15-25% increase in web traffic to their Shorts content, and half saw a rise in new subscribers through the platform. These results signify YouTube Shorts as a compelling component of digital marketing for boosting online visibility and audience growth.

The purchasing power of YouTube Shorts

Turning our attention to viewer engagement, we surveyed U.S. consumers to learn how people in the U.S. interact with YouTube Shorts specifically. Our survey findings also uncovered the impact these interactions have on consumer behavior and brand loyalty.

Two-thirds of people in the U.S. engage with YouTube Shorts regularly, with 30% watching them daily, showcasing this content’s widespread appeal. But Gen X has watched it the most frequently of all the generations, with 34% saying they watch Shorts daily. In comparison, Gen Z were the least likely to say this (24%) — they tended to be bigger fans of TikTok, the social media platform dedicated to short-form videos.

YouTube Shorts can also drive significant brand discovery and loyalty among consumer audiences. Nearly one-third of people in the U.S. have discovered and subsequently purchased from new brands they encountered through Shorts, and nearly a quarter said the content influences their brand loyalty. Gen X brand loyalty was influenced the most (according to 27% of them), and Gen Z’s was the least (11%). This data illustrates YouTube Shorts’ power to do more than entertain; it also shapes consumer preferences and purchasing decisions, making it a valuable tool for marketers aiming to connect with diverse audiences.

How YouTube Shorts are redefining engagement and purchase behaviors

Our study shows that YouTube Shorts is an indispensable tool for contemporary digital strategies, highlighting its role in the dynamic world of content creation and marketing. This quickly consumable content is redefining digital engagement and proving vital for marketing success and audience connection. Its rapid growth and influence on consumer behavior emphasize the need for marketers to leverage its potential for boosting views, likes, and conversions.


For this campaign, we used a list of the top 100 YouTubers in the U.S. provided by Social Blade. We then scraped the videos posted on those channels from 2011 to 2024, analyzing a minimum of 100 videos for each channel. The data was extracted in February 2024.

We also launched two surveys, one with 495 marketers and another with 505 YouTube Shorts viewers. The generational breakdown for our YouTube Shorts viewers survey is as follows:

The generational breakdown for our marketers survey is as follows:

Fair use statement

If your audience is keen on staying ahead in the digital marketing curve, feel free to share insights from this study on YouTube Shorts. We just ask that your purposes be noncommercial and that you provide a link back to this page, ensuring readers have access to our comprehensive findings and methodology.

Try Adobe Express today