YouTube Shorts has taken the creator world by storm, racking up an astonishing 5 trillion views since its launch in 2020. Just like TikTok, the never-ending feed of short, bitesize content on YouTube Shorts is proving to be addictive and eating up everyone’s free time.

Does that mean it’s time to forget about 5 or 10 minute uploads? Not necessarily, but short videos have helped to launch a new generation of creators into the YouTube stratosphere too, with the likes of Jake Fellman and Kallmekris seeing astronomical growth in a short space of time.

With YouTube sharing out a combined $100 million with the best creators on YouTube Shorts, it looks like it’s only going to get bigger and better. So embrace the trend and learn everything you need to get you started. From how to make YouTube Shorts, to how they differ from regular YouTube videos, and how the platform can help your channel grow, let’s dive into our guide to YouTube Shorts.

Just starting out on YouTube? Check out our ultimate guide on how to start a YouTube channel.

What are YouTube Shorts?

Examples of creators on YouTube Shorts

As the name suggests, Shorts is YouTube’s platform for short form videos. Originally introduced to empower mobile creation by allowing YouTubers to capture, edit and share videos straight from their phone, the platform is now available on desktop as well.

You can head to either the Shorts Shelf or the Shorts Tab on YouTube to discover a seemingly limitless stream of vertical videos, purposefully designed to keep viewers scrolling from video to video.

One thing to remember, YouTube Shorts is all about grabbing people’s attention quickly before they move onto the next video, so fast hooks and entertaining content are as important as ever.

How long are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts allows creators to share super snappy videos that can be anywhere up to 60 seconds. The default length is 15 seconds but you can upload clips even shorter than that.

Can you monetize YouTube Shorts?

Creators can choose to earn money from the ads shown alongside their Shorts, provided they’re part of the YouTube Partner Program and have selected Shorts monetization through the Earn tab in YouTube Studio.

It almost goes without saying but if you don’t turn on your monetization options in YouTube Studio, you could be missing out on revenue from your videos!

How much you earn depends on how many views your Shorts content gets each month. To put it simply, you’ll receive a portion of YouTube's ad revenue from Shorts. This is divided among all the creators who have turned on monetization along with YouTube’s music partners too.

Chart showing the revenue sharing from YouTube Shorts monetization.
Want to upload to YouTube Shorts with music, but don’t want to reduce the amount of revenue you get paid? Using Uppbeat’s copyright-free music in your videos means you can keep a larger share of your revenue!

You can find out exactly how YouTube Shorts monetization works, but the main thing to remember is that the more views you rack up, the more you’re going to earn!

How are YouTube Shorts different?

Coming hot on the heels of TikTok, Shorts is YouTube’s answer to the growing demand for super short content you can easily watch on your phone. They show up in either the Shorts Shelf or the Shorts Tab on YouTube and offer a different viewing experience to the typical video on demand (VOD) content, with a bigger emphasis on getting viewers to engage with the video or subscribe to your channel.

Comparison between YouTube Shorts and regular YouTube videos

Given Shorts are shorter (duh!), there’s less time to grab your audience’s attention - so cut to the chase!

Compared to normal YouTube videos where your goal is to keep people’s attention for entire videos - like Good Good with their 3-hour golf marathons - the approach to YouTube Shorts is completely different. It’s all about producing short, entertaining content that gets big views and tons of likes.

YouTube has confirmed that channels that produce both long-form and Shorts videos are growing faster than those that don’t post on YouTube Shorts.

How to upload YouTube Shorts

A creator uploading a video to YouTube Shorts

So, you’re ready to take the plunge! Getting started couldn’t be simpler, whether you’re uploading from your desktop or straight from your phone. Follow our step-by-step guides below to take that first step on your YouTube Shorts journey.

📱 YouTube Shorts on mobile: Step-by-step

  1. Sign in to your account through the YouTube app
  2. Click the + button and select Create a Short
  3. For a video longer than 15 seconds, click the 15s button in the top right to toggle to 60s
  4. Record video by either holding the record button, or tapping it to start recording and again to stop
  5. Tap the tick button to preview and enhance your video
  6. Once you’re happy with your edits, tap Next to add a title and choose the settings for your Short
  7. Tap Select audience to choose whether the video is made for kids or not
  8. Now you can go ahead and tap Upload Short to share your video!

💻 YouTube Shorts on desktop: Step-by-step

  1. Sign in to the YouTube Studio
  2. Click the Create button in the top right and select Upload videos
  3. Select a video file with either a vertical or square aspect ratio that is up to 60 seconds in length
  4. Fill out the details and publish as you would a regular video
Make sure you include #Shorts in the title or description of your video to help YouTube share your Shorts quicker!
A creator celebrating uploading a video to YouTube Shorts

Get the most out of YouTube Shorts

Short form creators are using Shorts to fast track their subscriber count into the millions - British magician Dan Rhodes has gone from just 18k subscribers to more than 16 million in just over a year! Clearly YouTube Shorts is a great way to give your channel a shot in the arm.

We’ve been studying the secrets to Shorts superstardom and have picked out the top tactics you can copy to produce viral videos and get your channel noticed!

👋 Get straight to the point: You want to grab people’s attention right away and stop them scrolling past your content, so make sure your videos pack a punch in the opening seconds if you want viewers to watch.

🤳 Upload 9:16 vertical videos: You can post square videos to YouTube Shorts but they’ll appear with ugly black bars above and below your content. Avoid this by sticking with vertical videos!

📌 Add pinned comments: Video descriptions are hidden in the options menu in YouTube Shorts (the three dots in the bottom right corner!) - give your audience more to discover by adding a link to your channel as a pinned comment.

🤩 Consider a thumbnail: Your YouTube Shorts will still appear with the rest of your videos, so keep your channel looking clean and entice your viewers to watch by adding a simple, enticing thumbnail.

🔁 Loop your video: One clever way to keep viewers watching is to take advantage of the fact that YouTube Shorts videos automatically loop. You can find inventive ways of making your videos go back to the beginning from the end to keep your audience hooked!

🎬 Raw edits or polished productions? The beauty of YouTube Shorts is that creators can go down either route! There’s a place for quickly filmed hot takes, highly polished productions, and everything in between.

🎧 Choose your music wisely! With its shorter format, it's more important than ever to find the perfect clip of a song to make your video pop. Don’t be shy about heading straight for a big chorus or an epic drop, and you can always check out Uppbeat's awesome catalog of copyright-free bangers too.

Use YouTube Shorts to grow your channel

A YouTube Shorts post of a medal

With over 30 billion daily views on YouTube Shorts alone, you may just have found the perfect way to introduce your videos to a new, bigger audience and help your channel grow.

Shorts is like a cheat code for improving your channel’s performance on YouTube. It’s super effective at getting more views, likes and subscribers for your channel. Remember, good engagement keeps the YouTube algorithm very happy!

You can get closer to your audience than ever before and even involve them in the creative process. Food blogger Lisa Nguyen asks her fans for recommendations on where she could eat next, giving her loads of great suggestions for new videos.

And don’t forget to use Shorts as an opportunity to promote your existing videos too! You can share the snappiest snippets from your regular videos to reach new audiences and direct them back to your channel.

Get creating on YouTube Shorts!

Getting started on YouTube Shorts is as easy as opening an app on your phone or uploading a video on your laptop. If you haven’t yet considered Shorts for your YouTube channel, you could be missing out on loads of views, likes and subscribers.

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