How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

YouTube

The rise of TikTok is one of the most phenomenal stories in the digital world. Since launching globally in 2018 through a merger with Musical.ly, TikTok has become a multi-billion-dollar advertising machine. TikTok has more than 1 billion members, has surpassed Snapchat to become the most popular app with teens, and is on course to earn more than $11 billion in ad revenue in 2022.

TikTok has succeeded by becoming the preferred app for short-form videos. Although users can post videos that are as lengthy as 10 minutes, the ideal TikTok video is about 30 seconds long. Some of the most popular TikTok videos of all time, racking up billions of views, are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them short.  As a result of TikTok’s popularity, brands are spending more money advertising on the app, which is a threat to more established apps such as YouTube and Instagram.

Because of TikTok’s popularity, YouTube and Instagram have responded in kind by launching short-form video features. For example, in 2021, YouTube rolled out Shorts globally after a more limited launch in India in 2020. Although YouTube Shorts is not yet a source of meaningful advertising revenue for YouTube, it is gaining traction with brands.

What Is the YouTube Shorts Feature?

Shorts is basically a TikTok copycat. Using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools you can use to flex creative muscle. Users can string clips together, adjust playback speed, and add music and text. And as YouTube has blogged, creators can play off of existing content: “[Y]ou can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience—whether it’s reacting to your favorite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.” (Notably, creators are in control of their material; they can opt out of having their long-form videos remixed in this way.)

According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use Shorts – impressive numbers that actually surpass TikTok’s user base. It was only a matter of time before YouTube made it possible for brands to get involved creating their own Shorts. And they are.

How Are Brands Using YouTube Shorts?

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, brands are increasingly experimenting with ways to engage with users on Shorts. For example:

  • Kitchen and home marketplace Food52 is posting Shorts that offer sneak peeks at its longer-form content on the traditional version of YouTube, as well as repurposing some recipe videos.
  • Drupely’s olive-oil brand Graza says it is creating user engagement by posting how-to cooking and recipe content. According to Graza, videos focused solely on Graza products do better on TikTok than on Shorts.
  • Glossier sold products through Shorts in June by creating a challenge for users to try. Glossier gave about a hundred influencers a new pencil eyeliner and encouraged them to create Shorts videos with the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. People who tapped the hashtag were brought to the Glossier website. There, they could buy the eyeliner and were asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge. Any Shorts video that included the hashtag was shoppable.
  • Danessa Myricks Beauty used a short to promote its launch in Sephora. The Short built excitement for the launch by featuring the sending off a package of its product to be sent to Sephora stores.
  • NBC’s The Voice relied on Shorts to feature hosts for its most recent season. The ad included a banner at the end with clear directions for viewers on when and where to watch the show.

This is all encouraging for Shorts, but the feature is not yet a revenue generator, and YouTube is under pressure to staunch the flow of ad dollars to TikTok. On top of that, Instagram is turning up the heat with its own TikTok challenger, Reels.

Even so, YouTube is striking a note of optimism.

Philipp Schindler, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, said during second-quarter earnings call in July. “…[E]arly results in Shorts monetization are also encouraging, and we’re excited about the opportunities here.”

It’s early days for Shorts and brands. Meanwhile, Shorts has one big advantage over TikTok: integration with YouTube, which has 2.6 billion active users. This is important because YouTube can promote Shorts to the built-in user base, and brands can connect Shorts content to their already established YouTube presence.

What Brands Should Do

  • Know your audience. YouTube appeals to the 15-25-year-old demographic. It is also very popular among 26-35-year-olds. TikTok skews younger: it is most attractive to 16-24 year-olds.
  • Be ready to capitalize on Shorts ad formats when they become available widely. For instance, brands will be able to connect their product feeds to their campaigns and make video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Understand how to integrate Shorts ad formats into a broader YouTube advertising strategy that includes skippable video ads, bumper ads, overlay ads, and others.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Google YouTube

During the past several weeks, the marketing world has been buzzing about streaming companies such as Disney+ and Netflix embracing advertising. And this conversation is more than justified. Both businesses offer advertisers a tremendous inventory for creating highly relevant advertising content to a global streaming audience that continues to grow based on industry research. As we mentioned recently in a blog post, although we don’t yet know what kinds of ad units Disney+ and Netflix will offer, they can certainly draw upon plenty of examples. One of them is YouTube.

YouTube Advertising

YouTube has offered ad units for years. And although the growth of YouTube’s ad revenues has not delivered on analysts’ expectations lately, the app remains an important part of Google’s growth. YouTube’s worldwide advertising revenues amounted to $6.9 billion in the first quarter of 2022, representing a 14 percent year-over-year increase. YouTube is certainly threatened by the rise of TikTok, but the app is still a juggernaut, and one of the reasons for that is YouTube’s ability to offer a diversified slate of ad units.

The most casual users of YouTube are familiar with some of YouTube’s popular ad units such as skippable video ads (which allow viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds). Over the years, YouTube has built on this foundation of short-form ad units with new products. For example, in 2019, YouTube unveiled a product called Bumper Machine, which makes it easier for businesses to create six-second video ads, or bumpers.

YouTube has also embraced connected TV with the Masthead ad format for TV. This allows brands to connect with consumers the instant users access the YouTube app on their televisions. The Masthead format is a response to the fact that while consumers aren’t watching as much linear TV, they are still using their televisions as a tool for experiencing streaming platforms like YouTube. In other words, YouTube understands viewing trends, and is staying nimble in its bid to connect with advertisers in an informed way.

At Google’s 2022 Marketing Live event, the company also rolled out more ad products. For example, Google is starting to offer ads in YouTube Shorts around the world after experimenting with ads in YouTube Shorts since 2021.

With YouTube Shorts, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds, similar to how TikTok and Instagram Reels are used. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once a person opens one Short, they get access to tons more of them (again, think TikTok or Reels playing one after another.) According to Google, YouTube Shorts now averages over 30 billion daily views (four times as many as a year ago).

 YouTube Shorts

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools for people to create slick, high-concept content. And now brands can get in on the action because their Video action campaigns and App campaigns will automatically scale to YouTube Shorts.

 Google said that later in 2022:

  • Brands will also be able to connect their product feeds to their campaigns and to make their video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Google is developing a long-term YouTube Shorts monetization solution for our creators, which Google will discuss soon.

This all sounds like a wise move on Google’s part. Google needs YouTube Shorts to succeed to thwart TikTok. And making Shorts ads shoppable capitalizes on the social commerce boom.

YouTube Shorts

Moreover, the rise of the creator economy has generated a new segment of influencer creators. As I blogged in January, the creator economy will become even more powerful. That’s because collaboration networks are proliferating. These networks give creators an all-in-one platform to create communities and build influence. In addition, gaming sites such as Roblox and Twitch offer creators opportunities to monetize their work with potential partnerships with brands, and crypto currency sites such as Rally.io make it possible for creators to mint their own currency. The big social networks such as Meta are responding by making themselves more attractive to creators. YouTube wants to monetize this activity and not lose out to its rivals.

What Advertisers Should Do

It’s important that advertisers say abreast of these developments, and if you work with an agency partner, collaborate with them closely on a way forward. (This is what our clients do with True Interactive.)

Not every video ad unit may be relevant to you. Assess the video ad units proliferating – whether from YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other apps – against your audience and business objectives. And think of them strategically. For instance, recently, one of our clients experienced a challenge: its share of branded search was dropping. The client, a photo curating and sharing company, naturally wanted to improve. So, we launched a video-based awareness campaign that spanned display, YouTube, Google Display Network, connected TV, Yahoo Online Video, Facebook, and Yahoo Display. Our focus: mobile and connected TV. We also ensured that YouTube ads could target connected TV screens.

As a result, our client enjoyed significant improvements in both awareness and also revenue – showing how powerful video can be as a direct-response format in addition to brand awareness. Read more about this case study here.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why YouTube Shorts Matters to Brands

Why YouTube Shorts Matters to Brands

YouTube

TikTok has another challenger. As we’ve blogged, apps like Snapchat are creating their own short-video-making platforms in a bid to carve out space in an increasingly crowded field. Now Google’s YouTube has joined the party with YouTube Shorts. Read on to learn more about Shorts and what they bring to the table—for users, and for brands.

What Are YouTube Shorts, and How Do They Stand Out?

If you are familiar with TikTok or Instagram Reels, you’ll get the basic premise of YouTube Shorts: using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools you can use to flex creative muscle. Users can string clips together. Adjust playback speed. Add music and text. And as YouTube has blogged, creators can play off of existing content: “[Y]ou can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience—whether it’s reacting to your favorite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.” (Notably, creators are in control of their material; they can opt out of having their long-form videos remixed in this way.)

Shorts comes to the U.S. in beta after a beta launch in India last fall. The platform enjoyed success in India, finding a comfortable niche in the wake of the TikTok ban there. Now Shorts brings its opportunities to the States.

Why Did YouTube Launch Shorts?

Shorts is YouTube’s response to the huge popularity of short-form video. Who wouldn’t want in on that action? But Shorts is also meant to be the answer to a problem faced by new creators: it’s hard to break into the video-making world. According to YouTube, “Every year, increasing numbers of people come to YouTube to launch their own channel. But we know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high. That’s why we’re working on Shorts, our new short-form video tool that lets creators and artists shoot snappy videos with nothing but their mobile phones.”

Think of it as users being able to dip a toe in creative waters without having to film and edit a full video. And because Shorts are counted like regular video views, creators hoping to make money from YouTube by getting accepted into the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) can use Shorts to do so. Users must accrue 4,000 valid public watch hours in the previous 12 months to quality for YPP, and Shorts are an accessible way to meet that threshold. YouTube has also blogged that they are taking a “fresh look at what it means to monetize YouTube Shorts and reward creators for their content,” hinting at additional opportunities to come.

Why Do YouTube Shorts Matter to Brands?

The opportunity YouTube Shorts represents for creators is good news for brands, too. Why? For one thing, creators are potentially powerful sources of great user-generated content that can benefit brands – for a recent example, consider the incredible visibility that skateboarder Nathan Apodaca created for Ocean Spray and Fleetwood Mac with a TikTok video.

It’s worth mentioning that apps like YouTube Shorts are of particular interest if your target market is Gen Z or Millennials. As noted by iabuk.com last fall, short-form video is surging in popularity, particularly with these generations.

What Brands Should Do

  • Stay abreast of new apps like YouTube Shorts. Knowing what’s out there informs decision-making about where and how you want to make your brand known.
  • Understand how your target audience communicates. Are you courting Gen Z or Millennials? Go where they are. And as noted above, platforms for short-form video are a logical place to be.
  • Consider whether creating your own shorts makes sense. As Social Media Examiner notes, brands that create their own Shorts stand to get some attention: “for businesses, the strategy right now with Shorts is to get exposure and hopefully subscribers to your channel so people will see some of your content outside of the short shelf.” Meanwhile, this post from HubSpot will help you think through how to get started with YouTube Shorts.
  • Look at the big picture: YouTube Shorts is yet another example of the proliferation of short-form video. If you have not done so already, adapt your video content strategy for both brief snippets (e.g., teaser content) and longer-form content (e.g., educational tutorials).

Contact True Interactive

How can short-form video elevate your brand? Contact us. We can advise.