YouTube: Re:View Youtube Shorts Agency Leadership

Making a 2024 marketing plan? Don’t bother unless it includes YouTube Shorts

By Ross Walker, Social Media Strategist



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January 17, 2024 | 9 min read

Ross Walker of influencer marketing agency Redpill says that, this year, YouTube is gearing up to take on TikTok and Facebook in the battle of the social apps, and short-form content is its secret weapon.

A beach, depicted in a branded YouTube Shorts video

YouTube Shorts is a secret weapon for marketers, says agency Redpill

In 2023 we saw social platforms rise and fall in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.

Meta’s Threads faded out as quickly as its hype had grown, BeReal had its blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the sun, and X (previously Twitter) whirlwind saw a whirlwind of dramas and changes that show no sign of abating.

Amid all this noise, YouTube continues to be a steady rock.

YouTube: Steady as a rock?

YouTube’s unwavering popularity is certified by the more than 1bn hours of video content users watch daily, making it the most-watched platform on connected TV (CTV) for most of last year. It’s also become the world’s second-largest search engine and the second most popular social media platform, hosting 2.49 billion active users, about 82% of Facebook's user count.

A quarter of viewers say they discover new brands and products through YouTube ads, ads which reach 86% of internet users in the UK.

Influencers are the bedrock of every social platform. Their content drives the feeds and fuels engagement. YouTube has always been a powerful platform for content creators. From the early days of vlogs to its latest channel, YouTube Shorts, the platform has always seamlessly integrated influencers and their real, accessible voices into its DNA.

Every day, billions of viewers eagerly hop onto the platform to catch up with their favorite content creators. A whopping 68% of Gen Z users credit these creators as the primary reason they visit the platform.

So with Facebook's news decline and the unstoppable popularity of video-based networks, YouTube is heading for the top spot.

The versatility of YouTube Shorts

Shorts is the best weapon in the platform’s arsenal. It brings people together by creating tight-knit subcultures, like TikTok or Snapchat, but it’s also a feeder for the platform’s main domain.

According to YouTube, Shorts now gathers over 70bn daily views, with long-form to short-form content integration smoother than ever.

We’re seeing all kinds of advertising (demos, skits, and stories that spark interest), all spurring sales and building brand fans. Clash of Clans looped its way to more than 90m views and 3m likes. Squarespace showed that Shorts can sell anything.

The pièce de résistance: Google search integration

YouTube is owned by Google. The platform’s assimilation into the world’s most-used search bar means YouTube content answers queries across the web. It also connects the platform with audiences beyond its garden walls: YouTube (both long-form and Shorts) is directly indexed in Google Search. That’s a game changer for creators and brands.

The platform’s content can be watched by consumers on phone, desktop, or CTV. If the video is elevated with keywords, catchy descriptions, eye-catching thumbnails and creative captions, it will get a serious boost from search.

Tapping into fandom and subculture

YouTube isn’t just a casual social media platform. It’s a playground for creators and fans to dive deep into their favorite subjects like musicians, movies, TV shows, sports, and gaming.

Shorts can involve anyone and everyone, from creators to celebrities, brands to performers. Google says that advertisers on YouTube that added vertical creative assets and Video Action Campaigns now see 10% to 20% more conversions per dollar on Shorts, compared to campaigns using only landscape.

Partnerships between brands and influencers will continue to be a major source of content on the platform. Reese's ads with gen Z stars Merrick Hanna and Kausha Campbell garnered 73K likes; a Sugar Cosmetics makeup tutorial sparked a vibrant conversation with 14K comments.

And YouTube is expanding its bag of tricks to bring creators and viewers even closer, with AI-powered filtering assistance from Dream Screen, YouTube Create to AI Insights tools. The result is a suite of products and features that will enable people to push the boundaries of creativity.

YouTube hits hyperreal heights with AI

A stream of new stuff, like AI-generated backgrounds, AI-driven scene switches, automated captions, and custom effects help creators make better videos, putting professional-quality video with minimal effort in the reach of more people than ever.

And now Google Bard is teaming up with YouTube. Bard’s AI connects into YouTube data, helping to craft connective marketing plans and unique video summaries that amp up the search game. Google Translate nails 100+ languages and processes over 140bn words daily; Google Photos features automatic image recognition.

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So, how can you make the most of the YouTube Shorts opportunity this year? Focus first on hooking users, fast. As you ideate and plan, look to grab attention in those early seconds, through thumb-stopping visuals, questions, and overlays.

Next, ensure you’re brand-aligned. A client-agency partnerships synergy will be the powerplay to artistically infusing creativity while ensuring content stays true to the brand essence. Stay on-trend by leveraging pop culture moments, hashtags and viral trends.

And finally, test, test, test – at scale, by analyzing the impact of content and what the audience finds most engaging.

YouTube is not only the social platform to watch this year. It’s one that brands must integrate into their marketing strategy if they want a holistic brand experience online.

YouTube: Re:View Youtube Shorts Agency Leadership

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