With the meteoric rise of TikTok in the past year, the competition got tighter in the video content delivery space. YouTube however wouldn’t sit idly and make way for TikTok to assert its claim over short video content. Here’s a closer look at YouTube Shorts and its implications for YouTube’s future.
The Same Old
In the infant days of online media consumption, trends evolved fast and platforms chased consumers where they went. YouTube was one of the innovators, may it be luck or just foresight, they read the consumer’s wishes best and, in time, became the superpower that they are today. While others like, “Vine” and Meta’s “IGTV” platforms competed for authority over online video trends, the sheer size of the platform and audience preference meant that YouTube always stayed at the top. And enjoyed life, co-existing with its contemporaries. But YouTube’s confidence in its ever-stable platform strategy has finally been shaken with the rise of TikTok. YouTube, for the first time in its lifetime, has to step on up to the challenge.
Bigger. Younger. Stronger.
Unlike YouTube, TikTok’s inception came in the form of consumption trends carrying over. While at the time of its rise, YouTube was being pitched as the leading medium for online video consumption. TikTok never aimed for such aspirations. Instead, they would sidestep the competition. TikTok focused on the creators, created a platform open for social interactions, and made “reach” its main priority. TikTok put the tools for creating content right in front of the users, and encouraged them to create. This all meant that TikTok would soon boom in popularity. And boom they have! Surpassing YouTube, (and even Google.com for that matter) TikTok became the biggest domain on the internet. With its massive new user base, TikTok would inadvertently shape consumption trends on the internet as a whole. TikTok’s influence made it so that viewers now expected 60 seconds, hyper consumable videos.
The Long and Short(s) of It
TikTok’s rise would lead to declining view times and an overall user loss for YouTube. So in March of 2021, YouTube launched what they called ” YouTube Shorts”. This new form of content would be uploaded separately, featured separately, and accessed separately from the usual YouTube videos. At a maximum length of 60 seconds, Shorts were initially pitched as a way of delivering “extra”, “byte sized”, content to followers. But creators would soon discover that YouTube prioritized Shorts access much heavily. So they went to work hoping to cash in, using this new avenue. And some have definitely profited from the Shorts format. Creator’s rose from obscurity to millions of subscribers in a matter of months, with the push provided by the algorithm. But not everything was rose petals, many would discover shortly.
Short and Disfunctional
Right after their launch, Shorts instantly became controversial after some realized that it was a great place to repost TikTok content without credit. Now some creators would benefit huge gains off the backs of other people’s work and YouTube would turn a blind eye to it all. For YouTube, the whole purpose of Shorts was to keep the audience on the site for as long as possible by offering hyper consumable content. As long as that was being achieved, everything would be tolerated. While the stolen content seems to be largely addressed today, another point of concern for creators has been compensation. Conducting an investigation in October 2021, YouTuber Kliksphlilip, surfaced YouTube’s monetization scheme for shorts. He realized that YouTube would pay up to 150 times less per each view when monetizing a Short.
Shorts might have started as an experiment. But as any candid user of the platform can attest, they’re slowly taking over users consuming habits. So we should expect YouTube to expand on this concept even more in the future. But the road ahead contains its own challenges. Youtube needs to carefully balance its existing image as the long-form video platform and its aspirations to become a competitor in the hyper-consumable video space in the coming years.
Do you watch YouTube Shorts? Which way do you think YouTube should go with short form content in the future? Let us in the comments down below. Follow our socials and never miss any hot topics in the influencer marketing industry!