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YouTube bets big on TikTok clone Shorts

YouTube invests in Creators to drive short-from video success

YouTube has bet big on TikTok clone Shorts – to the tune of $100 million.

Amy Singer, Director, Global Partnership Enablement for YouTube Shorts

“We’re introducing the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100M fund distributed over the course of 2021-2022.

Anyone is eligible to participate in the fund simply by creating unique Shorts that delight the YouTube community.”

The theory behind the Shorts Fund is that anyone is eligible, but as the cash is handed out to creators with the most views and engagements, it will benefit those who can bring a fanbase to the party.

YouTube Shorts is the platform’s version of TikTok and follows hot on the heels of Instagram Reels and Snapchat Spotlight.

With Facebook probably not far behind, YouTube is looking to throw down its marker as it looks to close the gap on TikTok’s short-form video lead.

What’s the deal with Shorts?

For now, YouTube Shorts are limited to 60-seconds and offer aim to offer a different experience to the main body of video on YouTube – which tends to skew long.

While there is no magic number for a successful YouTube video, in terms of length, producers typically look to pump out videos in the 6 min – 14min range (or more) regularly.

Therefore, 60-second Shorts offer quite a departure from the norm while also offering brands and agencies perhaps a lower barrier to entry for organic reach.

In time, YouTube ads will naturally follow in some way, shape or form.

So, there’s an immediate organic opportunity for marketers, with a paid one waiting in the wings.

Creators can make Shorts via the create tab in the YouTube app. From this option, users will be able to click on ‘create a Short’ to get stuck in. Videos can be recorded natively, or users can upload their own media.

If you want to watch a Short, you can find it on the YouTube homepage. There’s also a vertical-swipe pane to help users move from one to the other.

Coming Down Under soon…ish

Payouts will range from $100 to $10,000 and will only be awarded to original content creators – so cut-and-paste merchants beware! If you’re re-uploading content with watermarks from TikTok, you won’t be eligible for a slice of this pie.

YouTube has mentioned it plans to monetise Shorts for itself by placing adverts in between videos. This won’t come as much surprise, but it’s still something that brands might want to be aware of.

There are a few other rules and regs:

  • Channels need to have one eligible Short uploaded in the last 180 days and follow YouTube’s copyright rules, monetisation policies and Community Guidelines.
  • Australian and Kiwi creators will have to wait for the fund to apply to them, but YouTube has said it will expand its market over time.

YouTube has also announced an update to the Shorts creative process.

Amy Singer, Director, Global Partnership Enablement for YouTube Shorts

“Earlier this year, we previewed a new feature that will allow you to remix audio from videos across YouTube — which includes billions of videos — and we’re excited to share this experience is starting to roll out to everyone that has access to our Shorts creation tools soon.”

We could see more tools available to creators soon, such as:

  • Automatic captions
  • 60-second recording via the Shorts camera
  • The ability to add clips from your phone’s gallery to a Shorts recording
  • Basic filters to colour correct Shorts

Better connected

YouTube runs a service called BrandConnect, where brands and creators can connect and create content that works for both parties. If Shorts takes off, which looks pretty likely, it could help provide those brands with increased exposure through a platform marketers will already be familiar with.

More generally, it’s another chance for companies to make entertainment content that resonates with audiences worldwide. Marketers can inject some real personality into campaigns via partnerships or in-house content.

The onus on originality does mean creative artists will have to spend a bit more time creating specific versions of their videos for Shorts, TikTok and Reels. But the increase in exposure may be well worth the time.

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