2023 guide to creating YouTube Shorts (+ 10 ideas for content)
There’s no question that YouTube is the number one content platform when it comes to long-form video content. But what about short-form content? Well, thanks to the release of YouTube Shorts in 2020, YouTube is officially a short-form and long-form content platform with today’s statistics indicating that YouTube Shorts are receiving an average of 13 billion views per day — information that is not to be ignored by creators and marketers alike.
What are YouTube Shorts?
So, what are YouTube Shorts exactly? YouTube Shorts are YouTube’s way of incorporating short-form vertical video into the platform in response to the popularity of Instagram Reels and TikTok. Shorts can be uploaded by YouTube creators as a way to complement their long-form content offering and accumulate more subscribers by offering a variety of content types. Much like Reels and TikToks, Shorts can be viewed full screen and max out at a length of 60 seconds.
What differentiates YouTube Shorts from other short-form video platforms:
- YouTube has its own unique audience: If YouTube Shorts as a concept is so similar to Reels and TikToks, then what’s the benefit in terms of a marketing strategy? Well, it's important to keep in mind that different platforms attract different audiences, even if they provide a lot of the same features. If you are producing short-form content for TikTok or Reels, it’s still worth making an effort to get involved with YouTube Shorts to expand your audience and get the attention of YouTube’s 122 million daily users.
- Shorts can be used to promote long-form content: One unique thing about YouTube as a platform is that its short-form content can be used to promote your full-length videos without sending your audience to a different platform. It’s simple to cut out snippets from your existing YouTube videos and transform them into Shorts for teasers or trailers that will encourage viewers to watch more of your content.
- Long-form and short-form content in one platform: People watch different types of content over the span of a day. Therefore, because YouTube offers both short-form and long-form content, it can cater to the wants of your audience, whatever content they’re craving. This means that YouTube could eventually become the destination for all types of video content over time.
- A different opportunity for businesses: For businesses, YouTube Shorts presents a competing option to TikTok. Although the content on both platforms can be similar, YouTube is a space where almost any business or brand can reach their target market due to the massive demographic spread among daily visitors to the site. TikTok’s user base, on the other hand, is mostly made up of Gen Z, a demographic that may be a little harder to get organized on such a scale.
- YouTube has a great reputation: YouTube is one of the older and most successful online platforms, making it a trustworthy place to go to for short-form content. When we consider how TikTok has faced threats of bans and censorship through 2020, YouTube could potentially be a more stable and reliable platform to post short-form content for those that want to get involved.
Why should creators use YouTube Shorts?
The short answer? Because it’s easy! If you're already creating short-form content such as Reels or TikToks, it’s incredibly easy to re-use this content as YouTube Shorts. If you’re not creating short-form content, then YouTube Shorts is as good of a place as any to begin, especially if YouTube is a key channel for you.
Short-form content is an essential component to have in your marketing strategy. If you’re not currently creating short-form content then it is 100% the time to start. YouTube Shorts is one of the easiest venues to facilitate creating this content with editing features that allow you to use content from existing videos and turn them into Shorts. By providing a more varied content offering, you’re also more likely to attract new subscribers who may become interested in your longer videos too.
Further reading: 5 strategies for getting more YouTube subscribers
YouTube Shorts requirements
Before you get started, it’s important to note the rules and limitations of YouTube Shorts.
- You must have 1,000 subscribers before you can make YouTube Shorts
- YouTube Shorts can be up to 60 seconds in length. This can be several 15-second videos combined or one continuous video.
- Videos must be short in vertical orientation with a 9:16 aspect ratio and 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels resolution.
- You may use audio from YouTube’s library or other videos for up to 60 seconds.
- If you have 1,000 subscribers and gain 10 million Shorts views within a 90-day span, you will soon be able to apply to YouTube’s revenue-sharing program, which is set to launch in early 2023.
How to make a YouTube Short
- From within the mobile app, head to the “+” icon in the central navigation at the bottom of your screen, and then select “Create a Short.”
- Allow YouTube access to your microphone and camera if you haven’t already.
- Record a YouTube Short or upload a pre-recorded vertical video — you can upload existing clips from the bottom left of your screen (clips must be 60 seconds or less).
How to make a YouTube Short from existing YouTube videos
- Select a YouTube video or live stream (this can be your own content, or content from another channel), and then click the “Create” button from the list of options just below the video.
- Select to “Cut” or to create a “Sound.”
- Select a clip from the YouTube video to make into a Short. If you select “Sound,” you’ll also be able to record your audio at this point. If you select “Cut,” your clip will maintain the audio from the original video.
- Select “Next” once chosen, and then “Next” again when ready to publish. Fill in the details for you Short and then select “Upload Short.”
If YouTube is a new channel to you, Adobe Express can make the process of creating YouTube content simpler resulting in custom and professional looking content. Check out our guide on how you can create YouTube videos in minutes using Adobe Express (no design skills needed!).
YouTube Shorts brand examples that work
1. The Voice
To promote the arrival of a new season, The Voice created a YouTube Short featuring the hosts in which they were asked playful interview questions. This serves to act as a trailer for the upcoming series, create intrigue about the show, and encourage more people to tune in. This Short smartly features a CTA at the end to let people know where and when they can watch the new season.
2. Mr Beast
YouTuber Mr Beast, can often be seen re-using clips from his existing long-form YouTube videos to make smaller YouTube short videos that are uploaded as Shorts. This is always a good tactic for making Shorts because it enables your audience to enjoy your content in whatever form they prefer — short-form or long-form. It's also a minimal effort approach to creating Shorts content and can even encourage viewers who enjoy your Shorts to go and watch more of your full-length YouTube videos.
Olive-oil brand Graza can be seen creating Shorts that feature recipes to showcase Graza products. This is a great example of using YouTube Shorts for instructional purposes, but in a way that also promotes both the product and the business simultaneously.
ESPN uses YouTube Shorts to provide quick and snappy updates about the top pro athletes to watch right now. With an audience of over eight million subscribers, making use of YouTube Shorts allows ESPN to give their audience another way to get their sports news fix in a snappier, bite-size format.
Although not everyone will have the skillset to use animation in their YouTube Shorts, Satori Graphics is a solid example of a brand that uses animations and graphics with clear copy on screen to explain and educate their audience on design principles in a visual and digestible way.
Additional YouTube Short examples and ideas
As we’ve seen from our brand examples above, ideas for YouTube Shorts can include news updates, transforming your existing video content into Shorts, or creating instructional content such as recipe videos, but what other types of content does YouTube Shorts provide the opportunity to create?
YouTube Shorts is a great place to present before-and-after videos. This can mean showing how a renovation project has changed a space, debuting a personal progression, or explaining the effectiveness of a product (such as a cleaning tool).
- Show a secret hack
Everyone loves hacks, and YouTube Shorts is the perfect place to show off your hack and change some lives! Great examples are cooking, cleaning, or organizational hacks — anything that can be simplified for people on a day-to-day level.
- Vlog-style Shorts
Vlogs will always be popular, but they tend to be associated more commonly with long-form content. Why not cut your blog down into a shorter and snappier video, highlighting only the best and most visually pleasing parts of your day? A vlog, but in bite-size form.
- Answer some questions
If you’re a brand or influencer, you may have collected a number of questions from your audience over time. If you don’t want to spend a full-length YouTube video going through these answers, consider making a quick FAQ YouTube Short to cover your most popular questions.
- Give advice
Perhaps you’re somebody who can provide specific advice relating to a skill or an area of life. You could ask your audience for things they need advice on, and then provide your response via a 60-second short video response.
- Trailer for existing full-length video
It’s simple and easy to take clips from your existing YouTube videos and post them separately as YouTube Shorts. Remember to add a CTA at the end of the Short to send people to watch the full-length video on your YouTube channel.
- Give instructions
Whether assembling a product or talking through a recipe, instructional videos can be extremely helpful, and much less intimidating when condensed down into a short-form video.
- News report
Consider using YouTube Shorts to provide a micro news report of all the top news relating to a particular niche or industry. News reports in a smaller form can enable people to get caught up on the latest news in a speedy and digestible format that filters out the key info from the rest of the noise.
- Share some fun facts
If you’re an influencer or a business owner looking to show your face and connect with some new viewers, why not introduce yourself via YouTube Shorts and briefly share some fun or interesting facts about yourself or your business?
- Re-use your TikToks or Reels
Already on the ball when it comes to short-form video content? Re-use your TikToks or Reels as YouTube Shorts to reach a new audience with the same video content.
Looking for more social media content inspiration to use across a variety of channels? Check out our article on 33 social media post ideas.
How to make money with YouTube Shorts
The YouTube Shorts Fund
The YouTube Shorts Fund is a $100M fund to reward creators for their dedication to producing creative YouTube Shorts content. Every month YouTube reaches out to thousands of creators to tell them that they qualify for the YouTube Shorts Fund.
Eligibility for the fund includes:
- Channel must have uploaded at least one eligible Short in the last 180 days
- Channel must be abiding by YouTube’s Community Guidelines, copyright rules, and monetization policies.
- Channel must be uploading original content. Ineligible videos include but are not limited to non-original videos like edited clips from movies or TV shows, videos reuploaded from other creator’s channels or other platforms including video compilations and videos featuring watermarks and logos from third-party social media platforms; videos with titles, hashtags, or metadata that reference third-party social media platforms may also not be eligible.
- Channel creators must be 13 or older in the United States, or the age of the majority in their country or region.
- Creators 13-18 years of age must have a parent or guardian accept terms and set up an AdSense account for payment if one isn’t already linked to their channel.
- Creators must be in one of the countries or regions listed here.
Note: Creators do not need to be currently monetizing in order to be eligible.
Brand deals and sponsorship
As with most social media content, monetization is always possible through brand deals and sponsorship agreements. This is when a brand and an influencer partner up to accomplish something mutually beneficial such as when a brand asks an influencer to recommend their products or services in exchange for payment.
Frequently asked questions.
When it comes to YouTube Shorts length, your Short can be a maximum of 60 seconds long and should be a minimum of 15 seconds long.
Whether it’s YouTube Shorts, TikTok, or Reels, short-form video content should be an integral part of your social media strategy. If you’re new to short-form video creation, then YouTube Shorts is a great place to start. This venue will enable you to tap into the huge user base on the platform, give your existing YouTube audience some variety of content, and pick up some new subscribers in the process.