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What are YouTube Shorts? – YouTube’s answer to TikTok

By Margo Waldrop, Content Writer

February 23, 2023 | 8 min read

If you had less than a minute to learn about your favorite brand or product, what would you want to see?

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts / Adobe Stock

YouTube is fighting for the top spot in the short form video war with YouTube Shorts. The bingeable videos last less than 60 seconds and include a wide range of editing features. These minisule movies are perfect for companies when they need to connect with viewers and create impactful brand videos. Less than a minute needed to quickly grab attention, connect, and score a customer.

What are the benefits of YouTube shorts?

While in its infancy compared to other shortform video platforms, YouTube Shorts still have plenty of benefits to make it worth your while:

1. The all-powerful Google owns YouTube, providing a massive financial backing. So, no worry about YouTube Shorts going anywhere with such deep pockets and a powerful analytics core.

2. YouTube has over two billion daily active users.

3. YouTube’s demographics typically target the Gen Z’ers and millennials, who both possess a tremendous amount of buying power.

4. Shorts are just that – short, and can easily be created, edited, and posted.

5. Cost effective, considering you can create and upload an unlimited amount of shorts.

6. Can easily break down complex topics into fun, easy to understand clips.

7. Perfect way to share your brands personality and values.

8. Easy way for influencers to promote your products.

9. Ties into your regular YouTube channel.

10. Unlike video shorts on other channels, YouTube Shorts never get deleted unless you choose to do so.

"YouTube Shorts gives everyone the opportunity to have all the fun of short form video in a way that can only be done on YouTube,” said Jodi Ropert, vice president of YouTube Marketing. She’s right. YouTube knows video better than anyone, and their expansion into short form creates more opportunities for brands to connect with their audience.

What features do YouTube Shorts provide?

While YouTube Shorts don’t have all the features of TikTok (yet), they still provide an easy set of tools for creators to upload and edit their videos. Todd Sherman, the global product manager for YouTube Shorts reiterates, “We want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts. As we continue to build Shorts alongside our creators and artists, we’ll be adding more features for users to try.”

Current features include:

  • Allows users to upload 15 - 60 second short-form videos using a provided set of creator tools, including speed controls, multi-segment camera, and a timer with a countdown feature.
  • The multi-segment camera option allows users to string multiple video clips together into one short clip.
  • YouTube’s large library of audio content is available to set videos to music.
  • Shorts serve as feeders into your longer form content
  • Additional features include: auto captions, adding text to videos, filters, and the ability to upload clips from a users’ phone gallery.

Examples of YouTube Shorts

Most brands’ YouTube Shorts portfolios are a little small but are rapidly expanding as interest rises, and viewers and companies, catch on. Here are a few examples of brands doing it right.

Universal & Voodoo Doughnuts

Universal Orlando Resort created a mouth-watering short that announces their new partnership with VooDoo Doughnuts.


Lexus gave chillin’ a whole new look, as it shared its vibe with viewers and showed the luxury car brand in a new light.

Hell’s Kitchen

Realty show Hell’s Kitchen uses YouTube Shorts to highlight tense moments in the show, as well entice viewers to watch more in the series.


Smart, catchy, and fun, Ikea has a series of shorts aimed at cooking fun with kids and parents.

Bobby Brown Cosmetics

Viewers are thirsty for tutorials, especially concerning makeup. Bobby Brown Cosmetics created a tutorial series highlighting their products and gifting viewers with important tips.

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Tips for creating YouTube Shorts

Relaying information within 60 seconds isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few tips to help you narrow down and focus your YouTube Short.

1. Determine the goal of the video. Brand awareness? Product launch? Customer highlight? Use your goal to shape your content.

2. Get the specifics right. Correct ratio, time, and music balance all play an important factor.

3. Keep it simple and visual. The human brain really doesn’t want to interpret an overload of content within a minute.

4. The message should be direct and focused on your target audience.

5. Your headline needs to immediately snag the viewer and deliver on its promise.

6. Don’t be afraid to repurpose old content into new shorts.

7. Keep them fun, light, authentic, and engaging.

8. Create a custom thumbnail to represent your short.

9. Create a YouTube Shorts series to keep viewers interested and coming back for more.

10. Invite your customers to participate. This humanizes your brand and shows viewers the consumer is your number one priority.

Wrapping up

If TikTok feels too overwhelming, or not exactly a match for your company, consider YouTube Shorts instead. The newest short-form channel may have some growing to do but the benefits are obvious. Number one being its massive audience. Even if you’re happy with your current YouTube channel, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your feet wet and incorporate short-form videos into your marketing strategy. You don’t have to be ahead of the crowd, but it sure helps sales if you keep up.

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