According to Cross River Therapy, the average attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so now more than ever companies and creators are turning their attention to snappy clips that keep us hooked.
Whilst as a society we may just be trailing behind goldfish in terms of attention span, stand-out social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are capitalising on our decreased attentiveness. All three apps have increased their focus on short-form videos, with Instagram adding Reels to their platform in 2019 and YouTube following suit a year later with Shorts in 2020.
Even Facebook has a section to showcase Reels and short videos, launching the promotion of their short-form clips globally in February 2022.
Since the introduction of dedicated clip-sharing spaces, there have been plenty of changes to each format, bringing users of the sites more interesting features to play around with. YouTube has aggressively pushed into this space, with an emphasis on making Shorts the best they can be, publishing a variety of updates focussed around short-form, and prominently promoting the format to its users. TikTok and to a lesser extent with Reels, Instagram have been successful in courting viewer attention, so it makes sense that YouTube wants more of that pie.
The video-sharing platform has been releasing rapid updates over the last six months to further the adoption of Shorts by both creators and viewers. As of March, Shorts can now be used as a commenting method, allowing an individual clip to be posted as a reply. Whether this receives much usage is to be determined, but it’s clear YouTube is making it easier for users to add short-form videos.
Alongside this, YouTube has added a new feature named Data Stories, which aims to provide creators with a greater insight into how successfully their content performs. According to Pletaura, TikTok Analytics are often unreliable, making analytics (and marketers) infective. It’s no surprise as to why advertisers might be compelled to use YouTube if there are concerns around the quality of data.
Monetisation for creators is key, and as of February this year, select videos finally became available for monetisation, similar to the process for full-length uploads. Despite the cut that content creators are receiving being low in comparison to their accumulated views, CNBC reported that YouTube’s payouts are much higher than TikTok’s, which it seems likely that YouTube will shout about in its ongoing efforts to recruit creators to the platform. This recent Tweet highlighted an actual Shorts Creator payout — more than double an equivalent on TikTok.
The first official month of the #YoutubeShorts program is finished, here are my numbers. For context, this is about 2x better than TokTok monetization. And infinitely better than IG monetization. pic.twitter.com/kPIEcilggS
— Zach King (@zachking) March 1, 2023
The influx of different tools has meant that creators are straying from their usual social media apps and are increasingly tempted to post content as YouTube Shorts instead. It’s not uncommon to see reposted videos from TikTok appear on the Shorts page, potentially highlighting that when engagement is low elsewhere, users simply switch apps. YouTube’s strategy to keep piling on the positives for Shorts must be paying off as Statista reported that the global number of user engagements for Shorts in 2022 was 1.5 billion.
Short-form video clips will likely stay in the zeitgeist. According to WIRED, the average length of a TikTok video is between 21 and 34 seconds whereas YouTube Shorts allow a maximum of 60 seconds for one clip and a minimum of 15 seconds, so that range in itself seems like a winning set-up alongside the other great features of the app.
If your brand isn’t utilising Shorts as part of its video strategy, connect with us to discuss the opportunity.