YouTube Shorts Complete Guide (How To, Ideas, Time Limit)

Written by <a href="https://www.wyzowl.com/author/samanthaferguson/" target="_self">Samantha Ferguson</a>

Written by Samantha Ferguson

Samantha is Copy Team Manager at Wyzowl. She has written over 1,000 scripts and hundreds of articles on video marketing so what Samantha doesn't know about video isn't worth knowing!

Last updated on 12th January 2022

In this article we’re going to give you a complete guide to YouTube Shorts. 

YouTube Shorts have taken the world by storm. In their first year alone, 8 million creators had already created and shared over 100 million shorts

When it comes to video marketing, you should leave no stone unturned. YouTube Shorts is here to stay and is only gaining more and more traction.

So if you haven’t already implemented YouTube Shorts into your marketing then now is the time! 

With that said, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about YouTube Shorts…

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are short, mobile-first videos that users can share to connect with a new audience. 

From their smartphone, users can create and edit clips, add music and other fun features, much like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

However, despite the striking resemblance to their ever-growing competitor TikTok, YouTube has stated thatYouTube has always been a place to entertained” and “User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18 second video called ‘Me at the zoo’”. 

Whether YouTube Shorts are a response to the threat of TikTok or not, they’re certainly a fun and new way to create, share, and engage with videos on YouTube.

Why should you use YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are already extremely popular in over 100 countries, and these videos receive around 6.5 billion daily views

Those numbers alone are a great reason for you to start using YouTube Shorts. But in addition to that, this platform is a great way to reach a new audience – particularly younger demographics. 

According to AdWeek, 69% of US consumers spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours watching short-form content every day, with most seeking out light entertainment as a de-stressing activity and form of self-care. 

Among this group, the people most likely to binge-watch short-form content to boost their moods was Gen Z (aged 9-24). 

How to make YouTube Shorts

Creating and posting a YouTube Short is relatively easy, especially if you’re already familiar with other forms of short vertical videos, like TikTok and Instagram Stories and Reels. 

From the homepage, click the plus icon at the bottom of the screen: 

YouTube Shorts

And then select Create a Short

Create a YouTube Short

From there, grant YouTube permission to access your camera and microphone (if you haven’t already): 

Create a YouTube Short

Then it’s time to start recording. Press and hold the red record button to start capturing footage for your video.

Create a YouTube Short

You can let go of the record button every time you want to create a new shot. All of your shots will automatically knit together to make the final video.

You can add text bubbles to your video: 

YouTube Short add text

And music. Choose from a list of popular tracks or search for something specific: 

YouTube Short add music

From here, you can listen to the tracks before deciding on the right one for your video: 

YouTube Short add music

You can select the best part of the song to match your video: 

YouTube Short add music

Make any final edits: 

YouTube Shorts edits

And add a filter: 

YouTube Shorts add filter

Before finally uploading your YouTube Short. You’ll also be asked to caption your video and select whether it is suitable viewing for children or not:

YouTube Shorts add details

Remember to add the caption #Shorts to increase visibility! 

YouTube Shorts time limit & requirements

There are some practical things you should know about YouTube Shorts. For example, videos must be shot vertically and have an aspect ratio of 9:16 (1080×1920 pixels). 

Here’s a great video that can help you change the aspect ratio of your video with editing software to make it eligible for YouTube Shorts:

Another requirement of YouTube Shorts is that videos must not exceed the 60 second time limit. 

Lastly, you’ll want to add the hashtag #Shorts to your video when uploading so that YouTube can identify it as a short video and put it on the “Shorts shelf” for users to find when scrolling through YouTube Shorts. 

YouTube Shorts and monetization 

When it comes to monetization, YouTube is still working out the kinks. 

If Short videos are watched through the standard YouTube player and have ads appearing before them then creators can be paid via AdSense as usual. 

YouTube advert

However, if Shorts are viewed on the “Shorts shelf” then the video won’t be automatically monetised (at this time). 

But, that doesn’t mean creators can’t make money from their YouTube Shorts videos. In May 2021, YouTube announced a YouTube Shorts Fund. This is $100 million to be distributed over 2021-2022 to creators whose Shorts received the most engagement and views

You can find out more here:

The best use cases for YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts need to be bite-sized and engaging. Here are some content ideas for your YouTube Shorts videos…

1. Mythbusting

Quick, simple, and informative. Mythbusting will help you grab the attention of viewers as you bust common misconceptions, and can also help to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. 

2. Quick hacks

Who doesn’t love a hack?! People are always looking to save time or money and learn how to do things smarter. 

Hack videos are great for replayability and also have the potential to go viral if you share something that people find really valuable. 

3. Fun facts or educational videos

The quickfire nature of YouTube Shorts videos make them great for fun fact videos. Here’s an example: 

Sharing interesting facts and educational content is a great way to provide viewers with value and keep your brand at the top of their mind. 

4. Stories

First and foremost, YouTube is for entertainment. Stories and light-hearted informative content are perfect for capturing – and keeping – the attention of viewers. 

Here’s an example: 

When telling stories on YouTube Shorts, be sure to keep track of the time allowed. It can help to write a script beforehand so that you know you can fit in everything that you want to share.

5. Behind the scenes

Showing behind the scenes footage gives you the opportunity to share more of your personality with viewers and can help them to build a stronger connection to your brand. 

Behind the scenes content can also help you to teach people interesting things, like this creator does here: 

6. Challenges

Challenge videos are highly relevant, shareable, and give you the opportunity to really connect with the community on YouTube Shorts. 

Here’s an example: 

Challenge videos are super timely so be sure to keep an eye out for what’s trending so you can join in as soon as possible.

7. Reviews

According to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers worldwide make the effort to seek out reviews before buying products. 

60 seconds is the perfect amount of time to create a review about anything from a product to an establishment. You can list the pros, the cons, and give your star rating at the end – simple! 

8. Repurpose existing content

An easy way to create YouTube Shorts content is to simply cut down and repurpose your existing content! 

You could create snappy teasers for your regular videos or even a compilation video, like this one: 

9. Memes & comedy

Comedy and meme videos are among the most watched video types on YouTube, and YouTube Shorts is no exception. 

Comedy and meme videos make people feel good and they’re also highly shareable (as people want to pass that good feeling on to their family and friends!)

The bite-sized format of YouTube Shorts lends itself to comedy quite well, and there’s practically an endless number of ways you can make a funny video. Here’s an example: 

10. Tutorials

Tutorials, step-by-steps, and how-tos are perfect for replayability as viewers like to rewatch to ensure they follow each step correctly. 

Tutorials are a great use case for cooking content, like this video:

But can also extend to make up, DIY, marketing – basically anything you can teach! 

5 YouTube Shorts best practices

1. Try to grab attention instantly

YouTube Shorts are different to regular YouTube videos in many ways. One of the big differences is that when people watch a regular video on YouTube they have made a choice to click on and open that video. They are committed to watching the content. 

YouTube Shorts pop up one after the other (as a user swipes through the Shorts shelf) and so, as your video begins to play, viewers haven’t necessarily decided whether they want to watch it or not.

Your job is to make sure they do want to watch! And one of the best ways to do that is to grab attention instantly – within the first few seconds of the video. 

This will help you hook viewers so that they continue watching until the end. This is crucial because if multiple viewers swipe away from your YouTube Shorts then YouTube will identify your video as poorly performing and will push it to less people. 

2. Pace your content well 

In addition to captivating your audience within the first few seconds, you also need to keep their attention. To do this, pace your content well and ensure that every second of your video counts. 

Pacing your video well can also help with replays as Shorts automatically loop. If your pacing is smooth from beginning to end – especially to the extent where there’s no discernible endpoint – this may encourage viewers to watch your Short a couple of times.

3. Encourage replayability 

To continue on from the above point, replayability should be encouraged as much as possible. After all, the more views your video gets, the more popular it will appear, and YouTube will then push it out to users. 

Think about this replayability when coming up with ideas for your YouTube Shorts content. People are more likely to re-watch content that is interesting, unexpected, or teaches them something.  

4. Make it relevant 

YouTube Shorts is the perfect platform to create videos that refer to current events. It’s fast-moving and you can keep your Shorts separate from your regular YouTube content, so there’s no need to focus on evergreen topics. 

It’s also easy to add trending songs to your YouTube Shorts, which will make your videos even more relevant. 

Be sure to check out what other people are posting on YouTube Shorts to see what is popular from week to week, and try to keep up with your own videos. 

5. Make it rewarding 

As touched on above, many people are watching these videos to feel good – with some even using them as part of their daily self-care routine. 

Keep this in mind when creating your YouTube Shorts and focus on videos that people will love. Content that is education, feel-good, and/or entertaining.

Final thoughts

According to our State of Video Marketing survey, 93% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their strategy.  

To really excel when it comes to video marketing, you need to cover all bases. That means creating different kinds of videos, posting on as many different platforms as possible, and keeping up to date with industry changes.

It’s likely that YouTube Shorts is only going to get bigger and bigger, so the best time to post your first YouTube Short video is now!

Want to up your YouTube game even further? Check out our article: How to get more views on YouTube in 2022.

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