YouTube Shorts – The Ultimate Guide On How To Use Them

By Eros

March 23, 2021

YouTube Marketing, YouTube Shorts

With over 2 billion monthly logged-in users, YouTube is a popular platform that appeals to all ages because of the variety of content it offers. And now there are YouTube shorts…

There is no denying that video content rules the internet these days because it resonates with people. YouTube is the go-to social media platform for content creators and vloggers. These influencers and stars can earn handsomely by regularly uploading video content that’s popular among audiences and gets them the views needed to monetize their channels. 

The videos could be makeup tutorials, comedy sketches, video game commentaries, etc. The sky is the limit here. 

But then, in comes TikTok to give YouTube a run for its money. 

Who doesn’t know TikTok? This platform broke onto the social media scene a little over a year ago, and now it has over 6 million active users in the UK alone. This insane popularity compelled Instagram to introduce the Reels to give its users the same functionalities so they won’t open TikTok. 

And while YouTube is still the king of video content, it didn’t have anything similar to offer the younger demographic that’s all over TikTok. 

YouTube Shorts is basically Google’s version of TikTok. Hopefully, it will appeal to artists and content creators to make small catchy videos using just their mobile phones and bring some of the younger fresher traffic its way. 

What Exactly Is YouTube Shorts?

The way I see it, YouTube shorts want to enter the short-video, targeting younger users who already post a lot to their YT channels. 

But now they get a YouTube-patent video editor for their smartphones so they can shoot their short, catchy videos, edit them and upload them straight to their channel without the need for third-party apps. 

YouTube Shorts - How YouTube Shorts Work?

 The social giant doesn’t want to miss out on the short video craze, and it’s entering the market with a bang.

That’s why it goes one-up on TikTok and gives users up to a minute for short videos. And just like the other platform, YouTube Shorts can be viewed as vertical videos in 9:16 aspect ratio. These videos continue to roll one after the other, without any break, until you stop them. This keeps viewers interested for a very long time. 

If you want easy access to internet stardom, Shorts is an unsaturated territory at the moment. This means that it can provide a better chance of visibility and an opportunity for you to stand out as a creator. 

Where Can You Find YouTube Shorts?

If you want to use YouTube Shorts, you need the YouTube app on your mobile phone – it’s right there at the homepage on the “short shelf”.

How To Use YouTube Shorts?

YouTube is still working on which videos to include on the short shelf, but it won’t display videos shorter than 5 seconds each. Click on them, and you’ll see Shorts that should appeal to you depending on your watch and search history. 

If your Shorts are 35 seconds or longer, YouTube lets you include end screen elements while also giving you the ability to promote other videos, playlists, etc. It is an excellent opportunity to direct people to your regular YouTube channel or anything else you want them to watch. 

The subscribe button is placed left to the channel name. Here, you can also find other engagement options such as like, share and comment. However, since Shorts is still in its beta phase, expect more changes to the layout. 

In-App Editing Features

This app lets you do the following on your smartphone:

  • The addition of music from the tracks library (which is less extensive than that of Instagram or TikTok)
  • Video speed alteration
  • Use the Shorts camera to film footages of no longer than fifteen seconds
  • Use a countdown timer for a hands-free recording

YouTube is also working on text overlays, draft creation features, and filters, but these features are still unavailable for now.  

YouTube Shorts Visibility On Channel

I think one of the best things about Shorts is that you can keep them on your channel with the rest of your public YouTube videos. However, doing this will mix the analytics of both types of videos, so YouTube employees suggest users specifically examine how their audience reacts to the shorter videos on the channel. 

If Shorts picks up your video, you’ll find a different icon in YouTube Analytics, other than a Play button. YouTube is figuring out this feature to incorporate it in the platform, but often your video won’t show up as a Short and bring regular YouTube video traffic instead.

Additionally, if your video is not on the shelf, you can embed its short-form on your website. This enables you to use all the regular options because it is not considered short. 

If you don’t want to mix your content, you can have a separate channel for your long and short videos to show you the latter’s success. For instance, Mr. Beast has more than five million subscribers already on his Shorts channel.

Edit And Upload YouTube Shorts

If you want to create and edit using the same platform, YouTube Shorts might not be the best option for now. I noticed that it doesn’t offer much in the way of editing features except the basic options outlined above.

The editor is currently only available in beta, which means limited functionality. So if you don’t like that, you might have to use an external editor and upload your video on the channel separately once you are done. 

The process of uploading shorts is more straightforward because you can do it even without the beta version. As long as you follow the duration and orientation requirements, include #Shorts in the description or title, and stick to the Community Guidelines, you can upload a video and build your TikTok-like channel. 


Unfortunately, monetization through Shorts is very limited at the moment because it only lets you monetize the views here that come from outside the shelf. But even then, owing to the short duration of the videos, you won’t be able to earn a lot.  

Whether you upload a short or a regular video, it gets a video ID that lets you monitor metrics such as traffic sources like the homepage, suggested video, subscription feed, and external sources. Consequently, if your video is selected for the Short shelf, it has the potential to generate thousands of views, but your major source of income would still be the ads. 

Right now, businesses are looking to increase exposure and subscribers to the channel for people to view your content outside the short shelf. That’s something Shorts can help you with, but monetization? Not so much. 

But that won’t always be the case. However, given the crucial importance of monetization in keeping creators motivated, I think the platform will introduce measures to increase video compensation.

The Recommendation Algorithm 

Shorts is still in the development phase, which is why details on its recommendation algorithm haven’t been revealed yet. But rest assured that YouTube will factor in the usual good content markers such as the like-to-dislike ratio and watch time to recommend videos to the viewers. 

YouTube Shorts vs. Stories

One of the most significant differences between YouTube Shorts and Stories is their longevity on the channel. YouTube Stories (like Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Stories) disappear after 24 hours. So they are more like status updates.

On the other hand, Shorts stay on your channel like the regular videos you upload. Their main aim is to lower the barrier to entertaining and high-quality videos for creators and viewers alike. 

Optimize Your YouTube Shorts Content For Your Target Audience

All Shorts are under a minute, but different age groups respond differently to the content. For instance, Millennials are more likely to watch an entire one-minute-long video regardless of the content’s quality because they have a higher attention span. 

On the other hand, with an average attention span of only 8 seconds, Gen Z prefers videos that get right to the point and automatically move on to the next one. According to IAB UK, this has given rise to short videos to fulfil the entertainment needs of a generation that leads in social media consumption. 

So to retain your Gen Z audience, make sure that your one-minute videos are highly engaging and entertaining.   


I think it’s a genius move for this platform to keep up with the times and come up with its own short video creation functionalities. But here’s the deal, people are already hooked onto TikTok, and there’s Snapchat too. 

For Shorts to be successful, its editing features and tools have to be a lot better than TikTok. If YouTube can do that, I don’t see why it won’t remain the crowned king of video content for the next decade or so.

This is an exciting new way to connect with your audiences.

If you want to explore this new addition to YouTube, remember that you just have a minute to make it count. So, build a viable strategy around your audience’s needs and give them what they are looking for.

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