However, if you've been following us for a while, you know what Shorts are, and that we started a vidIQ Shorts channel to test the feature. We've also posted some of these shorts on our main channel. They’re doing well so far, and we’ve heard similar stories of success from other YouTube creators.
To witness their testimonies, watch our latest video about how YouTube Shorts is affecting creators:
When we first analyzed YouTube Shorts, we didn’t have enough data to know whether they’d hurt or help creators on the platform. We didn’t know if they’d cause a decrease in channel Watch Time or if viewers would unsubscribe after watching short videos they never asked for.
To some extent, we still don’t know how bad the outcome could be. But for now, despite some unknowns, we know YouTube creators are getting more views with YouTube Shorts.
How to Analyze Your YouTube Shorts Performance
Let’s start our YouTube Shorts analysis with a video we posted on the main vidIQ channel called, “YouTube Shorts: The @MrBeast Effect.” So far, it's given us the data we need to understand how Shorts are performing.
While you’re here, go ahead and watch it for maximum clarity.
As with any video launched on a channel with many subscribers, most of our initial views came from YouTube notifications. Eventually, this spike in views decreases as dedicated viewers stop watching.
However, our video didn’t follow that script entirely. There was a small boost in views long after uploading, so we had to figure out what was happening. Our theory was that YouTube was featuring the video on its Stories and Short Videos shelf.
To confirm whether our video was being featured, we opened the YouTube Studio and viewed the traffic sources list. Many creators hypothesized that views from the Stories and Short Videos shelf showed up as direct or unknown views, which ended up being true. In fact, while viewing our real-time analytics, we found a surge in direct or unknown views for our short video. That means it was being discovered on YouTube’s new shelf.
Just to confirm, we didn’t post the Short on social media, YouTube’s community tab, or anywhere else. To make sure our data was conclusive, we made zero attempts to boost the video’s views.
How to Optimize a YouTube Short
Optimizing a short video isn’t too different from optimizing a normal YouTube video. For each YouTube Short, we made sure to:
Include a thumbnail
Write a complete description
Add relevant video tags
However, those things don’t impact whether your video appears as a Short. And as many creators have shared, it takes days before YouTube decides to test (or feature) a video on the Stories and Short Videos shelf, where exposure leads to more views.
The big takeaway is YouTube Shorts don’t perform like normal videos, where the first 48 hours are crucial for getting more views. The video could take off at any time in the first couple of weeks.
Testimonials and Lessons From Creators Using YouTube Shorts
We told the vidIQ community about YouTube Shorts before they even had a name, so creators have had a few weeks to test the feature. And interestingly, there are plenty of success stories.
For example, GettinJigglyWitIt has nearly 600 subscribers and got 11K views on a Shorts video. Read what they had to say about that experience below:
For those wondering about the aspect ratios of vertical videos, Interesting Igloo is having success with the 9:16 format. This channel also pointed out that Mr. Beast is using the same format for his Shorts, as shown below:
Jon Dunkerley is going all-in with the new feature and started a Shorts channel about his funny dog. The new channel only has 10 subscribers, but he's getting 400 views on some of his shorts. Read more on that below:
LeigerGaming gave YouTube Shorts a try and one of their videos suddenly collected more direct and unknown views before normalizing again. One interesting thing to note is LeigerGaming's thumbnails suit both landscape videos and vertical Shorts. If YouTube ever decides to use custom thumbnails in the Shorts shelf, that decision could pay off. Check out LeigerGaming’s thumbnail and comment below:
Nicksbankrpt told us a video of his from March 2019 recently took off with 1,000 views. We asked him to check the traffic sources and they all came from direct or unknown views, as shown below:
Wealth Insiders is gaining subscribers from YouTube Shorts, which is an interesting outcome. Check out their comment below:
Despite this channel’s success, there is a danger to testing YouTube Shorts on your main channel. For one, you're testing your audience's patience with completely different content. Many viewers subscribe to a channel expecting videos of several minutes, possibly more - and not all of them want to see shorter content.
Although the YouTube Shorts we’ve tested on our main channel are getting decent views, they do seem to be ticking off subscribers. We’ve lost a few whenever we post a Short, so that’s one analytic to keep an eye on.
Insider Secrets About YouTube Shorts
Our last testimonial is probably the most interesting. It’s from Yeti's Place, and that channel’s comment recounts a private video meeting with YouTube about how Shorts really work:
This comment suggests:
YouTube hasn’t separated Shorts from regular content yet.
Channel audience view duration will decrease when you make Shorts.
When someone doesn’t watch the full 15 or 60 seconds of a Short, that could hurt your previously positive analytics.
You don’t need to use #Shorts in the title/description of your video. YouTube knows it’s a Short if the video is vertical and within certain time constraints.
Many of these points contradict what YouTube is saying publicly about Shorts. For instance, YouTube publicly instructed creators to use the hashtag #Shorts, but this comment suggests it’s not needed.
Whether that’s true, false, or somewhere in between, only time will tell.
Will YouTube Shorts be the next big thing? We don’t know for sure. But we can confirm YouTube Shorts is no longer a mild curiosity for the platform. It’s definitely a real, concrete thing. And while TikTok continues to be in turmoil, YouTube Shorts has the potential to keep growing.
Learn How to Succeed on YouTube
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